Dr Evil day 1 – 72km, 1300m climbing (district/farm gravel roads and forest jeep track)
We decided to ride from our accommodation in Plett to the start at Wittedrift High School. A little 13km downhill warm up, thinking about whether or not we would regret the ‘warm down’ later on, back up the hill after the race.
First climb – We thought we were in a road race as we headed up the tar road for about 3km. It was full gas from the start as we red lined our way to the top and then hung a left onto a gravel road where we found ourselves in the leading bunch of 12 riders. At this stage, Brendon was having flashbacks of his Yzerfontein mishap, but quickly got distracted by the steady crosswind from the right and started thinking like a roadie again, hiding in the gutter.
The second big climb of the day started to take its toll and a poor shift by Brendon ended in a dropped chain creating a gap which would never be closed again. Just over the top of this climb, we took a sharp left and headed downhill for a few kilometres for a bit of respite and rolled along quite well tackling some rocky climbs and going through some fire damaged forests.
We managed to sit with the solo category leaders for a while up a brush cut section of jeep track until the yo-yoing began – Kevin would Yo off the front while Brendon would Yo off the back mumbling ‘ease up’ every now and then.
We decided not to stop at the first water point and headed on.
We had a few close encounters with the road side “fern-iture” and a bit further down the road, on what Brendon is calling “a massive rock garden”, a fair chunk of turf was purchased. After checking if his kit was fine, he was back up and on the bike to find out that the hanger had bent enough to put the rear mech into the cassette. Kevin stepped in with his massive guns while Brendon checked twitter and pulled the hanger straight.
We were off again, Brendon blaming his fall for being stuck in the smallest gear at the back. Kevin as any true partner would do just told him to stand on the remaining climbs. After our little incident, a few more teams and solo riders came passed.
The second water stop was a pleasant surprise as the bottles where whipped away and filled while Brendon started tucking in. Kevin had to use his guns for a second time that day and pry Brendon’s hands off the banana bread and chocolate brownies!
The final 30 kilometres were largely downhill, as we dodged a few logging trucks and negotiated some rocky descents. At this point, we had gotten into our own rhythm quite nicely and were plodding along well. As we arrived at the portage section, down a ditch and through a river, Kevin decided that he would try to ride through it and ended up having his crash of the day, landing softly on some more “fern-iture”. He had a massive grin on his face when his partner arrived as he shouted to Brendon to watch out for the “Richie Porte-age”. This felt like a pre-planned-pun…
The final few kilometres to the finish saw us back on home turf with some buttery smooth tar which allowed us to catch the team ahead and a solo rider in the run in.
We made quick work of the amazing lunch (butternut soup, massive burgers with cheese and mushroom sauce, potato wedges, chocolate brownies and ice cream – yum!). This time Brendon could not be yanked away from the chocolate brownies and ice cream! By the time the boys rolled out of the dining hall their bikes were ready at the bike wash. Brendon’s bike had its first wash since he bought it… much to his surprize, there is in fact a little bit of white on the Giant.
We then made our way to the tech zone to try our luck with finding a rear hanger for the Giant. Within 2 minutes of looking, a hanger was found, fitted and ready to go! Thanks for the awesome service!
We then rode home, ending with a 1.2km climb up the steepest road in Plett to our lekker Air BNB accommodation, where some moer coffee and chocolate Steri Stumpies were smashed.
We ended up 7th overall and 3 minutes under our goal time of 3:30 for the first stage!
Day 2 is only 40km, but with a similar amount of climbing to Day 1 (73km), it should not be under-estimated. Kevin has handed out 4 cups of concrete already to Brendon who is still busy digesting it.