Team RSAWEB sent a crew of 5 riders up to Durban for the 25th edition of the Amashova. The weather was great the day of arrival in Durban, but after we’d got our bikes unpacked and assembled it had turned rather grey. We kitted up and went for a short spin to clear the legs and the rain was already coming down before we left the estate. We cruised through it and rode for about an hour, feelings were good and the guys looked positive.
A super early 4:30am wake up call only brought more gloom as the rain and mist had persisted through the night, it was still raining and by the time we hit the start line we were all soaked through he shoes. I relished the conditions, and decided to make a go of it. I enjoy the tricky cornering and descents and looked forward to some speed.
Out the blocks the pace was high and I was soon hitting the limit in the bunch, the first 15km ticked over very quickly. A break went at 10km or so but I wasn’t in a position to follow. I bided my time and waited for the intial climbs to let up. As we crested the final hill, I went.
The descent was fast and long and perfect for me as the bunch nervously gathered speed, I pulled out some time quickly and set after the group ahead. I was in no man’s land but going strong, there were plenty of rollers, and not as technical as I had hoped but still I rode on in the hope the break slowed for me to join. I went off the front for 28km averaging 41.4kmph but it wasn’t enough. as the rollers turned to climbs the 5 man Bonitas train set up on front reeled me in.
I rejoined the bunch and still felt strong, the climbing hurt, but I was managing it and again making up an lost ground on the drops. Then, just as we were about to go over the final climb, my front tire hissed. Ugh… I sighed and slowed to see if it would seal. We had no backup car and I was a long way from home. It stopped, for a little while, hissed some more and finally settled at about 5 bars. The delay in those 30 seconds cost everything though and the bunch dropped over the other side without me.
Rob had bought a plot somewhere behind me and he rolled up as I was ready to get moving again. He’d ended up in a ditch after trying to avoid another riders crash and clipped a wheel. The tow of us set about a chase but we were both poked. We caught a few other dropped riders and joined forces, riding in a 5 man TT towards home. The downhill was nowhere near tricky enough to allow us to catch a slowing peloton, they were gone.
We cracked on in the driving rain all the way home, only seeing dry tarmac as we entered the final 5km. The race was riddled with pucntures and bad luck, but we still had a lot of positives to take away. Hopefully I caught some TV time in the time I was clear 🙂
Ed, Jos and Carl lead out the final pack and closed down the break of the day, but didn’t have the sprint firepower to end up on a high… We’ll be back, and we’ll be better 🙂