Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cape Epic Day 5 Stage 4 - The Grand Canyon Day

Incredible scenery of the Western Cape, South Africa

Day 5 Stage 4

Today looked like it would be the end of our race. I took a bad line and there was a 5 foot across ditch with vertical walls that was about 4 feet deep. The ditch was next to the fire road we were turning on to. I was committed to save a bad crash since I was coming down the hill about 30 mph so I had no choice…I jumped it. My front wheel just cleared but the back wheel hit the brim and stopped me. The impact crunched and put a big ding in my back wheel. It was unbelievable- the tubeless tire was still on and intact, even after I jumped on it. But I thought the race was over with.

At that point, I put a tube in, straightened the wheel as much as I could, and we watched as all the people were passing us. We were on a flat road and people were grouped up and we lost any hope of finishing as well as we had in the last few days. The wheel and tire worked and we made our way to the neutral support zone. We just wanted to finish so we went carefully and luckily it wasn’t too rocky and when we made it to the neutral zone, the leaders and our teammate was there. We expected Brandon because we had just passed Max. Max and Brandon were working with Christoff and Burry hoping to help them finish and keep them in good time. Max and Brandon, after all, are just riding and using this as a training for the Sea Otter next month.

Anyway, Christoff gave me a wheel and we were set. We later got another flat on Christoff’s wheel and when I was fixing it I found a gel pack inside the tire and a plug. He had used a gel pack and plug to repair a tear and left it in there!! Ha!

Johnny and I were in about 40th position or back further. I was not telling him but was thinking in my head that this was a good effort to get to this spot in the standings and we needed to get it back. Maybe he just knew it but somehow we had to make up a lot of time. I put the hammer down and Johnny kept up. I depended on him to be there and I knew he could do it. We slowly passed team after team. We passed at least 18 teams and finished 18th today and 15th overall. We really put it together and kept back in the game. Anything can happen in this race.
So, it was a great day. For the disaster it could have been, we had a great day.

I feel like every day has been tougher than the last, but thank God we have an excellent Physio and motor home. I would be dead if I didn’t have the luxuries! I am tired but I came into today with power. Different from the last couple of days, which is a good sign. We will focus on pacing ourselves and staying consistent.


The last downhill at the end of the Stage 4

Stan's Rims rock! The Kenda Karma tubeless tire stayed inflated. We will be able to repair this rim.

Johnny, Tinker, & Josua at the end of Stage 4

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