I was asked 2 weeks ago to be part of RSAWEB‘s Double century team. After much deliberation I agreed to make up the numbers and was given a bike (trusty Scott Speedster) last Monday. Surely 4 days is enough time to train?
The last time I rode a road bike was in January when I did the total sports challenge as an individual. It was the 3rd leg out of 7 and was 50km. Since then I have only been doing trail riding and dirt jumping, not ideal training for the mammoth 200km that I was about to take on.
Saturday morning dawned with a good vibe in the RSAWEB camp with everybody keen to get going, not even a grumpy marshal at the start could dampen our spirits.
We cruised the first section through Suurbraak and started the first acsent up the stunning Tradouw pass. With everybody in high spirits we sailed passed support zone 1 and continued at a solid pace towards infamous Op de Tradouw climb. By now it was uncomfortably hot and the team split for the first time roughly half way up. We all regrouped at support zone 2 where our lovely seconds sorted us out with food and full bottles for the next 42km’s to Montague. It was here in support zone 2 where the 2 elite teams, Anderson Consulting and Daiken Gu, came steamrolling past us. An impressive sight indeed.
Still feeling like superman I resumed my position at the back of the group as we rolled through to Montague. It was along this stretch that a lot of the teams caught each other and formed huge bunches. Great for the cyclist but the seconding vehicles seemed to have a hard time getting past and there were some hairy moments with cars scraping past us.
We arrived at support zone 3 (105km) where my nether regions began to tune me: “Naught bru, seriously, whats going on here” I answered with something that quite possibly has changed my life forever, chamois cream. I may have frightened many a second that saw me applying it but it really was worth it. After shoveling some food down and getting another 2 bottles of juice we started the 60 km trek to Bonnievale.
We headed out of Montague along the beautiful R62 towards Ashton and Robertson where we again had to contend with loads of traffic, passing slower cyclists and vehicles while getting passed by faster teams, not ideal. Once passed Ashton everything settled down again. We got to Robertson and headed out along the R317 where my lack of training was about to start showing. At about 140km I started to feel cramps starting in both my quads, problems! With about 10km to go until support zone 5 I was in all sorts of trouble having to unclip and stretch while being helped along by my team mates. I dont think the heat was helping much either. Finally we arrived at support zone 5, HUGE relief. I got a massage from our wonderful seconding ladies which was definitely the highlight of the ride for me.
We rolled out for the final 40km refueled and amped to get finished. Unfortunately the relief from the massage did not last long and as I started the gentle climb after crossing the Breede river (Drew bridge), both legs seized up completely. It was a special moment, something that I will not forget for a long time. No matter what movement I did, one muscle would relax and another would spasm like a bastard. It was pretty intense. Anyway, after some pats on the back form my teammates we headed on through for the final 20km which felt more like 40km. With some help from the team and much cursing of the hill in the final km we crossed the line, all 8 riders together in 7H35min. Thanks to RSAWEB for sponsoring the team and a special thanks to Pieter Blaauw for pulling us the entire way, and to our seconding stars Ashleigh, Candice and Amanda. I look forward to next year.
Team RSAWEB members:
Pieter ‘the machine’ Blaauw, Nic and Simon Lamond, Mark Slingsby, Rob Gilmour, Marc Perel, Simon Haw, Rory van Zyl
Keep up to date with the TEAM RSAWEB news and their Absa Cape epic teams on their Cycling team blog.