We left for Tulbagh on Friday afternoon to join Katie, James, Ollie and Toni at a farm house they had rented for the weekend. We had a nice supper together in the evening. But we all had mosquito fights during the night and without sleep everyone looked like zombies in the morning.
A big fire had started in the valley during the night and there was a warm bergwind blowing and when we got into the car at 7am it was already 28 degrees, all indications for a very hot day out on the trails!
The ladies started 5 minutes after A bunch. A few of those guys should probably not be in A bunch since we started to pass them already after 6 km and on the first single track! It was a bit tricky to get pass and this is where Vera and I got away from the other girls. We rode together and took turns at the front in the wind. I made sure to be first on the long single track since I knew it well, a few guys stopped to let us pass after shouting “leading ladies coming through”, if it was purely from kindness or if they wanted a bit of a break, I am not sure ;) Vera attacked on the crest of a climb to be first on a downhill so on the next long uphill I put the pressure on and got a gap, but she caught up on the downhill. So we stayed together until the 3rd water point after 42km. We had men sitting our wheels and as I had passed the water point I looked around only to see 2 of the guys, Vera had stopped. I carried on and started to push a bit harder. I turned around often to see if she was coming but after a while I could no longer see her.
I started to feel tired in my head and ran out of water, my legs were still fine. I stopped at the last water point and had to go in to some kind of zone to cut out thoughts of heat and tiredness and just keep going. The signs counting down the kilometres were motivating! I was very happy and relieved to see the finish line after 3 hours 24 minutes in closer to 40 degrees! I won the race by 3,5 minutes ahead of Vera and Carmen came in 3rd.
A lot of people got dehydrated and suffered in this heat! Craig was one of them, he still did extremely well to win the vets and finish 10th overall!!
Sending a speedy recovery to Toni who did her first MTB race ever, on a loan bike, and unfortunately fell and broke her collarbone…. I hope you will be back Toni, MTB really is a great sport ;)
I am now looking forward to the first race in Sweden which is already next weekend! I will swop this heat for some colder weather. It is strange how it is supposed to be autumn in SA and everyone is waiting for the colder weather and in Sweden it is supposed to be spring and there everyone is waiting for the warmer weather, but both places has the opposite to normal…..