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[Event] 2019 Swartberg 100 Fondo's


@BigJohnSwan
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Anyone know of someone wanting an entry for the GrandFondo on Sat. I fractured my wrist last Sat so won't be riding anymore. I'm gutted I won't be riding. Last year I was sick leading up to the race & only managed to finish 3 min before the cutoff collecting my longest day beer from BigJohn. Was hoping for 8 hours this year

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Here goes: 

I am a first timer to the event.

The Hype leading up to the granfondo 100 miler got me nervous, not so much the distance as I have done plenty mtb events that was longer(360ne & T.B)....the hype is all about "choose your weapon carefully"

I wanted to do well but I dont own a gravel bike....Mehhh

So my weapon off choice was my trusty Cannondale scalpel with a tweak.

Panaracer Gravel King 700 x 43 tubless tyres.

Chainring 36 x 42/10 

 

I didnt know the route, only study the map a bit(10min) didnt make sense as I have never ridden around the area and have never seen Swartberg pass....I realised that I actualy knew the road from Cango caves to the start of the gravel part of the pass(Kobus se Gat) LoL

 

 A beautiful morning awaited us at the start. It was very intimidating to see all the G.B's and the caliber of riders that actually pitched in sponsored kit ens. I had 2 nd thoughts to my expectations as to were I wld like to finish...(Top 10) :whistling:

 

It started off with a neutral vehicle ushering us out of town, not fast, just lekker talking speed for next 35km

My tyre last been pumped in 3 days and didn't check the pressure before...So it felt like I have a slow puncture but then the surface of the tar corse/smooth gives of different feelings, reaching first climb which I compare to bothmas kloof near Riebeeck kasteel, we descended into the mist with a fair headwind. I tucked in as my gear ratio does not allow me to go faster than 50km\hr. No problem, bunch was still fairly big at that point till we hit the first gravel section.

 

That was so cool as the gravel section just do a natural selection, some guys float others fight the corrugations and out you go. I managed to hang on at the back of the group my guess we were down from 70 to 15 at the end when we reached Meirings poort tar section. Lefty worked well and at this stage I realized my 2.5 bars 80kg was actually just perfect, 

 

Meiringspoort by car is Wow but by bike its was amazing, loved it. 

going through the remote town of De Rust I felt the tension among the riders, as we crested the long drag out of town there was a quick dart as people jockeyed for position on the now very hilly gravel section coming up, Oh my hat, it was climb after climb after climb, short and steep,out your saddle stuff. Midway thru ,the water point off the beaten track ,caused havoc as some people rode past and now came to a complete halt  to go back. The pace was already so hard that I cldnt cross back to lead group and I started to collect riders that was dropping off.

 

At the cango caves tar section we were back to ten, I asked a few questions with regards to the route ahead....if I can remember correctly it was 123km done at the Caves turnoff and should be at the top off swartberg pass at 150km, little did I knew that it was literally 27km of gradual climbing, no downhills coming up.... :eek: I made a soft brake and rode on my own from there on.

 

Water point just before gravel pass started i took on half coke half water 400ml only, and had one pocket potato dipped in salt, skop en charge was my pitstop motto, 1 farbar and 1 gel left to see me through to the other side...

 

The pass itself was majestic as you approached it, I was told it was very steep the last 3km...and so it was, i was feeling the effort and maybe having a  heavier bike or not being able to once train over 100km....

 

I was caught by 4 riders in the last km of the climb, as I crested I opened the suspension, I was ready to glide down the other side...I caught 1 rider on a GB in first km, second GBnrider after 3km, passed 4 cars by the time I reached the bottom.

 

The lefty fork was amazing in comparison to the GB guys fighting the drift on ridgit forks in the corrugated corners, I didn't manage to catch the other 2 in front,they were seasoned pros and there technical abillity,s wasn't going to hold them back....

 

6h 12min finish time on a modified Mtb, not to shabby for a newbie, but finished just outside top 10.

Def. be back, this event is still growing and its going to be Beeegh :thumbup:

The marshals in every cnr going down the pass is a nice idea.

Thks to a well organised event.

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Nice report Vulgar, and huge respect! :thumbup:

and a hugely impressive result - I watched you come in  - I did the baby fondo which was fast, flat, beautiful and great fun. I did it because I wanted to watch the main event.  My goal will be the real deal next year but it won't be on your wheel...

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Man, was that fun or what? And the hospitality in the town, was amazing. Thank you John and Arno and everyone else.

 

The 171km bit was unnecessary, my legs are still telling me, but we would do it again tomorrow, right? Loved the roadie start (my riding buddies allowed me to have some fun, and wait for them later). Climbing up through the mist, having waved the racing snakes good bye and at a pace that was sensible, was lovely. Meiringspoort by bike is just too beautiful, after years of driving it and dreaming. Muragie road - what a joy to ride it during the day, and up, not blinking dusky dust at silly speeds with small lights. The tar climb to Kobus se Gat: the devil's work.  Knowing the main Swartberg climb was a life-saver - the difference between the viewpoint that looks like the top (and has to be, surely!) and Die Top is an alarming 3km, for the uninitiated. And yet, the sense of humour failure rate was so low. Gravel bikers are lekker people, Lekker. The descent into town was worth every shred of kneecap-restructuring on the way up. The beers at the finish: nectar.

 

My highlight? I got my whole table at our Friday night carboload to Google what a Prince Albert is. Mighty proud of that. It may have affected the dessert order, though.

 

See you all next year.

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Anyone know of someone wanting an entry for the GrandFondo on Sat. I fractured my wrist last Sat so won't be riding anymore. I'm gutted I won't be riding. Last year I was sick leading up to the race & only managed to finish 3 min before the cutoff collecting my longest day beer from BigJohn. Was hoping for 8 hours this year

Sorry Kenneth!! Heal up quick dude.

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Man, was that fun or what? And the hospitality in the town, was amazing. Thank you John and Arno and everyone else.

 

The 171km bit was unnecessary, my legs are still telling me, but we would do it again tomorrow, right? Loved the roadie start (my riding buddies allowed me to have some fun, and wait for them later). Climbing up through the mist, having waved the racing snakes good bye and at a pace that was sensible, was lovely. Meiringspoort by bike is just too beautiful, after years of driving it and dreaming. Muragie road - what a joy to ride it during the day, and up, not blinking dusky dust at silly speeds with small lights. The tar climb to Kobus se Gat: the devil's work.  Knowing the main Swartberg climb was a life-saver - the difference between the viewpoint that looks like the top (and has to be, surely!) and Die Top is an alarming 3km, for the uninitiated. And yet, the sense of humour failure rate was so low. Gravel bikers are lekker people, Lekker. The descent into town was worth every shred of kneecap-restructuring on the way up. The beers at the finish: nectar.

 

My highlight? I got my whole table at our Friday night carboload to Google what a Prince Albert is. Mighty proud of that. It may have affected the dessert order, though.

 

See you all next year.

  :D You evil you!  :thumbup:  :clap:

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