Luckily the weather played its part this weekend and there was no race cancellation. Anette and I did the 54km Rand Water Race for Victory. This was my first official cycle race and it was good.
The venue was close to home. It was at the circus tent where we rode the charity ride some weeks back. Access and parking was easy and good although very dusty at this time of the year. There were about 2000 riders in the three events (150km for elites, 110km and 54km).
We collected our numbers on Saturday morning so we were very relaxed when we arrived at the race. I must still get used to all the cycling paraphernalia… running is so simple…
Once we had all the gear on and the bikes ready, we went to the start area. There were different batches and it was all very well organised. We decided to fall in at the back of our batch as I was not that confident in how I would ride between all the other bikes.
We started at 08:50, exactly on time. The start was a bit slow and shaky with the lady right in front of me not getting her foot into her cleats. At some point she stopped dead in the road and I had to stop and hop off the bike. After this it was a smooth ride out of the start.
Anette ready to go!
On our way! (My 1st photo while riding)
The first part of the route was flat with only the headwind that made us work quite hard all the time. I relaxed more and more as we went on. I know this road very well and have run it a few times in the good old ultra running days. As the crow flies we passed about 1km from home.
Flat first part of the course.
The only problem I had, and this is for the whole race, was traffic. There were no road closures and if you know how aggressive South African motorists are towards runners and cyclists you will know what I mean.
We carried some Energade and Racefood with us and I’m glad we did. There was only one water point at 36.5km and I definitely needed some extra fuel to get me there. The main climb of the day started just after 25km and after the hard work on the flat first part it was good to get some energy in the body to help me up the 10km climb.
This is where the uphill starts...
I love hills! I’ve said this often when running and now say the same for cycling. I really enjoyed the climbing and I was very happy with the way my bike handled this as well. Again I was more troubled by the traffic than the hill. I think all the years of running while facing the traffic makes it hard for me to adjust to traffic coming from behind.
Anette at the bottom of the hill.
Once we reached the top of the climb we turned left and it was then about 1km to the water point. I stopped to get my water refilled and had some coke and chocolate. Anette did the same and I’m sure she was very happy to get that climb behind her.
Great water point!
From the water point to the finish was fairly easy with a lot of downhill and flat road to ride. I was feeling really good here and enjoying the ride. I felt a lot better than I thought I would. It was also good to know we were nearing the finish.
On our way after the water point.
We turned into the final stretch and from here it was a smooth 3km ride to the finish. I was really happy and enjoyed the last bit. We finished together and it was a great feeling. My first cycle race done!
We got our medals and were offered more to drink than we could handle. Coke, water, iced tea and strawberry milk.
Done!Tired but happy!
Festive atmosphere at the finish.
The Giant really served me well.
Nice medal, t-shirt and socks.
Overall I had a great time and it was an awesome experience. I will do more cycle races as we build up to the 94.7 in November. I have to get used to the whole cycle race thing.
Thanks for reading!
Have a great week!