I felt like I’d done zero miles this week, I was fed up at Killarney, and the public holiday, that should have been a monster ride, was filled with work of a different sort, the prospect of upgrading always excites me but this time it wasn’t my bike being pimped, but my house… I decided to do the carpentry first and ride later, I got up at 6:30 was working by 7 and … only finished at 12:30am the next morning…so no ride there, plus I was so knackered from my effort the day before I didn’t ride on Friday either! I managed to convince myself that a little ride was in order on Saturday and went for a quick 1hour on the mountain bike for a change.

Sunday dawned and we’d planned a 4hour ride (which I know means 3 and a half with 30 mins of coffee) I turn up in the car park to see that only the die-hards are present, my brother, Robbie Dela Fleur and myself make a trio – that’s cool, small bunches are easier to keep the pace up. We set off to find some hills, the two Rob’s chatting away behind me. We hit Constantia Nek and I take control and the ease the pace up a notch, the chatting fades… we push a neat tempo up the Nek, the pace is hot enough to void any attacks from behind me and we go straight into the decent, soon after the conversation starts up again…

It’s chilly and overcast to the point of rain threatening, which has kept the rest of the “Crazy Guys” as Christo calls them in bed or on home trainers boring themselves to death. They missed out, there is no wind and the clouds are high but it’s wind jacket cold all day long.

We wind behind the horse paddocks down into Hout Bay and head up Suikerbossie, this time my bike feels heavy and I think the brakes are binding but they aren’t, I get my head around it and step on the pedals properly and soon find my rhythm, the two behind me again begin to quiet down to the job at hand… another tidy tempo climb and I have a small gap over the top but nothing serious and we’re not racing, I’m impressed at the Rob’s doing well today. I let  up a little and we go over together, and sweep into the awesome scenic ride down Llundudno towards Twelve Apostles, there seems to be a bit of headwind but not much, Robbie helps with a turn at the hotel and it’s nice to sit in and free wheel for a bit.

We take a right at Bakoven and head up Kloof Nek Road towards the circle, it’s a a nice long climb with varied gradient but nice and easy to find a sweet spot in the gears. We stay together until we near the top section, the gradient kicks and I stand and hammer a bit, I’ve dropped the 2 behind me so I keep going and see what I can pull out at the circle and have 30-40 secs but I was surprised to see my boet get up 2nd. He’s really in better shape than he’s ever been, especially on the climbs and he’s getting harder to shake! Dela Fleur is a great climber too but is still coming back from winter hibernation and I know he’ll be back in top form soon.

We take the Kloof Nek descent into town and try get some photo’s of our ride by nailing the speed trap, I go through at 73kmph but no flash…damn. We head off for coffee at Newport. We chat about families and mostly about earning an extra buck here and there. Dela Fleur has a lot of ideas.

We decide to do another loop around Kloof Nek and head back through town for a bite of the other side, it’s a steep climb and I only have a 23. I have to stand a lot but that’s no problem, it’s good training anyhow, Robbie’s coffee and croissant has him energized and he’s back with a vengeance, we go over together pretty much, and at some decent power numbers too. We head down the forest road and I’m pushing the corners to see just how well the Tarmac rails turns. I can cut in hard compared to Robbie’s Madone and I can see how that could set you up for a bit of pace on the way out if you needed to dash for the line. I hit a series of bumps which upsets my left shifter and it’s worked loose, the movement causes tension in my brake cables, I move it around and try not lean on it the rest of the ride and open the brake blocks to free up the wheel.

We’ve chosen the right way round and the wind is now behind us as we take a cruise past Mouille Point again, the Cape Town Marathon is on and there is plenty to see. The coon band playing at the corner seems to have run out of steam already and some of them are lazing on the grass as runners still stream by. We head through the Waterfront and I take my jacket off… it’s short lived and still icy…and it’s quickly back on. The way back shows how strong the wind is now as we head up black river parkway fighting from robot to robot. To get out of the wind we head through Newlands and up Newlands Avenue past Forries, it’s dead calm, plus we can squeeze in a bit more climbing. I love that road, the morning light was shining through the new leaves on the oak trees and it feels good to be on my bike.

The road past Kirstenbosch is bustling with the craft market across the street, I can smell the boerie rolls already and it’s making me hungry! The last real climb of the day and the boys are on my tail, I crank it up to about 350w and they stick like glue, right at the junction and 400W to the top, both of them still holding firm, and we’re at good pace and keep it rolling through to the Southern cross drive turn down. As we pop out into Ladies Mile we’re smacked with the headwind again and we press into it to drop Dela Fleur off. Rob and I warm down the rest of the short ride home and we’ve made good time. I smile to myself at the guys who bailed, I’m pleased with the total training time for the week.

Fortune favors the brave.