Weather: Sunny. Very hot – Reached 40degrees on the Garmin!
PLAN: get back within the time limit.
A late start time and no wind meant hot temperatures going up the never ending climb today. Things weren’t looking good once we began the painful assault. Michael was exhausted, heroically he kept on, managing to turn the pedals over and over again. Our uphill speed was around 5kph, we needed to average 10kph, for the whole route, inclusive of down hill, but with momentary stops and falls this was becoming critically close. Once at the top of the main climb, I had 30 minutes to cover 12km, mostly down hill but off-road and a couple of punchy climbs. Michael shouted for me to go, he gave me the nod and though I carried the guilt, I went without him, with full focus, I need to complete this event.
Our British XC champ Annie Last taking the start ramp.
The descent was fun and fast but rocky, rough and loose, as is characteristic of South Africa. Grimacing my way down, as per photo, I pushed on, sliding and skidding, sucking up the lumps and rises, the kilometres seemingly not moving. I hit the farm roads, a small stubborn climb with a head wind, I’m thinking “shit, I’m not going to make it!” Then it was fast downhill again, I tucked in, drove on and finally reached the main road, so happy, almost sure I’d made it, but not ‘til I officially crossed the line. I had 9 minutes to spare in end, but was too close for comfort, a crash or mechanical and it was over.
Unfortunately, Michael missed the cut off by 4 minutes. He is understandably dejected, but he should hold his head high as he has attempted something not many people would chose to do, or even have the opportunity and he has given this 110%. This is a truly epic adventure, it’s not simply a tough Sportive. However for me, it’s just brilliant out here and I am so happy to be part of it.
Tomorrow, I carry on as a lone rider. A 76km stage with 2000 metres climbing. Anything can still happen, and it probably will! Over and out for now.