After the heat and horse-flies and general route mayhem of yesterday, the #TransCape organisers made a call today to shorten the route between Swellendam and Greyton, cutting out one of the rugged mountain legs in lieu of a flatter gravel road section. This effectively turned the Overberg Day into an ‘OverHill Day’, but I did not see any riders complaining.
It was a veritable bun fight at the front with the flatter road stage suiting the sprinters, and quite a bit of hurt was dealt out in the pain-locker at the sharp end of the race. A massive pile-up with Fanie & Johan Venter at the very epicentre of it so the peleton grind to a unexpected halt in a cloud of blood-orange dust.
Fortunately everyone managed to escape relatively unscathed, despite a slew of grazes, ripped clothing and a broken helmet. Billy Stelling was once again in fine form, and led the field into Greyton Main Street. An exhilarating sprint followed, with both Sharon Laws and Catherine Williamson challenging the Men’s teams right to the ribbon.
The pinnacle of my #Day5, however, happened at the other ‘sharpish’ end of the field. I pedalled back onto the route to join the true heroes of #TransCape, those back-markers who very seldom get bothered by the race paparazzi, and spent some time with Jeffrey Wilcox as he cajoled his crew to the finish line, and what a privilege that was.
All in all, today made for a combo of photo bliss and fast-paced mountain biking, with soft light blitzing in across the wheat field patchwork of the Overberg. The riders crossed into the Cape Winelands near Riviersonderend, and had to cope with the ups and downs as the topography rucked up towards the Cape Fold mountains.
Tomorrow sees the penultimate stage to Villiersdorp, with a gala evening of note planned to wow this new breed of mountain biker, henceforth to be known as true-blue TransCapers. Exceptional food, superb organisation, luxurious accommodation … this race has been exceptional thus far.
Click here to view the pics