My Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge
I have this really good friend Vanessa ~ she is my wing woman by all accounts. You know the kind, where you do all kinds of stupid together ~ that’s us. Anyway ~ when your wing person, comes to you with random ideas/wants/needs ~ it is your responsibility as the other half of stupid to comply. So, when Vanessa said to me ~ will you do 94.7 with me ~ a simple “of course” was uttered (barely audible). And just to be clear ~ this all came about, because of a boy ~ because honestly ~ no sane, vodka drinking woman, would think of entering this “just for fun”. EVER!!!
So I set about entering the race, with 12 weeks to go to race day – plenty of time to train. I called my brother Craig – who had my trusty old bike from a few years ago still (and yes – to be clear, I too, bought that because of a boy!) Called the local cycle shop up, sent it in for a spit and polish, and a service of course – I was ready to hit the tar. I made a concerted effort to make at least 3 spinning classes a week – and on weekends I would do a little “time on the actual road” … or so I thought. Mother Nature thought we needed some rain (which I agree with – but seriously, on my road days .. come on!) I don’t cycle in the rain – I’m not that dedicated to the sport, that I can’t appreciate the gift of rain and a Saturday lie in … Suffice to say – I think I did the sum total of 3 small rides on the road in prep, and for the 5 weeks prior to the race … NOT 1 spinning class. Life got a little busy, work got a lot crazy .. and by 5:30pm all I wanted was a Vodka laced beverage – not to sweat myself stupid and into shape for the 94.7
On the Friday before the race – nerves hit me – how can I be so stupid, as to “wing” this race. After all it was 94.7 with a lot of uphill, and very little down according to the graph. But being the 2nd time I have entered this race – I was determined to actually do it this time round. On the morning of the race, we got up early, loaded our bikes and set off for Midrand.
I have always loved the vibe around the race –having spent a few times at the finish previously. Jozi people are friendly, and never need an excuse to have a few drinks and a party. The early morning buzz of people hopeful to cycle and have fun during the race, seemed to settle my nerves. Finish this race I would!
Our rather late start time of 9:26am (yes … 1st timer start times SUCK) finally arrived, and we set off onto the M1 highway … I can do this …. only another 94km to go I thought, all the while, having that deer running into the headlights expression! Upon reaching the 1st water table I, stopped filled up my water bottle – being the fun rider I felt dutifully obliged to stop at all water points and support them – when the realisation of what was around the corner hit me … the “slight incline” of Joe Slovo Drive. I may have pedalled up that hill incredibly slowly – but there was absolutely no way I was walking – especially so early in the race! When I got to the top I had what I call a “titanic moment” – you know, the famous scene, where Kate and Leo are Kings of the world … except I was King of the 1st mountain. Well in my world anyhow.
The 1st half of the race went by rather well, and almost uneventfully – I was almost blown off the M2 highway before the Nelson Mandela Bridge, avoided 2 near nasty accidents, and time wise – I was doing alright – considering my training. Then it all changed … as you turn onto Witkoppen Road – all you see is inclines. Now, having spent quite a fair amount of time in the “North Western-ish” part of Jozi – even in my car – I have to gear down for more power going up Witkoppen. What was I thinking!!! But then reality hits home – you have now passed half way, so you closer to the finish. Do I call it quits or just keep going? Urgh … and then you have some larger than myself person coming past you on the lowest gear on a mountain bike, and you think to yourself .. not a chance (in French of course). If they doing it, so am I! And so I continue. Next turn – Malibongwe Drive …. Kya Sands, then you see it … the long endless road up to the Lion Park. I will not walk, I will not walk, I will not walk … oh look a mountain biker again – keep pedalling Leigh, you nearly there. Closer to the finish remember. All the while my “wingman” is nowhere in sight, but is behind me fighting her own demons with the race. The N14 is no better – the wind is howling and the sun is roasting me like a chicken in the oven for Sunday lunch.
As I come off the N14 and turn onto the R55 (I think it’s that anyway – but it’s the road that take you straight to the finish), I make a small error – and so for the 1st time that day – I walk. At the water table just round the bend, after yet another incline, I stop for a shoulder rub/massage. I’m told it’s not far to the finish, and that this road is fairly flat. That’s all I needed to hear… the word “flat” was like music to my ears. And so I set off for the final stretch.
Coming over the finish line was for me, rather emotional. I had a number of thoughts scrambling through my tired head. It may have taken me 6 hours and 9 minutes to complete – but the fact I completed it, when so many times I was ready to stop, is something I am proud of in my own way. It just reaffirms my belief, that anyone can do anything, if they put their minds to it.
At the end of the day, I ask myself this: 1) Will I do it again ~ probably yes. 2) Will I wing it again ~ maybe not so much.