Thursday, December 18, 2008

What an Experience! Good-bye Sabie.

When we headed out on a sunny stage 1 of the 2008 SabiExperience MTB race, who would ever know what the next 4 days would bring. As you have seen in prevoius posts, the race consisted of plenty of climbing and by the end of stage 2, although tired, we were satisfied and happy with our overall position. Little did we know that the next two days were going to be wet and wild with arguably some of the toughest mountain biking we have ever done. We were feeling strong and confident as we headed out on day 3, it was new to us as we hadn't ridden this stage ever before as we missed it on the pre-ride in Oct. After 10 minutes of riding, it kicked up and we started climbing the first of the two big climbs of the day.

As you can see in the photo, it was cloudy at the start, but within the first 20km it started raining and within 10 minutes, we were soaked. I don't mind riding in the rain at all, so we just put our heads down and carried on. As we climbed higher and higher though, the rain continued and conditions got worse and by the 30km mark, it was muddy, slippery and just plain messy! We pushed on through the muck and at some point were riding knee-deep through muddy water. We finished the stage tired, but happy and although our bikes took a beating, we were satisfied with our day. Here is a photo of us at the end of stage -3, I don't think our kit will ever look the same!

The ending of each stage was good fun with your names being announced to everyone as you crossed the finish line. We were welcomed by our wives and children who were taking shelter from the rain in nearby padocks.

The next stage was a team time trial of 27km's. Compared to the first 3 days of 75km's, this last stage was supposed to be fast and over within 1 hour. The conditions were so bad, the rain had caused so much mud and due to the fact that the slowest teams started first in the time trial, that mud was churned up into a sticky mess by the time we started. Once again, I have never raced through so much mud. We ended stage 4 wet and dirty again but extremely happy to have finished the 2008 edition of the SabiExperience. We came 59 out of 189 in our age category and 136 out of 451 overall.
It is hard to believe how many guys pulled out and didn't attempt the last day, whussies! I will post some video in the upcoming weeks but for now its off to Port Edward for a well deserved break!

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