The sentiment has changed somewhat in the camp at Kaleo Guest Farm this afternoon. The sense of ‘that was easier than what we expected’ tone of yesterday had been replaced by tired bodies. Nonetheless the back of the race has been broken and the Merino Monster conquered, so there is a real sense of accomplishment amongst the riders.
There was a brisk start to affairs at the pointy end of the field, with the first unofficial finish line being the start of the singletrack descent down the Gydo Pass. Splits happen here and riders know the importance of going in first. Picture the roadies gunning for the hole shot entering a cobble section, yeah something like that…
Unfortunately in the Ceres Valley thereafter I found myself deep in the pain cave and it didn’t feel like I had the head lamp needed to crawl my way out. To compound matters somewhat, I then punctured and damaged some equipment. It never rains, it pours… Fortunately I had a patient partner by my side and little by little I worked my way out and we managed to pick up our way back to 7th on the line.
A little further up the road, RECM once again displayed a dominant performance. They were challenged on the Monster by the Red E Blend pair who had fought back well from an earlier mechanical. Kleinhans took the King of the Mountain but then it was the solo entrant Sahm who was willing to take the risks on the exceptionally rough and technical descent. Ultimately it paid off for the Bulls rider and he won the stage. RECM fended off the charge from Lill and Woolcock and took their second stage in as many days.
The ladies race was a ding song battle between the RECM and Ascendis Health ladies. Ascendis Health came out trumps and also took their second stage.
A shorter and final stage awaits the riders tomorrow; the respite will be appreciated in the final dash for the line.
1. RECM – Kleinhans & Reid
2. Red E Blend – Lill & Woolcock
3. Contego Swift – Louw & Luus
4. EAI – Rabie & Combrinck
5. Dorma Robert Daniel – Sim & Pftizmeier
1. Ascendis Health – Stenerhag & De Groot
2. RECM – Stander and Kleinhans
3. Sasol Racing – De Villiers & Haw