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24 Apr, 2017

Old Mutual joberg2c Day 3 Report

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The communities on route always come out to support the riders!
Some of the magic that riders experienced on route
Riders make their way to the Sterkfontein Dam
The men that make this race possible, Craig 'Wappo', Farmer Glen and Gary Green!
Creating some Art!
Wappo always ready with a thumbs up!
Letshego Zulu pulling a classic Gugu pose on the finish line!
The third day of the Old Mutual joberg2c saw riders tackle the longest day of the 900km journey to the the sea, a 125km stage from Reitz to Sterkfontein Dam. What was a tough day turned into an even tougher day as one of our intrepid riders was forced to abandon the race due to a medical emergency.

The day started with a beautiful sunrise, Reitz was showing off. We started at the back of the bunch with a 7 km neutral zone before the real work of the day started. The roads were long and brutal, we hooked onto the back of a few peloton, which made life a little easier. At 33km in we hit the first water point, where we also hit the first signs of trouble to come. The water point was full of life and good cheer, we took a good break and then started off again.

A few km later after a few stops to stretch my partner, Jay let me know he couldn't carry on with his back in so much pain. Begrudgingly I left him and tried to make the finish. Chasing up the back of the field I passed Letshego Zulu and co just before water point two, they were a welcome sight and made riding alone a little easier. At the water point, I was met with an incredibly welcome sight, Jason from the Trailhead, was on hand to fix a minor mechanical on my bike while I went on to sample the Free States hospitality, the boerewors was exceptional! It was here that I met my stars of the day, the glasses cleaning crew, they did such a great job it's as if their lives depended on how clean your lenses were - well done!!

Getting back on the bike for more pain was a challenge, especially being alone, but then the body settled. I met up with friends we had met the previous day, Bruce and Jono, they had helped us the with a spare derailleur pulley. We worked well together with the long flat sand roads and odd bit of single track.

Finally, as if I knew it was coming the climbing abated at water point three, where I quickly stopped for some much needed refreshment. With about 25 km to go and 200m left of proper uphill climbing I set off. Knowing there was a massive decent in the cards, where I could make up some time, I said farewell to my riding companions and made my way up the climb to where you could see the Sterkfontein dam for the first time.

Here I caught up to two Kiwi girls we'd been riding with the day before. I'd stolen their flag the night before and returned it at the top of the hill with a smile. The trail that followed was pure heaven fast flowing and well layed out, I managed to get to 55kmph at one point. The joy was short lived as the next part was brutal as we climbed to the, 'The DAmmmmm wall'. As you crest the final climb you see the camp on the other side of 3km of water. Riding into a headwind on the dam wall was a hard finish to a tough day. Managed to get back to the race village in 8 hours or so.

It was a hard day out there, especially loosing my partner in crime, whom I am going to miss, but will soldier on.

Woza Day Four

Today the racing will test the riders’ technical skills as day four takes the joBerg2c off the escarpment and into KwaZulu-Natal. Highlights include Great Wall My China, the descent down Bezuidenhout’s Pass, and the final 20km of single track heaven into the finish at Emseni.

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