Awesome weather greeted us for the PPA One Tonner, we were miles away from the start though and this meant getting up at 4:15 am to be ready in time. We hit the road just before 5am and realised 2km up the road that Luke had forgotten his PPA number in Kalk Bay. We turned around and gassed it over to his house to retrieve it and ended up losing about 20 minutes. This put a bit of pressure on us upon arrival as the parking lot was backed up for miles. Eventually we got parked and turned out we didn’t need any warm up as the start was pretty civil.

An early break of two riders went up the road and the bunch slowed as only Danny Schmiesser gave chase, the break had 2 minutes at 30km and at 40km they had 5 minutes. With no-one else prepared to help I went up to the front and gave Danny a hand. We rolled together for 10km or so and then Danny took a break. I stayed on the front with minimal help from anyone else until 95kays or so. Rob came up to help in the run up to the climb but didn’t want to wear himself out too much before going up hill.

No prizes for pulling

I toyed off the front a few times to shake things up as it appeared the bunch had fallen asleep behind me, I’d managed to pull back 1:30 on the break but that was not enough. Maties racing then attacked and I tried to follow but fell short and a three man break was just clear followed by me and another Matie who could not help at all in joining the other three. We got cut some slack from the pack and I was glad as I needed a head start up the Botmaskloof climb.

Two's company up the climb

It was hot and I was tired, but I managed to get to the top just as the chasing pack was flying over  the crest. I jumped into the fray and held on as long as I could. The wind was side on, so we ended up in and echelon in the gutter. The pack split into three at about 130km down as two leaders jumped clear. I couldn’t follow and ended up in the third pack chasing as hard as I could, again with little assistance there was no way I was getting back in touch.

Mind the gap

The group I was in dusted me at the 140km mark or so as I cramped up and was unable to follow the pace up the rolling hills to the finish. I consolidated to a lighter gear and drank all the fluids I had, but still the cramps came. I felt like I was crawling, like I could walk faster, but the hard graft early on had taken everything I had to give. Every hill looked like a mountain and I had to bite off small parts to get home… the final kilometer felt like ten as I watched the speedo tick over 100m at a time. I dragged myself over the line and had lost over 6 minutes in those last kms. I felt dismal, but I’ll be back.

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