Race Report: Velddrif 222 Velddrif

Submitted by Paul Roux – a mountain biker!

Well done to Sue Kirk and the rest of the team! You all pulled off a perfectly organised ride. I have had my share of inaugural rides and this ranks amongst the best of in terms of planning and execution. Also huge thanks to all the towns and their traffic departments as well as the marshals. I was really impressed with how this played out.

As for the actual ride, load shedding resulted in us pulling up to the start at 7:01 but thankfully the start was delayed until 7:10. I was surprised when I saw 2°C on the way there – but it was confirmed soon as we started to move – it was blooming cold.

I did my own thing on the hardtail and kept a steady pace of 26km/h, soon a whole bunch of roadies seems to have formed behind me with the odd one popping in for a chat every now and then. I did see 1.4°C on the way to Piketberg but one guy said his Garmin showed 0.1°C at some stage. So a very chilled first stretch. Soon as we crested the Piketberg climb the roadies dropped me, my setup just is not that fast downhill. I did have my 2.35 knobbies at 3 bar but that is about as far as I went in terms of changing things VS my normal setup.

Excellent marshalling through Piketberg. On the other side I saw a lady with a mechanical issue from a far. As I came closer I saw it was a much more involved breakdown as her crank was lying on the ground I jokingly said “I would have loved to help but unfortunately I left my welder at home today“. After a second or so she burst into laughter and said, thanks, that helps. The road from Piketberg to Redelinghuis was new to me, but beautiful. I rode solo most of the way – as planned.

Stopped for a water fill up and banana at the Redelinghuis waterpoint and while I was there someone laughed “Oh is that the welder guy“. All round the vibe from fellow riders and organisers was positive and encouraging. Took a long time to reach Elands Bay, I was anticipating the climb, went past faster than anticipated. Coming closer to Dwarskersbos the roads became more and more familiar. The last stretch from Dwarskersbos to Veldrif was a treat as I ride that road a lot. I took a left at the finish back to the start to complete the 222km.

I do hope this event returns to the calendar next year, at the price it is excellent. The cold and the distance reminded me of a 30 something me doing Transkaroo, although 40 something me will never do something like Transkaroo again, this 222km ride is a more accessible challenge.