This was my 2nd Attakwas. So I knew what’s coming and wasn’t too nervous. Also after finishing this years tough Cape Pioneer Trek in the muddy and wet conditions I thought it can’t be too bad. Weather forecast was on our side predicted only 25 degrees, overcast and showers.
We had dinner in local BebeCino restaurant where all the cyclists seem to have eaten. Karl Platt and rest of the Bulls team were sitting at table next to us. They even had a bottle of red wine with their meal.Start was at 6 30am so it was an early wake up call. After long discussion what’s better we rode up to the start from town with my team mate and speedy machine Lara Woolley. We got to the A batch almost last but at least we were relaxed and ready to go.
The pace from start was full gas and I struggled to get into good pace. People were speeding pass me and I thought they are doing like there was some single track ahead. Anyway after while I got into my own pace and passed water point 1 and only stopped quickly on water point 2 to grab a banana.
First 30kms goes quite fast on gravel road with few rollers. From 30kms to 80km mark is the real mtbiking. Steep rocky climbs and rocky descents with lots of river crossings gave my body proper workout. Wishing I already had a full suspension bike I managed without fall to get through it. Going through that sections is very special as its not usually accessible and has spectacular views on the beautiful mountains and lush green.
At water point 4 at about 80kms I snacked on amazing date balls made by Dryland ladies and started the climbing back on smoothish gravel road back to the finish. Last year I was baking on that sections but this year was luckily overcast but again head wind. I felt quite good and enjoyed the views around. Last 20kms is a bit of a drag as your legs start to get tired and you just want to be at the finish. I got bit of a pull for few kays from young strong rider but had to work hard to keep up with him. Last 10kays we were watching the clock trying to get in under 7 hours but again didn’t make it. My time was same as last year but think the down hills were bit rockier this year.
I was still happy to finish safe and considering I did mostly base training for Epic during December it was a good result(12th lady, 7th in age group) with lots of pro ladies riding. My team mate Lara came 9th and Caren Henschel 15th. Great result for Itec Cycle Training team. I have been helping Liezel vdW with her skills and she had finished under 10 hours and qualified for Cape Epic. So I was very happy about that. Great achievement for her.
The water table were stocked amazingly! I wish I had more time to snack on all the variety of home made date balls and choc crunchies and ostrich steak! The route was signed very well, had amazing views and was challenging. showers at the finish and food stalls were great so over all another superb race organized by Dryland.
Unfortunately my husband Jean and few other riders got attacked by wild bees on the short route. So that was the only negative. Luckily they got sorted by the medics.