Sunday, March 09, 2008

Sani2C Day 1

It's only a week ago and the memories are already fading, it could of course be something to do with the excessive amount of pain which I managed to subject my body to.

We, Sid and I, drove down to Underberg on Wednesday afternoon which took a mere 6 1/2 hours which was much more reasonable than the 8 that we had been told that it would take. We found the house that BY and Kim had hired only to find that we were unexpected guests, something went very wrong with the communications between Jason and Kim or BY. Fortunately the couches in the lounge had not yet been taken so we were able to commandeer those and actually had a very reasonable nights kip.

The next morning we dropped the car off and hoped that we would see it again intact in Scottburgh on Saturday. The start line was pretty close and we joined the bunch of excited people about 10minutes before we were off. Saw Jason wandering around trying to find Rob, his partner for the race - and only the race just to be clear. A few minutes late we saw Jason still looking for Rob but now he had lost his bike as well so it was looking like it was going to be a very long race for him.

The gun went and we were off and despite an agreement not to start off too fast, we did. More accurately it should be said that it was too fast for me, Sid was merely cruising and in fact pretty much cruised the entire race. After about 20km of dirt road we entered the first of the single track which was something of a novel experience for me. After about a kilometre of single track I managed to fall off for the first and not the only time although it was the only time that I was actually moving forward. What happened was that I pulled off the track to overtake the rider in front and there was a 2" log lying parallel to my path which is a sure fire way to fall and it was in avoiding this that I fell anyway. No harm done and I was soon back in the saddle.

About 1/3 of the way through the day we rode over the "Steel and Pipe" bridge which was a totally unique experience. It is a floating bridge about 1.5m wide on pontoons and as you ride, it sinks below the water and it is just such a wierd experience. Very enjoyable though! Although 1.5m sounds really wide to ride on, it is only wide as long as one is moving reasonably fast but at the end of the bridge is a short slippery climb so everyone slows down and by the time you get to the end you are virtually stationary balancing on this bobbing bridge. Not so easy! Thought I was going to disgrace myself and ride off the edge a couple of times.

Photo courtesy of Rob Mcloughlin

I don't remember much after this other than a split in some single track, one marked "Easy" and the other "Very Hard" so I naturally took the easy one. The next hill that I remember is called "Tiny's Hill" for some odd reason and it is the last hill before the finish. If one hadn't done the 80km before it, it would probably be quite easy but after 80km of mountain biking I have to confess that I struggled up it in 1st gear.

Photo courtesy of the Sani2c website

After washing the bikes, locating our boxes and finding our tents it was time for a shower and food. The organisation on the Sani2C is just exceptional and the amount of food available at anytime of the day or night is astounding. Of course, after 83km of riding, it takes a lot of eating to put all that energy back so the trend was set for the next couple of days. First we ride, then we eat and sleep all afternoon before supper at 18:00 and then there is more sleep from 20:30 until the start of the next day at about 05:00.

I was just checking my brake pads in preparation for the next day and I happened to brush the worm patch in the sidewall of my front tire which dislodged it entirely and I ended up removing the tire and putting a patch on the inside. What a lucky break, this could so easily have come out tomorrow at any one of a number of dangerous spots.

The marquee that dinner and the entertainment was held in seated about 1500 people which means that it was pretty huge but by 20:30 I was the only rider in it and the tents were absolutely quiet in the tents. I would never have believed it if someone had told me but there was not a single rowdy group of guys keeping everyone else awake.

Day 1 summary : 83km, 1100m ascent, 88% of max heart rate average. 3500kcal consumed. 4:28 elapsed time.

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