Friday 29 May 2009

Posted by Velouria Posted on 10:24 | 1 comment

Amarider 100 Miler

A couple of weeks ago we did the Amarider 100 Miler. We thought it would be a stroll - 100 milers of flat, wide open roads. No real climbing to speak of. And with our legs still in good shape from the Epic, it was supposed to be a great ride. We had entered a team of 4 - myself, Craig, Etienne (from Team Faffers), and Marius. We were all expecting to have a great ride, until we checked the weather report. It just so happened that the Cape was to get its first cold front of the season, and not just any cold front - a MONSTER. High winds, chilly temperatures and lots of rain.

There had been some calls to cancel the event (there was supposed to be 100 mile road race the following day, but that had been cancelled), but we all know that mountain bikers are a tough, fearless lot (and probably slightly mentally challenged as well), and so the organisers had decided to let the event go ahead.

Waking up at 4 in the morning to the sound of our roof straining against the wind had me wishing they had cancelled the race. By the time we got to the start venue the rain had started, and while my bed would have been a warmer and cosier option, deep down each of us looked forward to the self abuse of a long cold, wet and thoroughly miserable day in the saddle.

Bonte had entered a team as well. Just being brave enough to rock up at the start deserved a medal. Only 200 of the 400 entrants bothered to show up, with only about 90 of those finishing the event.

A little after 7am the race started, in the cold dark pouring rain. It wasn't too bad, once you were wet, which took about 37 seconds. The rain was so hard you could barely see where you were going, and for about 10 minutes I rode behind a guy who I thought was Craig, only to realise that it wasn't, and that the rest of my team was somewhere up ahead. I don't remember too much of the first hour and a half, as it all felt the same - there was only about 5 meters of visibility, and you just followed the rider in front of you. I do remember seeing a boat, and thinking that that was probably the preferred means of transport for the day.

I experienced a lot of firsts on that day - riding upstream against the current of a flooded road, hating tar sections, actively seeking patches of water to clean the drivetrain, sediment build up in my shoe. Probably one of the most trying days I have had on a bike. The weather just didn't let up at all. The rain and cold wasn't nearly as bad as the wind, and for the first 5 hours we rode straight into it. We had to pedal on the downhills just to keep moving. It was unrelenting. And to make matters worse, Marius decided that he wasn't going to wait about as one of our riders went through a bad patch. So much for the team idea.

We eventually finished, 9 hours later (I had initially thought we would do it in around 7 hours), in 4th place in the team category (even though we were effectively a 3 man team!). Definetly tougher than an Epic stage, and most certainly the worst weather conditions I have ever ridden in. Thankfully the race the next day was cancelled - I don't think I could have gotten on a bike the next day. Svalbaard (my bike) also took quite a bit of strain, and is still currently receiving some must needed attention at the LBS.

Will we be back - I think so. It certainly was a great event, and the weather just added to difficulty.

A handful of cold and wet supporters


Marius the team player waiting for us at the second water point

The rest of Team Harden Up arriving at the second water point

Time to restock on the snacks

The view we had when it wasn't raining.
Pity you can't see the wind on this photo.

Team Harden Up (minus one) arriving at the halfway mark

Still enjoying it, after 5 hours of ickiness

The worst tar section of the ride - straight into the wind!

Etienne's wife, escaping the cold and wet at a coffee shop in Riebeck West

Yolanda enjoying a cappachino indoors, waiting for us

Deon, Etienne's brother, was asked to take off his muddy shoes

Checkpoint 4

Giving Etienne some time to faff - it was his wedding anniversary today, so I made an exception

Chatting to the race commentator, Francois, while still waiting for Etienne - he had 3 cups of soup, which probably explains why he road the last section so well, and why I faded so badly.

Sally glad to be out the rain and cold.

Bonte, nervous of Yolanda's driving, always wears her helmet. They had to pull out, but still braved 80 kms of hell

20 kms to go, and I was struggling. Should have had more soup!

Conditions at the finish - miserable!

Glad to be done - another tough event over.

As I said - "Tougher than 5 Epics in a row!"

I was frozen onto my bike!

Trying to get warm and dry.

Dry, for the first time in 9 hours.

Ready for bed, another medal for the collection.

1 comment :

  1. Hats off to you guys - from what I hear it was hell out there - So big respect!!