Sunday, May 07, 2006

Fauresmith - Breakaway

Fauresmith is of course the opposite of the picture above. The highest skyscraper is probably the 50's style supermarket called ALLERMANS, which is a now defunct chain.

We left Bloem on a cold and wintry Friday night and arrived at just after 10pm. San Marie, Ben and Bianca had already given up on us arriving, so went to bed, but San Marie sent a final hopeful sms and Fransa's phone picked it up and then they met us at the train (there is a train and railway line that splits the main street in two. A very small, picturesque little town that reminds me of Clarens but on a smaller scale, and a more platteland sort of atmosphere (Platteland means flat land).

The race itself was interesting, and quite a few people. All of us did the 100km event, and I surprised myself by riding a lot better than I expected to. I've felt that the fietstoer had no effect on my legs or strength but it's obviously helped my climbing and endurance quite a bit. By about 10km I had already broken off the front of the bunch, and did so again 3km later and then a third time, to catch a group that had formed to catch me. On a longish uphill drag my 174 heartrate asked me to slow down and so the elite guys passed me and reamined about 100 or 200m ahead of me and I was just unable to close the gap. Then a runner up bunch came round and we reeled in the elite guys to within about 50m when some of our bunch split off and jumped ahgead of them making them pick up the pace again. I'm glad we didn't catch them now because they did gutter riding (riding against the side of the road so other guys can't benefit from slipstreaming) and I probably would have worked hard and fallen off anyway.

At 50km they were less than a km ahead of us, and I was feeling strong. At 80km my group just seemed very wary. I managed to pull clear of them and turn around and wait for them to catch up and then it happened again and again. By this time all my liquid was finished (and my second water bottle had fallen off the back) and we'd picked up two or three riders from the elite the group who were falling off. I asked the riders around me for some liquid and about 4 or 5 people offered me sips from their water bottles - I drank so much that I quickly felt quite bloated. And then I spotted two more guys that had fallen off the elite bunch (now only about 6 or 7 riders). Since my group were slowing down I just slipped off the front, caught the two in front, and found them to be pretty tired. The smaller guy quickly fell off on an uphill but the bigger guy, Bertus, worked well with me. As we turned into Jagersfontein I said, "Stay on my back wheel," and then flew down. When we looked back, the road behind us was empty. These Zipps are a dream to ride on.

Then Bertus and I worked together, him doing the work on the uphills, me providing speed and momentum for downhill (against a strong head and crosswind). When we raced down a long drag heading towards Fauresmith the chasers behind us were more than 1km behind us. I didn't think Bertus and I would sprint against each other, I thought I'd just let him cruise over ahead of me (because I was riding at 100%). But in the final few hundred metres, as the red 1000m board blipped by, then 800m, then 600m I started to feel my blood quicken, and heat up. I pulled ahead of him coming into the corner and then we both split and with 200m to go did a final burst. He managed to edge just ahead of me with about 30-40m to go, and I felt my muscles above my knees knotting and unlocking, but gritted my teeth and kept up the intensity - heart rate firing up to over 176 (that's very very high on a bike for me) and got across just ahead of him.

Needed about 20 minutes to recover! I think I came in 7th or 8th.

From there I went to the showgrounds where there was boeremusiek, a crocodile on a spit, kids taking pony rides, and people eating sosaties and pancakes. Sat in the sun while fluffy cold front clouds slithered across the icy blue sky. Was nice to sit there with Fransa and soak it all in together. Spoke to Wilba at one point (he was 6th on the tandem) and later to Hannes - who won a lucky draw of R200 and took a wrong turn on the MTB so that he rode for about 5 hours.

The place we stayed in was big and comfortable. Just a bit cold at night, especially when someone curls up with all your blankets.

We left last night after a very nice indoor braai - meat was delicious and salad too. San Marie invited a group of boys over - think there were four or five - which split us up into a kitchen and lounge crowd which marred things a bit for me. I was very tired and had a headache and just felt like a sort of cozy atmosphere - not a schoolyard setup. So any thoughts of spending a second night fizzled and Fransa and I hit the road at about 8:30pm. We drove by a Caltex petrol station (still open) at 8:45 in Jagersfontein and about 25km later the fuel gauge in the Ford appeared to be absolutely empty. So turned round and headed back and of course when we arrived back the petrol station was closed. I went across the road to the police, called the owner (who was at a wedding) and he called his son (who was at a party on a golf course) and about half an hour later put R130 into the car. The drive back was quite nice. Saw a lot of rabbits, a few jackals, and shooting stars.

All in a all a lovely break. Need to fill out forms for SA cycling champs now, keep up the fitness and try to achieve balance between work, health, sport etc.

DVD burned successfully, and with reasonably good quality, so am now going to burn another 69.
Quite a lot to still do today so need to get going. Will try to get the Fauresmith photos up no later than Wednesday. Maybe tomorrow night if things go according to plan.

Postscript: Fauresmith strikes me as the sort of place that will bustle and do well in a world without fuel. I'd certainly consider moving there and living there when chaos begins to erupt in the bigger urban centres.

Gave Sally the CD with all the SA TRuck and Barlow world images. Have heard very little from Katia, Yolande and Adele about graphic design so I think I'll so it myself. Saves me money plus I learn to do the whole process myself and can then do it more easily, and better each time. Have had a lot of fun making the DVD so will try to develop it into a kind've income earning hobbie if at all possible.

Final quote: It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly. - Mabel Newcomber

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well done on the race, sounds as if you had a great one!