This post stage race depression is a serious problem. As I sit here in the office all I can do is think about the riding through the lush Knysna forests. Lets hope that I can back into the swing of normal life as the today progresses.
Day 3 of the GR 300 was the polar opposite experience for Pieter and I compared to Day 2. It is amazing what a bit of food in your stomach can do for performance. Although still not at our best, we managed to hang in and complete the day in 12th position overall. The route, perhaps not as long and hard as the first two days, was still testing at 80km and 1700m of climbing.
We started with a gentle 5km of neutral riding followed by a mad scramble up Phantom pass. The nice thing about a big climb right at the start is that you get into your groups early on. From here, together with another 6 or 7 teams we rolled along the district roads and forest tracks, much like a road race. A couple steep single track climbs took us to water point 1 , before plunging down some super steep forest roads to the Hydro. The climb out was brutal, with a 21 deg initial gradient that gradually leveled out over the next 5 km. The group split up along this section but we managed to regroup with one other team and made our way over the last obstacle, Simola pass, then onto the finish where a cold Mitchell’s lager was waiting for us.
All in all a great weekend away and event but a big pity about our day 2 hiccup caused by a tummy bug. The route on Day 1 was sublime, one of the best days riding I have ever done. Day 2 was brutal, and perhaps in the future more single track could be included. The riding time can stay similar but the distance could be reduced and the excitement factor increased. Day 3 was fast and furious, but again had a slight resemblance to a road race. However, the natural beauty of the terrain we rode through was top class, and something every mountain biker should experience.
Thanks to Garden Route Events for superb event.