The new Construction Du Cap 99er route looked to be a tough ask, 104m of rolling hills followed by 3km of Vissershok the leg and lung killer.
The weather was cool and a very slight breeze, the rain in the small hours had left some roads wet and the start was taken cautiously, the slight downhill was nice to warm up on with some out of the corner accelerations. The SV Team was almost all present, with only Luke and Rob not making the start line.
The first 30 km’s or so rolled by without too much trouble, besides my bike hassles, there was little excitement. Anderson Transport had four of their team in attendance and quickly took control. The first showing was at the Paardeberg hill at 45km down, where AT put in a fast attack from the bottom of the climb, this woke up the bunch and several riders were unable to follow the hot pace. Around the bend AT and now Club100 were piling on the pressure making sure those riders didn’t make it back.
The course was now pretty fast from here and mostly downhill, we set about making life even more difficult and sat in a long guttering section to fatigue the legs before the next set of inclines at Malmesbury.
73km down and the rollers start, on the first of them AT once again attack but the bunch of about 35 riders remains intact until we turn left onto the Old Malmesbury road. This section was tricky. The very course road surface, and uneven pothole sunken tar made it difficult to follow the wheel ahead of you. We hammered this section hard again and every climb and even down hill we worked until the bunch finally gave in.
What remained were 10 riders, 4 Anderson and Marius, David and I. The road through to the N7 was spent opening the gap, and again as we hit the smooth tarred road of the N7. we had enough of a lead now to relax a little before the real race unfolded on Vissershok.
As we hit the incline the inevitable happened as John W shot off the front like a rocket with Heimer, Charles was following with Marius in tow. The rest of the pack including me were unable to respond, I began to cramp and was clearly finished from all the work trying to get away, Marius was fresher and he gave chase. I went over Vissers and could still see the riders ahead of me, Marius and Charles followed by a small group now fighting over the minor places. I used the downhill and my only option of a big gear and managed to reel them in before the turn and rested for 15 secs before the final 1km uphill.
I remember thinking – who’s bright idea was this – and quickly realised this was not my ideal finish. I ground out the rest of the way and managed an 8th place. Marius revelled in the gradient and took an awesome Third place behind John and Heimer.
Great effort and very good to see the team well represented at the front and making the racing happen.