Thursday, 6 December 2012

Roof of Africa 2012 - part 2

Friday night I slept like the dead, in spite of....' bastard fowl!'
I was bright and chipper at the start, right up until I asked a marshal my start position, only to be told I was listed as a DNF the day before and now had to start 135th or something.....REALLY !

The reality was that I should have started 51st, but due to a timing 'glitch', acknowledged by organizers, and was told at the time to come talk to them after the race....WTF ! Does not help me when I have to fight my way through all the slower riders I had already dealt with the day before up the side of a mountain.....I was pissed ! And even forgot to take my med's.

So it was on.... and I uncharacteristically whacked it from the word go, blitzing my way through slower riders sometimes 4 or 5 at a time, damn the ankle, I was charging!!

Where I encountered riders all switch-backing up a rocky step section, I would plant it straight up the face, where they were all hair-pinning around the end of a trench I would jump the thing, they would all meander thru a bushy stage on the path, I would bash and crash straight thru cross country, foliage caught up in bike and helmet flaying behind. Not pretty but I was getting the job done.

I had a good chuckle to myself on a good few occasions. The best was a horrible angled rock step at the top of a steep narrow off-camber pass called "music box". It was close to the first refuel so there were allot of spectators helping at the step as well as sitting across the valley watching. I saw the drama up ahead and dropped off the sheer rock-face left, down into the valley, over the stream and up the steep spectator littered climb on the other side, missing out all the tomfoolery. To the adulation of some on-lookers who gave thumbs up, and horror of others who gave looks of "hey you cant do that"....just did !

The day wore on with strength sapping sections coming and going and the only real lapse in concentration I suffered was when I lost the front wheel down a very steep, sandy, step off section and fell on my head then somersaulted over the edge down the side of the mountain with the bike landing on top of me...dumb-ass !

By lunch with only 30 km or so to go we knew I would not have a problem making the cut off so started riding a little slower, just getting it home. Then energy started to really fade a little in the early afternoon as I, in my usual haste forgot to eat at the last refuel....brilliant!

It worked on my mind for a while until I came across a mate and 'demanded' food. All he had was a rancid protein bar, good enough. Truth is it was like chewing on a big lump of window putty but it got me there I suppose.

The day and race finish was achieved with the hectically steep, rocky but spectator lined climb "bushman's pass" really took a big effort, but a awesome feeling having them all cheering and whistling you on.

Got home in 8 hours and 44 mins, even taking my support crew, brother Nic by surprise, he was still farting around down in the parking instead of being at the finish taking pics of my moment of glory..... NICHOLAS...!!??

Total race distance 400 km
Total time 18 hours and 35 mins
Position 53rd in Expert class
Silver medal

The Roof of Africa will always remain one of the toughest enduro races in the world, and its an awesome feeling to take on and master all the challenges it throws you. Or at least the experience of throwing yourself and bike at them.... with zest.

Thanks Nic, Enduroworld, Nomadik, ASAP Racing and School of hard rocks.
Bring on Roof 2013

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