Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Strategy matters.

Strategy, strategy, strategy. Those are the 3 most important elements of a successful Race to Rhodes. This begs the question - what constitutes success? The answer lies buried in the hearts and minds of each rider. There are those who plan to get to Rhodes in 6 days and enjoy the pleasures of each day smelling the roses as it were, arriving in Rhodes with a sense of true satisfaction. At the other end of the scale is the consummate competitor who wants the bragging rights of fastest person to Rhodes. I use the term "person" not in an attempt at political correctness but because over the years the race has seen its fair share of world class lady athletes who cycled circles around their male competitors.
In between those extremes are riders who have generally completed the Race Across South Africa and relish the idea of coming back and bettering their time to Rhodes. The Race to Rhodes is a microcosm of the longer race. It may even be argued that it is more distilled in the sense that it is the hardest portion of the full race route and the average speed over the ground is much slower than any other section of the race. To gain a proper perspective you must know that the current record time to Rhodes is a smidgen over 9 km/h. 2 years ago Trevor Ball and myself became only the 6th and 7th people to get to Rhodes in under 3 days (72 hours). We snuck in with an hour to spare and averaged 7.11 km/h from the start. On the way to Rhodes we slept twice, each time for 2 hours. While the Holy Grail is Martin Dreyers 56 hour record which will be hard to beat, the challenge is to finish inside of 60 hours. That being the case, I have to somehow shave 11 hours off my time from 2012. Given that we only slept for 4 hours, it means finding time somewhere else. And that's where strategy plays a hand. When to sleep, how long, and when to take the dark on most effectively.

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