Saturday, 31 March 2012

Cape Epic: Stages 4, 5, and 6.

It's hard for me to remember each stage now but I do know that stage 4 was really windy and we had to ride alone into the wind for the last 20km. It was pretty tough but the wind in Lanzarote was great training ;) It was a long day and we were thrilled to take another stage win.

We encountered a great deal of bad luck during stage 5. The weather was terrible - very wet and cold - and the attrition on the bikes was high. Within less than 20km we encountered problems with our gears: Esther couldn't change gear at the front and I couldn't change gear at the rear. We were riding on fast district roads and it was important to be in a group but we weren't able to use our gears so we couldn't stay with any of the groups passing us. Fortunately we were able to fix the problems in the tech zone but by then we'd lost at least 20 minutes to the leading ladies. With our bikes back in action we thought that we could make up a little time, but alas the temperature plummeted and we got really cold especially Esther. We both had rain jackets on but we couldn't zip mine up because our hands were so numb. I had to ride into the rain with it open. Brrrr!!!! Then I crashed on a muddy and slippery, off camber, rutted track. I hit my knee on the go-pro camera on my handlebars and then face planted into the mud. Hmmm! OK, so things couldn't get worse. Wrong. Next my brake pads wore out completely and I had to run and dab on all of the downhills to the finish. Amazingly we finished the stage, and in a podium position: 3rd place. We lost about 20-30 minutes to the stage winning ladies (Karien Van Jaarsveld and Jane Nuessli) and only about 2 minutes to the second placed team (Nina Gassler and Theresa Ralph) in the GC. Phew.

Today was much, much better. The sun was shinning the trails were dust free and there was virtually no mud! Hoorah! The climbs were great, the views were breathtaking and the single trails were so much fun. We had a strong ride and took another stage win for our efforts :)

Tomorrow is the last stage. Our aim is simply to ride safe and avoid mechanicals and crashes. So, one more time....fingers crossed for good luck and fun.

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