It's gettting closer and closer to a weekend of pain and gain, to building up, smashing down and building up all over again. What am I talking about? The Lighthouse 2 Lighthouse challenge that's what and the races over the last few weeks to hopefully be semi ready for the endurance race.
The build up to the lighthouse , literally only started about 3 weeks ago, with the first longish race of the year that I took part in, the Paarl Rotary Club Bouckert-Soenen Paarl League and MTB Race on the 27th January 2013.
After having a good break after new years I have decided that this year will be the year for big races and new adventures, and what better way to start off with a 42KM "fun" ride in Paarl. It was a chance I was taking, to take part as I was away on a business trip in freezing Europe, no really freezing, and had no idea how I was going to fair, but what I did say to myself was that I would ride this for me; at this stage you asking youself surely you do that all the time, and yes you are correct, but this time, I didnt care about time, didn't care about the other riders just cared about finishing and having a good ride, and that is exactly what I did, and the result....awesome!
The race started at about 8:30 as the 49KM guys went off first, why didn't I do the 49KM, well I will tell you just now, but for now lets look at the 42KM. As we started off, we all rode through the "neurtal zone" as the race officials called it, not quite sure that is fair cause it was a good 4Km to start off, which is not bad as it gets the legs going and sets a nice pace, but neutral mmm, OK lets just go with it. Once out of the neutral zone, the climb started, and WOW did the climb start, and all it did was start and kept on going. The climb are predominately the 1st 10Km of the race and one would think, once you hit the top, that's it, but no, after a small but much needed decent, the climbing started again and all of a sudden one looks to his left and right there is Paarl Rock. I must admit, I have never been up to Paarl rock before, and seeing it for the first time from this perspective, makes one stop and stare and just smile, you look around and you realise for a second that you are in one of the most amazing places in the world and is truly a site to see. And back to the racing we go. After hitting Paarl rock, the long decent did come, which was a much needed reward, or let me rather say, it would have been if it was not for the wind, which by now had picked up good and proper and made going downhill feel like it was climbing again.
As the Km's started to decrease and I could sense the finish was coming up and maybe about 10Km from the end, BOOM! cramps set it, I stopped, dropped and rolled as they say, however not in a rescue sense but more in a pain sense. After getting back to my feet and dusting off, I sucked it up, and decided to walk it off, as a well known female scottish warrior told me once. Off again, and into some nice little single track, I was very pleased about this part especially seeing as I lost places when the cramp sent it, but managed to pull them back during the single track section. With the marker of 5Km to go, I said go for it, dropped the hammer and off I went. Finally I finished and after a tough but a very enjoyable ride, I bumped into Iron-woman, Jane Holdcroft, remember I said I would get back to the 49Km, well the reason not doing is that Iron-woman, who is basically the avengers all in one, explained to me that even she was hurting and had a climb of "carry-your-bike-cause-it-is-crazy-steep" angle for the extra 7Km, so to be honest I was pretty happy I skipped that part, however it did make me nervous as I realised that, the Long One is going to be Twice this in one day and even more the next....
To Be Continued...