Starting from Langebaan, on the west coast – just over 100kms north of Cape Town, the 80km cycle route rolls through the West Coast National Park.
It was a perfect day; not too hot and not very windy.
This was my first cycle race in over 7 years; the last one being the 2004 Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour (108km) that I completed in 04:29:58.
It was quite exiting to get back into the saddle, into a road bicycle saddle for that matter. All the previous races were on a Mountain bike.
Date: Saturday, 12 November 2011
Place: Langebaan, SANParks Offices
Route: 80km (ROAD)
Wakeup call just before bedtime
The night before was almost a shocker; pumping up my back time a little too vigorously I snapped off the value. Noooooo, there was no spare. Then I realized that I still had the Raleigh RC 2000 that I had borrowed (under the impression that it was a large, but alas it was also a medium). So I borrowed a tube, phew. I now have 3 spare tubes and I really should get a foot pump.
Plotting the route in google maps showed a travel time of 2 hours. The race started at 7am so I needed to get there at 6:30am – I left at 4:30am and arrived at 6am (1.5hr ride on a very flat and straight road)
The main purpose of this race was to see how fit I was but also to get a better seeding for the 2012 Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour, so I was out to find a group that I could draft with. This was a bit hard when starting out with the back markers (although just before the non Pedal Power members). At about the 10km mark a small group came by and asked if I wanted to tag along. What a Godsend. The group cycled at a manageable pace and were very relaxed. They even helped out a pair of younger riders but unfortunately they faded near the end. I made it my single minded purpose to stay with this group the whole way.
Twice I had to hop off my bike to refit my chain. And twice I thought I was going top die as I raced to catch up with the group. Even though I drafted a lot, there were many times that I had to catch up for the chain fails, for my pump getting loose and the group breaking up on hills. So I really got a good work out.
Unfortunately I had to walk the last 400m as the 80km race ended on what felt like the hill from hell. I was moving so slowly that I hopped off and walked; partly because I walked faster and partly because my feet were hurting.
The route was fantastic; undulating hills and picturesque terrain. I moderate to hard challenge. There may not have been many real hills but that also meant not many down hills. For me the race was a resounding success, this was a mark in the sand that I know I will cross in future – in the JailBreak challenge and in the Argus Cycle tour. Thought it was funny that I was 3 hrs driving in the car for this race and 3 hrs riding on a bike for this race.
Average Heart Rate: 155bpm
Average Speed: 27.7 km/hr
Official Time: 02hrs 59mins 09seconds