Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Racing The Munga 2016 - Water Point to Water Point.

Skirting the Smartt Syndicate Dam I was 420 km into the race. I felt okay even though the temperature had once again ticked into the 40's. I wasn't hammering along as I had resolved to survive the heat of the day and make good use of the cooler nights.

It served no useful purpose to remind myself that I had 670 km to go. My thoughts were fixed on the next water point. That would become my approach for the duration of the race - one water point at a time.

The next water point was in fact an unofficial one at a farm. The owners, the Steenkamps, are enthusiastic about the race and supplied ice cold water to all the riders and made a point of filling their massive pool/reservoir so riders could cool off. I knew it wasn't that far beyond the dust bowl dam and pressed on eager to get my full of cold water. I arrived at the farm and was greeted by name - they were watching the race tracker on their iPad. More than that, they remembered that I had done the race the previous year. I found Brandon stretched out and fast asleep under the thatched afdak.

I too could have parked off under their lapa all afternoon but knew it wouldn't serve to get me any closer to Wellington. I needed to keep my momentum.

The next section through to water point 5 (WP5) brutalised me last year. I called it the "jeep track from hell". A year ago the 70 km from Britstown to WP5 took 7 hours and arriving there I lay on the grass for another 90 minutes. Fortunately I was on a better frame of mind this year and I had a pleasant ride through to WP5.

They had a selection of sandwiches on offer as well as an espresso machine. I gobbled a couple of sandwiches and poured 2 strong coffees down my gullet. Brandon arrived a short while later and as I was leaving Tim Deane pedalled in. I was waiting for Tim to make an appearance. He is serious competitor and I had him tipped for a top finish. The aspect of Tim that exceeds his toughness is his niceness. He is a really lekker guy. He had pipped me to the finish post on the Freedom Challenge Race Across South Africa earlier in the year so I knew I had to put in a massive effort if I wanted to stay ahead of him. To be honest, I expected that I would finish behind him as he has an impressive adventure racing pedigree so a race like The Munga is right up his alley.

I scuttled off with about an hour of daylight left very much aware that I had both Brandon and Tim on my tail. Up ahead Vaughn Roux was about 30 minutes ahead of Heinrich Visser and Jeannie Dreyer. That put me in 4th place about 90 minutes adrift of that pair with two racing snakes on my tail.

No comments: