13 Mar 2012

The Tank on her Maiden Voyage

And so it is that we got ourselves "the tank" to help us "go faster" and "ride more together" and all the other wonderful things you envisage yourself and partner doing with "the tank". We did some training and practiced hopping on and off the bike. Firstly the stoker had to sit tight and then the captain got on and zooom we're off! We even got so good that we both had one foot clipped in the pedal and then our traditional 1-2-3 count and zooom we're off! We even got better and started to pull away on a little hill, or steep incline...the same 1-2-3 count and zooom we're off! 
So, we were ready, or sort of ready.
The big day dawned and we had a fantastic seeding, first social tandems. Lots of talking but the nerves were starting to show...hundreds of butterflies turning, swooping, and doing as many tricks they could. 

At last we could move forward and we could get to the start line.
Everybody said Whoopla! And away we went! Edinburgh drive was steep......the first of the hundreds of butterflies wanted out, and at about 16km we had to make our first stop....We pulled out all the stops and had a fantastic downhill past the University going at 74km/h......Things were looking up, yes up to Boyes Drive......constant peddling and some reminders from the back that we do have a granny gear as well....Catching our breath.... into Main Road and on our way to Smitswinkel......More of those nervous butterflies wanted to make an escape and so we pulled in at the loos with the views.....
Cramps or butterflies......we had to make a quickie stop again just to adjust the...all the things....We arrived at Chapman's Peak, climbing steadily, until we had to stop. Now, if you want to pull away on the uphill with cramping and half cramping muscles, be my guest. The stoker decided he has done enough stoking and off he hopped, leaving me with the tank. Two choices, peddle or push. I decided to peddle, so off I went to the top with no stoker. You just have to keep a deaf ear to all the shouting " you lost your partner" or "hey, lady, he really is not peddling" etc. The marshals were very good and went down to meet the stoker to tell him, that the captain is OK and has made it and is waiting at the top....Downhill was a breeze and then the last dreaded Suikerbossie climb. Surprise, or no surprise we repeated the Chapman's Peak manoeuvre, except we added a flat tyre. Being a MTB tandem it wasn't a problem except when I removed my finger off the hole to be plugged and the tyre sealant squirted across my face and sealed my one eye shut......luckily mostly downhill from there.......
It was hot, it was a voyage but we've made it......and we're still friends.