I was off to Francehoek past weekend for the Francehoek Lions/Porcupine Ridge mountain bike race, ok so it wasn’t really a duathlon but stay tuned! A fairly short 48km event presented itself but it would be tough no doubt with two very rough, rocky and fairly long climbs in the way. I decided to ride to the start and back home again after to get in some miles for the upcoming ultra marathons. I had had a good week of training leading up to the event and I was keen to test my legs although I knew in the back of my mind I couldn’t expect the fireworks, yet…
A select group of 7 of us got away within a few km’s of the start, Adriaan Louw (Contego/Giant/Sludge), Shan Wilson and Timo Cooper(Anderson Transport) were a few of the guys making up the selection. Shan was the first to exit the group after going through a donga at some speed his front wheel somehow hooked in and his frame cracked in half near the headset! Better get a Cube next time hey Shan 😉
Apparently there is a Cable Tie shortage in the Cape.
We hit the first major climb 15km’s in, it was one I recognised from previous races and knew what a beast it could be. I tapped off a bit maintaining a pace that I knew I could maintain to the top, it wasn’t enough to stay up front.
The next 20 or so km’s saw us winding through vineyards and orchards on the outskirts of Francehoek. It was pretty flat and this suited me better and I pushed hard to make up lost time.
The last major climb of the day was a tough 6km; it reminded me of the Attakwas somewhat. Just over half way up I could hear someone behind me around a hairpin bend and this sent me to kick down a gear and push to the top. I went pretty hard on the technical downhill too and opened the gap up on Petrus Malherbe.
A few kilometres of undulating dirt roads took us to the finish. After taking one too many risks and I burped my rear tyre on one of the concrete pipes. I tried to bomb it but this was to no avail. I looked at my bike computer thought it was only 1.5km to the finish so though I could try run it in and hold my position. What I thought was a pretty impressive 4mins a km in cycling shoes with a bike J running eventually got slower and slower until I was walking… 1.5km’s had turned into four and it was a lost cause. In hindsight had I known it was 4km to the finish a tube would have been quicker but hey you know what they say about hindsight?
The race was good training nonetheless and I’ve put in another good few days this week. Next week it’s up to Joburg for 10 days for the MTN Clarens National Ultra Marathon and then the 3 day Route 69 Mountain bike stage race.