The prayers that had no doubt been resounding through the heavens for months for good weather on race day had been answered. I got up pre-dawn to head off the the start line and the world was very quiet. No wind which is almost unheard of in Cape Town!
I was actually hoping for wind to slow the progress of the climbers up front on the way out to Cape Point, but now it was going to be fast and furious all day long.
I tried to stay in the right place at all the key places on the route, from the gun the pace was high, up eastern boulevard there was already attacking and the pace continued to rise. I got into a good position and actually went over quite near the front which I tried to maintain through to Edinburgh Drive. I kept my place and went off the front on the downhill past Paradise Motors, this meant I could ride my own tempo up the climb without too much risk of being dropped in an attack. I crested near the back but regained my place on the long descent into Constantia on the M3. On the flats was easy and i took a breather until the end of the freeway where again I pressed in anticipation of Boyes Drive. The climbs went without a hitch but on the descent into Kalk Bay gaps appeared in the bunch as nervous riders braked on the steep descent and sharp bends. I waded through and then had to put the hammer down to close the gap. a few strong riders had been caught out like me and we worked together to get back in tough by the Fish Hoek circle. All was quiet again until the lead p to Smitswinkle. This hill caught me out last year and my race ended here but this year I was in a better position and gave it the full hurt to make sure I was still in touch on the other side – I had also fitted a 54T blade to give me some longer legs on the downhill if need be.
I worked my way forwards again but the High pace made it difficult to go around anyone. i was sitting about halfway back when Ocean View Drive started to pile the pressure back on and again some dead wheels meant putting in a huge effort to stay on the back of the group. I closed again and knew I could now sit in until Chappies, and I feared that this would be the end of the road for me with the bunch.
The front runners attacked hard and shelled me on little chappies, I wasn’t far off by the tunnel section but the gap was growing. I rode a steady hard tempo to the top and looked fro some allies to help chase in vain. i rode off leaving the rest behind me, I know the pass well and descend pretty quickly. I caught a few riders that were dropped later than me in Houtbay and we joined forces to chase a larger group ahead. The other guys were toast and couldn’t help much. I nailed it in the lead up to Suikerbossie and all the way up but fell short about 100m. They pulled away again, I recovered a bit on the downhill into 12 Apostles but still couldn’t close the gap. In the end I chased all the way like a dog chasing a stick tied to a rear bumper of a garbage truck! I finished in record time for me, 5 minutes off the winners and only 30sec off the bunch ahead of me in 106th place overall and 15th in my age category.