Howzit out there, sorry for not contributing yesterday, but I was so over anything to do with riding after what I experienced in the Kammanassie Nature Reserve. It wasn't so much the gradient which did for me, comfortably, but the fact that it was so rocky and loose that I ended up pushing the bike for about 30 mins all told, and I don't do pushing...if I can help it. Every time I saw the road cutting into the mountain high above me and far away, I just thought, "you have gotta be kidding!" Then, when I thought I had reached the top, about 5 times, I actually hadn't, and so it went for about two and a half hours. The climb in the end was 12.5 kms long at 9% gradient. At this point the map, according to me, had to be wrong. It seriously frustrated me and when I heard afterwards that the Epic had taken the same route in 2007, was totally confused. It was possibly the hardest section of MTB-ing I have ever experienced. On top of that I had no food, no water and had to rely on PVM bars, need I say more? The views on the other hand, were sensational and I will have fond, well, at least vivid memories forever from the experience, but wouldn't recommend it to anyone to try, just not fun. It's so strange that in life the things one remembers clearest are always the craziest things one does. The descent was about 7 kms down to the road and even that took me 45 mins and the gradient was about 8% going down, thats how bad the surface was, and the jeep track was totally overgrown on both sides. Horrible. When I got back to the road my blood sugar levels were no-where and I was a jibbering wreck and a sight for sore eyes. Poor Vanessa and Eddie couldn't believe the state of me, slumped over myself on the side of the road, injesting copious amounts of everything they put in my hands. Thats all I needed to recover, and when I rejoined the team outside Dysseldorp, was right as rain. Fiona has told the rest as it happened.
Today was another early one, and aside from not doing walking up hills I also don't do mornings well. I swear I'm asleep on the bike for the first 20 mins. Luckily I traded my "Cheese Pants" for my "Compression Pantaloons" last night, so the legs felt fresh as...my bike was also clean and shiny as I had done a complete crank service. The heat was rediculous and as we went today the scenery became harsher and harsher. The people who saved our bacon and gave us water and juice when we couldn't find the van had moved there 5 years ago from Pretoria...why? I think they were so friendly to us and wanted us to stay just so they could see new faces, and i knew that when the water they gave us wasn't icy cold, you could clearly see they weren't focused on the task at hand. Kidding, they really did save us, as malcolm would have expired over the next rise. Then after finding the 2nd-ing unit, we came across the much awaited Rooiberg pass. Malcolm has been telling me all day that thee pass was put in the route just for me, as he had told Leon Evans that one of the guys riding wanted to go over some passes, not sure why yet, but have 8 days to get to the bottom of it. I felt obligated to take it on, given that it was there just for me. The head wind was a challenge, but the climb was nothing compared to my ordeal yesterday and thats all I will say about the 7KM climb at 7%. The scenery at the top was special again, but the heat, at this point was getting on my tits, literally, so was keen to get to the end of the day and a cool room to sit in, I'm still looking. I have just heard we lost the test match to the Ozzies, but thats not a train smash as we had the series in the bag already, and we all know that we probably took the foot off the gas a bit, and if not, we can always tell the Ozzies we did. I have also just heard I have just got a sponsor for my cycling for the year and I hope not to disappoint, especially after all the riding I'm doing.... Thanks to Mike and Colin at RBS for giving me the chance to race for them, hope I do a good job and market your company well. Time will tell I suppose.I am also supposed to be getting married again this year, not sure when, but apparently it's all getting organised without my imput, all I have to do is turn up, and thats where the plot thickens....kidding babe.
I'm looking forwards to going up over the Swartberg pass tomorrow, it's properly steep at the top, but what a descent into Prince Albert, bring it...