Today will go down as one of the hardest days I have had on a bike for a long time. Last night I developed the legendary multi stage jippo guts which leaves you feeling pretty weak and unenthusiastic for 103km’s on a mountain bike. I managed to force down some breakfast and get to the start line feeling rather sorry for myself. After a short neutral zone we hit the dirt and the racing began.
I knew that I could not maintain any sort of speed for 103km so I started slowly and meandered through some great uphill single track. Before I knew it we were at water point 1 where Nic Lamond was waiting. Thanks to him I was able to join a fairly large bunch going past the Wagendrift dam. Spectacular views of the Southern Berg appeared as we prepare for some big climbs ahead. The last 50km of today was pretty much uphill, not ideal when you feeling shitty.
I got dropped on the beastly climb to water point 2, leaving 30km’s to navigate home to Kamberg. All in all a super tough day, finishing in 4hr22 min, 37th place for the stage. My body can definitely feel the lack of training coming into this 9 day race! Good training I say.
One thing you really did notice today was the stark contrast to yesterdays ride where thorn trees change into oaks and planes. We have officially left the bushveld behind.
The hospitality here at Kamberg is amazing. I thankfully managed to get some lunch in while the Howick school children sang to us, very cool way to start relaxing after a hard day.
At the front there was a ding dong battle between RE-CM and Team 360life. In the end it was Waylon Woolcock and Neil MacDonald (RE-CM) who won in 3hr 35 min, just 1 second ahead of Dave George and Kevin Evans (Team 360life). Yesterday’s winners Brandon Stewart and Jacques Rossouw (FedGroup Itec-Connect) came home in 3rd place, a couple minutes off the pace.
Day 6 will see us riding 93.7km from Kamberg to Hazeldean Farm, riding over the “Snow Top Farm” the highest part of the entire 9 days. A total ascent of 1982m and descent of 1946m awaits us. Its going to hard after three brutal days in a row.
Click to enlarge