The Nintyniner cycle race has been going for many years and it is the one race that I have done the most time out of all cycle races! I did my first 99er in 2005 and I have not missed one since then! The route and venue have changed a bit over the years but still starts and finishes in Durbanville, outside of Cape Town and it is still run by the same people and it still a very nice race to do!
The one thing that I just never get used to though is the very early wake up call! The alarm was set for 3.10am! The race starts at 6am and we still had to register and Craig also had to do a late entry.
The elite men went off first and shortly after our bunch with some men and us ladies. It was the SA road champs in Nelspruit on the same weekend so we were not many girls. In races like this I usually try to race the men to get as good training as possible. We headed out of Durbanville in a good pace and some attacks came shortly after we crossed the ”fruitsellers 4 way stop”, I went on every attack since I did not want to let anyone go. On a hill at about halfway I went hard to test my legs (and the other’s), and the bunch split up a bit. It all came back together and we were a big bunch coming along the R304 towards the Silos. 3 tandems caught us and my bunch jumped on to them, which caught me by surprise, and suddenly I found myself far back in the bunch, I must say it was a bit dangerous since the tandems ride a lot faster than a single bike downhill… I worked my way up in the bunch again and even got away for a while on a very bumpy road closer to the end.
As we started Visseshoek with about 6-7km to go we were still a big bunch, and to be honest, this is where this race gets decided! I went hard up the steep hill and crested it as number 2 from our start group, just one guy got away. I had a bunch of guys approaching from behind when I was down on the other side and I waited for them to rest my legs a bit for the last climb to the finish. This one is brutal and I was very happy that I did not need to sprint!! I crossed the line as the first girl and 3rd in our bunch and happy with the day!
Craig had a really good race and won the Veteran men category!! So we could both go home as winners:-)
A big thank you to the 99er organisers for yet another brilliant race! I will be back next year!