Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cape Epic Day 4 - Stage 3... The Long One

Just a really quick post today... And photos to come later. The day started with us packing up all our belongings and loading our bags into the trucks for transport to our new "home" (ie. Tent village) in Caledon tonight. Sleep has been difficult to come by, especially with my freshly sliced up body from yesterdays accident and it's a fine line between keeping hydrated and waking up every 2 hours to go to the toilet. Breakfast is becoming hard work, too... I am losing my appetite and sticking oats and eggs and muesli in my mouth at 5.30am just makes me feel like I'm going to be sick.

Our 143km day started with 40km of road, a lot of it sealed, too... I picked the wrong wheel at the start and got spat off the back of the bunch, but was lucky enough to have John draft me back in, otherwise it would have been a very very long 40km! Our first climb was horrible... Really loose and rocky and saw everyone off their bikes hiking. As wrong as it may sound, at least it meant we didn't lose the pack up the climb. There were four major climbs today, but apart from that first one, they were mostly ridable. At 143km, I had been pretty nervous about todays stage. It's the longest stage they have ever put in the Cape Epic. The last few days had been pretty high intensity, and with John pushing, towing and giving me draft for the last three days, I had been riding well above my likmit, something I was really stoked with, but knew I couldn't sustain for 8 days. We backed it off a little bit today, and it didn't seem quite so bad as we had expected (although, like I said, I was pretty lucky to have the John train). I also did a much better job of eating and drinking today and managed to keep myself quite consistently fuelled throughout the stage... I'm getting bloody sick of sports drink and gel and anything else they have at feed stations, but it's all functional eating. Trying to keep it all down with a cocktail of grape flavoured sports drink, muffin and vegemite sandwich sloshing around in my tummy is a task in itself!

Our accident yesterday had taken it's toll on my body. I was initially pleasantly surprised at how good my body felt when we set off for the morning, but once we started hitting the rough descents, the jarring against the arm that had been so kindly chewed up by the road by incredidbly painful. It felt like someone was sitting on my handbars with a blunt knife stabbing my left arm every time I descended over a bump. I was gritting my teeth with the pain and I could feel it exhaust a huge amount of my energy. I tried to relax and ride loose, but inevitably, other parts of my body bore the force to compensate for the injury, resulting in me needing to double my nightly massage appointment from here until, the end of the race. Hopefully the pain settles down over the next few days.

We finished in 8 hours 16 minutes and 13th place for the day and are still sitting in 11th place for GC in the mixed category (albeit by a huge margin of 44 seconds!). It's probably pretty timely to point out that if I didn't have such astroing teammate as John, we probably wouldn't be sitting so far up the rankings. That guy is a machine!

Anyway, tonight and tomorrow night we are in Caledon. The race village here is a lot more spread out than the one in Robertson and we have to walk bloody everywhere! Tomorrow is 103km day, but at 2600m of climbing, it's going to be bloody tough. Time for me to try and get some shuteye. More stories and pictures tomorrow!

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