Some days I guess it’s just not meant to be. Yesterday was just one of those days.
This past weekend I was off to Uniondale for the famed Karoo to Coast mountain bike marathon. I travelled down with a good friend of mine Noel (we went in his car so Witblitz had to stay at home). Our first stop was in George where we had lunch with Noel’s parents and I got to experience some of Noel’s Mom’s famous “Hoender spaghetti pasta”. It was good! From here we made our way to the little dorpie of Uniondale for registration. The organising committee headed by Zandile were kind enough to sort out my seeding so that I could start in the elite batch the next day.
After a short ride on the Ou Wa pad we settled into our accommodation. We were staying in a farmhouse with a bunch of Davie’s (Noel’s brother) friends. Really nice bunch of guys and it was a good evening spent getting to know them.
Some new branding on the shirt this week.
Standing on the start line the next morning a very competitive field lined up. Notably Kevin Evans(SA Marathon Champ), the Mr Price GT and Schwinn teams, Francois Theron(Garmin Addidas), the Blend Properties and Fairbairn Capital teams from Cape Town, Matthys Beukes(Scott) and a whole host of strong riders from the Southern Cape region. My goal was a top 10.
A short start loop on the tar brought us to the start of the Ou Wa Pad. A very rough, loose, rocky 15 km section including a significant climb and tricky descent (a Wa pad is a wagon trail for those of you that are not familiar with Afrikaans). I sat comfortably in the top 10 up the first section of the climb. Suddenly it felt like I popped, no major acceleration or anything, just nothing from the legs. Guys passed me left and right. I tried to conserve as much as possible and went over the top in the 3rd group.
Riders make thier way up the Ou Wa Pad.
Image compliments AndreCT
I thought I would be able to recover in the group on the gravel roads and hopefully my legs would come right but on the rolling climbs after Avontuur I was red lining it to hang onto a group which contained guys I usually beat by 5-10 minutes.
Soon I was on my own and after a few efforts in vain to hang onto groups that came past I retired myself to just enjoying the day. The valleys we rode through were beautiful in the Klein Karoo region. I found a riding partner for the day after 40km, Davie. My legs started to come around at around 60kilometres and as I paced Davie we soon managed to catch many of the fast starters until we had our own nice group going. Some nice hard tempo riding took us into the Knysna forests and on to the finish.
The race is by no means an easy downhill ride to the coast from the Karoo. There are plenty of climbs thrown into the 103km which bring the total ascent to 1800m. I have a bone to pick with the race and I will be back next year. Ou Wa pad hier kom ek!
Sorry for the lack of photos this week, Action Photo have yet to upload to their site. I will post something if I find anything good.
On Wednesday I fly back home to KZN where I will be staying with my parents for a couple of days. The Hilton leg of the MTN National Marathon series will take place on Saturday and im expecting a tough race with 2500m of vertical ascent in the 105km route.