Mountain Bike Magazine SANI - Autumn 2018 - Page 116

RACE REVIEW | the munga animal trophies on the wall. It was all very surreal and I felt high on fatigue and adrenalin. Mark, Frank and Chris were already there sleeping. We were supposed to rest but I could never seem to close my eyes and just sleep. I was slower than the others, so they were catching power naps and then we were scheduled to the train turned into the lights on some bicycles and it was Laz, Gavin, Mark and Chris. I was so happy to see them. Apparently, someone had eaten something dodgy and was battling a bit. For the next couple of km, it was a race to get a bib off and in and out of the shrubs. We joked about how the Karoo would have 63km to Sutherland. We had chatted and joked about Sutherland beforehand along the route, calling it “the curse of Sutherland”, as the year before Chris had to pull out there, when his riding partner became injured. We rode and rode. Nighttime came and the temperature dropped. I was so tired. Gavin told me to take a “My body was heavy and the ground felt good. really comfortable. I think that was my breaking point.’’ leave again. The guys looked a bit stuffed, I was piling on the bum cream and still okay. We arrived at Loxton as the day was turning to night. I’d lost track of what day and month it was. The sun and the moon were both out as we arrived in my favourite town. I knew there would be good food there because I had come in December the year before. I think that was where we joined up with Laz. Frank had serious saddle sores and decided it was enough for him. RACE VILLAGE 4 LOXTON TO SUTHERLAND We left in the dark again. The guys were way ahead of me, and then I saw a train; a whole train that was parked across the dirt road. As I came closer 116 | MTB | warrior woman green patches from all the nourishment along our route. We were the “Razzle Dazzle” team. Then it was my time to do my constitutional and, just before, I witnessed the most beautiful sunrise. It was quiet, I felt strong and at peace. The fact that some of the guys needed to go a lot gave me a chance to catch up. They arrived before me at the water point in Sutherland. I grabbed a couple of boiled potatoes that had flies buzzing around them, and avoided anything meaty. I wasn’t taking any chances after seeing what happened to the guys. But now I was finished. I didn’t get a chance to catch any power naps and I was feeling it. “Right, it’s time to go” was the general consensus. It’s nap on the space blanket next to a shrub. My body was heavy and the ground felt good. Really comfortable. I think that was my breaking point. We hit the road again. The others had gone ahead. The wind was beating us, drilling us with no compassion. Gavin looked pissed off. I told him to go ahead. “There’s no point in us both getting hammered out here. Go charge our stuff at Sutherland and get everything ready.” Perhaps the instruction helped, and off he went. As the night passed it got really cold. I tried to ride but my body wouldn’t work. My arms felt brittle. I got off and walked, I got back on and tried to ride. I was falling over. So I walked and walked. “Don’t quit, don’t quit. Mike said don’t quit.” I could see the lights, but they never seemed to come closer. I thought of all my motivations for being there and I shouted them out in my mind. I checked my phone, a message from Gavin: “Keep going Jane. Chris is just in front of you. Alex and two others behind you. Xx. I love you.” I got there around midnight. The guys had arrived about two hours before me. Gavin was waiting outside The Sutherland Hotel and I collapsed into him. RACE VILLAGE 5 SUTHERLAND TO CERES Off to Tankwa Padstal. We knew we had to be past Tankwa by 10am because that’s when the wind picks up. And, at all costs, you don’t want a 40km headwind blasting you in the heat of the day. I’d heard all the stories about making sure to have plenty of water for this section, and I did. By now I was slower. The guys had got over their nausea and were riding ahead. Gavin stayed with me. We got to Tankwa at 6pm. It was closed, but there was a station next to it left open for the riders, with coffee, Coke and sandwiches. I ate three sandwiches, had some coffee and then grabbed a nap. We were no longer going to try to reach Ceres and sleep there but rather sleep at Tankwa, leave by 8.30pm and then