The inaugural PPA Killarney 12 hour endurance challenge was held in April 2017 where the solo win was taken by Stephen Courtney, earning him kudos from us Savages and got him into the 2017 Double Century team.  Having obtained a benchmark, The organizers and sponsors BH Bikes South Africa and Epiq sports nutrition put a cash prize up for grabs with an additional prize for breaking the record number of laps, 129.  Naturally this attracted some more competition and it’s this new competition that drew even more interest from us Savages.

The team plan was to help Waldo compete against the best by always having at least one team mate around doing the glamorous work of chasing down breaks, sitting in the wind, the less glamorous work of fetching food and drinks and the dirty work of fixing punctures.  Well that was the plan on the Whatsapp group.

The race started at 6am with Brendon and William keeping Waldo Company.  The plan for the first hour was to keep a high but constant lap pace to try thin the group down a little to a safer size. As the sun started to rise the group was down to a manageable 18 riders, with Brendon and Will sitting on the front. A little before 8am Calvin joined the party as all riders had to start before 9am.  A few laps later disaster struck Waldo as he got a puncture and unfortunately with Brendon off eating Christmas cake, Calvin sill getting used to the game, Will was left to hand over his front wheel to Waldo.

The next half an hour saw the boys try and claw back the lap, a merciless chase down of the favourites bunch then ensued with Brendon and Calvin doing quick rotations followed closely by Waldo.  The boys were gaining, but not fast enough so it was decided it would be a good time for a nature break and some twitter. Calvin then left for home promising a return in the early afternoon. The next 3 hours saw the three remaining Savages keep up the tempo slowly clawing back the lost lap while other riders stopped to refuel and rest as Waldo kept forging forth.

Just as the midday heat started upping the ante and with 200km done and dusted Brendon pulled off the track for a kiddie’s birthday party, leaving Will to mix Waldo’s drinks (easy on the rum – that’s how Waldo likes it).  A little while later Calvin pulled in for his second shift smelling like roses (compared to Waldo). This part of the race was the most challenging for the single riders that had covered 240km of constant riding having to match the surges of the relay teams that had only done a quarter of that distance. The boys sat in the wind for Waldo making sure the accelerations did not rip hole’s in the tired legs.

As Brendon points out, the Strava flyby  shows Calvin spent more time supporting Waldo from the pits than on the track but we all know the most important part of being a good cyclist is what you do off the bike. This tactic paid off as Waldo was sitting in joint second with Rinaldo, one lap down on Philip. The lap times had now slowed down to around 35km/h at this stage with every inch of Waldo’s kit smothered in Salt.

The final phase of the race started when Brendon took Calvin’s place at Waldo’s side, as these two hours were going to be the most important.  For 11 hours straight Waldo had not got pulled into the pits but the cramps had set in and no amount of Jens Voigt quotes from Brendon was going to help the situation. The boys peeled off into the pits and the ten minute pit stop ensued, the highlight of which was Brendon massaging Waldo’s legs and of course William selflessly taking the time to capture this on camera.

The last hour of racing was just plan Savage. The hour and a half before the stop, the cramp and fatigue had dropped the average speed to 33.4km/h for Waldo, the last hour of racing was dispatched at 36.2km/h. Looking at the Strava flyby, it shows Waldo gaining the lap he lost and then putting another 3 laps into 4th place rider Rafeeq in just 50 minutes to secure 3rd place!

At 6pm the final laps began as the sun started to set on a proper epic day on the bike. Refeeq Safodien came 4th with 130 laps (427km),  Waldo finished 3rd on 133 laps (439 km), Rinaldo Kruger second place on 135 laps (449km) and Phillip Sassie taking the win with 137 laps (454 km). Congrats to the female winner Yvette Negrine completing 109 laps (361km). Will managed to sneak into the top ten with 333km under his belt with Brendon having a rather chilled day on the bike at 262km. Calvin has asked for his distance not to be posted for some reason.

This event has really grown into a great Pedal Power Association event on the calendar, a massive thanks to the sponsors of the event BH Bikes and Epiq nutrition. There was some truly fantastic fun and suffering that was had by all and it is our hope this event will gain in popularity over the next few years!

Photo credits: Andre Smit (Facebook) Instagram: AndrezSmit and Dan Edwards (Facebook) Instagram: dan_edwards_photo