The first event for summer and it was by no means an easy introduction. The Cobra’s 8 climbs loomed ahead and to make matters worse the wind from the night before had retained it’s full force overnight.
The team was out in numbers and looking nice and relaxed. The neutral zone was a good chance to settle in and spin out the last bit of nervous tension.
The pack soon settled into a rhythm up Boyes drive, the wind was taking effect early though, slowing the pace and causing a few brake and go moments. There was a small break on the biggest of the Boyes drive climbs but it was just a tester and was soon swallowed. Things remained together until the first of the Black Hill climbs.
With the wind behind us the pace was unrelenting, I glanced at the speedo in disbelief as we cruised over the top. The bunch had split into two main groups and carnage in the wake of the second. The Club 100SV were equally divided half in the main pack and three chasing. Fortunately everyone came back together along the stretch to Kommetjie and we were back to full strength. The climb over Slangkop was a quiet affair and there was less sting coming from the sharp end.
The wind made sure the attacks were kept to a minimum all the way to the top of Smits, where the wind was again in our favor and the guys could let fly. Luke showed his displeasure of following a wheel and got straight on the front and gave the pack an injection of pace. After the tricky Simonstown main road section there was a bit of jostling for position leading up to the Maritime reaction climb, as we all knew this would make or break the race.
Marius and Luke got into it well positioned, followed by me and just behind Rob, Hashiem and David who had dropped his chain. Rob got eaten by cramps mid way and had to settle into a sustainable pace, meanwhile I had made back the space between himself and Marius and Luke and the three went over together to begin the chase. Twenty to twenty five riders had forced a split and the chase was on.
At the base of Black hill we could see a group of around 8-10 riders ahead. I was on the front and driving them back, unfortunately Marius and Luke not managing to go over with me and the two of them had to work back a long way to Silvermine where they eventually regrouped half way up. I had caught them on the decent into the 4 way stop, and had some time to recover before tackling Ou Kaapse Weg.
With half our team in the chase group we looked well positioned but the legs were not as willing. Van Onselen attacked early on and worked with another rider ahead to try keep his gap on the trailing bunch. I did most of the work as the Lab riders seemed unable to bring them any closer. The surge to catch proved too much after the long haul back and Marius and Luke slipped off the bunch.
In the last 250m we managed to close the gap to Van Onselen and began an uphill sprint. Just one rider managing to pip me by a wheel over the line after he’d done all the work and settled for 14th place. With only 3 minutes off the winning SV time things look promising for the rest of the season.
Overall a good first effort from the team and we look to be well matched. We’re already looking forward to the next one!