I have been doing quite a few 4-6 hour long rides, with Team Sekuritas. A team of 12 cyclists formed to participate in the Coronation Double Century . A cool group of guys, whose antics I enjoy along our weekly training rides.
|4 Weeks ago in Franschoek|
Last Sunday was the 100mile, One Tonner, and Team Sekuritas had decided to ride this event as a team.
Scheduled event start was at 06.30, and I was parked and out of the car at 06.15. I quickly prepared my bike, and grabbed all my on road goodies. As I hurried towards the start along the gravel road I spotted Karol and soon I was together with the group at their cars where they were in various stages of preparedness.
Once all were dressed, sunblock applied, nutritional requirements packed, wheels inflated, social requirements satisfied, we headed on the road towards the start. We had planned to start in Group N, but when we arrived at the start Group W were already in the starting stalls. We joined them and we were off.
The plan was for Karol to lead us out at the start, and he performed this task to perfection. Early pace was comfortable to warm the legs up. Soon we were riding in a solid pace line formation, 30s rotation up front then drop to the back of the line. We did this very well, and kept it up for 3,5 hrs. At times it was tricky for the rider dropping back to fall into formation, because other riders would try to latch onto the back of us. In the main they gave space to the rider trying to get back into formation.
I was conscious of nutrition as I had suffered on this event previously. So in my pockets I had peanut butter sandwiches, banana, and Hammer Perpetuem, Energy Drink Powder. Within the first 30 minutes I started drinking and at the first hour I had my first bite to eat. I continued eating half a sandwich on each hour and this strategy worked very well.
There were many teams like us using this event as a training ride for the DC, and it was very nice to see them on the road. We passed quite a few in the early stage of the race and we were in high spirits. Neil and I were thoroughly engrossed in the soundtrack of ‘Chariots of Fire’ when we had the chance to lead pass other teams or groups.
After 2h45, Gaamiem, the new addition to the team punctured. It was quickly repaired and within 4 minutes we were rolling. At 97km, 3h16 in, we arrived at Riebeek Kasteel, a significant uphill. We had held a good pace of 30kph till this point. We lowered the pace up the climb so as to ensure sustainability for the entire team over the remaining 57 kilometers.
We held our formation for the next half hour or so till the next water point where we needed to fill up water bottles. We had been on the road for 4h12 and still had 34km to go. We were still looking good, although some were starting to take strain. At this stage the team decided to ride as a bunch instead of the single file pace line formation, and in this way the stronger riders would do more work at the front and provide draft for others. After 30min there was a need to stop 2 min for water again. 4 Minutes after the stop I noticed that Steve was not with us. We had left him at the Water Stop. He had gone to the toilet, hence did not see that we were moving off. We stopped to wait for him and he soon rejoined.
On the rollers that followed Riebeek Kasteel team members started taking ever more strain, and the team slowed quite a bit. There was quite a bit of erratic pace riding. This erratic pace was having an effect on Karol, who was also taking strain, and on one of the little hills he decided to latch onto a group that passed us as they were going at a more constant pace.
Not all in the team were aware of this development, and with about 10km to go the team totally splintered. Kris noticed Karol was not with us, and he and Neil decided to wait, thinking he had been dropped. Meanwhile Karol was ahead of them. Those that knew of Karol’s position were ahead of Kris, and were unaware of the reason as to why the team were reforming. It was a total disjoint. Most definitely tiredness, strain and frustration taking its toll.
In the last kilometer we all managed to regroup and cross the finish line. Many valuable lessons learned, which I am certain will put us in good stead for the Double Century in about 6 weeks’ time.
Weather throughout had been good. I had ridden strongly, and was happy with the hours spent in the saddle. The event was well attended, and the general vibe was awesome.
Let's Ride !!!