Thursday 25 February 2010

It's that time of year for Somerset West's own little race, Die Wingered Breakfast Ride.This would also be my first road race in ages. While it is a short 62km route, it is always fast and furious up front. Just to spice it up a little, they take us over several little climbs. My memories of this race are always ones of burning legs and gasping lungs.

With the changes to the run into the finish including a rather horrible little climb, this year was going to be no different.Craig and Bonte had made the trek from the other side of the mountain, and brought some friends with them - a mini invasion of sorts.

The race got off to a rather manageable start, no one really prepared to dish out the pain too early. With the first couple of hills behind us, and the Lord Charles hill ahead of us, I was feeling a little relieved to have made it that far in the bunch. As we started climbing the lower slopes of the Lord Charles hill an attack came. Just one. And before we knew it, two riders were off the front and gone. There was no response. Everybody was looking around, hoping someone else would do the chasing. I wasn't complaining, and went along with the whole charade. From previous years, if such a move goes away and isn't closed down soon, it usually ends up being the winning move.

I had skipped some torturous training ride that my coach had dreamed up, choosing instead to do the race, and so didn't want to let her down. I went to the front and took several turns trying to get the pack into chase mode. The only other person helping out at the front was Craig - sometimes forgetting that he was in a race and just riding tempo on the front with two Maties guys fighting over his back wheel.

An acceleration came as we started climbing Polkadraai and Craif and I found ourselves shot straight out the back of the bunch. We teamed up, and slowly but surely inched our way back to the bunch, climbing at a solid tempo pace, and after a bit of hard work ande gear grinding, we both found ourselves back in the bunch, with about 20kms to go, and the uphill finish.The kilometers flew by, Craig and I doing the majority of the work on the front, and before I was ready for it, the hill loomed in front of us. This is one of those hills that I prefer to ride around, rather than riding over, and before we had even really started climbing it, I was out the back. Craig made better progress, and finished in 7th place. I made up some ground towards the end and crossed the line in 9th place. Another tough, fast Breakfast ride behind us.

The highlight of the ride came from the rivalry between the Greek and the Runner. Forget Armstrong vs Ullrich, Hinault vs LeMond, or Merckx vs Gimondi - this is the rivalry that will be talked about for years to come. And the root of the rivalry was a bet that if the Runner finished within 5 minutes of the Greek's time, the Greek would have to demote himself at the Fun Ride World Champs and have to ride in the Runner's group. It was always going to be close. With both athletes declaring a victory, it was down to the official results to decide a winner. Lies, counter lies and name calling filled the air, but once the dust had settled and the results were in, the Runner was declared the winner, managing to beat the 5 minute limit by a mere 16 seconds, and with that, relegating the Greek to his start group.

I am sure this fine sport of ours is only seeing the beginning of a feud that will polarise the cycling community. Stay tuned for the next chapter as the saga continues at the Fun Ride World Champs in 3 weeks time.

Oh yes - why is it called the breakfast ride? Well, apart from tasting your breakfast in the back of your throat as you gasp for air up the hills, they give you a greasy egg burger upon completion of the race. I took this rather seriously, and consider it part of my Epic training. After all - our team is Team Burger Kings.