Stage One - done and dusted

Training CampThe consensus has always been that Stage One is the most difficult and I was pretty bleak as my legs were sore and stiff as we set off. Misty conditions with about 150m visibility made it easier as the hills somehow didn\'t seem as big when you can\'t see them. Anycase, after about 20km, the legs figured out they weren\'t going to get any sympathy and started to behave. The section from White River is stunning with full dams glinting in the early morning sun and green, green forests lining the road. But the mist played a little havoc with our group with one of our riders chasing non-existent riders up front whilst we were all behind. He only found out at the 65km mark! I think he set a personal best for that section....

Training CampOk, so there are big, very big potholes on the Kiepersol section but the roads guys were busy working on them and we hope that the worst will be fixed. Those are the ones that would swallow you and your bike. The smaller ones could catch you unawares in a big bunch so you will have to be sharp. No hippo spoor this time but plenty of birdlife and green bananas.
Aish, the two big hills as you begin the slog to Sabie on the Hazyview road do drag on but that section ended up being pretty quick even with a stop to stretch the aching back. Ice cold water and powerade at Sabie plus a short break off the legs, set us up for the journey home.
Training CampThey are re-surfacing the road from Sabie to White River and the short sharp hill past Harmony Hill was the pits. But it was soon over and we picked up a nice rhythm to the top of Spitskop. Then you know you are really going home and all conversation turns to food.
Our group had a riding time of about 5:07 and our trusty Garmin 305s had a consensus of 115km with 2170m of ascent. That was pretty comfortable and we had been conservative for the first 40km until we were through Kiepersol. This is a sensible approach cos the ride on the Hazyview road can hurt you and leave you with nothing for the 45km back from Sabie to White River.
But it was a great ride, good company, good comfy pace and something left in the tank for tomorrow....I think!