24 hrs in Parys – Solo winner Gavin Rossouw tells his story

Gavin Rossouw went to World 24 Hour champs in Atlanta, Georgia in 2006 where he finished 19th. He then went back to Worlds in Canada in 2008 where he finished 17th. Still not happy with his performances, he is going back this year and wants to get a top 5 finish. Crank is excited to follow his progress. Check out Gavin’s race report from the Parys 24hr that took place on 2nd May.

The Race in Parys, not as cool as Rumble in the Jungle but similar in that it was 2 athletes duking it out for longer than either thought likely. It was always going to be a hard day considering the condition I’m in, I won’t lie, I’m not riding that well at the moment and I was hoping to fake it for as long as possible.

Start line nerves

We started with the traditional run, I didn’t even bother trying to get invovled in the chaos and just took a nice gentle jog to my bike. Got onto the bike near the head so I managed to avoid most of the first lap congestion, ended lap 1 around 10th or so overall, perfect position. At the bottom of the first descent in lap 2 i got an insta-flat (all the air in my tubeless system rushed out very, very quickly), limped it back to the start/finish area put in a tube pumped it up and got back to business. At this point I wasn’t really concerned about where I was in the race, I just wanted to get going and keep going, I was pretty convinced that if I rode at my standard 24 hour race pace I’d be taking care of business, I was wrong! After 4 hours I was still not closing in on the leader (Shaun Ward (aka Davel), a roadie with a pretty big engine), so I upped the pace a little and slowly started reeling him in. What I haven’t mentioned at this point is the 300 metre bog that we had to try navigate our way through every lap, it was playing havoc with my shifting and and adding about 3 kilo’s to my bike! Thankfully the Eggbeaters were keeping themselves pretty clean so I didn’t have any pedal problems.

Gavin on his way to Solo 24hr victory

I eventually caught him at 11:30 and was now super stoked and really amped to race. Cue insta-flat #2, same place as the previous one, not sure what caused it but I didn’t feel a thing, limped back to the start/finish area feeling pretty demoralised (it took me 10 hours to catch him last time, how long was it going to take now!). Dave, aka: super backup man, was all over sorting the bike out, I heated some soup and had a quick 10 minute nap and woke up feeling really unkeen on carrying on. I sucked it up and pulled myself together, put on some warm kit and headed out, thankfully Shaun looked like he was taking some strain as well. 2nd lap out I flatted again, same place, came in and Dave put a new Specialized Captian back tyre on, this did the trick and I had no more flats, awesome. Went out and got stuck in again only to do a front flip onto the stupid pallette in the middle of the bog, banged my head and knee pretty hard and sat in the mud, now I was pretty grumpy. I’d also snapped the bottle cage as I got my leg stuck in frame somehow? Limp to the start finish and Super Dave sorts out the bottle cage, and off we go again, this time the cardboard (perhaps not the best choice in the wet) number board falls off, go through and Super Dave makes another plan!

At this point it’s 4 in the morning, I’m a lap and half in the lead and all seems to be as it should and myself and Shaun are matching each other lap for lap, we end up riding together for a bit. At about 7, he decides that I’m weakening (I am, alot!) and starts to really get stuck in with some super quick lap times, Super Dave gives me a heads up and lets me know that unless I pull it together and quickly I’ll lose, not in the plan. I dig some holes in the legs over the next couple of laps and match Shaun’s lap times, I’ve still got something left. I cross the line at 11:20 AM knowing that Shaun hasn’t come in yet and it’s mathematically impossible for him to close the gap, I won, haven’t had a good time of winning anything lately so I am super stoked.

The figures: Distance 386km, 4,752m of height gained, that’s alot and I’m feeling it as I write this. Damn I like 24 hour racing!

Thanks to Gavin Rossouw for the race report and Dave Mackay for photos.