After taking some time off the bike and getting some windy base miles in the legs over the Christmas holidays, the day dawned for the first race of the season only two weeks after the Christmas pies had run out. Needless to say I was not in the shape of my life and was still struggling with anaesthetic after-effects from my operation in early December.

I jumped into the start pen in A group sporting my new Aurecon colours. Thankfully the wind was up in full force and this helped me tremendously as the climbing goats would get held up on the two major obstacles of the day.

As expected the assault on Ou Kaapse Weg was limited by the wind and i made it over the climb in touch with the leaders for the first time in my life, I showed my appreciation by attacking on the descent but it was playful and wasted as I’d never get away there. Through to Ocean view drive it was plain sailing with the wind and again a side wind didn’t hurt over the hump to Witsand where again we turned into the teeth of the wind. I held back and sat in all the way up to Red Hill triangle, again the wind holding up the climbers from laying down too much pain, then it was a fast frenzy of chase and attack up the final slopes of Smitswinkel.

about 2km from the summit a small group went clear and hovered 50m off the front, I could see the gap was not being closed as the chase group tired, shortly before the crest I launched to cross over the gap taking Luke with me. On the fast descent we didn’t take long to get in touch, and immediately began to work the break clear. I could see by the calibre of riders present that this was going to be the move of the day.

We rode homeward at upwards of 60kmh ave and pressed a 2 minute gap, then the infighting began. Alister Davies attacked up the rise to the golf course at Simonstown, I took up the chase and close him down, then Luke and Neil attacked together and stayed clear right until Sunny Cove.

The infighting had slowed us down and John Wakefield and James Tennant gassed it to close on us alone by the time we exited Fish Hoek. I was hoping for a head start up Boyes Drive but I couldn’t get away, and the steep 15% gradient sent me out the back and the rest of the break into pieces as well. I rode at my own pace and hoped to pick up some riders that had dug too deep.

I caught 4 riders at the Westlake turn, unfortunately Clive who had crashed earlier, Luke and Neil. Craig Boyes crashed as we turned and I swerved to avoid him. We needed to maintain our gap on the chasing bunch and worked together for the final 5km. Luke got up to sprint and I jumped after him, I rounded him with 100m to go and stayed clear to finish 9th.

Overall I was happy to have made the move and finished strong so early in the season, hopefully more to come.

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