So it was at Van Gaalens last year that I last had my deep dark encounter with the thick wheels monster called a mountain bike. I still wake up at night with a cold sweat thinking of that day.
All forgotten and forgiven, I entered the Sabie race on recommendation from a friend. Yah……he is crossed off my friends list for now.
Lined up for the 75km Marathon….I mean…how hard can 75km be, right? That is like a mornings training on the road bike. I still had a hint of flu in the system but was feeling OK for the moment.
Starting in B bunch it was never about winning the thing (Yes, I thought about competing for the win….it’s what we cyclist do) but rather how close I can get to the overall winners time.
1,2,3 GO. Heart rate 180, check. Climb, climb climb. (I love climbs by the way)…..the first 20km was insane. Climbing out of Sabie we had spectacular views of the Lowveld below. The temperature was heating up nicely and things were getting interesting. Ian, also a TCS/BP/C rider, decided that he was not waiting around and within 5km he was out of sight….I was lying 2nd in the B bunch going up……all good.
Then…..I hear a very faint click sound……..yip….MY wheels were coming off. Not just the rubber…..the nuts, bolts, brains, guts, everything. I had NOTHING in the legs. With 35km done and still 40km to go I started writing my last will and testament in the sand next to the road. I could have sworn it was written in blood but I was later told it was just written with my tears. It was hot, my heart rate was not going up or down, bottles empty and hills to climb. Riders started to point and laugh.
Long story short, I crossed the finish line in 04:27….had a fat chat, drank some Coke, searched for my medal….just to find out I was at the 10km finish line and had to go back on course to find out where I took the corner wrong. And it was such an awesome sprint for the line at that…..10km riders….gmf.
6 minutes later I crossed the line AGAIN (The correct finish line), fans cheering (Actually only my 4 year old daughter that worships her dad because he brings her medals all the time). Official 4:31. I did not care. I finished the worst day on the bike in my life.
Having a look at the results, there were people doing 8+ hour rides on the day. That is soooo incredible! I would love to employ people like that. Not giving up. Going the distance. Finishing what they started no matter how crazy stupid hard it was. To everyone that competed….well done. MUCH respect, especially from my side!
I will be back. Just need to try and forget all the pain and suffering and get another friend to convince me to do something stupid. Can’t wait.