My lead up week to this race was less than ideal, my daughter got sick, followed by my wife, and I knew what was coming. I developed symptoms on Wednesday night and by Thursday morning my tonsils were inflamed. I got to a pharmacy…quick. I bought anti virals, immune boosters and anti inflammatories, litres of orange juice and vitamin C boosters. I’m pretty sure I quadrupled my RDA on everything, including food. I chowed like it was my last week on earth. My head was stuffy and nose was blocked and I ran a mild fever by Friday. Luckily it seemed to break around lunch time and the high from the meds was making me feel pretty invincible. By saturday monring I could ride again, I spun, my nose burned but I had one more day recovery.
On race day I felt OK, not great but rideable, the weather was perfect and I was looking forward to the race. Bonitas had arrived but luckily no-other Pro teams came down. In my current state that would have been tickets.
The race towards the climb of Bothmaskloof was uneventful, some attacks but nothing too hard. I attacked hoping to get away before the climb, I was shut down, followed by Jos who got closed down quickly too. The David Garrett capitalised on the speed lull and slipped away alone at the turn. Nobody chased as the pack mellowed to recover a little before the onslaught of the hill to come.
The initial slopes of the climb were not too hard, I sat 2nd wheel hoping to be close to the front before the fireworks. I managed OK until the 1st attacks came from Bonitas. I held on and maintained a position in the back of the bunch as it began to string out on the steeper slopes. I couldnt hang on for long, my power was down and I was fading, I ground outthe rest of the hill to go over near the back of a bunch. Ed Greene had a painfully timed puncture on the crest after staying with the lead bunch, I arrived in time to help him descend back into the bunch ahead.
The work started there and never ceased, 4 RSAWEB riders now joined forces in the bunch we caught, Rob, Peter Ed and I rotated turns like a TTT, with little interspersed help from the rest of the riders getting sucked along behind us. We were chasing another well oiled machine including two RSAWEB riders Carl and Jos, who were feverishly working to catch the Bonitas train and DG ahead. there was precious little time, 30-40 sec at most but the pace of each group meant closing the gap was impossible.
Bonitas ended up taking the honours, Carl and Jos managing high positions in the chase group. Rob and I took the sprint in our group for a solid days work, but not what we wanted to be spending energy on. I had to be content with my ride after the illness robbed a lot of power.
R&R for the week ahead of Amashova to come.