Day 5 – April 28, 2015
Start: Winterton Country Club
Finish: Clifton Preparatory School
Official distance: 112 k
Descent: 1665 m
Ascent: 2140 m
Terrain: Lots of climbing, Lots of district roads
Conditions: Cold and foggy start, rain held off
Kits: 12 Hours
The day I thought I would dread most turned out to just be a tedious grind.
Clifton! They greeted us with bag pipes and the equestrian team lead us out the next morning. Can I enroll?
I can’t begin to tell you how downtrodden I was the eve of this day. Thank you all for your words of encouragement and the confidence you gave me to push through. Even before I arrived in SA, I was dreading this day. Mentally I knew it would be a tough one for me because it marked the mid point. I knew the distance was great, the climbs long, the dirt road terrain tedious, everything that could hurt would really be hurting by then and I would know if my legs were going to hold up. If I made it through this day, I was certain I would make it through them all. Of course, this was what I thought before the race began… In reality, the night before I was unable to sleep, it was pouring outside, I anticipated a repeat of the mud conditions of day 1 and 2, I was no longer confident that if I made it through day 5 I would make the whole distance, the anti-inflammatory shot they gave me on Day 2 was no longer keeping the shoulder pain at bay. I was paying big for the descent off “My Great Wall China” and the large field of boulders that bounced me around for what seemed like kilometers on the prior day. There had been no choice but to plow through them with speed but it came at a cost. Needless to say – when I kitted up on the morning of Day 5 I was anything but confident. For the first time, I was thrilled that much of the distance and the climbing was on dirt road. The kilometers passed quicker than expected and the scenery shifted nearly as rapidly. We ended the day in a much different place than we began. I do think this was a tough day for most people due to the amount of climbing but I felt pretty strong. All of the training climbs in Marin certainly paid off and I no longer felt affected by the elevation difference. The day ended with a short descent to the finish line – Oh how happy I was to arrive at Clifton Prep School. Clifton was my favorite race village. The campus is truly stunning, the children among the politest kids I have ever encountered, the cupcakes were delicious (I ate 3!), there was no line at the really hot shower (did I mention it was really hot) and Charlie met me with the best beer I think I may have ever drank. (caveat – it was the only race village that had a micro-brew option so the Notten’s Brewery had little competition – regardless it was a fine beverage.)
In the scheme of things Day 5 was actually a “rest day” for me. I don’t think that would be the general consensus of the majority of riders.
Long hot day with 2140 m of climbing on mostly district and farm road (think double track created by pickup truck along the edge of crops) We’ve been very conscientious about following our Osmo hydration routines and I’m still feeling pretty hydrated although I’m getting stiff and sore from a lack of stretching just trying to get through the ride, shower, eat, sleep and wake up @ 5 the next day to repeat. By this point we’ve made friends amongst many of the riders and enjoy some camaraderie on the ride. The finish is a short, really steep, fun, fast downhill where I try to nip Karrie at the line TDF style and nearly take out a bunch of adorable, enthusiastic school children rushing at us with cold water a few meters from the finish. If I ever go back to ‘prep school’ (actually I haven’t ever attended a ‘prep school’) I want to go to Clifton School. This place is awesome AND they bring in a truck pouring really good local craft beer. Everyone was delightful, the buildings and grounds are gorgeous – and they served actual vegetables. Not sure how it happened but results show that we lost a spot.
Charlie’s Day 5 lesson
In SA the waterstop food is BBQ meat, boiled potatoes, chopped up 3Musketeers bars and these curly donut things. We resorted to making and hauling our own PB sandos in addition to our usual Osmo, MojoBars, Blox, and fruit wraps. Carry all the electrolytes, food, bars/etc that you might possibly need for the day. I don’t usually carry a pack off road but I carried one for the joberg2c for parts, food, clothes and 2 extra camelback podium bottles since Karrie & I only have a single bottle cage on our bikes. Our bottle nozzles got really funky with the mud & dirt & stream crossings & farm road goo. Many riders had gastric issues during the event. I think that it might be wise to carry a hydration bladder on these types of rides for sanitation reasons alone.