After all that hype, the 947 Cycle Challenge 2015 has come and gone! Over 5 hours later, hubby and I crossed that finish line!
A moment of remembrance please, for the person that passed away after completing #CC2015, may God give strength to his family during this sad time.
15th November 2015 was a long .. and I mean LOOOONG day! We were up by 6 or just before, making sure we had breakfast, our race food was accounted for, our drinks frozen, bikes checked and cycling gear ready to hit the road.
Congrats to the organizers as there were no bottlenecks getting to the parking area, and the short cycle to the starting pens assisted in warming up the legs a little.
We were in our starting block with an hour to spare, when we saw other fellow Team Ryan Walker cyclists. The nerves were hectic at this point, listening to those around us everyone seemed frantic about their tyres, chains, wondering if they had enough drink and food for the duration of the ride. The awkward part is that on either island – right and left of us – there were individuals with bikes turned upside down while they attended to their punctured tyres, or asked around for a helmet. This helmet part I found a tad weird to be honest .. how do you leave home without checking your gear … and if you did check it .. what are the chances you will be handed one by a total stranger? I guess it happens .. or maybe this city just makes me way too paranoid…
9h15 the horn was heard and we were off. In an instance the adrenaline kicked in and we were riding off in search of gold … Tour of Egoli had started! We started off climbing .. yep.. we climbed from the start. Whether I looked forward or to my sides .. there were riders everywhere! Although warned not to look back … yeah I’m a rebel like that .. I did look back .. and there were riders there too 🙂 All I had crossing my mind at this point was that I needed to stay upright, no matter what! Hubby would come and go as he warmed up his legs, and would whisper sweet nothings in my ear .. lol .. no seriously .. he would ask how I was holding up. Sweet right 🙂
I was lost in my thoughts, doing my best to stay focused on the riders in front of me, ok I was doing my best not to fall okay! When suddenly I hear my name being shouted out. SNAPPED out of my daydream so fast .. I am still surprised I managed to stay upright. It was Tony from the Cruisers riding group! After all the formalities through the group I was promptly told to keep up and told to improve my cycling posture for more of a comfortable ride. If you ever get a chance to ride with Tony or have had the pleasure of riding through the Cradle with him, you will appreciate this man. You can’t help but listen and want to make him proud I tell you. Unfortunately, one of the other rider’s wheels punctured and Tony offered to assist. I was back with hubby and before long that was the last time we saw Tony and Hayley… or so I thought.
Fantastic support from all the spectators along the route. We just seemed to be climbing the whole route .. do we get a break I would chant to hubby .. it was a chant I tell you. Eventually we hit the highway, we substituted the rolling hills for wind! I swear we were not given a break. On top of the wind we were also dealing with the heat. It was a scorcher! When we eventually hit the M2 highway I am sure it was now close to 34 degrees celsius… that was the eventual temperature at noon. At this point we had ridden 42kms of the 94.7kms we had to ride, it was also at this point that my race came undone!
As I hit the flat section of the highway, my left leg said it was going to cramp whether I was ready or not .. wanted it or not .. so I angled for the side of the highway with the railing, stopped my bike and uncleated. OUCH! WTF! My left leg went stiff, let your mind run as wild as you like to try to picture it…you won’t be far off the mark I promise! Holding onto the bike and the railing for support, I wanted to take a breath, that’s when my right leg also decided to cramp. At this point hubby caught up to me. Tried to rub my legs, asked me to try to bend my legs .. nothing was helping just yet. I had to wait it out. I think we lost about 10 to 15 minutes here. Drank more liquids and race food and we hit the road again doing our best to play catch up .. we did catch up to many of the peeps I saw ride fast past us on the M2.
Roughly 2h42 we came flying past Zoo Lake, yep it was a hectic downhill into Jan Smuts Avenue. Waved at a work colleague sitting on the side of the road patiently waiting to see me ride past. After that little breather .. we were climbing again further into Jan Smuts then into Braam Fischer. Again I needed a break, I was cramping on all the hills now. I really felt sorry for hubby. I know he would have been much further up the race if on his own. The heat of the day wasn’t helping either. Back on our bikes we went and headed on until we reached Homestead road and climbed a short distance to the next watering point. Here hubby insisted I walk up to the Transact Massage tent and get a massage. I obeyed .. I was in pain .. I wasn’t going to be proud and say I was fine when I was seriously not! The two ladies that assisted me were fantastic! THANK YOU! Although I was in utter pain during the massage, it did help when they were finally finished. Listening to them chat they had clearly assisted many riders as they kept saying how sore their hands were, the one even got nicked by a riders cleats on the leg .. she had some traces of dry blood.
Through Bryanston and into Douglasdale we road, when we hit the hill into Witkoppen I was seriously asking myself why I was riding this race. What was I trying to prove, to whom? The thought of stopping right there and then crossed my mind not once .. a few times. Each time I was reminded that I needed to show my son that when you start something, you need to see it through. We don’t stop just because we hit a rough, ride the wave, see it through and you WILL reap the reward. I honestly had to reassess this motto at the 75km mark, again at the 90km, for my legs just felt like jelly and did not want to go any further. Hubby again jumped in and supported, as much as I wanted to say I did it all alone, I am extremely grateful for his support and dedication to see us finish the ride within our 6 allocated hours.
In running, we tend to walk/run when we tired and to give the legs a rest … here we were walking and cycling our way to the finish. As we entered what I thought was the finish straight, turned out to be 5kms of the finish climb! Damn race organisers, but to be honest for this race to receive the status it has, and to attract the calibre riders it does it has to be that tough. The fact that it was extremely hot did not help.
We finished! My thighs hurt! My body hurt! My head hurt! My arms hurt! At least the parts that before would be numb at this point were 100s!
I’m truly happy I had hubby by my side, else I’m not so sure I would have finished… I would have eventually crossed the line .. just not sure it would have been in time.
It’s been two days since the ride and my thighs are still tender, and yes I am even considering doing the ride again next year to better my time. I just don’t think I will have hubby next to me this time round, he has his own goals to meet.
Now at least I know how much more training I need to put in, that I also need to enter more seeding races if I hope to have a better starting time in 2016. For now it’s another tick off my bucket list!
Congrats to all my mates that managed to finish in impressive times, and even if you just finished .. well done! Great JOB!
Next we attempt the RAC Tough One 32km this coming Saturday, yep you guessed it another new furthers running distance for me! See you at the start.
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU hubby for your support on Sunday!