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 Trip report -Transbaviaans 2010

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Andre Nel


Posts : 35
Join date : 2009-07-22
Age : 63
Location : Centurion, Gauteng, RSA

PostSubject: Trip report -Transbaviaans 2010   Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:40 am

Rodney tells us a story:

“One day there were four men”. And so the story goes on.
Yes, there were four men who were part of a greater group of guys and girls who decided to do the Transbaviaans 2010. Some don’t know what is waiting for them, others do know. Which one is the best, to know or not to know? I do not know.

Let me introduce the four men in Rodney’s story. Rodney himself aka “The 20 min. man”.
Martin (my brother 14 years younger than me.) Both Rodney and Martin are from the Cape. Then there was Renier, my spinning partner, who decided two weeks before the race that he is not ready and he will not be at the start. Last famous words, he was indeed at the start. Oh yes, and then there was me, the Old Toppie of the gang. Ten years older than the closest one to me.

The Transbaviaans is a 230km single stage team event. You have 24 hours to complete the distance. It sounds very easy if you think you only have to travel at an average of 10km/h. Things not always come out as easy as it seem to be.

Well, I decided to do the Transbaviaans again this year in preparation for the Desert Dash in December. My question is: why do we do things like this and Rodney will answer: “Want ons kan” and we paid for it.

I was much better prepared this year than last year, so it will be much easier. Ja right. One thing about a sportsman, it does not matter how fit he or she is, he will always push himself to the max of his fitness level. Stupid, very, very stupid. But there we were on the starting line - ready and over indulged in vitamins and supplements.

At 10:00 with the sound of the vuvuzelas, the race has started. I thought for a moment I am back at Soccer City. Ooops ja, it is now FNB City or something like that. The atmosphere is great. The front runners or rather cyclist, are off in a flash. Other poses for flashlights that go off along the route. Only 230 km to go and 24 hours to do it in. The race starts with a 30km climb. Luckily not that steep but tough enough to know you are riding a bike. Thanks for a tail wind, the weather is great and again Rodney shouts 20 min. It is a reminder to take a sip of your energy drink. These words of Rodney later came in to very good affect. My heart rate monitor does not pick up my heart rate and I know this is going to be a problem. I have to pace myself without it.

We stopped at checkpoint 1 for some Coke and “roosterbrood”, and we are 15 min off pace (Well, my own planned pace and not the teams planned time) and off we go again. While the wind is in our backs we must make use of it. In no time we are at checkpoint 2. Twenty minutes faster than I planned. In total we are now 5 min before time. Ag, this is going to be great. Boing!! Klap Baviaansneck (A short 4km but steep climb) you right where it hurts. No not there, but in your lungs and in your legs. Now was a great time to get off and push the bikes. Not for too long and we were ready to go again. Well that was me and Renier. Martin and Rodney kept on cycling as if it was a Sunday afternoon stroll on the bike.

We made it to Checkpoint 3. Time to have some sosaties, a bread roll and coffee. We got our warm clothes in our box that was transported to one of three check points. One to CHP 2, one to CHP 3 and one to CHP 4. I am very nervous because I know what is coming: The Mother of All Climbs. The name says it all. It is one mother of a climb. For 10km it is you, your bike, your lungs, your legs. Like last year, this is where I started to struggle, although I cycled more patches than last year. It started to get dark. All you can see is the lights of cyclists high up the pass and those right at the bottom. I decided to rather look down than up and kept on saying to myself, you could have been down there. The lights that my son built for the bikes, worked like a head lamp of a car. We hit the top. Well, suppose to be the top. A top with no blerrie end. At this stage I had enough of an uphill. Really this is not funny anymore. Why do I do thinks like this? “WANT EK KAN” and we paid to do it. This also does not sound very funny anymore.

We reached checkpoint 4. Mentally this is a great achievement although we were 38 min off my planned time. We again had Roosterbrood and soup but I needed Coke or Energade. But nothing at this checkpoint, how can they do it to me? At this stage I was so gatvol for Rodney’s 20 min. I could not stand the taste of Perpetuem anymore. I feel sick on my stomach although my legs are still feeling strong. We also put on dry clothes. The best feeling was the dry socks. We spent about 20 minutes at checkpoint 4.

From here it was downhill all the way to checkpoint 5. It is pitch dark but we hit speeds well over 60km/h and get airborne here and there. All you think of is: keep the rubber on the ground and take the right line going into the turn. This is where the good light came in very handy. Then it happens: what no cyclist want, I got a flat tyre. We stopped and put in a new tube. With Rodney’s help we were on our way in no time. We actually lost about 10 minutes.

What a relief to see checkpoint 5. My hands are now tired of holding on for dear life going down the pass. Here we spent some time to relax. Had some jacket potatoes with lots of salt and coffee. As at all the other checkpoints, we filled our water bottles. Only 50km to go. Ja, only. About 2 km away I had my second puncture. Martin and Renier carried on. Rodney and I changed the tube. This time we lost almost 15 minutes. Martin and Renier stopped because the distance is getting too big between us. Teams must keep in a time frame of 2 minutes from the first to the last team member. I started to get my 2nd, no 3rd, no 4th, ag, I do not even know, breath back.

We started with the Never Ender. Yes, it is 25km of constant climbing but I feel really strong. I got my rhythm and I try to keep it there. Oops, watch out - a snake in the road. All off a sudden everyone are awake. To make things more interesting the wind started to blow. First not that bad but as we go along it starts getting worse and worse. Luckily, from the side. Now it is white knuckle stuff to hold onto your handlebars, with the wind blowing you almost all over the road. Wow, down hill, oops watchout - man in the road. A guy in front of me lost concentration in loose sand and wind and had a bad fall. Nothing broken and he can carry on.

We had a brief stop at the unmanned checkpoint 6 to get our sticker. We reached checkpoint 7 at 00:55, 40 minutes behind my planned time. The wind now is howling. The last 20km is going to be tough, very, very tough. After some Coke and jaffles we started to tackle the wind. Rodney was the first to visit the bushes. The wind blew him into the bush. To follow was Renier who got blown of track twice and then my third problem, my light died on me. The last 15 km were going to be fun. Fortunately the road turn and we had the wind slightly from behind until we hit the top of the last climb. The wind was so strong we struggled to push our bikes into the wind. Then the next 4km was with the wind from the side/back. This helped a lot.

For the last 2km the wind was in our faces. With the finish in sight the wind could not dampen my overwhelming feeling of achievement. Nothing feels as good as to see the end. We crossed the line at 16 hours and 16 minute. Yes it was way over my planned time. So what, we finished in one piece and very tired. This is not a race, this is man, machine, guts, 230km and 24 hours. What do you get for your effort apart from the personal feel of achievement? A rather cheapish medal and a great Steers burger and chips at the end.

Will I do it again, YES I will, but not soon.

National Culture Guide
National 4x4 Trials & Overland Guide
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Posts : 19
Join date : 2009-07-23
Age : 62
Location : Thohoyandou

PostSubject: Re: Trip report -Transbaviaans 2010   Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:21 pm

Wow!!! What a great read: team spirit, perseverance and success. Impressive! cheers
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