Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tsitsikamma Mountain Bike Race and a training weekend for the Team.

Saturday the 9th of April saw the Team get together from a training weekend and to sort out checklists and kit for the up coming 500 km Expedition Africa Race. Garth had made the 5 hour haul from Port Elizabeth so the plan for the weekend was to pack in as much activity as we could and spend time together as a team. In hindsight we certainly crammed it in and had a great weekend. Saturday morning arrived with an awesome sun rise; the writing was on the wall the day was going to be a hot one. After registering we joined about 120 riders at the start for the 70km Mountain Bike race held just the other side of Storms River. Jeff had a glint in his eye and when the race started he put his head down and tucked in behind the front bunch and pretty much stayed there finishing in 16th place overall. Jeannette always the racer also put her head down and ended up finishing 5th lady over all in a strong field. Garth and I rode together at a good steady pace with Garth steaming past me on all the down hills ( after my second major wipe of the year the confidence is down a bit) but I soon hauled him in on the up hills.Jeff always looking for up and coming athletes

On one of the down hills we went past Nick Cuthbert fixing his tire but he had it all sorted and soon came flying past us. Finishing in the middle of the field Garth and I arrived to find Jeff had the Pennypinchers gazebo up and the cooler boxes in the shade.

The shade of the gazebo drew a great bunch of people for a cooldrink and a chat

We joined a host of friends and Pennypinchers Plett boss man Sean Gannon (a good ride in the 40km race) for a cool drink in the shade. Prizing giving took a while but with Jeannette on the podium in the sub veterans the wait was essential.

Garth and Netski discuss the pending hike

With the last prizes out we packed up camp and jumped in the car and drove back towards Plett to just past the tollgate where much to the amazement of Ivan who was following us to drive my car home we pulled over and hauled out our full AR backpacks and headed in to the forest. The plan here was to do a run/hike/paddle back to the Keurbooms River. The first nine kms of the run were through the forest and fynbos of the Tsitsikamma trail which took us down to Natures Valley. After crossing the open river mouth we hiked across the beach and rocks towards Salt River. Another river to cross and then a long up hill slog to Forest Hall in the heat of the day was certainly testing in the heat of the day.

Crossing the Groot Rivier

A while latter we were back on the coast and the incoming tide forced us to follow the fisherman’s “high tide” paths slowing things down a bit. Arriving hot, dirty and thirsty at Keurbooms strand it was a unanimous decision to send Jeff in his tights to buy us cool drinks from a very full Enricos restaurant. The tide was now high and the beach from Enricos to the Keurbooms River was a real slog but we managed to keep smiling and push on as the sun set. It was after dark when we reached our plastic “barges” and hidden paddles for the 30 minute paddle back to the Angling Club. A quick phone call to Colin (Netski's best half) and Dael (my best half) to come and collect us and get dinner on the go saw us on the glassy water of the lagoon heading for home. With the boats set aside till Sunday morning we headed back to Royston Farms for a hot shower and well deserved dinner. My alarm buzzed way to early on Sunday morning to get me going to get the farm organized before a “planned” Eskom power outage could disrupt the rest of the weekend plans. With that sorted and a cup of coffee and a Hot Cross Bun we headed out on our still very dirty bikes with Garth doing some navigation. The plan to ride back to our boats and do a 2 hour paddling session and get home for a bang up farm breakfast. Garth got us back to the boats and we headed out for a very productive 2 hour paddle in the plastic bath tubs we will be paddling in May. After some fun in the surf we headed home for that breakfast. With good food in our bellies we discussed the upcoming race. We needed to sort out kit, branding, food, supplements, transport, bike spares, first aid etc, etc. With most of this done we called it quits and everyone headed home. The weekend was great for the Team but as usual it is those behind the scenes that make it happen so a special thanks to Dael for the bottomless food and drinks , Colin for the usual logistic support and of course Ivan for dropping us on the side of the road in the middle of no where. Sean, Rob and Owen from our Monday riding group it was great to have you guys around on Saturday as well and thanks for all the offers of help during the planning of the weekend.

No comments:

Post a Comment