14 Dec 2009

Baviaans Mountain Bike Marathon, August 2009

This was my 5th Baviaans event and my team mates were two guys, Carl and Peter, both from Cape Town. The other team from the gym was Rodney as the captain, with Amanda, Marle and Mario as team members. My ride went well with Carl and Peter but I do think it is better to train with your team so you know their strong and weak points. This is a marathon event starting at 10:00 on the Saturday morning and ends at 12:00 the next day. Be prepared for your teammates to go through euphoria stages as well as down in the dumps stages. Euphoria when you reach the top of yet another mountain and can appreciate the view and scenery and down in the dumps stages when the legs are getting very tired and there is still 60km to go and it is two in the morning.

We reached Willomore at 8 o’ clock after driving through the night. Rodney and I took turns behind the wheel and at some stage did 120km/h through the sleepy town of Graaff Reinet. Totally unintentional, but I think at that stage we were as sleepy as the town. We phoned through to Willomore to wake up Amanda whom we had to pick up and then drove through to Jeffreys Bay where we would leave the cars at the end point of the race. Mario and Marle were waiting for us there to drive us up to Willomore again. I know, it sounds a total muddle but because this event is an open ended race it means you have to get the riders at the start without their cars so that they can have their cars at the end waiting for them. Still confused? Come and be part of this great ride and experience this confusion firsthand.

Both teams decided to make use of the boxes provided instead of the 4x4 support. So on Friday night every team had to pack their boxes with the stuff they think they might need at that stage of the race. Careful planning is needed here, as there is only one box per checkpoint for the first 3 checkpoints and nothing after that and also only one box per team was allowed. These boxes had to be dropped off on the morning of the race so the truck could drop them off at the different checkpoints.

Saturday morning dawned beautiful and warm, in fact the warmest of all the times I have done this race. More than enough food was available at the different checkpoints. The riders had to make sure to fill their water bottles as this was the driest ever I’ve seen the Baviaans. Normally there would be enough water in the rivers we had to cross. This year the riverbeds were dry.

Doringkraal checkpoint looked like a picnic, but after Doringkraal it was the big climb up to Bergplaas. After setting and attaching our lights to our bikes we tackled the beast!
Reaching Bergplaas we changed our clothes into something warmer for the colder part of the night. There was also a mechanical tent where you could have your bike checked over and the chain oiled etc. That was wonderful to just hand your bike over to the specialists and have something warm to eat in the meantime. Now it was time for the very steep descent. Take care and rather ride conservatively than having a fall and ruining your bike and the chances of finishing the ride. Once at the bottom of the mountain it is plain sailing to the next checkpoint, Komdomo.

From Komdomo to Suurbron lies a never-ending hill. Slowly climbing up and up. My lights were playing up with a loose connection because of all the corrugations in the road. Once we fixed it we could keep a good steady pace again. We arrived around 2:30am at the last checkpoint and what a lovely surprise. Vetkoek with mince and jaffles and enough hot coffee for an army. We almost didn’t want to leave the warm cosy friendly area, but with only 26km to go, we dragged ourselves away.

We arrived at the end, jubilant, relieved, mission accomplished. Waiting for us was a wonderful hot spur burger. We just sat down on the curb and devoured it. Yumyum! When last have you had a spur burger at 4:30 in the morning? Unfortunately for me, the spare key of the car didn’t want to open the boot of the car where all my clean clothes were waiting for me. So I just wrapped myself in a blanket and fell asleep in a chair while waiting for the other team to arrive. And they did arrive, everyone with their own story to tell. Till next year!

1 comment:

Spanner said...

I'm glad to see you still have the legs for the MAC!! It seems they found a solution to the traffic problem along the route with the box idea. They also seem to be improving on their organising - you too :-)
Keep spinning!!