My Mountain Biking Weekend

Thursday 11th November 2010

by catherine williamson

Well having just completed my first two South African mountain bike races I am finding anything over than lying down difficult! I’ve only my own competitive nature and lack of any technical skills to blame.

Saturday was the 60km Midrand Meander, too many meanders to be honest though still very enjoyable. The course was far from technical but I am struggling to get my head round riding bends on gravel and sand, all I’ve ever known is solid tarmac!! Even the cobbles in Flanders don’t move under your wheels!! Still there were plenty of straight drag sections to move through the field and get a gap big enough to make a hash of the bends without been seen! I was quite pleased with myself on the only two technical climbs jumping (actually stepping) off the bike and running up passing men who’d got half way before stopping. I finished 1st woman, in one piece and pretty shattered.

The next day I again saw 4 something AM and headed to Bubba’s Lodge a million miles away from anywhere. Following the handy Garmin most of the way then tagging onto the back of any car with bikes I again found myself down some gravel road with the thought that maybe next time I come back John should get a team jeep, in pink of course! The race was 70km, part of the Biogen Super Series and as yesterday was super organized with the course marked out really well and loads of marshals handing those lovely cold plastic waters packets, very useful as drinking on a mountain bike isn’t all that easy. This time I started near the front of the race and the pace was flat out along a road then onto a sandy path. I was nicely dragged along though had to sprint out of every sandy bend which I went rode in squares! About 20km in the effort from yesterday, the fast start and the sprints caught up with me. I had that ‘near cramp’ feeling and dropped off the wheel I was glued to in front. My dislike for time trialing forced me back into ‘danger zone’ when a guy who’d earlier crashed came past. I hung onto him and couldn’t believe it when he kept waiting for me out of those crazy deep sandy bends! Feeling a lot better having passed half way I did relax a bit more and started to come to terms that I had very little control in the sand, and that even if the bike slid I wasn’t going to fall off, even if I did I summed up it would be a fairly soft landing as long as I avoided the rocks and trees….I think far too much about these things when riding!!
I finished again 1st, 12th overall and all limbs in tack with just a few scratches from finding myself in the bush when my square turns went wrong. I was a little confused when sent in the direction of the medical tent until I saw I was splattered in blood colored energy drink!
I’m now on a mission before Wine2Whales to improve my technical skills so I don’t feel such an idiot and must learn to stop making very girly yelps every time I lose balance!

Catherine

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