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Posts Tagged ‘toti 69er’

Team Laister rolled over the finish line of the 2012 edition of the Toti 69er tired and weather battered. It was a very tough race for 2 reasons: 1. My dad (stoker) had never ridden the route before and 2. (most important factor) there was 30km/h wind blowing. Being an out and back route along a coastal road, we got hammered on the outward bound leg and were too tired to bring it own strong.

 

The 2013 edition rolled around and we had not done the amount of training we would have like to due to illness and mechanical issues. We had  completed a few long rides on both the tandem and our single bikes which made up sufficient training to aim for a sub 3 hour attempt. The build up way dealt a blow when we read the weather reports for the day. A 20 – 25km/h SW wind with rain. Almost the same as last year!

An irritating blow was dealt when my parents dog ate the timing chip we use on the tandem. This was not a problem to our ride but more irritating because the results would not be “official” without it. More an irritation than anything else.

Getting up on the morning, we could hear the wind getting going but we bundled everybody into the car, made sure the bike was firmly strapped to the bike rack and headed off to Amanzimtoti to the start.

There was a plan this year. Due to the cold start, we would warm up over the first 10km or so and then average between 23 and 24km/h to the turn leaving enough in the tank to factor in tiredness and fatigue to break the 3 hour mark.

We headed off in warmer than expected ,almost perfect conditions. The first 1.5 km is brutal. You drift down a slight downhill and are immediately thrust into one of the toughest hills of the course – all before you can feel your toes. We knew it was coming so took it nicely at a steady rhythm. To our surprise on the day we overtook a lot of single bikes on the uphills – something that does not normally happen. Tandems are very quick downhill due to momentum and strength but that weighs against you going up!

Over the next part of the race we got into a nice pace and started to warm up and get our legs going doing a very nice speed which was well over the 23km/h needed. There was one major uphill going out that we were weary of but again – got into a rhythm and got to the top with relative ease. We crested the hill and with less than 4 km to the turn, I received great news from my stoker than we would be well under 1:30 at the turn.

Very smooth straight road was welcomed as we turned around and we hit the gas knowing we had enough left. With this burst of speed we dropped the tail we had accumulated along the outward leg. Our personal fan club made many appearances along the way and we felt like professionals when we passed because they were taking many photos and waving their arms. They also were taking photos on the way past as there was not full road closure. It’s probably going to be the closest we come to fame on a bike! It’s always a boost when people come out to support us and this time was no different. Some decent photos were taken too!

The remainder of the race was good with only 3 real challenges faced – 2 climbs and a short sharp incline to the top of a fast downhill to the finish. We hit the 2 climbs harder than normal because we were now pushing for a revised time of 2:45. We came through those well and knew there was only one little challenge left. We hit traffic problems half way up due to stupid and inconsiderate driving but came through okay. Counting down the km with sign boards I was looking for the “flame rouge” and it was a welcomed sight. The last kilometer dealt its own drama when we took the last bend to fast and went onto the other side of the road hitting a hole in the road. Crisis handled and last push was in order. Just as we pushed along the last 300m, a puncture struck. We could not continue on the flat so we got off and ran the last 200m – road cycling shoes and cleats and all!
It was an eventful end to the day and we felt like idiots but the crowd was cheering us on mainly because they too thought it was unfair we had a puncture! That was the only bad luck we had on the day. We ran across the line to finish in 2:41:00.

The moral of the ride – plan and execute your day and it will turn out good. Do what you can and let the rest happen. Don’t worry about the things you cannot change.

 

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There is really only on road cycling race in Durban during the winter – the Toti 69er. the race is from Amanzimtoti to Park Rynie and back along some of the most scenic coast line KZN has to offer.

The race was on the list of races to complete in 2012 for “Team Laister” on the tandem. We had trained quite diligently for the Tour Durban and had planned to carry that momentum into the 69er and have a good ride. Well, that did not happen according to plan! Very little training was done which is not the ideal training for a race that starts very cold and is very hilly and quite technical.
Race morning started quite late relative to most race mornings at 7am so I was up at 5am. I started by getting the bike ready – tires pumped up etc. This ended up being a nightmare. After taking the front tire to get a spoke fixed – the tire was not set back in the rim correctly so at 7,5 bars of pressure – BOOM! It certainly woke me up completely and my wife too. Our 8 month old girl, slept through the noise!
Having got everything needed for baby and bike and the support club – toti was the next stop. The is well known to us and not much more than 30 minutes drive. Again, the nightmare returned when I saw the bike come off the rack on one side! I slammed on anchors and pulled over. Surely this is race over due to broken bike? Thankfully, nothing was broken and after strapping the bike securely on the rack again, we were back on the road to toti.
We arrived as the race was starting. While we were trying to rush to get to the start, we discovered the front tyre was flat! That freaked me out! We managed to sort it out but now only had one spare left.
By this time we had the reality of how hard the wind was howling. The route is a exact out and back along the same stretch of the old coastal road. The wind would be a head wind there and tail wind on the return trip. The better combo if you ask me!
We started late but soon started over taking people. I have ridden the route many times so knew how to ride it a little harder. We had to take it easy because 1. We had a softer front tire and 2. Of the severe lack of training. The wind was howling and at time it was difficult to keep the big tandem upright. As per usual, we picked up a couple of riders that tucked into the draft of our tandem. I have come top accept this on rides and find it quite encouraging.
I often say, there is always one! This race proved it! One rider decided to tucked behind us and stayed there for about 40km. Normally, they come up and chat and help out a bit and then fall back. This idiot did nothing. Even to the point of slowing down when we were going 7,5km/h to make sure he stayed behind us. Cycling does not need idiots like this (in my opinion).
At the start we started in 105th place and by the turn around at half way we were 69th. The way back was harder than expected but did have the wind at our backs. All was going well when the dreaded sound came and broke the morning air. Ssssssssssssss! A puncture! In the middle of nowhere with no space to change it but road. Off we got and started to go about changing the back tyre. After getting my hands completely covered in black stuff while changing the tyre – we were in the saddle again. We started to struggle towards the end especially the last 2 big climbs. We made it to the top of the last climb with a long downhill to the finish and really enjoyed it knowing it was over. We had to be careful rounding the last corner on 2 fairly soft tyres though but no more pedalling was done apart from to the line about 500 metres from the bottom of the hill.
It was a long day in the saddle but a good one. Well done to toti cycling club (again) for a very well organised race. I really enjoy races organised by cyclists because they just know what is really needed. This race is still fairly new on the calendar but is very well organized and in my opinion – the best organised race I have ever cycled. Cyclists should organize cycling races (or at least people in the cycling community) not management or event companies.

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