Over training is over rated, rest better so that you can train even more" - Nick Yster Bester

Friday, November 27, 2015

Finish Foto Friday

These photos from the finish tell the story of the day Anette and I had at the 94.7 on 15 November...

Happy Friday! Have a super weekend!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

94.7 Cycle Challenge Race Report - 2015

Work and life has been crazy since Anette and I completed the 94.7 Cycle Challenge, but finally my report is done. It's a bit lengthy but please read and enjoy...

I know this is a big race and not being a fan of big events I prepared myself mentally for it. Well, I thought I did, or maybe it is just me. I was not prepared for the masses and chaos at the start. People and bicycles everywhere!

Looking towards the start.

We arrived quite early which was good. You have to arrive early for this race. Traffic and parking can be a problem, but you also need to give yourself enough prep time once at the venue.

Early morning at the venue.

We did the toilet queue which took long and then all our normal pre-race prep and checks. Our start time was 08:01 in group W. The elite race started at 05:30 already. The winner finished the 94.7km before we started in 02:15. Amazing for this very tough course.


Pre-race selfie.

The venue is at a very newly developed office park. The only problem is that most of the property is not developed yet and there are lots and lots of thorns where we had to park. This meant lots and lots of punctures for riders even before the start.

Tons of thorns in the grass parking areas.

As we made our way to the start there were dozens of riders next to the road fixing punctures. It's a long walk/ride to the start. There are so many people that they have to spread things out a bit towards the start. More than 33000 cyclists started the race this year.

Making our way to the start.

As we were getting closer to the start (about 400m), Anette realised that she had a puncture in her front wheel. Bummer! The only thing to do was to change it as quickly as possible. Luckily two of Anette's colleagues were with us at this time and they quickly helped us to change the tube. Thanks guys!

By this time we had only 5 minutes before our start with 400 meters and 4000 cyclists between us and the start. We decided to join the batch after our's that started 5 minutes later.

Puncture fixed, now to get to the start!

The start was, as the rest of the morning so far, quite chaotic. Just too many people! This is one reason why I will decide very carefully if I do this race again. Just too many people!

Waiting for the start.

There was a long and quite challenging hill right at the beginning and I was surprised to see people pushing their bikes up this hill after only 1,5km of riding! I think they were in for a hard day...

After 2 to 3km things eased off and we could start settling in a bit. I could take my first in-race photo of the day!

On our way and settling in.

We cruised to the first waterpoint without any issues. Anette had to make a P-stop here. There were enough toilets at every waterpoint which was excellent.

First waterpoint.

After Anette's stop we were on our way, deciding to take water and drinks at the next point.

The route was undulating with some long hills but also a few nice descents. The first half of the race climbs to the highest point of the race so naturally there are some good climbs.

Second waterpoint.

The best part of the race for me was the full road closures. No traffic on the route at all! I enjoyed riding through intersections without the worry of what the traffic is doing. This also allows the race to ride on some of the highways around Johannesburg and after the road closures this was my next favorite part.

Onto the highway!

Riding towards Johannesburg CBD.

The third waterpoint was just after the first part on the highway. Here it was really busy! Looking at all the riders I just knew it was time to relax and enjoy the race. Time should not be a concern. Enjoying the experience is what this race is about.

Busy waterpoint.

Every waterpoint had enough toilets, entertainment and a small workshop/technical assistance point where your bike can be checked and fixed if needed. Even though it was very full and busy, we still got through the waterpoints fast enough for what we wanted to do.

Still looking good!

Moving out of the third waterpoint.

The first testing hill came just after the third waterpoint. The top is also the highest point of the race. I enjoy the climbs and moved up the hill quite nicely. The only real problem for me was the high number of riders around me and the problem it created when someone just in front of you suddenly slowed right down or even stopped on the hill. There was no space to move around someone at times and I lost my momentum often. I suppose the solution to this is to ride with the faster people...

Somewhere arounf the highest point of the race.

Once over the hill we dropped down towards the highway again. We were now passing Johannesburg city central on the eastern side. I stopped on the highway to wait for Anette who got left somewhere between all the people on the hill.

Johannesburg from the east.

I loved riding on the highway!

We turned right and passed the city on the southern side. The route took us off the highway for a quick loop through downtown Johannesburg.

Into town.

Through Gandhi Square.

Back South to the highway. I worked in the building on the left some years ago.

We went onto the highway again riding west. I really enjoyed the views of my city like this. I was having a lot of fun.

I waited a bit for Anette again who asked me to stay with her from here as she was not feeling her best.


We turned north and passed the city on the western side now. Officially, we were on our way back to the finish!

We went through New Town and over the Mandela bridge. Here I could do some train spotting!

Yay trains!

Mandella bridge.

More trains!

We were now riding towards the Johannesburg Zoo. We stopped a bit longer at the next waterpoint and had some coke while our water bottles were filled with cold water.

I knew the route would become more testing from here, going up and down all the time. I decided to ride behind Anette and let her dictate our pace.

Testing hills ahead.

We arrived in Randburg and it was here that Anette had her first really bad patch. She had to get off her bike and push for a while. It was very hot and we just decided to take it slow and easy from here.

Randburg CBD.

The race is extremely well organised. In the last 30km the waterpoints are not so far apart and very well placed on and between the hills,

About 25km to go.

Everyone was hanging around the waterpoints longer and longer...

Anette not having fun only...

I want the jersey of that rider behind me!

Many people were pushing their bikes up the hills in the last 20km. This is certainly the most difficult part of the route and with 75km already done it was not all plain sailing to the finish. The wind was aslo very strong now, making it even harder.

Very hot and very windy.

There are a few brutal hills in the last 20km. With the wind howling through the trees and people hanging on to their gazebos next to the road we slowly made our way towads the finish.

Anette had to dig deep here. But we kept going and the kilometers were slowly counting down. I must admit I was feeling great and even though I could feel the long hours in the sun and wind, I felt good and enjoyed the experience we were having.

Some fun on the giant.

Somewhere at the roadworks here I had a little tumble. Someone stopped in front of me and I could not stay upright. I fell on the road but did not feel it or injured anything. Lucky escape!

On some of the last hills there were lots of very tired riders. People were just sitting on the pavement with their bikes on the ground. The route, heat and wind had taken its toll.

Tired riders on the side of the road.

The KOM (King of the Mountain) mark is at about 3 to 4km to go. Not a nice hill to get with more than 90km behind you...

One of the last hills.

We pushed on and Anette had a mental battle just as hard as the physical one she was fighting. Finally the last hills were done and we cruised over the finish line. It was done!

Anette receiving her medal.

We did it! My first 94.7 Cycle Challenge in the bag! It was hard and conditions were tough. Not pretty, but done.

At home with our medals. Hot and tired but very happy.

Very nice medal.

Profile from my Suunto.

Will I be back? I suppose I will. The only negative for me...Just too many people!