Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Posted by Velouria Posted on 10:00 | No comments

Wilde Fruit 2009

After a couple of years starting and finishing at the industrial park on the Agter Paarl road, the Wilde Fruit Funride finally returned to Wellington. I enjoy this race, but I think it is only because I was lucky enough two years ago to get into the winning break (where I finished 4th out of 4 - I can't sprint).

Previous glory

Windguru had promised a near windless day (they also promised a cloudless day, but got that horribly wrong), so I didn't expect too much suffering on the road back in from Malmesbury. Oh, and the fact that I was riding in A, and not racing in the League.

Our race got underway with A to D being lumped together to make up a reasonably sized bunch. I could see the fear on the faces of the D riders - they really didn't want to be there. There were probably a handful of A and B riders who, like me, were too lazy and too cheap to ride League this season. Right from the start things were heated, with the better riders pushing the pace immediately. For the first 40kms up to the big hill we flew, with about 6 or 7 riders setting the pace. I tried to be a little cocky and gutter the bunch, but got scolded - obviously this isn't the thing you do when riding in the seeded groups.



As the big hill of the day approached (Botmasnkloof) outside Riebeek Kasteel any help we had from the other riders quickly evaporated. We were busy catching some of the other groups ahead of us (Masters, Juniors and Ladies), and they provided tantelising targets for the climb. I found a comfortable gear, dropped my cadence to just above 60, and powered up the hill on the front. Out of the corner of my eye I could see some one behind me, and since I wasn't killing myself up the hill as in previous years, I just assumed that most of the bunch was still there.

When we got to the top I looked back to see that I had 4 other riders for company, with the rest of the bunch nowhere to be seen. We still had about 45kms to go, so it was always going to be tough staying away, but we gave it a shot.

We got a good pace line going, although I did feel we were carrying two riders who weren't really contributing to the work. The road from Malmesbury back to the Agter Paarl road was littered with riders from the Leagues who had been dropped, and once again, this gave us targets to aim at. Slowly but surely we started loosing riders - every time we went over a rolling hill I would try to push the pace a little and before long we were down to just 3. On the very next hill, with a largish bunch in front of us we lost another rider. We still had 10kms to go, and I wasn't sure that the 2 of us would have the legs to hold of the others. I kept looking for the rest of our bunch, half expecting them to come steaming by, but there was no sign of them.




With aching legs from the LT session the day before, both of us dug deep and tried to keep the pace going. We got a bit of help from another rider who had been dropped from the Sub Vets and with 3km to go we had to negotiate a horrible little hill into Wellington. By now the cat and mouse had started, and the other two were quite happy to let me sit on the front without coming through. With about 600m to go, I pulled over, feeling pretty knackerd - luckily my fellow break away partner thought i was finished and came through. I hopped onto his wheel, and was in the perfect position to be lead out for the sprint. Except I messed it up again, and probably went 100m too early which allowed the other guy to come back at me and beat me on the line.

So - what have we learned? I think the answer is that I really suck at sprinting - that is now 4th out of 4, and 2nd out of 2 in the break aways that I have been in :(

Mike had a good ride - once again time trialling his way through the field. After the report I had heard about him at the Medallion I was expecting him to be totally knackered, but he looked good at the finish. I wish I could say the same about Yolanda. I had washed her bike the day before because I am a loving husband. Unfortunately, I think I might have cleaned away half the dirt that was holding her bike together. Her brake pad came loose, and was rubbing quite badly for about 50kms. She ended up bonking, but didn't have the insight to check to see if there was a mechanical problem. Fee had to play the role of the cheery friend to get Yo home in one piece.

I have subsequently fixed the brakes.
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