I ended up riding the Cape Argus for the first time because I am too stupid to ride a sled. We were in December in January in Germany and I used my foot to break – resulting in a torn meniscus. Now usually this time of the year I train for the Two Oceans Half Marathon, but because of the injury I could not run. But I could cycle and my friend had a spare entry and managed to change it to my name – and even better – managed to flirt enough with the marshals to let me start with her – it was her 10th time. So 8.20am it was. We left home (Scarborough) before 6 – I was sooo nervous I could not eat a thing! On the way into town we saw the fast batch flying down Wynberg hill already. The start felt like Australian kettle herding 36000 cyclists being herded from kraal to kraal. Every 4 minutes a batch started and you could walk again. It moved so slow that I thought there are no way we getting to the start in time, but we made it and when they started counting down the atmosphere was unbelievable cool, everyone cheered. My seasoned partner put a serious starting speed on. The first signs are sooo depressing…only 100km to go. Wynberg hill (Whineberg hill) was the first challenge.
I struggled to keep up with my friend – but there was no way I would stay behind, I feared by myself I would just give up and wait for the sweeper bus. Finally it was downhill…but right into the wind. Not just any wind but the vicious Cape doctor with at least 30km per hour. I learned to find the possible biggest person and hang right on their tale. Pretty scary but better than paddling like mad! The first serious hill was Smitswinkels bay. Some lady asked if that was the notorious Suikerbossie hill – sorry still 60kms to go. Then lovely downhill with backwind to Scarborough where my family waited for me with chocolate and grapes and flags. Never had such a nice support group. Very very tempting to just stop there. But again thanks to my faithful friend I swung back in the saddle and on we went. My friend spotted her son and stopped…I put up my hand to get to the side but this elderly man missed my sign and crashed into me and fell. Luckily he was unharmed. Chapman’s peak was the next challenge. I will never drive it again without thinking of that day. I have driven chappies 100 times…and still knew nothing about it. At every corner I thought we were at the top. You think you give your last. Luckily our mountain bikes are great climbers. You just try not to bump into anyone else…so much to the scenery. Who cares? You just want to make it up there and the down without crashing into something and not slowing down. Every meter less paddling counts. And now it got hot. One splash of water in the mouth, on our head….
By that time one after the other body part starts hurting. First my knee, then the neck, then the back, then my thigh muscle started. Cramping…and still scary Suikerbossie hill ahead…you can hear people dreadfully mumbling the name.
The biggest support by bystanders was in Hout Bay…and we needed that to get up that feared hill. 2 km straight uphill…but it feels like 200 kms! People started walking, there where physios everywhere massaging sore calves. It goes on and on and on. Finally you are up there and you cannot believe….only 13kms to go and no more hills. My relentless friend gave us some downhill rest before we went into the final sprint. And we gave all we had. We pumped it! The last 5kms felt like the longest in my life but we kept on pushing it. And finally it came: THE FINISH! We did it. And under 5 hours thanks to my fast friend. We deserved our beautiful medals and she even got a special gold one for her 10th race. It was worth every second and I will make sure I also get a gold medal 2023. I will not miss a race again!