Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Africa Hot!!!

Hakuna Matata from Swellendom! The big news is that we won another stage today. We rode all day with the women's GC leaders, Alison and Pia. They are two amazing women...very pro and very classy. They didn't sprint us to the line and conceded no time on the GC. Jenny and I rode really well on the climbs today. Well, Jenny rides all the climbs really well actually. She is basically outclimbing me and I am sucking wheels and making some snap decisions. But we are getting better at balancing out our strengths and weaknesses.

The other news is that is Africa hot here. It is 40 degrees right now. That is like 100 or more. Its sweltering. I hope I don't look five years older after these nine days from so much sun.

Between our two stage wins have been some pretty hard days. Stage 1 was a big shock to the system. It was all big hills and lots of pushing on the pedals. I had so many little aches and pains that I didn't know how I was going to ride the next day. It was so weird. I guess it was just the body getting adjusted. My arms were dying, I guess they weren't conditioned enough. We got one flat that stage and ended up about 20 minutes back of 1st and 10 of second.

Stage 2 was another tough one especially because of the heat. And there was a really hard mountainbike climb for 6km. It took a lot of effort and it was Africa hot. The downhill was a knarly ripper with wild paved lanes and water ditches. Everyone's brakes were burning so bad. We got with a great group of guys and made up the time on the Trek/Dolpin girls(the dutch based team- Katrin is German and Fabiana is Swiss) We all ran out of water. I thought we were going to die out there, but we were actually 500 meters from the finish line, but I had no idea.

Stage 3 was much better in some ways. We were riding really well, but couldn't seem to stay in any groups. We rode alone a lot. I flatted and had a bad change. I thought that I could just air up and the stans would seal it. But it was a slice down the middle of the tread. We put a tube in and then the tube was bad. So another tube and 5 minutes later we were back trying to make up some ground. Again we rode without much of a group. This can really make or break you day, basically. We rode into a headwind and then into the most viscious head, cross wind that I have ever experienced. It was soul crushing. We got fourth on the day.

Our days are like this: We wake up at 5 am. Believe it or not, I put on my Chamios right away. It is just one thing to get out of the way. I go the bathroom, wash my hands really good. I eat breakfast in the RV. Usually, a bowl of cereal, cup of coffee and a piece of bread with almond butter and jelly. We pick up our bikes at the bike lock-up and then Bork checks them over. Bathroom again. Then we have to line up at 6:45 and the race starts at 7 sharp. We race for 6 hours. Its hard racing...pee stops are rare. We are blown at the finish. Then we go to the podium circle and they have hanging hoses in there that you can shower and sponge all the sweat and dust off. Laura has cold drinks, recovery and pringles. Then we find the RVs. We eat a sandwhich and more chips. Then we shower at the shower trucks. And then we got back to the RV and Sweat and Sweat because the power always goes out for most of the afternoon. The sun is brutal and it can be hard to find shade. Then we get massages and watch Bork work on bikes. The girls chatter. Chris goes to the media room to email his family. Jeremiah calls Erin. Sometimes I shower again before dinner. There is a lot of sweat and dust, so its nice.

Dinner is in a massive tent with round tables and creative centerpieces. Its nice. the food has been good. There is a nice mix of stuff. I haven't eaten any of the dark meat yet, but the chicken is a zillion times better than in the US. It tastes hormone free. Then each town puts on a little show with kids. Sometimes its dancing or singing or a flag show. Its contemperary, not traditional. Then awards ceremony, course description for the next day and then a picture show of the days race. Then back to the RV to get ready for next day. We have been going to bed around 9:30.

Its a hard race because of the speeds and pack riding. Its a beautiful race because of the amazing mountain scenery. At times it looks like the American west and then it can look like a sunny Scotland and the African Alps. There are hardly any houses were were ride. Its all open space, protected lands and farmers fields.

Hope this entry isn't too long and boring. No pics, nothing funny. But I am having an really awesome experience and hopefully killer training for the race season. Please check out Trek's website for lots of pics by Sven Martin. Also cyclingnews.com has our diaries. And of course Cape-epic.com has live coverage.



  1. I love the fact that with the Internet we can read how the best in the world experience a race. I never thought you suffered like us, the pack feed. Please keep keeping us informed. As for photo's I check them as soon as they come on the sight. I reckon Sven should make the prints available because they are brilliant and capture the essence of the race. Good luck for the rest of the race, give it horns.

  2. I've been waiting 4 days for this. When I woke up this morning and turned on the computer, I was pleasantly surprised with your stage victory. Patience, perserverence, and determination. You gals have it. Congrats!

  3. Hi Susan keep the good work and keep posting to!

    Regards from Portugal.



  4. Good blog Sue. Not boring or too long. Keep turning those legs over. We're all pulling for ya.

  5. Your blog is just what I wanted to hear. Wow! You go girl! I hope you have lots of sunscreen. What an adventure! I love you--You are awesome. Have you seen any mirages yet? Think of those morning practices at the Elks.

  6. Hey Snoozy! Sending some of the 'Burg's spring chill your direction! It's 40 degrees here too, but that's F not C!! :-)
    I feel way too comfy and lazy after reading your last entry! Youngballs and I are clearing the back lots (your side lots!) We are finding lots of snakes,ick! Perhaps there will be a pump track, or at least the start of one be the time you get back. The dogs found a nest of superbaby, baby bunnies, Winston managed to mangle 1 of them before I realized what was up. Tea just carried one around in his gentle Lab fashion. We took them to the wildlife center and 2 of the 4 are still living!
    anyhoo, we miss your smileyness, and have been keeping timmy on the straight and narrow!

  7. sue, always a joy to read your blog, never boring! so glad i found it through chipper's website.

  8. sounds better than a days job

    sounds like a dream job

    and podium

    and if you find them
    some images from Africa would be nice