The windy season has hit Cape Town and it seems that large volumes of air really need to be somewhere else in a hurry, especially on Wednesday nights, at 6pm for the weekly Crit 😦
The last three have been blustery affairs and this last Wednesday was no exception, in fact gusts up to 50kmph made the evenings helping of pain even more bitter to swallow. Nonetheless a crew of 25-30 guys turned up and one lady to take on the elements.
From the gun the racing was hard as Rob Quinn took 3 riders with him from the line in an immediate break including two CT Market elites and Alister Davies of Daikin. The remaining pack set about a chase including me and Robbie R. The constant pressure and long gutter sections made going tough but eventually we reeled in the escapees on the third lap. The pace didn’t let up an ounce and we kept the pace high in an attempt to break the tether again and take a small group clear. A lap later Robbie and I rolled through hard down the start finish straight with the wind and found ourselves in open space as we were gifted 75m of grace into turn one. We soon realized our luck and decided to keep going and Wayne Botha jumped across to join us through the turn.
We took turns evenly for just about a lap and a half maintaining a small but decent gap. Around turn 4 Moolman jumped across the gap using the slight uphill drag and turn into the teeth of the wind to close in, with another man we could now extend the gap over the chasing bunch. Moolies rolled through hard every turn and I followed suit, two laps later Wayne was off the back and picked up by the chase bunch. This left just us three to take it to the end which was still some time away.
The gap was fairly constant the whole night, we could see the chasers every lap and I tried to gauge how close they were and if they were closing or not, sometimes they closed up a bit, which seemed to provoke Moolies even more and I had to gun it to hold his wheel every time he went through. With two laps to go it looked like we had broken the chase and they eased off instead of chasing in vain. We only relaxed halfway down the back straight into the wind, and the two seasoned riders quickly took up position on my back wheel – great I thought it’s now cat and mouse and I’m the cheese on the mousetrap.
I tried weaving about but nothing worked to shake off my shadows. I needed a plan, a good one… and fast. I knew if Moolies kicked first we wouldn’t see him for miles, with a massive tailwind I thought whoever goes first and get 1m clear will hold it. Genius dawned on me when we came up the straight still eying each other out. I crept up to the edge of the little kink entry – there is a small detour here that motorbikes have to use for racing. Since I knew it well I decided to use the island as a blocker to launch my sprint, and at the last possible moment I jumped into the kink as the entry closed. Moolies and Robbie had to go straight on and had lost my tow. This gave me a vital 2 meters clear and once we were up to 60kmph there was no coming past.
I could sit up with 15meters or so to the line and I savored the victory over the line. I’ve done a lot of laps there and this was a great reward.