Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Posted by Velouria Posted on 16:29 | No comments

Crazy Stupid

After the greasy burger and the short sharp hills of the previous day's racing, I decided to head out to Paarl and see just exactly what my legs were made of. It promised to be a great day for bike riding - it was going to be warm with a gentle breeze.

Once the league guys had started, and the tandems had departed it was our turn. Looking around the start chute I felt rather nervous as the PPA officials had decided that just 11 riders would be making up the first group. We did feel kind of special in that we had a lead car and a guy on a motorbike. Glad to see the race entry fees going somewhere.

As we got underway it became quite apparent that there were two types of riders in the bunch - those that were going to put some effort in, and those that were looking to loaf at the back. I'm all for loafing, but with the Epic coming up and time running out, this wasn't the time or the place, and several other riders shared my sentiments. With about 30 minutes of racing gone, I took a turn on the front and without realising it I split the bunch in 2. We were now 4 riders off the front with 7 guys half-heartedly chasing. Two riders were able to cross the gap but that was it. We were now 6 strong with about 95kms of racing to go. Daunting to say the least.

Everything went well with each rider taking his turn on the front, until we got to Botmaskop just outside Riebeek-Kasteel. We quickly lost 3 riders on the foothills of the climb and suddenly we were 3 riders with about 70kms to go. We made for quite a rag tag bunch - an old guy, a youngster, and me. I thought it was a suicide mission to attempt the rest of the ride with just two other riders, but rather than sit up and wait, we gave it a go.

We got organised quickly, each rider going through for 30 seconds and slowly but surely the kilometers started to tick by. The old guy - Peter Barber - turned out to be one of the strongest guys on a bike I have met. I had wondered earlier how on earth he had an A seeding, but I quickly figured it out - he can ride a bike. We caught and passed the ladies first, and then the juniors. Shortly after that we made a right turn onto an undulating road - straight into the wind. Almost immediately our pace dropped and the going got quite tough. I had started to believe that we might have a chance of staying away from the rest of our bunch, and the chasing D bunch, but that belief started to fade.

We persevered, but after 100kms of riding a brief look over my shoulder signaled the end of our little adventure - the bunch, now consisting of the leftovers of A-C and the charging D, were breathing down our necks. Our little 3 man adventure was over, and while I was a little disappointed at having been caught, I was only to glad for the company. I was out of juice, and my legs were taking strain. Hiding at the back of the bunch suddenly didn't seem like such a bad idea.

We coasted the final 24kms back into Paarl, letting the D riders have their moment and their attempt at a sprint. I'd answered a very important question - my legs were feeling strong, and suddenly the Epic wasn't as daunting.

Needless to say I didn't do too much for the rest of the day, and had a very good afternoon nap.
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