RACE REPORT ;The Cycle Tour round-up: The Rights & the Wrongs
So, you win some, you lose some. Sub threes, fours, fives… everybody had their goals for this year’s Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour. You’ve got to feel for the guy who missed his by a second. Or the guy who lost five places in three seconds. But there’s always next year. And a PB based on the lessons learned from this one.
Goal: sub 3
Time achieved: 3:00:01
Previous best: 3:20:24
I got it right: I lost 11 kg between the end of the 2005 Argus and the start of this one, and I started focussing on building up base miles from December 2005. In fact I did about 3 000km between then and mid February this year, after which I did hill intervals twice a week.
I got it wrong: I will improve my seeding during the course of this year so that I can start in a better group next time. Though I sat on the front of my bunch for the entire race, our group’s average speed was just not fast enough.
Goal: Sub 5
Time achieved 5:24
Number of Argus Cycle Tours finished: 1
I got it right: I gained a wealth of training tips and nutritional advice from friends and colleagues who are veterans of this sport. With their help I conquered the Argus Cycle Tour and completed it - surely one of the toughest experiences I have ever endured!
I got it wrong: I could have trained five times a week instead of three. This would have given me a far more substantial mileage base.
Goal: sub 3
Time achieved: 2:58
Previous best: 3:25 (unofficially, on a mountain bike)
I got it right: I knew what my average speed had to be to meet my goal: to crack a sub-three, it must be above 36km/h. We turned on the heat at Smuts when we saw that our splits were too low. From 34.7km/h, we had to operate in the 40s to pull it back. In fact, we climbed Suikerbossie at about 22km/h – that’s above-average fast. Up Suikerbossie I was like a staffie running after a car, trying to chase the breakaway down. I got back in and we lead our E bunch through Sea Point.
I got it wrong: I was too relaxed at the final sprint - from being on the front of the bunch, I lost about five places in three seconds in that dash to the line. I’ll push the anger button for the sprint next time.
Goal: sub 4
Time achieved: 3:53
Number of Argus Cycle Tours finished: 2
I got it right: I have been cycling for three years and I feel that my experience over this time helped me achieve my goal. However there is one tip that helped me this year and that was to go harder when the bunch goes harder, instead of trying to stay at my own pace.
I got it wrong: If there is one mistake I made this year, it was not spending enough time on my bike. Although I tried to do a funride every weekend, I would have liked to have spent more time on my bike during the week.
Goal: To stick with the front group of the licensed Vets A group over Chapmans Peak and Suikerbossie.
Time achieved: 2:50
Group Position: 7th
I got it right: My event preparation was perfect, especially with regard to coupling the right amount of rest and recovery with quality training.
I got it wrong: I should have spent more time doing speed work so that I could have had a better chance in the bunch sprint.
Goal: sub 3
Time achieved: 3:03 - on a tandem (mixed) with Tracey Bailey
Best ever: 2:30:01 in 1991, 18th overall
No of Argus Cycle Tours: 23
I got it right: I usually eat well - I know that it is not about pasta loading the day before. It is also important to drink lots of water and watered down fruit juice. I always try to maintain a positive attitude - remembering all the training I have done, the sacrifices I have made - and race smartly - never doing too much work, pace myself and drinking and eating regularly during the race. I keep checking my gearing and try to be as comfortable as I can throughout the race. These are the thoughts that go through my mind - also I tell myself to relax and not to panic - watch the main players in the race and see how the tactics unfold. I did all of these things this year, and it always helps.
I got it wrong: This year was really hard due to the Velo Mondiale and ICLEI conferences spread over the two weeks before the race. I sat on the start line fairly fit and trained but with no energy whatsoever. I kept thinking and acting on all of the above, but had little energy. I realised that the previous two weeks had left me drained and exhausted and this did play on my mind. I spent little time working at the front, only making the mistake on climbs like Smitswinkel and Chapman's (I have always fancied myself as a climber and like to show off) and I paid for this on Suikerbossie.
Time achieved: 2:50
Previous best: 2:39:40 on my mountain bike in 1995 winning 1st mountain biker award
Number of Argus Cycle Tours finished: 14
I got it right: Taking part in the Sub Vets Category meant that it was going to be a tactical race and not a race against the clock. It was therefore important to stay 'fresh' until Chappies and Suikerbossie, where the attacks would be. This is exactly what happened as the main attacks came on Suikerbossie with 15 of us breaking away and working hard to stay clear to the finish, where I crossed third in my group.
I got it wrong: I should have left the final sprint to a bit later. (I took the lead in the sprint finish with about 400m to go but was tiring with 100m to go and was passed by 2 people.) I should have waited until about 250m before the line.
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