It’s been a while since my last post and my last adventure. I left Cape Town on Friday 18 October and headed a short distance to my close friend Pieter in Grabouw. It was just the two of us on the farm, so it was the perfect opportunity for. The two of us to catch up as we hadn’t seen each since before my last cycling adventure in Thailand. It was a good way to get my head into gear, braai and catch out, perfect.
In the morning I had to start the drive to Oudtshoorn, it was going to be a 4 hour journey on my own. I am not a fan of driving, even less of a fan of driving alone. I had to focus on the end goal, arriving at Buffelsdrift farm in Oudsthoorn where I would be registering for the Cape Pioneer mountain bike 7day stage race.
As I arrived at Buffelsdrift I immediately got changed into cycling gear and heard over to race registration to get my goodie and race number. After registering I headed off for my first lap of the course, the route was exactly the same as 2012, which meant fast, tight single track and easy to fall. I managed get round the track without incident. On the finishing stretch I had to cross dam wall with branding flags lining the wall, stupidly I got too close and wiped out… Managed to bend my dropout and stuff up my gears, thank goodness the bike mechanic was able to sort out all my issues. I went round for a second lap, but this time pushed much harder on speed, what a load of fun, feeling fit and fast. Hoping that the actual prologue goes well on Sunday.
After my practice laps I headed back into Oudtshoorn town where I was staying at a little back packers called Karoo Soul. I checked in, unpacked and took a shower. Long day, so chilled out did some bloggingand reading. I decided to get an early night and was in bed by 8pm
I only woke up at 8am, so that meant I got a solid 12hour sleep, that’s the first time in a long time that I have slept for so long. My event was only at 10:40am, so I was in no rush to go anywhere. It’s great when you can take your time before an event and the start time isn’t at some obscene time like 5 or 6am. I was able to eat breakfast at respectable time like 9am. I ended up going to Spur for a breakfast special, such a bargain, R35 for bacon, eggs, sausage and a coffee.
I headed up to Buffelsdrift, about 6.5 km out of town, for the start of my prologue. I was feeling good and ready to do a better time than 2012. Lining up for the start of a prologue event is always nerve wracking, there are a bunch of riders lined up and every 30 seconds a rider leaves.
There are two things that always happen, you catch riders ahead of you or somebody catches you. The course provided little or no place for over taking, which made things challenging. I caught 4 riders before the first rider caught me, that helped morale in a big way. The start is fast, my lungs were burning and my heart was pounding at close to my max heart rate, this is not something I find enjoyable and isn’t my strength. My time was looking good nearing the finish, I knew I would beat last year’s time… I finished in a time of 48min, which was about 5-6min faster than last year.
I didn’t feel like sticking around Buffelsdrift, so I headed back to Karoo Soul back packers for a shower and some relaxation. I did some prep for the next day. Once I was done with admin I decided to go to Cango Caves for the first time since childhood.
While driving to the Cango Caves it dawned on me that I was on holiday for the week, despite doing a race for 7 days, I didn’t have to be at the office. The trip to Cango Caves was me being a tourist, when I paid for my ticket I noted that most of the people were foreign, so it really felt like one of my overseas trips. I got in for the last tour of the day, thank goodness I was a part of a small group of cool people. I snapped some wicked picks, the caves were awesome.
After the cave mission I headed back to Oudtshoorn and stopped at Spur again for their other special, Surf and Turf. I don’t mind Spur every now and then, it’s always the same decent meal. I was sitting in the restaurant on my own and missing my wife somewhat, staring out the window looking at the rain pouring down outside.
After my early dinner I headed back to my accommodation to grab an early nights rest. The morning was set to be an early start, so I had to be prepared.