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April 26, 2013

Joberg2c: Day 1 (neutral stage)

This is no small feat, this race. Two days ago I was chatting with my far better half and she asked how far the race was. 900km, I uttered, almost nonchalantly.

“As long as your Epic Unsupported Tour?”

It was the first time she clicked that this was no laughing matter. Sure, we are taking the lassais faire approach to Joberg2c, but really, it’s a proper race of proper distance and overall, really, just proper.

The day started with a 5am breakfast and a 90min bus ride to the worlds biggest feed lot, where we kicked off affairs. The bus was frosty but thankfully, the sun had warmed affairs by the time we started.

For the uninitiated, Joberg2c is longer than the Cape Epic. I feel a little ashamed that a 900km mountain bike stage race doesn’t scare me anymore. There is a voice in the back of my mind reminding me that his attitude will bring the Gods of Mountain Biking to haunt me out there, so I have taken on a more serious tone today, as we took on the first stage. My legs are not quite yet recovered from Ironman, so I wanted to take it as easy as possible, but still “test” to see where they are, if that makes any sense.

Yes, it’s a neutral stage, but its 119km of neutral stage. It’s a bloody long way to be neutral and as such, we got up this morning with a goal to ride well, conserve on the “red line” stuff and get the legs ready for some fireworks on Day 2.

I am happy to announce that there are no fireworks in these legs yet. A small dig today showed only that I have a nice solid pace, but no punch.

Today was all about getting in the rhythm, feeling the groove and enjoying the company of athletes we would not normally be near in such an environment. Call it a tough group training ride with Fedgroup, RE:CM, Cannondale Blend & a few others. We donned baggies for the occasion.

To track us for the rest of the way, keep checking the website at www.joberg2c.co.za or download their fantastic APP in the Blackberry, Android or Apply APP stores. It will allow you to check out the race information, routes, stage profiles, tweets and more.

I also rode a new bike for the very first time. It was superb and I am very much looking forward to the rest of the ride on the Trek Superfly 100.

It was not nearly as cold as we expected and the day was a series of small bumps and lots of riding into the headwind. The two periods of more sustained “work” left me feeling a little empty, but I am hoping that after the massage, nap & great food here, I will feel a little better tomorrow.

It was a unique start to a long week. 783km to go after today and we hope to move a little more swiftly as the days go along. My partner displayed a quiet strength today, which I look forward to mimicking out there in the great African plains in the next few days.

Tomorrow we kick off the real racing & there will be no hiding. I look forward to sharing the stories with you tomorrow.

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