Monday, December 6, 2010

Bicycling 24hr MTB at Rietvlei - 2nd place!

The team: William, Con, Adri Ferrari and Goofy Mike.
Lickety Split attended the event with experience gained from last year. We arrived early and set up our gazebo's in the hot, hot sun - right next to the Do it Now gazebo, staffed by Keane, Lizelle, Wiehan, Weylin and Waldus - racing as www.kl.aar. Cat-i Carine also joined our little huddle of tents. She had planned to race as a 2-man team, but found herself going solo, to her horror - but she is game for anything! Time passed quickly and we found ourselves seated amongst a full score of racers - all shapes and sizes, for race briefing. The start was a midday sprint in cleats down the road to your bike. Con was nominated to get us a good lead on the slower teams and beat his way through the field.

The afternoon was hot and VERY windy - entertainment provided by gazebo's rising like balloons and bowling across the field. We checked ours....and added more tentpegs and ties, after three of them tried to get away! Dust and heat coated racers, turning to mudpacks with sweat. The organizers had set up a computer for racers to check their progress - to our surprise, the first couple of laps had pegged us into second place in the mixed fours....and there we stayed! The team was determined to try to close the gap with first place and plugged away hard throughout the night....we hoped that our experience with 'going all night' would serve us well, when other teams slowed down to sleep.

The campsite stayed busy all night....riders coming and going every few minutes, although a few teams stopped to sleep the dog shift. We changed from single laps to double laps to give our tired riders a chance to sleep for a couple of hours. The course was twisty and technical, with a whole new section punctuated with young trees to squeeze through. A soft dusty track and negative camber made sure that riders ran into trees on most laps and during the night, those trees took quite a beating.

Dawn arrived with the cries of peacocks at the unearthly hour of 4.10, during Adri's 2-lap shift. Hot and dusty, it was soon windy again! A check of the computer revealed that we had indeed pulled away from the third team during the night, unfortunately Edenvale Wheelers had been going all night as well, and now had a lead on us that we could not hope to close. Con had been hoping for a podium position and second place it was to be! Actually quite a successful placing, (we did more laps than several other teams who won their categories) we felt somewhat cheated by being unable to win, consoling ourselves by agreeing that we had run our race as efficiently as possible, not wasting a second in transition! Amazingly the solo men's winner managed to completely eclipse the number of laps turned out by any team and was deservedly the winner in all eyes. Cat-i was narrowly beaten into second place by a determined younger rider, while she slept a couple of night hours. Well done Carine, well done Lickety Split!
Thanks Do it Now for the support and companionship!