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From the A-Bunch ----- Dome to Dome


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From The Bunch


Edited by Nigel Laver. Contributions by Gavin Salt, Andrew Bowker & Gavin Salzmann)


(D2D Cycling Race) – 98km 4th September 2011




In total contrast to the previous two races, Carousel and Lost City which were both flat as pancakes (well, in comparison to this race that’s for sure), the organisers of D2D Cycling Race 2011 held from Protea Rif Primary School hanging off the slopes of the infamous Sterfontein climb, sure planned a toughie for the Cycling community of Central Gauteng.




This year’s race, as it was last year, not a Dome in sight unless of course you’d consider the submerged cylinder that Maropeng is built in/upon. The race would start almost at the top of the climb we’d come return to at the end (van Riebeek road (aka Sterkfontein climb)), it would head right out the back of Krugersdorp, down past the Game reserve entrance, over the cross-roads of the N14, past Tarlton race track, right onto the infamous Maropeng road, Right onto the Hekpoort Road, left past Sterkfontein Caves, left onto the Cradle loop that will go past Lion Park, past Teak, right into Beyers Naude, past Toadbury Hall, turn right off Beyers Naude towards Glenburn Lodge and Kloofzight. Left at the circle that started the Cradle Loop, straight across the next circle and UP towards Hendrik Potgieter – OH Brother! Right on HP, left at the Zenex station which then started the last torturous 5km climb to the finish!! We were told that the race was shortened from 98 to 93km and we all rejoiced, little did we know then that the longer route probably would have been the easier of the two.




Its round 10 of the unofficial official A Bunch Rider and Team standings. It would seem that the pre-race banter brought all the favourites out to play on “getting warmer” Sunday morning. We see the return of Trevor Davies (Complete Cyclist) chomping at the bit to race after a couple of weeks absence. Avanthodi Munyai (New Horizons) who can’t resist the lure of AL over Elites - interesting. Pieter Avenant’s entire Esmero team returns after an August of Fasting. Jean Du Buisson (LIVEStrong), Nathan Thompson (Adventure Racing) and a couple of Elites I see popping in to test the AL waters, one of them being the always race aggressive Neil Timm (Ex Liquid Moly, today in MTN) and Mr “Footlong” Price – Dalmanie, we can only hope that is in reference to his integrated seat-post. The VO Bionic boys meant business today with a full squad plus a couple extras. Would Andrew Bowker overcome his fear of the final climb to race for podium? Would light weight Werner Roux (My Gas) make it two in a row? Could Pieter Avenant (Esmero) drag his huge body up the last climb? What could Gavin Salzmann (C&C Spar) do against the might of Avanthodi Munyai (New Horizons)? Do Toyota Cycle Lab have an answer for this terrain? Would young Stuart Fitzpatrick (Linden Cycles) surprise them all and slip away while no-one was watching like Gavin Salt (VO Bionic) did at Lost City? Do we have any “unknown” unbranded riders that we have to keep an eye on?




5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and with the crack of the gun we headed up the hill… early break-away from Gordon Rose (MTN) and Bennie Viljoen (C&C Spar) but they came back pretty fast when the first of MANY hills came rushing at the Bunch. The first climb out of Krugersdorp would already put heavy pressure on the bunch and we all knew right there, today was not gonna be the hang-on-parade that we often see in AL.




It would be the usual spot,10km’s down the road, Maropeng where the initial action would start.




As the group got into their rhythm on the first gradual uphill it would be Gavin Salt (VO Bionic) getting things going with a Cyclelab club rider, they would stay away for half the climb before being caught by a chase group containing all the main contenders. The counter attack would come from Gavin Salzmann, followed by Andrew (Bionic) & Hendre Knoetze, making sure he did not miss the move. They attacked hard and put the race in the gutter, leading to a big split on the last part of the climb. Graham Miler (Road Cover) making sure the 2nd half of the bunch stayed in contact. The break contained Gavin Salt and Andrew Bowker (VO Bionic) Werner Roux (My Gas),Gavin Salzman (C&C), Pieter Avenatnt (Esmero), Gerhard Fouche (MTN) and Stu Fitzpatrick (Linden), Avanthodi, Fritz Pienaar rider (Sorry boytjie missed your name) and Dalmanie (Mr Price) putting in big turns to keep the momentum going. Over the top and a bit of a regroup, those that had managed to hold on catching their breath and those that got dropped working hard to bridge the gap, turning right onto Hekpoort rd heading back towards Sterfontein caves road Andrew Bowker (VO Bionic) and Werner Roux (My Gas) attacked hard leaving Avantodi Munyai (New Horizons) and Gerhard Fouche (MTN) with a bit of chasing to do. Apparently there was a crash on this section with 3 riders going down in the chase group. The break would be neutralized before making the left turn onto the Sterkfontein caves road and we would rumble on to the lion park in a group of 40+ riders. The bunch that split up Maropeng would bridge just before we exited Sterfontein Caves road.




The Lion park stretch seemed a little docile with no one really prepared to make any attacks. One rider did manage to get away – Neil Timm (MTN) and stayed away for a long while (apparently with the help of a Tri athlete on a training ride – naughty!!!) The group would reel him in and then stay together to the exit from the Cradle road. Gavin Salzmann (C&C Spar) stopped to change a puncture and changed a wheel instead and proceeded to chase back from here a couple of minutes in arrears.




