Looking towards the start.
Early morning at the venue.
Tons of thorns in the grass parking areas.
Making our way to the start.
Puncture fixed, now to get to the start!
Waiting for the start.
After 2 to 3km things eased off and we could start settling in a bit. I could take my first in-race photo of the day!
On our way and settling in.
After Anette's stop we were on our way, deciding to take water and drinks at the next point.
The route was undulating with some long hills but also a few nice descents. The first half of the race climbs to the highest point of the race so naturally there are some good climbs.
The best part of the race for me was the full road closures. No traffic on the route at all! I enjoyed riding through intersections without the worry of what the traffic is doing. This also allows the race to ride on some of the highways around Johannesburg and after the road closures this was my next favorite part.
Onto the highway!
Riding towards Johannesburg CBD.
The third waterpoint was just after the first part on the highway. Here it was really busy! Looking at all the riders I just knew it was time to relax and enjoy the race. Time should not be a concern. Enjoying the experience is what this race is about.
Every waterpoint had enough toilets, entertainment and a small workshop/technical assistance point where your bike can be checked and fixed if needed. Even though it was very full and busy, we still got through the waterpoints fast enough for what we wanted to do.
Still looking good!
Moving out of the third waterpoint.
The first testing hill came just after the third waterpoint. The top is also the highest point of the race. I enjoy the climbs and moved up the hill quite nicely. The only real problem for me was the high number of riders around me and the problem it created when someone just in front of you suddenly slowed right down or even stopped on the hill. There was no space to move around someone at times and I lost my momentum often. I suppose the solution to this is to ride with the faster people...
Somewhere arounf the highest point of the race.
Once over the hill we dropped down towards the highway again. We were now passing Johannesburg city central on the eastern side. I stopped on the highway to wait for Anette who got left somewhere between all the people on the hill.
Johannesburg from the east.
I loved riding on the highway!
We turned right and passed the city on the southern side. The route took us off the highway for a quick loop through downtown Johannesburg.
Through Gandhi Square.
Back South to the highway. I worked in the building on the left some years ago.
We went onto the highway again riding west. I really enjoyed the views of my city like this. I was having a lot of fun.
We were now riding towards the Johannesburg Zoo. We stopped a bit longer at the next waterpoint and had some coke while our water bottles were filled with cold water.
Testing hills ahead.
We arrived in Randburg and it was here that Anette had her first really bad patch. She had to get off her bike and push for a while. It was very hot and we just decided to take it slow and easy from here.
The race is extremely well organised. In the last 30km the waterpoints are not so far apart and very well placed on and between the hills,
About 25km to go.
Everyone was hanging around the waterpoints longer and longer...
Anette not having fun only...
I want the jersey of that rider behind me!
Many people were pushing their bikes up the hills in the last 20km. This is certainly the most difficult part of the route and with 75km already done it was not all plain sailing to the finish. The wind was aslo very strong now, making it even harder.
Very hot and very windy.
There are a few brutal hills in the last 20km. With the wind howling through the trees and people hanging on to their gazebos next to the road we slowly made our way towads the finish.
Some fun on the giant.
Somewhere at the roadworks here I had a little tumble. Someone stopped in front of me and I could not stay upright. I fell on the road but did not feel it or injured anything. Lucky escape!
Tired riders on the side of the road.
The KOM (King of the Mountain) mark is at about 3 to 4km to go. Not a nice hill to get with more than 90km behind you...
One of the last hills.
Anette receiving her medal.
We did it! My first 94.7 Cycle Challenge in the bag! It was hard and conditions were tough. Not pretty, but done.
At home with our medals. Hot and tired but very happy.
Very nice medal.
Profile from my Suunto.