You know that old saying: listen to your body? Well, still being the stubborn little babe I can be – I did the exact opposite on the morning of stage 3.
Unfortunately, today marks the end of our racing at Cape Epic.
If you’ve been following these posts a long, you know that yesterday I managed to take a digger (or 3) – unbeknownst to me, this ended up actually being slightly more severe than a brush it off and keep going crash. I ended up pulling my glut, with ultimately resulted in some serious kneemumbojumbo (and by that I mean so much f*cking pain my eyes felt like they could have rolled backwards in my head).
I wanted to finish. I wanted to let my body rest another night and keep going through the motions – I can’t handle being told I have to stop.
I was fortunate enough to see one of the team doctors, since the MedClinic was so over booked with dehydrated riders: she said if I want my knee to have a chance in hell to heal I needed to stop now.
Ultimately, that wasn’t an issue…stopping at least. We managed to roll over the finishline just over our cut-off time. Done – you can’t go on, and have it count – you are not a finisher, which I yearned to be for the last nine-months. Gutted….110% gutted.
Our numbers were clipped off, and our race was done.
Sand- and lots of it. If there is going to be this much sand, put me next to a beach so I can at least jump in the ocean for a swim afterwards. Ha!
Gravel – we are taking ball barings, loose, the kind of stuff that will take you out in an instant whether or not you are or aren’t technically sound on a bike.
Heat – Bain’s Kloof, a tar climb which ended up being something like 30kms (in my head at least) was dangerously hot. Riders in the wrong lane, pinching close to the shade – trying to hide for the intense Africa heat. An emergency water stop was arranged by the Epic crew in hopes no one would go splat from severe dehydration. Having to regulate your water on a day like this is torture, pure and utter torture. That feeling alone makes you wonder if you’ll make it through the stage.
Humidity – the forests here do not breath. The wind doesn’t bustle the leaves, everything is still except the pack of riders ahead + behind you.
I hit a point where nothing sounded good – no electrolytes, no treats, no nothing.
I have to admit, though, I did aquire a strange liking for bananas with table salt sprinkled on them that day.
We are out. Tonight, we are not hustling to get in a high carb and protein meal, showering and whisking our sore bodies off to massage. We are not making sure our nutrition bottles have been picked up, and our jersey pockets are properly stuffed with snacks. No, tonight we sit around in ‘bar’ area sipping on a beer, with puffy eyes.
Photos: Jeff Kennel