Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Forest to Falls Part 2

Never Tempt Fate.

You'd think that after more than 5 years of mountainbiking, I'd know better than to challenge the universe with a line like

"Bring It On"

The universe heard the challenge, decided to Take Me On, and proceeded to pipslap me round the mountain several dozen times.

Oh well. Next time...

The day dawned with an absolutely spectacular sunrise. At least, I'm sure it was, because I didn't see it. Our accommodation was west facing. But I'm convinced it was fantastic.

After all the necessary admin, we all lined up to start. There were some unofficial warnings about being careful of green mud, which would be slippery, and we were off!

Knowing that I was not as fit as I should be, I decided to take it easy and not go hell for leather in the beginning. Good strategy.

But it didn't work.

I still hit the proverbial wall, as per normal.

The route is laid out in a double loop, with the 35km route splitting off from the the 75km at about 33km. I almost took the temptation to go home and have a cold coke. But, me being me, I didn't. I should've, but I didn't.

Less than 1km past the split the big climb of the day commences.  500m accumulative ascent in 8km of very slippery rutted quad trail... The pipslapping had begun in earnest.

This was followed by an awesome technical singeltrack descent (I wish there was more of that in many races). Rocky, with roots and pine needles. And in places more than 60 degrees down bubble. It's at times like that that I remember why I lug my 16kg Morewood up insane climbs.

This was followed, ranging from between 100 and 200m vertical gain in the space of 2 to 4km. Just as steep, but not as long. However, due to all the cosmic pipslapping, I was starting to cramp. Even views such as this, called the avenue of trees, only distracted me briefly. 

This is why I ride my mountainbike and suffer and cramp. To see images like this. Yes, of course also for the challenge, and not to mention the friggin awesome downhills. But mostly for the beauty of God's creation.

This was also the race where I came the closest to giving up. I was cramping almost every single muscle in my body, including my triceps and my fingers. If it wasn't for the couple who were riding with the support vehicles (you can actually see them in the 2nd pic at the start right in front of the photo with the blue sleeveless tops) I would probably have loaded my cramping butt into the aforementioned support vehicle. But they encouraged the heck outta me, and got me onto the bike for the last 8km, which only had one small climb right at the end called "Laaste Strooi". 

And then I was finished. Not last, amazingly, about 30 minutes before the last finisher. 

I'll chalk this one off as experience and a good yardstick for Trans-Baviaans in August. I have a long way to go.

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