Matthew de Jongh. What a sneaky mofo. For the last two months my race partner has been telling me how badly his training has been going. A steady stream of phrases like "Dude, you're going to klap me on the climbs", "Just remember to wait for me", and my personal favourite, "Ag man, we're just going to have a chilled ride and enjoy ourselves" have come out his mouth.
The lying bastard.
The starter gun for the 2013 Nedbank Sani2C hadn't even finished echoing through the mountains of Underberg before Matthew took off like a rocket. Naturally, this being a team race and everything, I had to keep up with him. And that meant for the first 20km had rode with a heart rate you could add a synth to and call speed electro. Not ideal.
"No matter," I thought, "I've always been crap on the flat bits. When we start climbing, I'll come my own."
Got to love the optimism..
Turns out Matthew is even better at climbing then he is on the flat bits. I managed to hang on, though to be honest I strongly suspect he let me catch up.
No matter. I scrunched my pride up and stuck it in one of those convenient little pockets our Team Cotic race tops have at the back. Besides, there was always the single-track descents and everyone knows how fast I am down the single-track descents. Great. Turns out there is a guy who's faster than me down single-track descents... and annoyingly he was wearing the same black-with-orange-stripe-and-the-word-COTIC-in-big-across-the-front racing top as me.
Basically then I spent most of the day trying to keep on Matthew's wheel. It wasn't easy. Copious amounts of Isostar drink and gels managed to herd me over the finish. Matthew, of course, was as gracious as ever and remains convinced my lack of pace has more to do with the fact that I'd never done Sani2C before, whereas he'd done it 3 of 4 times. Total bollocks of course. He's very definitley stronger than me and thanks to his efforts, our single-speed, rigid-forked team managed the undulating 85km route in 4h10min. A reasonably decent time.
But that was nothing.
Tomorrow is the biggie with the Day 2 route covering 100km with 1 705m of climbing. Expect another update after that... no doubt one that will be a lot whingy'er than this one.
I'm off to eat several kilograms of food. Until tomorrow...