After the massive #CapeStorm earlier in the week which resulted in a forced taper, 5 Savages arrived on the start line in Yzerfontein on a gloomy winters morning excited about the half gravel, half road challenge that lay ahead. Brendon and Calvin are proper dirt roadies, while Aaron, Waldo and Kevin are more accustomed to MTB racing.
Out of the blocks, we cruised through town and down the tar road towards the R 27 before hanging a left onto the gravel road where the speed lifted a touch and guys were scrambling for wheels while trying to avoid getting an eyeful of mud, well those without glasses at least. After a kilometer or two on the gravel, there was a rather large tree with branches hanging over the left shoulder of the road. The second rider on the road had a lapse in concentration and rode straight into the tree bring down a number of riders behind him. Two of which were Aaron and Brendon. They both sustained broken collar bones, while Aaron fractured his arm as well. Thanks to all the fellow cyclists that stopped to assist them and to the medics for their speedy response and first aid assistance.
The bunch sat up for a while to allow some of the riders that were caught up in the crash to get back on and the racing resumed a few minutes later. Riding into a gentle headwind, the pace was fairly slow until we hit the tar road and a few digs at a breakaway were had, but none being successful as the chasers weren’t keen on letting anyone go. The main group dropped riders one by one as we went over the rollers in the nature reserve and at the turn around point, there were 7 riders left. As we turned back we were greeted with a side-tail wind and a few more hammers were dropped to test the legs of the remaining riders. Unfortunately our social media liaison went down in the crash, so the photos of the rest of the report will be of the crash, but the race went on!
The out and back loop is quite different from any other race, as you get to see all the riders from the lower group (parents, friends, etc.) coming along in the opposite direction. When the long and short routes merged, we had to keep focused to avoid to slower riders. Some of the youngsters taking part in the short route events joined our group for a few minutes, very excited about the prospects of keeping up with the big dogs. One dude in DF Malan kit even went to the front of our group for a bit and dropped some of his own hammers before getting spat out the back door. Well done to you mate, that is proper Savage behavior, we love it! There might even be a Pure Savage jersey waiting for you in the not too distant future.
As we turned back onto the gravel road for the final 15/20km, Nic Allen went straight to the front, dropped some massive watt bombs and kept the pace very high all the way to the tar road. In the process, dropping 2 more riders from the bunch, leaving us with only 5 riders to fight it out in the sprint. At this stage, the pace settled for a moment and we all started looking around waiting for the next attack while trying to get the lactic acid out of our legs and having a last swig of water.
Roadie Rodrigues, I mean Robby Rodrigues, put in some massive attacks on the tar road going up to Yzerfontein, but got reeled in each time. As we took the right turn with 500m to go, Nick put in a big dig and only Robby could go with the acceleration and overtook him just before the sharp left (just in the “nick” of time). The other 3, Kevin, Waldo and Nichol, running on diesel fumes, slowly clawed their way back onto the wheels ahead and with a sharp left and sharp right just before the finish line, there was no more chance of overtaking and the race finish in the order. Robby, Nick, Kevin, Waldo and Nichol.
A shout out to the Pedal Power Association, organizers and main sponsor, Blue Ribbon for growing the event from last year! On the way to the event we were commenting on how many more cars there were on the road heading to Yzerfontein compared to last year. Thanks to those that stopped to help and all those that sent messages of support to the riders and team over the weekend, it really does help with the bleakness. The boys will be back on the trainers soon and clogging up your Instagram timelines with terrible puns, motivational quotes and hashtags.