After an easy week on the bike, the Durbanville High School race was the first of the final double weekend. Unfortunately there were no points tables out for the league standings, so we’d just have to race it as best we can.
I was not trailing in points, in 2nd place after missing the Hill Climb TT. I needed the sprint bonus points. We decided to race hard and try use the wind and flats to try break away.
The rolling course and uphill sprint were not going to suit me that well, but I tried some early breaks which all came back. Obviously I was a marked man, but I still tried to wear my opponents out instead of just relaxing in the bunch. Around half way my team mates Robby and JP managed to get up the road in a small group of 4. I let the break go out and waited for the chasers, nobody volunteered.I attempted to go across to the break as we rounded the corner onto Voorpaardeberg road, but couldn’t get all the way there and burnt a match doing so.
Only Cycle Lab had missed out and they chased for a few KM before giving up into the headwind. They brought it a bit closer and one or two moves went off the front, Cycle lab’s Neil Bradford was trying to cross over and I followed the move to let him help me too. He faded and I kicked over to the break, but now everyone was chasing us both and soon the break was nullified.
The bunch took a breather at the silos until the turn where the pace hotted up again, I was recovering from my efforts and Shaun was now making me pay for it. We entered the last 3rd of the race and the final rollers were bigger and steeper, Craft hit hard and I was soon in the red. JP had recovered and was piloting me around, through the dead wheels and blocking all the wind for me as we made our way back to the head of the pack. I knew I had to hang on and I gritted my teeth and just followed, head down.
By the time we reached the turn off into the final run in I was feeling pretty dead, and the cramps were coming on too. i ate and drank and sat out of the wind in JP’s shadow for a while. Meanwhile Robby was going nuts off the front and making everyone chase. I sat in and followed diligently, but guys were now taking pot shots at getting to him and I had to follow, again burning more matches.
In the final 5km we had managed to keep it all together and I braced myself for a sprint, uphill onto a blind plateau and with no shoulder, and to make things worse we had caught all the short route riders and they littered the fast inside line, we’d have to change plans. I told JP to go up the right, I followed but got edged out by Moolies, and Chris Botha was iron fistedly holding onto Moolies’ wheel, so much so that they touched on the climb, I was further left and boxed in as we climbed the final 1km to the sprint, just then, Shaun launched into a very early sprint, coming from the right and I had to respond right there, Chris came over behind him and parked in front of me while Neil and Moolies accelerated away. I managed to get around Shaun behind Chris and crept up to hold on to 5th place ahead of Shaun, barely in the points. Disastrously though, both Neil and Moolies had scored maximum points and would be right behind me on the GC going in to the final race.