Friday, March 30, 2012

Cape Epic Day 5 - Stage 4... Getting By...

I'm not sure how I started todays stage. I woke up feeling absolutely terrible. I had diahorrea, my arm still hurt, I had saddle sores developing and with all of the above, my guess would be that, at best, I had about an hours sleep last night. John wasn't feeling much better and my breakfast consisted of a measly piece of rubbery toast with jam on it and a couple of little hash browns before I started dry reaching at the thought of putting anything else in my mouth. In fact, I didn't even brush my teeth because I was worried that putting my toothbrush in my mouth might tip me over the edge and make me vomit. I remember this feeling before... Such is the life of stage racing... But this was pretty bad. Somehow though, I ended up on the start line anyway. Our category had dwindled from 60 teams to 48 teams over the course of the race, and I had no intention of being the one to reduce those numbers further... To be honest, I'd go to hell and back before pulling the plug on this race... And I'm pretty sure that's what I did today. To be honest,I don't know if I would have made it without John. There's no way I would ordinarily go out for a ride feeling that unwell, but there didn't appear to be a better option going!

I couldn't have picked a worse day to be sick. We had nearly as much climbing as yesterdays stage, but in 40km less. It was brutal. I suppose we pretty much went into survival mode, and we agreed that we just needed to make it through the day and finish. It was heartbreaking watching the bunch disappear as we dropped off the back early on. We knew it would cost us placings, but at least not cost us the whole race. The climbs were steep and rocky with a lot of portaging required, and, being up so high in the mountains, the terrain was barren and unforgiving. Even when descending, the trail was often loose and rocky, requiring a great deal of concentration... Something I didn't really possess today in the state I was in... It was a constant battle. I just kept moving, taking the 103km ten at a time. John was so patient. The course didn't provide many opportunities for towing or drafting, and I knew he wanted to help, but the course just didn't suit it... Later on, I labelled todays course a "weakest link" course, and today, that was me. The even more ironic thing was that to get the rest I really needed, we needed to finish quickly, and that wasn't going to happen today... We were in for a long one.

It wasn't a completely lost day. There was some good stuff, too. I was actually eating really well at the water stations, which I needed to do considering I hadn't really had any breakfast. And, as has been the case the whole race, there was so much awesome support out along the course. It continues to amaze me the random, out of the way places that people have gotten themselves to just to cheer us all on, usually at the top of absolutely heinous climbs. Today, there was also what appeared to be a preschool that had set up camp in a marquee along the course to cheer us on and spray us with hoses, and someone had gone to the effort of transporting random pieces of art up to various points on the hill. I really liked the wire statue of a rider on a bike, but I think my favourite was the cow statue at the top of one of our many false summits which had a big sign that said "MOOOVE IT!" (i really dislike false summits, by the way).

The last 40km we were hit by a strong, nasty headwind... It reminded me of being back in Palmerston North... It was John's time to shine. We had a nice open road and I latched onto his huge manly frame by any means possible for an easier ride home (he cuts a bloody good hole in the wind, that man!)... I got the sneaking suspicion he was really enjoying the wind... Glad he did! The wind must have been heinous, because even when I was drafting him, I was still copping quite a bit. On a number of occasions I was blown off my bike, or at best, off the line I was trying to ride (much to the amusement of a couple of riders from Perth who were behind me... They said they were expecting to have to pick me out of the fence. Cheers guys!). We finally crossed the finish line, very broken, but happy to only have 3 days left. The bonus was that when we saw the results, we still came 13th in the stage! Must have been an equally tough day for all. We have, however, dropped down to 13th in general classification for mixed. A little hard to swallow, but glad to still be in the game.

Tonight is our last night in Caledon, which suits me just fine. It hasn't been my favourite race village. There is a huge walk to get to anything and every start from here is downhill and every finish is uphill! Below are a couple of pictures of the Caledon race village at sunset last night. Right now, it has just started pouring with rain, which should suit us kiwis just fine to tomorrow! Hope this tent is waterproof!


  1. Good on you, Megan, hang in there! We're all so proud of you guys...

  2. What Oli said x2! Hang in there guys - you are doing sooo damn well!