Day 2 – April 25, 2015 – The race begins
Start: Frankfort Sports Grounds
Finish: Reitz Showgrounds
Official distance: 93 k
Descent: 916 m
Ascent: 1001 m
Terrain: Grass farmlands, rolling hills, muddy
Conditions: Windy, Hot
Meeting Yolandé Zietsman Cook – the best Physio ever!
Passing through Larry’s wolf sanctuary
Waterstop Mechanics – Thank you!
I was feeling the results of the previous day and praying for less muddy conditions. About 10k into the course, I endo’ed. Apparently, I landed on my shoulder and head before bouncing to my feet. (I thought I released from the bike and leapt off but evidence proves otherwise…) My accident resulted in a minor mechanical which left us needing to straighten my handle bars and allowed about 300 people to pass us by, which put us at the end of the line at the tracks. The rain washed out a portion of the trail forcing us to ride single file on the railroad tracks for about a kilometer. This resulted in a long wait, which gave ample opportunity to meet your fellow riders. At the first waterstop, the on-hand repair guys took a quick look at the bike, adjusted the handlebars again and speculated that the rebound on my shock was incorrectly adjusted and determined my crash was due to the slow rebound in the front being out of balance with the fast rebound on the rear shock – kind of them. I would have said it was operator error…
The day was grueling in general. The trails were still incredibly muddy, there was a fierce headwind, it was hot and I was suffering from the shoulder. By the time we reached the final water hole, I was spent but that was soon forgotten when we hit a wonderful 10k section of single track. Check out the photo below of Charlie’s smile. Our route into town was through the local school grounds so we were greeted by cheering children urging us on.
Uncharacteristic for me, I opted to check-in on my shoulder with the medics just so that I could stop Charlie’s endless “are you ok?”, “how is the shoulder?”, “did you hurt anything else?” questions every K. I know it is kind to have someone so concerned but at the same time it does make it rather difficult to forget the pain when you are constantly monitoring it. Thankfully, I did. The crash resulted in a torn rotator cuff. My options were to quit the ride on day 2 or to protect the joint, get a shot of anti-inflammatory and see how the next day goes. I opted for the latter.
A fast start out of the town and onto a dirt road. Right where I wanted to be in the pack before we hit the first single track of the day and the whole pack comes to what the SA call a ‘puddle’. It’s the full width of the road, maybe 5 meters in diameter, 1/3 meter deep, the consistency of tar and foul smelling. The pack goes left up a bank and Karrie does a full endo over the bars, landing on her head and left shoulder before bouncing to her feet. We drag her and her bike off to the side and her bars are twisted. Since it is ~ the 10k mark the entire race passes us as we get her bars straightened out a bit and make sure she didn’t break a collar bone. It obviously hurts. Now that we are at the back we are behind all the non-technical riders and have to dismount and queue up for every single track, water crossing and technical feature.
The route details say: ‘From Johan’s it is through Page Makhalemel until we hit some rough rural roads. The next 27km will be great to shoot the breeze if you are just riding, but if you’re racing this is where you can really put the hammer down.’ And they mean it. The roads are rough and all those non-technical riders are competitive machines on them. They are heads down and hammering against the wind as Karrie gamely one hands it. Super fun downhill singletrack to the wolf rescue farm and tour through local school grounds to end the ride.
Charlie’s Day 2 lesson
SA loves their water crossings. Always pack extra socks for the day.