I had nervous anticipation all this week as I was heading for Sabie for our annual mtb pre ride. Once a week training doesn't cut it for the mountains in the area but a break from Jhb and something new was all good. Sabie Experience is a four day mtb event in December and is known to be tough, even brutal depending on the weather conditions. We arrived in rain and woke up this morning to rain. Steady falling rain and dampened spirits. At the start were about 30 hard core souls. Actually, some were posing as they had no intention of riding but wanted to be in the aura of those of us heading out. There was a vote. The time trial route (32k and 3 hours of rain) or Stage 3 (80k and 8 hours of rain). To me it was a no brainer but - I won't tell you how I voted. Off we went. A 13k climb to stables soon had the butt and back complaining but at least it kept us warm. A roaring fire at the hiking hut made it super hard to leave knowing this was the point of no return. 60k more awaited us. I added another layer. Well it was worth it. Sublime single track even in the wet, a near cartwheel over a cliff by yours truly and slightly warmer weather in the valley. My gears were giving me the zig and fatigued my legs quicker along with the mud, but hey, I was keeping up. I was surprised that I was not exhausted and that I had not fallen off the pace. Despite the constant drifts of rain, everyone held up really well and there was good feedback on this stage. On the climb named "Ugly Words", I rather heard the thud of raindrops falling from the trees onto the damp earth and the sigh of my tires as I wound my way onward and upward. I could hear birds faintly and not another soul. Rare peace indeed. The race office ladies, Ilsa and Sandy, had whipped up hot soup with buttered rolls for the weary warriors. Manna! It took several rinses of my bike, myself and my kit to get ride of most of the brown mud. And now we are off to celebrate Halloween at Georgies restaurant. Tomorrow? Who knows, who cares. I'm back!
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