I rarely sleep well on the night of a big race, I guess the nerves, the anticipation, the excitement of the event just builds up and with all of this my mind is so busy it doesn’t get the rest it needs. Maybe someone should just knock me over the head next time, that way I’m bound to sleep 😉
Normally before any big race I try to get in a few spinning classes and a leg loosener in the day before, the week building up to the Argus resulted in, well, sleeping… I just could not get up early to go cycling, guess my body was more tired than I thought. All those early morning gym sessions and Saturday rides caught up with me, I think sometimes one just needs to chill and do nothing. I did manage to get in a ride the Sunday before the race, having arrived in Cape Town the saturday prior, with my Aunt, Chris and my Aunt’s friend. Heading out from Newlands towards Hout Bay and up Chappies to the top, from what I
hear stopping at the top to socialize with the other cyclists on a sunday morning is the thing to do – so much for training… So after a quick break, we headed back down and towards Suikerbossie for some more hill climbing, then back down through Camps Bay, Clifton and back home. Chatting to Chris after the ride, he decided to inform that Suikerbossie was a breeze and that come Race Day he would nail it to which i responded ‘Just wait till Sunday’. As mentioned the rest of the week no training was attempted, although lots of sight seeing (touristy stuff – other blog/s to follow) was done.
Back on topic… Race day. Having parked the car at my Uncle’s office in town it is just a few short km’s down to the start line. Although this is nice to warm the legs up, it is often short live as by the time you get into your pen with all the other cyclists and slowly make your way to the start line your legs have cooled down again, as I had come to find out the first few km’s into the race.The one thing I love about any sport really is the camaraderie amongst fellow sportsmen, talking to others at the start usually makes the time fly by and even during the race. At this point I was glad to have run into my fellow club mate Tony, this being his first Argus I gave him a quick run down of the route and what hills are to be expected. I mentioned to him I was looking for a 3 hour finish and for himself it was just time in the saddle prior to the Ironman. As the start gun went off we bid each other adieu and good luck. As I mentioned about my legs not having time to warm up – I felt them working hard right up to the top of Top of Edinburgh Drive, pushing hard to reach my split times and to get my legs warm which of course only happened along the M3 – damn you cold legs. At this point I knew my 3 hour mark was out but i was still on track for a 3h30 finish, good enough for me! I had found a nice group to ride in but this group was quickly lost on Boyes drive clearly dividing those who had put some serious time in the saddle.
Boyes drive went rather nicely, the climbing was good and I was warmed up nicely by this point. Heading out the bottom of Boyes and towards FishHoek was a nice stretch as well. Coming into FishHoek though I felt a tap on my shoulder only to realise it was Tony saying to me ”Hey! What you doing? Let’s go!”. (Time in the saddle? Psssh). Breaking away from my group I slipped in behind Tony and we started heading towards Simons Town and then eventually Smitswinkel (the next big climb). Having ridden with Tony before on club rides I discovered he is a really strong hill climber and have since found that riding with someone like this makes a world of difference riding up hills. Having said that, riding up Smits with Tony was a breeze, myself leading the first half of the hill and Tony taking the second part.
From the top of Smits towards Misty Cliffs is a fast part and having found a nice group to sit in, we were easily averaging between 40 – 50km/h. Just before Misty Cliffs though the group dispersed and I found myself riding alone, trying to find another group to stick in at this point was hard as they were just not keeping a nice pace. Deciding to leave them rather I pulled out and set my own pace, before long as with is any race, you’ll have a number of cyclists sitting behind you. I don’t mind carrying groups but everyone should take a turn up front and lead for a while, it just makes it easier for everyone. Having carried the group right up to the hill leading up to Sun Valley, I decided I had enough and motored forward leaving them behind and passing 2 other groups in the process, I love hills (Ok it’s more of a love hate relationship really) but still I love hills. Want to break away from a group, become a strong hill climber!
Through small Chappies and even big Chappies I held a nice pace going up, coming down the other side though was a different story. It was then that it my ankle hit me, I stopped halfway down and adjusted my shoe, stretched my foot quickly and then carried on and headed through HoutBay towards Suikerbossie. At this point my family was supposed to have been up the hill somewhere ready to swop out a water bottle but of course I just missed them and they had apparently arrived a few minutes after I passed. No worries though as there is a water point at the top, at which point I stopped and topped up my water bottles (Suikerbossie, psssh, maybe next year 😛 ). At this point I just want to mention I was at the top at 3h00, still on track for my 3h30 finish, however the last 15km were the worst for me. My left ankle coming back to haunt me again around Camps Bay, meant my pace was slightly slower and having done the last 2km (the pain was that bad by then) literally with my right foot only.. haha 🙂 I did cross the finish line in 3h38:18, 8 mins off my 3h30 mark but considering my ankle was harassing me I think i did alright 🙂
Looking back on the race, it wasn’t my best race and it wasn’t my worst. I did however smash my time of 4h46 from last year’s race. I was pretty happy with my average speed of 30km/h up from my 94.7 average of 28km/h which puts me closer to my sub 3 hour mark for this years 94.7 Cycle Challenge. One of the downsides of the race for me was that there were alot of crazy cyclists out there, gents and ladies just hold your line when you cycle – if you are going to move check that your not cutting someone off. Nearly witnessed a few accidents right in front of me as a result of that. As for my ankle, I think running on the beach a few days before a race is a no-no unless you live on the beach, the running and beach sand combo had definitely worked some muscles that I now know exist. Next year I think I shall head down a day or two before the race, that way I will ensure I get some exercise in before my race as well 🙂
One of the highlights of the race though was running into
@Scott_Tait at the finish while waiting (2 hours) for Chris to finish.
And then just some photo’s of myself (in my RFAD kit) and Chris. Big ups to Chris though for finishing in 4h20 for his first Argus with very little saddle time.
Until next year Argus, my sub 3 hour is waiting for me