For the past six months I have been putting in as much training as possible for Sani2C, most would say I left it very late as prior to beginning my training I had completed all of two MTB races and 947 road, with little riding in-between.
I have always loved riding a bike, it takes your mind to a place one cannot describe…just fitness levels always got in the way, it’s hard work to get fit AND stay fit! Thankfully I am over that hurdle and enjoying the freedom of my MTB.
To go back to training for this great race, I was to ride with my husband so we had to work out our “communication” while riding…so as to not ‘accidentally’ push each other off the edge of a mountain ;o) We did most of our training at Thaba trails in Alberton, it is really good for hill training and rocky terrain as well as technical (if you can ride it). We had moments where I was ‘moulded’ to understand how to ride properly…no more stopping, pedal pedal pedal…this all helped to result in a more enjoyable Sani2C, just a pity I was still on the slow side.
We saw friends off at the start of the Trail and the vibe created Max Cleur was amazing to say the least, the nerves started to kick in as we watched the crowds sorting themselves out…getting to know where to do what…it would be our turn to start the following day…
Day 1 was a chilled start for us…helps being further back in the bunch. My highlights for Day 1 would include the Oak orchard singletrack, feeling as though we were the only team on route (some parts we couldn’t see anyone around us), the floating bridge (oh my soul thank goodness I didn’t go swimming), more singletrack and more singletrack and some awesome downhills. The route has the ability of keeping you occupied, before you know it twenty kilometres is done and dusted.
After six odd hours of riding 80km, we pulled into McKenzie to experience our first real taste of camping! It was so cold but after a good dinner, massage and plenty vanilla mmmilk’s later we slept very well considering.
Day 2 was an earlier start for everyone, we did have 100km to cover within the specified cut-off times. This was to be the longest distance I have ridden to date. The first task of the day was to descend into the Umkomaas valley, the second was to climb out of it! Our first thirty kilometres was absolute bliss, singletrack on the edge of a mountain (looking down at the Umkomaas river), switchbacks, more rocky singletrack through dense forest and finally along the river and on to the hard task of the day…climbing out, crossing the river many times making some interesting mud sections to negotiate. The Nando’s waterpoint was welcomed with open arms after the huge effort to get up there and needed as ‘Push of a climb’ lay waiting and boy did it live up to it’s name! The road down to Jolivet was wonderful…emphasis on down to the finish after nine hours on the bike for day2! More food, vanilla mmmilk and massage before sleeping on an incline in a macadamia orchard ;o)
Day 3 I would struggle to get going, two days and 180km had taken it’s toll, but when I saw a rider that had strapped his arm in his camelbak as the previous day he had dislocated his shoulder and torn ligaments but was riding to finish, I forgot about all my little problems! We were presented with sugar cane fields, where you could really pick up some speed but also get slowed right down on the next turn by a short sharp hill! Plenty more singletrack and even some cows I had to stop for before we could pass. The pace was fast and the more often I saw a glimpse of the sea the faster I pedalled. Riding the bridge over the beach at Scottburgh was an awesome feeling…knowing it was not too far to the end. The sting in the tail was the last climb up to the school, if it wasn’t for everyone on the sidelines cheering us on…I probably would have walked it!
Thank you to everyone who made this 253km Adventure such a memorable one, I achieved many things I thought I was incapable of doing!
Just a note…The post Sani depression is very real…it is very hard going back to your normal routine after three days of MTB heaven!
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