Starting at the beginning, I have to say how impressed I was with the super speedy registration process on Thursday at the Cyclelab in the North Gate Island centre near Milnerton. It took less than 3 minutes to pick up my number at one counter and then my T-shirt at another.
Due to the incredible heat in 2010 and the fact that the long ride was actually stopped last year, I decided to participate in the short, 32km race this year.
This took place yesterday, 6 March 2011. The weather was absolutely perfect for riding with no sun in sight as it was totally overcast when I arrived there and stayed that way until the end ( of my ride at least).
The parking at Boschendal was moved to a different area, making access to the start very easy. The start area itself was different from that of 2010 too. I guess the organizers regroup after every event in order to learn what worked well and what didn’t in order to make the event even better the following year.
Our start was delayed by 8 minutes due to slower riders at the end of the 55km route. I did not really have an issue with that.
A neutral zone was set-up until we crossed the tarred road onto the dirt. The dust was a very fine powder and this together with medium sized loose stones made the riding difficult in sections where the riders were grouped closely together. This happened on many flat areas and uphills as well. In general the course was very relaxed with no uphills to talk about, no serious down hills and no major obstacles of any kind.
My one major gripe: a bottleneck of note, about 10km into the ride. At the bottom of a downhill, coming down through the vineyards, we could see a whole bunch of riders all waiting….for something.
Once there, I realized everybody was waiting to get into a piece of forest to ride a section of single track. Let’s face it, there is very little terrain as exciting as single track for a mountain biker. Having to wait 15 minutes however to get into the forest and to then do a mere 200m or so, at the cost of 15 minutes is just not worth it.
The bunch became bigger and bigger and whether the guys behind me waited longer or eventually found another way around it, I dunno. Suffice to say I had a chat with Meurant Botha once I finished my ride in order to share my frustrations. This is not the type of thing you expect from an experienced course builder at a well known event that aint cheap to enter either. What’s worse was the the 54km riders as well as the Grape Escape riders had to go through the very same bottle neck.
The finish area was well set-up with bedouin tents, a picnic area, decent seating, food and drinks and portable showers.
All-in-all I had a good day out, though I know now that I should’ve done the long route. Oh well, there’s always 2012…
Sure I wanna do more than I did in 2010!
Sure I wanna do more than what I actually think I’ll be able to. But then, as you know, there’s work, business travel, family engagements, etc,etc. With the Totalsports Challenge Terra Firma event behind me, I’m hoping to at least get my backside in gear for a few more events this year.
So, after working through the Ride Magazine’s Dirty Dates calendar, the Bicycling Magazine’s must-do events, some fun trail running events on the various trail running web sites and even the Pedalpower calendar, this is what I believe I can realistically accomplish in the first quarter ( and a bit) of 2011:
Trail running: www.trailseries.co.za
There are 5 events in total as part of the Cape Summer series. These are either 5km – 8km or 10-15km options. There are events in other parts of the country too. I plan to do the following:
- Sunday 3o January: Paul Cluver
- Wednesday 2 February: Durbanville Hills
All Wednesday evening races will start at 18h00 for the Long and 18h15 for the Short. The weekend (Sunday) races will start at 07h30 for the Long and 07h45 for the Short
2Oceans Trail run: http://www.twooceansmarathon.org.za/
This will be on Good Friday, 22 April and starts at 07h30 from UCT campus. Limited to 400 runners. I’ve entered for the 10km event. There’s also a 22km run.
- Sun 6 Feb: Rollercoaster, Constantia: 88km: www.pedalpower.org.za
- Sun 13 Feb: 3 Passes, 77km, Newlands www.pedalpower.org.za
- Sunday 13 March: Pick ‘n Pay Argus: 109km
- Saturday 16 April: Sea Otter Classic Gran Fondo, 40 miles, Monterey, California: http://www.seaotterclassic.com/
- Sat 5 Feb: Franschhoek Lions MTB: 46,8km www.pedalpower.org.za
- Sat: 19 Feb: Wilde Cycle: Wellington: 50km www.wildecycle.co.za
- Grape Escape: Stage 1 (4 March) Eden on the Bay to Nelson Wine Estate: 85km. Stage 2 (5 March), Nelson Wine Estate to Boschendal Wine Estate: 76km. Stage 3 (6 March) Boschendal Wine Estate, Argus MTB: 67km http://www.grapeescape.co.za/
- Sun: 17 April, Seaotter Classic, Monterey, California: cross country: http://www.seaotterclassic.com/
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- 19 May is D-day for the Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge & Trail Run
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