Last Saturday, I was sprinting around Mont Sainte-Anne, Canada. It is Sunday and I am sprinting around Mossel Bay. This is ridiculous and I am definitely chancing it. Well, Henry Liebenberg and I are taking a chance.
Both of us have been denying that the jet lag thing exists but it is real. Really real. The last three nights have been tricky while naps during the day have been sublime (yes, I know that it is to be avoided, if possible, 😁).
To add to my ‘woes’, my cycling life was misplaced between Europe and Johannesburg. This almost became the first stage race that I attempt with a single set of cycling kit, one set of workshop allen keys and a check-in bag that weighs less than ten kilograms. I made countless phone calls on Thursday and even more on Friday but the standard response to any questioning was ‘no update’. This bag was nowhere in the system and I was doing my nut in. Then, miraculously, my Mother (the alternative number I provided, 🤯) received a call to say the bag is being delivered. I was doing flick-flacks despite not even knowing how to.
Thanks, Karine, for doing my washing. It came in quite handy in the end. I am still not best pleased about you jinxing my bag at the airport because it did not have a name tag on though, ☺️.
We arrived safely and it has been a buzz since yesterday morning. The weather is sublime and the South African sun, extremely angry. The race venue setup is brilliant, as always, and the prologue route such a treat. We studied it meticulously yesterday and again this morning. We wanted to win the stage. There is no point in keeping it hush-hush now.
My last fourteen posts have been long. They deserved to be. To spare those who have been patiently reading through them as well as my own sanity, I am going to keep these more brief. The only way I know how at this stage is bullet format. I’ll give it a go and see how it works out.
1. A good warm-up despite much uncertainty for us both
2. Start line head shaking denial at the discomfort to be experienced soon when the commissaire called ‘one minute thirty’
3. Henry led out, I set in behind and proceeded to smoke a power link
4. Took an age to fix it and set off
5. Forty meters later, genius Jan nukes a second power link
6. I die on Henry’s wheel going up the interminable concrete climbs on cold legs
7. Start to find some semblance of power output before heading into the single track
8. Consolidated through this section and ensured that we don’t brake more things
9. Enjoyed riding on the edge through the single track
10. Crashed heavily into a marshal who stepped in front of me after ushering two elderly people along
11. Hammered it along the boardwalk. The length of saliva hanging off my chin confirmed this
12. Botched a technical embankment kick because the four gears I had available to me were entirely inadequate
13. Pushed the heart rate into the one hundred and nineties and realised that my body was doing just fine
14. Flew through the finish line and continued on through the gate on the other side to do a loop to calm down before I meet anybody and say something that I would end up regretting
15. Donated five minutes and three seconds to the leaders and finished in thirteenth
16. Screamed in anguish and with clenched fists about once every two hours this afternoon
17. With gracious assistance from the folk at DSV, my bike is sporting a brand new chain for tomorrow
18. Now have a clenched jaw and fire in my eyes
Follow Jan Withaar here he first published this post on Facebook
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