What a feeling!

You know that feeling you get the night before a LONG distance race that the race is not going to go well? Because of that feeling you toss and turn through the night and don’t get a great night’s sleep. Then you get to the start and you’re not completely confident in the amount of spares/nutrition you’re taking with you.

I had one of those race starts for The Pennypinchers Die Burger Lions Karoo to Coast 100km Mountain Bike Challenge. This is a 100km off-road race from UNIONDALE to KNYSNA via the Prince Alfred’s Pass and is not for the faint-hearted! It is an awesome route which highlights the difference in vegetation from Karoo bush to lush Knysna forests. I can highly recommend it as long as you are physically prepared for it. It has about 1,800m of climbing even though it is “downhill”. The ride is all on dirt roads but the distance and the heat can take its toll.

I decided the night before that I would pack light since I have only ever needed to use a spare tube twice in 4 years. I kept thinking that 100kms is a long way to get stuck without a spare tube when it’s needed, and that I should probably take one, and a tubeless puncture repair kit, and a pump, and tire leavers, and a tube puncture repair kit and … In the end I took what I could stuff into my jersey pockets:

  • 3 gels
  • 2 protein bars
  • 2 gas bombs & adaptor
  • Extra energy drink sachet
  • Tubless puncture repair kit
  • Quick chain link
  • 2 bottles with 32GI energy drink (thanks GoMulti!)

I woke up at 3:25AM on Sunday morning, 5 minutes before my alarm clock and 5 hours after going to bed. We (my brother-in-law was also doing the race) still had to drive from Knysna to Uniondale via George to get to register before 7AM and start our race before 7:30AM. It was cold and dark but clear. As we got closer to Uniondale the weather got better. We had plenty of time to register and get our gear in order before making our way over to the start. My brother-in-law started in the group ahead of me and there was no way I was going to catch him. I said I’d be happy with anything under 6 hours (my time last year was 6h05) to my brother-in-law who was chasing a 4h30.

At the start my knee feeling a little niggly and at 40kms was starting feeling stretched, along with my quads that felt like they were going to start cramping at any minute. Not a feeling you want with 60kms left to go and a few big climbs coming.

I carried on and the feeling of cramping eased and I just felt good, not like I could go forever or start pushing but good enough to hold the pace I was riding. What a feeling of relief!

I’m happy to say that I managed a 5h02, improving on last years’ time by over an hour but just not able to break the 5 hour mark.

All in all a great day on the saddle! I will definitely be back to do that race again.

But what does this have to do with Songo.info? Well nothing really but for the title “What a feeling”. The feeling I’m referring to is the feeling of satisfaction. In this case the satisfaction comes when you help a family member, a friend, a colleague, a complete stranger or a person in need. It is a sense of self-worth and being needed. You’re not helping them because they asked for it or wanted a hand out, you’re helping them because they haven’t asked for it and haven’t asked for a hand out.

Recently I had two people drop out of the teams for various reasons out of their control but instead of giving up they have committed to continue raising money and for that I thank them!

We are currently at R6,100 pledged with some time to go to the event. We’ll get there, I know we will and sometimes one just needs to let go a bit and things will fall into place. Generation UCAN SA have generously agreed to donate a percentage of sales generated from the promo code XTERRA to this cause. The more you support them, the more they will donate!

Get involved, if not in this, then find a cause close to your heart that you can be proud to support!

Posted by Steve Bryant

Email me for more information at gonemtb (at) gmail . com or find me on twitter @Steve_Bryant

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