Day 7 – April 30, 2015
Start: Glencarin Farm
Finish: MacKenzie Club
Official distance: 79 k
Descent: 1817 m
Ascent: 1505 m
Kits: Equator Kits
Lots and lots of fun single track riding – This might have been my second favorite day. The morning reminded me of riding in California and the afternoon in Vermont. In other words, it felt like home.
The long awaited Day 7. The entire race everyone kept saying just wait for Day 7, 8 & 9 they make days 1 through 6 worth every pedal stroke. Needless to say, that is quite a bit of build up and quite a bit of pressure to put on a race course. Days 1 through 6 were a lot of work but they were stunning and fun and amazing so to get even better than the “My Great Wall China”, Mt. Paul and some of the un-named farmland sections seemed a bit impossible. I had already experienced so pretty amazing single track sections – for real – where in the states can you link together 10k of uninterrupted single track that flows, has variety and is designed for specifically for mountain biking? I have to give credit where credit is due. The race organizers and property owners have cut some amazing trails through their properties that is only accessible to mountain biking during this race (and shorter races that comprise a portion of the JoBerg2C race course – Likely there are others but the 2 that come to mind are Sani2c and Berg2Bush.)
With all of the build up, Day 7 did not disappoint. The view from the camp site started the day off right. South Africa is one of the most stunning places I have traveled in the world and the countryside we cycled through put the exclamation on that statement. Despite how much it may appear that I have whined and complained I know how fortunate I am to have a body that can endure this type of experience. I have such a greater understanding and respect for the discipline, training and mental strength real athletes need to possess. I do feel very lucky to have had this opportunity. Very few people have made their way on this route from Johannesburg to Scottsburgh the way we have. Granted at times I did curse at the cruelty of the course but in reality there wasn’t anything that was “too much” to endure even given my injuries (see Karrie’s side note below.)
The day was spent weaving in and out of trees on awesome single track trails that so reminded me of my early days mountain biking in Vermont. There were no monster climbs just lots of ups and downs and arounds through forests and farm fields. I absolutely loved it.
It seemed that very little of the day was spent on district roads. The floating bridge river crossing was a little more of an adventure than the previous ones. It was a bit windy and there might have been some current as well because you could feel the bridge moving under your bike. I was really nervous about the floating bridges before the race began but learned that as long as you kept peddling all would be well. There was also a fair share of wide open expanses through farm fields. Just loved this day of riding. Oh – except for the side note here…
Karrie’s side note
On Day 7, I got to add an injury to the list. The combination of changing my pedaling position to take weight off my shoulders and the necessity of sitting on my sits bones differently because of my bum infection, I started to strain my knees. Yet another issue to discuss on my daily visit to see the medics. The moment I mentioned “knees” the doc finished my sentence describing the pain I was experiencing to the T. Apparently once you start relying completely on your legs to do all of the hard work your knees take the brunt of the abuse. The next day, I added beautiful blue strapping to help support the joints. It matched the red and blue strapping on my shoulder quite well. Here I need to give a big thanks to Yolande as well. Yolande was the wonderful physio that kept me going from day 2 when she first taped my shoulder in place. She also performed an awesome process called “needling” – somewhat like acupuncture but deeper. She massaged the muscles until she found the origin of the spasm – the point where when pressure is applied you flinch with pain. Then using an acupuncture needle, she inserted it into the muscle until it would start to twitch. (not anywhere near as painful as it sounds.) This is done to draw blood back into the center of the spasm. The body’s immunity system automatically kicks in and responses to the “foreign” substance by flooding the area with blood. This rehydrates the muscle and starts the healing process. I wouldn’t necessarily believe it if I hadn’t experienced it first hand. You can actually feel the muscle relax and soften. I will be seeking out this service in the states the next time I have a soft tissue injury.
Day 7 is where you start the Sani2c course. It was a really nice short (if 80km is short) day with another floating bridge, some really nice single track and a few shady sections. A really nice respite and for the first time I’m reasonably convinced that we are really going to complete this race. The MacKenzie club was a great spot & really nicely set up.
They served an actual salad at lunch easing the pain of losing of 2 places.
Charlie’s Day 7 lesson
Take 2 pairs of cycling shoes. Preferably different models so that the buckles/etc are in different spots. My high end shoes got trashed with all the mud & water crossings. I didn’t want to pressure wash them since they wouldn’t dry by the next day & they pretty much broke down from all the riding and abuse.