Once we turned right into Beyers Naude, down past Toadbury hall, and up the first steep climb, the pressure would be lifted by Gavin Salt (VO Bionic) with Stuart (Linden), Pieter Avenant (Esmero) Andrew Bowker (VO Bionic) and Werner Roux (My Gas) hot on his heels. As it levelled out and kicked up again, Andrew Bowker (Bionic) attacked, pulling away a small group of himself, Avantodi Munyai (New Horizons) and Stuart Fitzpatrick (Linden). This move put the fast splitting bunch under major pressure with huge time holes appearing on the road before the Glenburn Lodge right turn. A couple of riders hitching back on down the hill only to be ceremoniously unhitched again on the way to Kloofzight. The break was neutralized before the turn down towards Glenburn lodge.




As the front of the race made the right turn to head to Glenburn, Neil Timm (MTN) and Pieter (Esmero) got away on the uphill towards Kloofzicht, leaving Gavin (VO Bionic) and Gerhard Fouche (MTN) to do the work of catching them.




From here the pace would slow considerably as we turned left at the Lion Park circle to head back along the R540, some said this was because everyone was waiting for the climb. Werner Roux (My Gas) thinks it was because “everyone was F@#ked”. On the uphill up to HP, a lot of the ‘hangers-on’ dropped off the back, leaving a group of around the 20 left.




The right hand turn onto HP would yield one last attack before the climb began – Neil Timm (MTN) again giving it a go and being reeled in by Gavin Salt (VO Bionic), pacing into the headwind.




The left turn onto the Sterkfontein climb (Van Riebeek Rd) is where the real action began, Andrew Bowker (VO Bionic) putting in a huge attack and taking Stuart Fitzpatrick (Linden) Avanthodi Munyai (New Horizons) and Hendre Knoetze (White Jersey, black bib-shorts) with him, dropping team mate, Gavin Salt (VO Bionic) and Pieter Avenant (Esmero) in the process, the attack was enough to split the entire group and leave a lot of work to do for those that wanted points. While the front bunch of four slowly got away, Gavin Salt (VO Bionic) tried to remind Pieter Avenant (Esmero) that he needed to catch Stuart to get points but Pieter was not able to match the pace let alone catch the lead bunch, As the climb got steeper VO Bionic teammates Andrew and Gavin would change places and the four riders would move 10 – 15 secs clear of the chasers for the rest of the climb. Andrew dropping off on the very steep uphill kick. The Andrew curse alive and well.




The last few hundred meters was well pulled by Stuart Fitzpatrick (Linden) who was doing his best to keep the pace high to prevent anyone attacking. Into the last 100 meters Avantodi Munyai (New Horizons) and Hendre Knoetze would push past Stuart (linden) for 1st and 2nd in the same time respectively with Gavin Salt (VO Bionic) and Trevor Davies filling the rest of the top 5. Winning time in 2:25:52, 40 odd seconds faster than Julius Corbett in VA – interesting, where’s all the VA fire-power gone I wonder?




AL winning time is over 40km’s per hour for a VERY hilly race. Just 14mins shy of the racing Elites. Pretty fast, thanks to all the mixed ages and abilities AL bunch attracts.




The rest of the top ten point taken up by Andrew Bowker (VO Bionic) Gerhard Fouche (MTN) – wow Gerhard, brilliant effort over that last climb (all the climbs actually), Pieter Avenat (Esmero), Neil Timm (MTN) and Thomas Weeks between 2;26:07 and 2:26:53. Further time gaps between 11 and 20 con training solid rides from Graham Miller (Road Cover), Werner Roux (My Gas), Nathan Thompson (Adventure Racing), Jean Du Buisson (LIVEStrong), Mikhail Margo (New Horizons), Bennie Viljoen (C&C Spar), Moderick Salie (Esmero) and a fantastic recovery of Gavin Salzmann (C&C Spar) after losing the bunch before Beyers to change a wheel only loosing 4 and a bit minutes for the last available point!!




It would seem, even though the organisers tried – we (front of A) still caught the ladies race. I trust you didn’t neutralize their race?




A Bunch on Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/Abunch




Next AL Round: Race For Victory – 25th September 2011




Video Interview: Check Out the A Bunch FB site for Video Interviews post sprint)






For our new FB joinee’s, just some back ground... We (AL) have an official “Unofficial” points standing, we have selected races throughout the year that are big enough to be recognised, are timed by a registered timing company and are within 2 hours morning drive for anyone living in the greater CGC district. Sorry Bennie :o) Thanks for making the LONG trip each time.




Gavin Salt is responsible for the standings that you see below (or attached) – Gavin Salzmann is a back up stat guy who also knows how the scoring works. We score the points accordingly: 1st = 20; 2nd = 15; 3rd = 10; 4th = 8; 5th = 7; 6th = 6; 7th = 5; 8th = 4; 9th = 3; 10th = 2 and 11th – 20th each 1 point.




D2D was round 10... So if you are new, better luck next year... but for the rest of us who started the journey in January, standing’s as follows: On the individual standing Stuart Fitzpatrick (Linden) regains the lead (66), pushing Pieter Avenant (Esmero) into second (4 points down). Gavin Salzmann (C&C Spar) lucky still to hang on to 3rd after his 20th place due to flat wheel. Werner Roux (My Gas) did a little up and down jig this race back down to 6th from 4th. Avanthodi Munyai (New Horizons) moves up to 4th with full points after trailing behind racing Elites. Trevor Davies (Complete Cyclist) also moves after missing some crutial points over the last two races. With more top five finishes the Bionic Duo of Andrew Bowker and Gavin Salt have moved their team firmly into 2nd place pushing C&C Spar into 3rd and closing within 3 points of Toyota Cycle labs lead.



Results found here (http://www.racetec.co.za/ShowResults.aspx?Option=event)

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