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William James

Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge - 17 November 2013 Starting Group - Licenced Vets 35-39 (VB) - Starting Time 5:45

The day that I have prepared for mentally and physically have finally arrived which marked the date of the promised cycle race which my dad and I would have ridden together.

For the first time, I pulled my specially made cycling jersey over my head with the photo of my dad and his bike on my back and heading reading "Riding With My Dad". Needless to say it was a very emotional start to the day.

Upon arrival on the Polo Fields parking it was drizzling and I expected a wet race. Luckily whilst having a last bite to eat and warming up on the side of my car on the cycling rollers, the rain stopped and started clearing up nicely. At about 5:10am I started to make my way to the starting pens and joined the VB group to start our race at 5:45am. My heart skipped a few beats when the gun sound for the start of our race as the reality of my dad not being there smacked me quite hard, however with tears in my eyes and my heart that felt if it was torn into pieces, I clicked my feet into the cleats of my bike… it was race on!

The race started off very well on still a fairly wet road surface. Afterwards I was told (and confirmed from a PVR recording) that I was shown on TV as we started the race. Nice television exposure for my sponsors advertised on my kit!

As the race progressed on the M1 highway, it was more an effort to warm up the legs in the peloton than anybody causing an upset with any breaks… however… as soon as we turned off at Joe Slovo offramp and made our way to Ponti, the fun started with an immediate attack up a very steep hill towards the famous Ponti building. The peloton got scattered on this hill and a number of guys couldn't stick to the leading group. The pace was very quick up this hill and stayed extremely fast through town. By the time that us in the leading group got onto the M2 and turned towards Ghandi Square, the back marker guys was giving it their all to catch up again and sure enough when we got to Nelson Mandela bridge, the whole group was together again…. Just in time for the next hill sprint

There is a short but sharp incline just as one cycle over Nelson Mandela Bridge and the bunch started spreading out again. From this bridge onwards to Randburg was mostly flat road and downhill. Needless to say the pace really started increasing at this point and I found myself placed firmly in the front 10 riders. As we worked our way down Randburg and speeds that vary from 60km/h to 75km/h one pray that nobody in the bunch lose their wheel… If one fall, all fall, very hard. Thankfully there were no incidents and everybody made it safe through the downhill's.

Through Randburg and onto Witkoppen which also marks the start of the climbs… Up Witkoppen and onto Malibongwe is where there was a distinct break in the peloton and I managed to stick with the leading group… this wasn't easy!! The final hill up Malibonge was done at a very quick pace regardless of the steep incline which definitely woke the legs up properly

Onto the dreaded N14 highway where I understand that many riders have suffered severely in head wind. This must have been a blessing as we didn't have too much head wind (being an early start as well) and the pace increased even more within the group on the long stretches of the N14. By increasing the pace, of course another split in the bunch occurred and yet I still managed well to break away with the leading group.

As we turned off from the N14 towards Diepsloot, and then left towards Olifantsfontein… another steep hill awaits and off course another opportunity to rid the bunch of more cyclists. Sure enough the pace was excelled up the hill… very quick and very hard which definitely took the toll on the legs.

The rolling road from Diepsloot towards Midrand and the ever increasing pace saw me slowly but surely loosing pace until such time that I was unfortunately dropped by the leading bunch. At this point my legs were on fire, but I still pushed with all I had, my max heart rate was exceeded for quite some time in an effort to remain in the running for a good race time. The thought of my dad riding next to me kept me going strong as I took the right turn towards Kyalami. Only 2 more hills to go and the finish will be in sight. It was a fact of head down, concentrate on breathing, and give it your all.

Soon enough the final turn towards the circle… around the circle, and into the final straight. The sight of the finish line banner sent tears down my face uncontrollably. The fact that I really gave my all in that race… to make my dad proud, and crossing the line with his photo on my back and happy memories in my heart. That moment, those few seconds was what it was all about. I crossed the line Riding With My Dad!!

On the other side of the finish line, I was congratulated by my friends and family some who even flew in from Durban to support my cause.

My official time on Racetec was 02:28:37. Not a bad performance for a new comer : My first Momentum 94.7 after having only cycled for a year.

Thank you Cellfood Oxygen for Life!! Your support with my preparation towards this race and personal well wishes has been amazing!!

With the ice now broken, and I have more knowledge about the profile and race tactics on the Momentum 94.7 and of course my continuation with my training…. I'm looking forward to 2014!!

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