Yes, I had it all worked out. Muscle memory, running training and a bit of cycling and I would be fine to ride the training camp for this year's Panorama Tour. Not! I died and then I died the next day and the next. I even cut my distances short. I have never been so thoroughly beaten up by these routes and I deserved it. I had thought that my once or twice a week saunter/spining class would be enough to see me through. The running had clearly helped my lungs because I was never really stressed in my breathing but my legs wouldn't turn the cranks hard enough and as for my butt...less said the better. It was gorgeous riding weather for White River - cool and overcast. The bush was lush, the potholes manageable and the first day of 80k didnt seem too bad. But zero to 80k is still a big ask and Badger (Steve Honey of Freedom Challenge fame and even less fitness) and I managed to stay in touch with the group, mostly. This was Stage 2 of the actual race. Stage 1 is always brutal and even when fit, I hit it with some healthy trepidation. It started OK but the hills are long and short downhills limit the recovery. Not even the sighting of a hippo in the dams near the McQueens avo farm would keep the energy levels high. There is one mother of a hill on the Sabie-Hazyview road and and I am not ashamed to say I got a lift in the backup vehicle for this! I was at the back and was steadily increasing the gap. I also found that if I knew there were riders behind me, I would push harder to keep them there whereas there was no incentive with the bakkie droning behind me and reminding me of my lowly position. Badger had wisely stayed at home. A second long lift deposited me at the second water point where after a long chat, I headed back for the last twenty or so kays. Seeing it was mostly downhill, I found a good rhythm and finished feeling strongish (except for the tender rear). There were several tales of woe after that day and everyone was feeling somewhat drained. So the next day, there was general consensus that we would repeat the 80k stage instead of the much tougher Stage 3 (117k). I should have stretched. Better still, I should have stayed in bed and enjoyed the comforts of our B&B. But in the end, Badger and I took a slightly shorter route home but with worse hills dammit. We still arrived before the others instead of hours after and were well into our breakfasts by the time they arrived. What a wake up call. If I want to do our Stormberg jaunt on the Easter weekend, I had better get more than my a*se into gear, I had better get those legs turning the pedals.