Last night (Saturday evening) and the worry of rain was plaguing me. This morning (Sunday) I woke up excited because it’s been about 4 months since I covered 100km off road on my mountain bike in one day. Even though I’ve ridden for years, today was my first Hill2Hill and I didn’t fancy it being a cold, wet and muddy one!
4am and only darkness filled the skies. Were clear skies just a false hope or truly a sign of good things to come today?
Either way, Whether it rained or didn’t, I was dressed and ready to conquer the famous route from Hilton to Shongweni in it’s 10th year.
As far as events go, yes this is a big popular one with title sponsors, but I couldn’t help but feel a lack of anticipation and excitement around the event. Perhaps it’s because registration is held the day before, this leaves the start area very empty with the exception of the riders. Sure practically it works well, but registering the day before and then just rocking up to ride the next day seems to take the tension out the air.
Besides the anti climate at the start, it wasn’t a ride without its fair share of anxiety, pain and euphoria.
500m off the line and I had a front tyre blow out. What a way to start! I’ve always seen those people with issues at the start of a race and thought MAN I’m glad that’s not me! Well now it was and so it was my turn to keep my cool and plug it while the entire batch I started with rode on by. Puncture fixed and another 99.5km to go….
Nothing like having a mechanical right at the start of a race and chasing to catch your batch in front, before the batch behind you catches up to get you.
Fortunately that was the worst of it, and once the anxiety and excitement wore off a couple km in, I could relax into a rhythm and enjoy the scenery around us.
Now everyone I spoke to before the race who’d ridden before, all told me “the first half is for free, save yourself for the second” all I remember was telling my brother who was riding with me, “if this is for free I’d hate to see what I’m paying for!” Jokes aside, there was merit in what they said. The second half of the race is definitely the tougher portion, but the first half has its fair share of challenges.
The entire ride is a nice mix of single track and district roads with well manned and jubilant water tables.
At the 80km table my brother decided enough is enough and so I soldiered on the last 20km alone.
Now I don’t usually ride races alone so I figured this would be a good test to see how deep my tank goes before hitting empty. The last 20km is no free wheel into the finish line! Sunrise hill and hill with no name are two that will challenge even the best of riders but not tough enough to challenge me…Haha. I covered the final 20km in an hour. So chuffed with myself. Yes so I’d just ridden 100km, but big deal! I’ve done that loads of times. I’d never clapped the last 20 of a full 100km ride at 20km/h on a route known for it’s tough finish.
In summary a good day out on the bike.
6hours 40minutes in total. 6hours of that actually riding.40minutes of mechanical fixes and stopping at watering stations.
80km cruising, 20km breaking myself.
1941m of elevation gain.
3427 calories burnt.
Will I be back next year??? We’ll just have to wait and see…..