Double centruy is a 202km team time trial where you start in a team of 12 and 6 must finish together. We competed in the mixed category where 3 girls and 3 guys have to finish together. It is always difficult to find strong girls and this year it was going to be my 3rd time racing for the Give Me A Chance foundation and I was responsible for finding strong girls. You have to make the decision whether to start with 3 or 4 girls, if you start with 3 there is room for one more guy who is stronger, but then nothing must happen to any of the girls. With four girls you can "afford" to loose one if something happens. When we put the team together we were 5 girls, 2 dropped out and we brought in a new and but with 5 days to go to the race another 2 dropped out. On Monday evening we were only 2 girls and not full team. It was once again time to call every possible girl who could ride a bike fast for 202km but not already in a team!! Not so many!
Finally we found Kathrin, a German triathlete who is in Stellenbosch often, only thing was that she had no road bike just a TT bike which is not allowed in this race. We rented a bike for her from iRide Africa and she got at least a few days to try it.
Since girls had pulled out we took a few new guys in to the team the last week, so with a handful of last-minute changes, we stood on the start line in a few different tops since the tops were ordered for the original team and the sizes were not right for this team….
The team who would be our toughest competition was The Complete Cyclist and they started 30 seconds behind us! They soon caught us but we stayed calm since we knew that this race is won in the last 50 kilometers. We had them at a distance so that we could always see them and we could see that they pushed hard up the first climb. We past them on the downhill and left them behind. But after a while they once again caught us and passed us and pushed really hard up the second climb, and we passed them on the downhill. At the first feedstation after 115km both teams were together.
New since last year was the compulsory stop where the time stops when we cross the matts to go in and starts again when we cross the matts on the other side to go out and we have 30 minutes to spare, if we would stay for longer the time starts after 30 minutes. Every team has an allocated spot where the team car can park with your food and drinks. Our spot was next to the Complete Cyclist team and when they decided to go again we waited a bit extra since we did not want to race so close to them but to do our own race. We raced hard and the guys in the team were super strong! There was another compolsury stop (new this year) and when we got there the Complete cyclist team was there, our backup team said we might have made some time up on them. We left before them and pushed hard so that they would not catch us. In the last 20 kilometers there are three steep hills and this is where one can make up a lot of time if one has some energy left. Konny was our strongest guy and he helped the girls incredibly well and made us maintain a high speed.
We won the race in a new record time for mixed teams of 5 hours 28 minutes, 5 minutes faster than the Complete Cyclist.
Everyone in the team did really well!!! Especially considering we hardly had a team a few days ago! Thanks to Sure Global Travel for sponsoring the team in support of the Give me a chance foundation. Thank you Delaray and Waylon for organising everything! And a huge thank you to the team: Kelly, Kathrin, Konny, Delarey, Hannes, Dylan, Waylon, Theo, Declan, Andreas and Timo, it was the strongest team I've ever ridden the DC with and if I am not misstaken it was my 9th DC!