A Bad Combination: 48 hours of flying + jet lag + 6am start
Since my return to SA from my trip to Canada I have managed to tick off 6 races all starting a couple weeks ago with the Amashova, in my hometown of Pietermaritzburg. I flew into King Shaka Airport in Durban and managed to find my luggage despite the fact that it came out on three different carousels! After a quick trip up to Pietermaritzburg, I was re-united with my trusty SWIFT road bike, which had been couriered up to me by RSAWeb. With jet-lag, a 2 week off rest-period, and 48hrs of flights and transit time in the legs we set off at 6am to race Amashova. Needless to say, it ended badly. After trying to stick with a good break my legs folded at 60km into the race. Then a bee stung me whilst I was waiting to be consumed by the bunch which left me to simply hang with the bunch for the rest of the race.
Cape Town League Races
I returned back to Cape Town shortly after my short visit to Pietermaritzburg and arrived just in time to re-build my bike and tackle the weekends league events. First up was a hill climb up the locally famous Red Hill. I finished just outside the top 5 for the 10min effort. Luckily my teammates both made the podium, letting me off the hook.
Early the next morning in the West Coast Express Race we spent 100km racing in a serious wind, even by Cape Town’s standards. I raced aggressively all day, trying numerous times to escape the peloton, but I was unable to get away and finished in the bunch.
The following weekend was another double header: the Durbanville road race on Saturday and a criterium in Atlantis on Sunday. The latter was definitely the more interesting of the two races. Firstly, placing the start/finish venue near a fish processing factory is never a good idea, for anyone involved. I was in the break, in the red, and inhaling smelly fish air which was less than pleasant. The break was strong but a lack of cooperation among my breakaway companions led us to be reeled in. With my teammate following the next move, my job turned to protecting the break from the bunch. Unfortunately, my teammate got reeled in 1km to go and I had to suddenly channel my inner sprinter, finishing about 10th in the bunch sprint.
After a long 10 hour drive up to Bloemfontein (and a 120km detour via Caledon!?!) we arrived in the judicial capital of South Africa. The race started nice and early at 6am and, with my breakfast far from digested, I got involved in what was the most Euro race I have done since being back. With corners, attacks and crosswinds there was a lot of single file action in the first 20km. I really felt like I was back in Europe when I had to hop a pavement or two in the process.
While fighting for a position amongst the action a break went with 1 Bonitas and 1 MTN rider. For us riders on smaller teams, it was a great situation because the responsibility to chase fell onto the other big teams who missed out, allowing us smaller teams to save our legs for later. The break eventually got reeled in and 50km later we hit the only two climbs in Bloem. Caught too far back in the bunch, I missed the winning break that went on the second climb. I immediately set about chasing, trying desperately to rectify the mistake. With the end of the race quickly approaching, I was unable to shut down the break but, in a last-ditch attempt, I attacked in the final 800m to get ahead of the bunch and took 15th, just 25 seconds from the winners.
We took on the 10 hour drive back to Cape Town that night (via Caledon again!?!) getting home at midnight, completing what was quite a whirlwind trip.
Next on the calender is Joburg’s biggest race, the 94.7. Stay Tuned.