A few hours after the 99er four RSAWEB team mates jumped on a plane to race the Dischem Ride for Sight up in JHB. Another Cat 1 race and the course looked fast. I was hesitant as I’d strained a Glute muscle chasing in the 99er somehow and was trying to sort it out at high speed to be ready for the race the next morning.
I was excited for the race, my first race in JHB and the course looked like it suited my style well. Carl, Rob Edward and I landed at Lanseria in high spirits from the days podium and stuffed our bikes into the hired 8 seater and set off by GPS navigation to the RSAWEB bachelor pad.
We drove straight to dinner at a small restaurant close to home base, got in some carbs and discussed the days events and plans for the following day. An hour later we arrived at the apartment and unpacked and sorted out the bikes and nutrition, took a shower and got into bed. A 4am start awaited.
The next day we set off with the help of our trusty Garmin, which got a little confused at the junction and we needed to double back on the N1 a bit to get going. Sure enough we found our way and got in with a decent amount of time to register but not really warm up. My glute was still twinging but I hoped it would just stay that way and I’d ride through it.
The race was fast, over 50kmph ave speed for the first hour or more, early on I hung at the back and witnessed some horrendous crashes. A marshal got flattened at the 2nd right hander through the traffic lights and shortly thereafter a 5 man pile up on the right hand side saw everyone scatter and chase back. Soon after rejoining though we turned right and 1km later another casualty writhed in pain after hitting the barrier island.
What the hell is wrong with these guys? They ride like Kamikaze pilots and hit the brakes through every intersection. It was so dangerous I hung at the back and wasn’t even in the slip, looking for escape routes. My glute got worse, my right leg went numb and I lose power.
I was pedaling with my left leg primarily, while trying to pull up on the pedals to help it along, my shoes were hugely tight to assist the pulling but this cramped the blood out of my feet. I was not in ideal shape. I hung on, believing it would be easier later. It wasn’t. I could stand and pedal in a big gear and hang on up the drags and downhill but for how long, If I rested my glute seized. I yo-yo’ed off the back and narrowly missed a guy almost cashing in front of me as he stood and his pedal unclipped, he saved it much to my relief.
I couldn’t carry on and I worried about doing more damage, I told Ed about my situation and it turned out he’d been hanging in too with a closed chest and flu like symptoms. We slipped back through the car convoy, and were half way with no idea how to get home. We bummed a lift with another team car and sat there dejectedly watching the rest of the race.
I was very disappointed, this is my first JHB race and the 1st race I had quit in years.
Rob and Carl however were sitting pretty, there was now a 5 man break and going strong. Carl tried to bring the break back, but to no avail, the extreme pace made it almost impossible. The 5 stayed clear and Rob lined up for the sprint, a tight technical finish that would rely on position before the last 500m. He sat 8th wheel into the last turn but couldn’t make any real gains on the fast guys ahead of him finishing 7th in that bunch, 12th overall and 2nd in the 30+ category, rescuing our team effort with a valuable podium. The man is on fire.
I hope to be back again for some more JHB races and will take my revenge when I get there 🙂