Dad, says seven-yr-old Tom, I’m tired of the 5km and 10km races with Mom. I wanna go on a longer race with you, please.
So we enter the 18km race starting at the Eston country club and meandering thru Tala game reserve. Days before, it starts raining; and it rains; and there’s mud – A LOT of mud. And mud puddles and pools of water and muddy lakes to cross at every dip in the road.
I pushed, I shoved, I carried, I dragged. I went ahead, dropped my bike, went back and scraped mud off their bikes, then pushed them; When I couldn’t free the brakes from the balls of sticky mud, I carried them.
We watched people bail left and right. Tractors and trailers were available en-route to offer rescue, and the trailers got piled high with bikes abandoning the slog. But we pushed on, stopping every few metres to scrape sticky mud out of the brake calipers.
And they made it! Not many did. On the way home they recuperated like this:
Not one pic of the mudslog! Aitch had the camera; Anyway, my hands would have been way too muddy!
Looking at the pictures I thought, ‘Am I imagining how tough that day was?’ So I went looking and found an actual report on the race – still no pics! It was too wet and muddy to carry cameras, I guess.
August 2009 – Eston Illovo mud bath
Rode the Eston Illovo MTB Challenge last Sunday. A race from hell. 30mm of rain the night before and wet, misty conditions on the day. Temp about 12degC. The mud was so thick it took us 45minutes to ride / push / scrape the first 3 kms. So you imagine.
Seemed to improve a bit after that, but that was just a wish. Slippery and muddy all the way. I fell going into a drop down to some single track. Bit dazed, but OK. Actually, I seemed to have put my bad shoulder back into place. Made our way to the first water table. Many people opting to get a lift home from there. I decided to push on and it took 2 hrs to complete the last 15 kms. I must have pushed about 15 kms overall in the race.
Bikes breaking all around. derailleurs, chains most common. Guys where pushing home with 20 kms to go with no chain. Took me 2 days to clean my bike. Had to renew my disc pads @ R400. Like servicing a car.
Completed in 5hr40 minutes. Only 1000 completed of the 3000 starters. – The Dodge
The same guy did a 20km ride at nearby Hammarsdale, and finished in 1hr 31mins!
So no, I wasn’t imagining it was a tough day out there!