The third event in the Summer league series looked to be another killer. Less climbing than the Cobra but by only 200m. The Ou Kaapse Weg double was going to be all important and it didn’t disappoint.
Starting at False Bay Rugby club the 8km rolling towards the first climb was twitchy, with some early attacking by those desperate to get a head start up the hill. Two guys did manage to get a lead, but not enough as they were swallowed at the navy base turnoff at the start of the climb. The pace was fast as the King of the Mountain point on the top called out to the climbers. We rounded the first hairpin together, some struggling already to hold on. My lungs were searing as I struggled to find a rhythm, Luke was just ahead of me and I knew Marius and David were on my wheel. I couldn’t look back to see the carnage, but it was deadly quiet. I found a manageable pace and settled down on Luke’s wheel we couldn’t follow the surge at the second hairpin as the KOM boys lept out of the saddle for the points.
Over the flats on top the three of us together found some help in numbers as we set about the chase downhill. A few good turns on front each and our group of about ten had reeled in the 10-12 riders that got away by about the Silvermine turnoff and over the bump at the end. We rested a little on the descent and then set about trying to consolidate the gap our larger bunch now had on the chasing field. Luke and I took turns with John W, and Heimer A of Anderson Transport as we climbed Black Hill, Cosmetek sent a man over the crest to shake things up as we tried to further break up our group a bit. The attack was in vain as all turned at Glen Cairn together. Back on front the boys in Yellow got to work on the flats together with AT, Daiken and Swift who were all well represented in the break.
The chase group had done well and has closed the gap just after Simonstown and the bunch relaxed a little again, with Smits up the road the guys took a little time out. As we neared the steeper section of Smits, just after the bend, the pressure was applied from the front again and stretched out the pack into single file over the top. Luke, Marius and I went over near the front, Hashiem and David were in there too this time and the pack raced on towards Red Hill triangle. I went off the front with Robbie Setton in attempt to get away, but at that pace it was too much, and we eased off the front. The small bump in the road was the next pressure point and 3 riders managed to snap the leash and built a small gap. I was near the front and set about closing them down, I was quickly joined by Luke and we slowly gained on them. Just after the triangle we were just about in touch, Luke and I decided to try jump across the gap, we quickly closed but had brought the bunch with us. as we closed another Swift rider jumped and I followed quickly joined by John W and we held a break for just over a kilometer. The bunch was on high alert and nothing was getting away, Luke Marius, David and I recoiled to the shelter of the pack to revive ourselves for the certain attack up Slangkop.
The pace was already building by the time we passed Witsands, the slow drag uphill now sending the HR into the red. The slight decline at the base of the climb was welcome and I used it to make a few meters on the front of the group. It was another big blade affair high in the red zone as the climbers again taxed our legs. It’s a tricky climb, longer than it looks and rough as gravel, I found some smooth tar on the inside and made a few meters. The four of us again climbing well and got stuck into the rough decent. I chose an outside line around a nervous descender and hit a pothole, the jolt knocked my shifters loose beneath my hands, my left hand side was wobbling all over the place and the tension in the now stretched cables was actuating the brakes to the point of touching. I could feel the drag and set about a rolling repair. I had to pull the shifter back up to a ride-able height, as well as opening my brake calipers to free the wheels.
We had now caught a large bunch of Elites coming out of Kommetjie and for some reason the pace on the flats slowed right down to about 25kmph. We ambled along until the 4 way stop traffic lights, we rolled down to the base of Ou Kaapse and we knew what was about to unfold.
Marius Luke and I took control of the pace up Little OKW, but were soon shunted aside as Daiken and AT came steam rolling through, we upped our pace and held on, all together still at the Silvermine turnoff… As the road turned upwards though John W put in an attack, we followed but not enough, the cracks were starting, and his second burst split the bunch, I could not accelerate but could hold a rhythm and found a group again to chase in. Luke and Marius both in attendance and David right there too. We climbed together in a group of around 10-12 riders, still in relative contact until the steepest section of OKW on the smooth tar. We went over together but had a lot of work to do. Luke and I led the assault downhill, reaching 77kmph. We had gained but not enough, I started cramping in my left calf. On the flats we didn’t have enough help from the wake of riders behind us only Luke Marius and I, and Kent W, could take serious turns and I was fading fast in calf pain. We could see our target but could not close all the way and came into the finish still 30 secs shy, but only a minute and a bit off the winners.
A solid top 20 finish for 4 of us was a good result. See you next week!