Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sunday, a day of Rest

Not! Inveigled into doing a mountainbike race around nothern farm which is part of johannesburg water which they have opened up to mountain bikers. It is actually a great place to ride once one has come to terms with the concept of riding through a sewerage farm. I think what they do is use the treated and purified sewerage to water the crops and provide fertiliser since it really is a working farm and very, unusually very, green.

The race only started at 08:30 which was really pleasant, actually got to sleep in until 06:00am before trekking off to Jasons house. He lives pretty much next to diepsloot which is a squatter camp. Left my car there and we cycled around diepsloot to northern farm, arriving uncharacteristically early, for jason that is. There was even a queue to enter, normally we pitch up so late that there isn't a queue and everyone is waiting at the start. Saw a couple (guy & girl) on a tandem mountain bike which is rather unusual, people normally struggle on the technical sections as it is, it must be just about impossible on a tandem. They really looked like they know what they are doing, maybe I should suggest this to graeme and sit back with my video camera and watch the action. Hmmmm!

The start was downhill on a dirt road with 'speed humps' to direct water from running straight down the road. Watching the pack descend was a bit like watching a bunch of springboks gamboling, as cyclists would reach one of the speed humps they would launch themselves into the air so there was this sort of ripple of airborne cyclists as the pack descended the hill.

As usual, we started out too fast, I always do this and I always promise myself that this is the last time I'm going to be so stupid as to start too fast but it is actually quite difficult not to. Jason left me behind at the first uphill which is better than last time when he left me behind within the first 20m. The course was a really great blend of dirt roads and quite technical (not that I can really give a qualified appraisal of this) single track. There were a couple of sections that, when I saw them I thought "No, surely not, we can't ride up there" but since the guy in front of me did it. I had to do it too. One in particular was about 3-4m high and shaped like a breaking wave, the top was actually over vertical. You just peddle like shit and push the handlebars as far forward as soon as you get to the top. Quite amazing what can actually be ridden over.

The race consists of two laps around and I found jason waiting for me at the half way stage wanting to know if I had had enough. Male ego is a strange thing, on the one hand it makes you do stupid things like say "Of course, you don't want to stop now do you, I'm only just getting into it" when what you are really thinking is "Will the pain ever stop". On the other hand, not stopping when it is sensible to do so enables one to accomplish things that, without an ego, would clearly be impossible.

We carried on. As I said before, it is a working farm and the sprays had come on ... and we had to ride right through them. Yuck, a sewerage shower! Not good, I really hope their treatment plant is up to scratch. Went into survival mode at about the 3/4 stage. Fell off during a very technical section and came so very close to seriously damaging myself. It was on a diagonal ascent up a steep bank with trees and roots to negotiate on the way up. Got it all wrong and fell off downhill, now this would not ordinalry be a problem with there were lots of root at mid calf height and my foot went in between them. If I had overbalanced at that poing it would have been goodbye knee. Fortunately you only realise just how much danger you were in after the fact.

The end came and not a moment too soon. 3:13 of tough going for 60km. Not exactly burning up the veld but I did finish. Now we just had to ride home, it was only 5km or so but it felt like a lot more.

Spent the rest of the day walking around like a cowboy, my butt was so sore and of course everyone just loved seeing me in pain. Mountainbiking is a lot more taxing on the rear end than road riding. It was so good to get home and have a shower and stop looking like a racoon, all dirty and dusty with white patches around the eyes from the glasses.

Took the fogies to the airport just to make sure that they did actually leave to go and visit my sister heidi in edinburgh, scotland. It only took me an hour to pickup the folks, drop them at the airport and get back home. Seeing as I wasn't expected back for 2 hours I used the remaining hour to go and take my car for a much needed wash.

Got home just in time to have a bite of supper before the hordes all went home. Took the opportunity to ask why aldon hadn't cleaned the braai grid after he had used it seeing as he took me to task for the same sin earlier in the afternoon. Maureen, saw the funny side, I think aldon either didn't hear me or just ignored me.

Phew, quite a weekend.

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