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Sugar and Syrup at Eston - 40km


Li Mu Bai
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The steady line of cars kept sliding down the hill, churning up the dust of the Eston Club's driveway. The winter yellow grass fields around the clubhouse were transformed into a sea of metal, as the cars methodically filled the landscape. I had arrived at 6:30, driving up from Hillcrest, and just couldn't believe the stream that poured in till 7:45. No wonder the organizers were ecstatic that they had grown the race by another 1000 entries.

Great atmosphere once again, Johnny Koen entertaining as always, the smell of grilling bacon and egg rolls making you either feel hungry or nauseous depending on your level of anxiety. The Marathon set off 10 minutes late, the seeded riders dashing up the route so cleverly illustrated in the bar by Garmin/google. Our turn came soon enough, the half marathon being as popular as ever. The whistle blew, and not 20m down the road, there was a pile up of 6-8 bikes and riders, looking like a twisted painful cyborg monster. I steered around this carnage easily enough, and it was down to the business of cutting a path through the thick dust. For dust there was aplenty, despite the drizzle of the night before. Luckily it had not rained heavily, or everything would have been caked in thick mud. The tracks through the sugar plantations were quite fast, the assegai leaves leaning over at eye level and becoming annoying if you got too close.

It was quite an interesting route, with variations in the trail that had me remembering bits and pieces of other past races. 4 long climbs had had me grinding, the dust in the single track through the wattles had me choking. One part of the ride felt a little contrived as the single track seemed cut out of fresh earth, technical rock dodging, up a hill. One portage saw my Commencal hoisted on my shoulder. The loose gravel on the turns back at the plantations, had me sliding out and doing the superman glide on my forearm and shoulder. Nothing like a good fall to wake you up!

The last section down the sand road was fast, and the fanfare at the finish line beckoned. Crossing the line was a relief. My next mission to find the first aid wagon to get cleaned up. Try as I might, this was nowhere to be found. The organizers at the PA, the timekeepers, the people at the stalls all waved me in the 'somewhere over there direction' which resulted in me washing my war wounds carefully on my own after abandoning the search. Plenty of refreshments lifted the spirits of all participants, and the belated prize giving had most clapping the efforts of the riders. All in all ? good value!

Hopefully next year the sun will participate more too. Sleepy


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Welcome to the Hub, and what a way to make an entrance!

 

I'm the official Commencal PR agent, where I make do with sheer enthusiasm, JLDAM follows up with facts!

 

Sounds like you had a great ride, where are you based in Gauteng? When is your next ride? Were you on the Commencal ride on Saturday on the Spruit?
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Thanks for the welcome, been enjoying the racing, especially the Mazda/FPC series.

3 FPC races to, will be giving it horns in all 3!

Based in Gauteng, I ride the spruit often with JL (he's the unofficial puncture king! 3 pfffftssss in one ride hahaha.)

 

It would have been a real mission whizzing down to PMB after the saturday ride, so nope, missed that unfortunately, sounded like there was a huge crowd. Spent saturday hanging onto the fast end of my kitesurf board enjoying 25 knots in Durbs.

 

Nothing quite like getting out and about in the most extreme fashion possible. Smile

 
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Silly me! Of course you woulda been in Durbs already! Well, I'm sure we will run into each other at one of JL's rides soon (P.S. Saturday saw JL have to pump up his tyre, but I don't think he changed the tube, but later Graham got a leak in his tyre that he couldn't seal so he had to pull out his Stan's kit and put in a tube! Messy task!!

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[based in Gauteng, I ride the spruit often with JL (he's the unofficial puncture king! 3 pfffftssss in one ride hahaha.)]

 

Hey Rude, Watch it. I don't puncture often, but when I do it, I do a good job of it. Wink

 

We are riding on the spruit, tomorrow. Wanna join? 8am paulshof M&B.

 

 
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yes of course... will be there! And for anyone wanting to extend the 40km spruit ride, I will be continuing through chartwell and carslwald after ending back at the Cambridge Crossing (paulshoff) M&B

 

At least Graham got a leak in his tyre and didnt have a leak on his tyre!
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