The annual Clover Lynford Super Classic was another great event this year. Leaving home at 5:00am to make the 8:30 start I didn’t know what weather to expect however, I soon found my answer, HOT and sunny. With a quick registration it was off to do a short warm up ride. Which took us- Darryn Purtell, Justin Porteous, Brandon Venter, Hayley Smith and myself- up the 700m hill to start the race.
I didn’t take long before the legs were warm, thanks to the hill and the weather and we were ready to go. Like every other year the 45km was made up of 2 different laps allowing the spectators to witness the action at around the halfway point. With Burry Stander back in South Africa and on top form after The UCI World Championships everyone knew it was a race for second but we would try put up a fight.
Like every year the race started with the shot of a gun and we were off down a fast 100m decent shortly followed by the first hill of the day. Up the first hill a group of seven including myself were able to get away from the bunch fairly early. As the group of seven was about to crest the first hill there was an increase in pace and the group split into 3. Burry was able ride off the front followed by a group of now four, which soon became a group of 3 as Andrew Hill pulled out due to illness.
The next few kilometers Kyle Dorkin, Alan Hatherly and myself were able to work well together to open our gap away from anybody else as we closed the gap on those ahead. However all good things come to an end, and up a short steep climb my legs were unable to match that of Kyle and Alan, and they were able to ride away from me. After a few deep breaths, I got back into a comfortable rhythm and started my own personal time trail as the gap of the two ahead stayed at about 40sec for the next 20km.
The truly amazing double single track back down to the start/finish at the end of our first lap allowed for my legs to recover before the 4.5km hill awaiting on our second lap. At the bottom of the 4.5km hill my legs struggled to maintain a good cadence allowing Alan and Kyle to pull away and Matthew English to close in behind me. However, about halfway up I was able regain my strength and saw I was now catching Alan who Kyle was able to drop. With the encouragement of knowing Alan was lying 3rd overall and if I was able to pass him I could make the podium I was able to reel him in just before the top of the hill.
With a quick little sprint I was about to pull a small gap over Alan, which seemed to open quite quickly over the next 3km or so. Knowing the final 4km would be fairly flat and down hill I gave it my all to ensure I could stay 3rd overall. With 7km left to the finish my legs showed signs of strain as I could feel some cramp coming on. (Quick tip- If battling with cramp try using Eno’s and Coke while spinning your legs in a lighter gear). By spinning my legs I was able to avoid any serious cramping and enjoy the very fun last 3km.
I only felt the real effects of the 38°c heat, at the finish as I was unable to catch my breath until a 10min session of lying flat on my back in the shade unable to move except for the occasional cough because of the dust. Once I was able catch my breath and have a good swim in the pool it was time for prize giving and a moment to stand on the podium. Thanx for the support from all the South Coast riders who almost made the trip up to Lynford.