Tuesday, May 10, 2011

South Africa World Cup #1 and Mellow Johnny's ProXCT #4


After a couple not so great races, things came together again. South Africa was amazing and I landed on the podium again in the ProXCT #4 Mellow Johnny's race the following weekend in Austin, TX. I am currently 5th in the ProXCT (USA National) series with 4 of 6 races complete.

Sunday April 17th Sea Otter wrapped up and Todd and I headed to the airport for a really long flight to South Africa for the World Cup #1 race the following Saturday. 

I am still amazed with my Osprey luggage. 

Todd likes it so much he bought a Shuttle 32" for himself. The Shuttle 32" with piggy-backed Transporter 75 (center of picture) weigh 50lbs each and I can pull it easily as one.

 Layover at JFK airport spa! Massage chairs are awesome, I want one in the RV.

Arrival in Johannesburg, SA. Lots of World Cup racers claiming bags before clearing customs and rechecking to Durban. Long story short, bags were late and although we barely made our flight to Durban the bags did not. It was pretty confusing, no one knew where to recheck bags, we were all following different porters and running (literally) in opposite directions. Then we would be re-directed and pass each other running the opposite way. 

Most racers did not have bags once we arrived in Durban and just had them delivered, Todd and I hung out at the Durban airport which was pretty nice and waited. We rented sim cards for our phones, adapters for electronics, picked up the rental car and then upgraded to one that would actually fit our luggage, ate, surfed, then picked up our bags.

We drove straight to Pietermaritzburg.

Our B&B

Nicoletta, fellow Cannondale rider.

Monkey in the yard

I learned in Cyprus that English folks do not do drip coffee. Not wanting any more Nescafe', I brought my own drip system and Starbucks coffee.

Our room. 
The white plate bolted to the wall behind the bike tires is the heater, a ceramic plate that heats up when you plug it in.

Power is optional here, as is water. 

A green alert means "power is stable at this time", Yellow means shut off all unnecessary things like hot water heaters, air conditioners or heaters.  I assume red means power is out, but of course I never saw that because the TV wouldn't work.

The day before the race = no power. Traffic lights were out and businesses either ran a generator or closed down. The morning of the race = no running water.

B&B staff, really friendly. Big smiles overcome any language barrier.

Lots of good looking food at area restaurants.

On the drive from the B&B to the venue.

Registration in the shopping center

Across the bridge to the venue

Spectators in line for tickets!

No entry without passes

Stadium seating. And this is just for practice.

You could pay 30 Rand for someone to wash your bike. ($1 US = ~6.6Rand)

Getting bike ready

Only UCI registered teams get a Team plate for a manager or coach to be able to ride the course with them. I am not part of a UCI registered team, but another racer was nice enough to loan us hers, so Todd got to ride the course with me.

 Pre-riding and figuring out lines.

Our "SUV". We had a couple days of pre-riding and getting adjusted to the 9 hour time difference.

April 23rd World Cup #1 South Africa

I LOVED the course, drops, rock gardens, spirals, the most entertaining technical course I have ever ridden. I was able to ride all "A" lines and made it from ~60th to 39th.  Passing ~20 World Cup level racers is not as easy as I thought it would be! These girls are all good, it comes down to your starting position and if you have a good or bad day.

South Africa pickups

Cool down ride across from the venue:

All the nice homes have walls, gates and razor wire.

Monkey, top left.

Sunday we were lucky enough to hook up with a local tour guide Luke. His father owns Adrenaline Cycles in Howick, South Africa. I didn't take any pictures of the amazing singletrack because we were flying so fast and it was so much fun I never thought to stop. I did take photos while riding to and from the singletrack. Luke was an awesome guide pointing out Bush Hogs, different birds and yelling back warnings when we came up to "Bull" and "Chicken" lines in the singletrack.

Some of the singletrack we rode was part of the Karkloof Classic MTB race


Such a beautiful place. 

 Frankie Bananaz. Last night in South Africa.

Todd had wine and I had a margarita. The margarita was a mistake. I ended up with a 6 day stomach issue probably from the margarita ice...

57 hours of travel later I arrived in Austin, TX for Mellow Johnny's ProXCT #4 race.

Thursday I pre-rode but my Lefty fork had an issue, the rebound quit working all together. I tried to ride locked out and slammed into a rock ledge, bounced off and hurt my elbow.


Friday, the day before the race, I went to an Austin urgent care for my stomach issues, I felt dehydrated and didn't want to eat anything. I ended up on an antibiotic and prescription strength "pepto bismol".  After talking to Cannondale about the fork, I hit up a machine shop and had them cut down a ~2mm diameter drill bit to act as a pin in the damping assembly.  Problems fixed. Ready to race.

April 30th ProXCT #4 race

I ended up blowing a locked 3rd place with a chainsuck issue and a wreck. I ended up 4th, by one second... CyclingNews race report here

 May 7th NM Oak Flats Race

Racing against the boys including fellow NoTubes racer Philip Simpson

No other pro women raced, I finished 12th out of 35 Pro/Cat1 Guys, a 32 mile race at altitude, now I am tired. After the race I got to visit my 89 year old Grandma, she still lives alone and looks great although she is not happy about loosing her sight and hearing.

May 15th we leave for England and Germany, World Cup races #2 and #3.

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