What a day..
So we drove the route, as we did Kypie's eyes got wider and wider, fortunately we stopped just after halfway we decided a craft beer was in order to calm our nerves poor Kypie only had a diet coke!! These hill are something else, let no one kid you that this is a down only race....
We caught the bus to the start to alleviate stress, except our bus was so slow it was almost in first gear most of the way. Once in Maritzburg the traffic was so bad we abandoned the bus and walked to the start.. Instead of being in the front of H (the last batch) we were pretty much in the middle.. The atmosphere is awesome, as we move forward when the ropes come down, batch by batch we edged forward. We got to where E batch started off which is about normal. Out of the blue Heather popped up behind us so great to start with friends around us. We had me met up with Giep and Leana the night before, and seen them enroute to the pens but could not see them at the start.
I spent much time analyzing times vs hopes and expectations .. eventually I worked out a reasonably simple calculation. If each 30km leg took less than 4 hrs we were fine... I started my stopwatch as planned at the gun, and my Garmin at the mat. It took 8 minutes to cross the line.. We settled in to a comfortable pace and went through 30km in 3:46 from the mat in 7:33/km pace add the 8 minutes in and we were on about 7:40.
At around 19km we caught Giep who did not look happy and did not respond positively when I motioned him to join us as planned.
The 12 hr bus passed us at about the 5km , I knew they were going to fast but let them go. At around 25km just before Camperdown we caught them- - my biggest bugbear on comrades is these busses, they block the road and make it "impossible" to pass. We went on the grass to overtake, I think I heard Buks (the bus driver) comment as we went past. We hit a down hill through Camperdown so upped the pace to get away .. a few km later we met up with Mavis Morris another walker albeit without Ws.. She walked with us for quite a long way just fading a bit on the hills but on checking her splits she was only a few meters behind us.
I knew we had to maintain a good pace so kept going on the uphills and allowing Kypie to catch up on the downs. I am much stronger on hills - note to self Kypie needs to do severe hill work before next year. Kypie complained a bit about shins , piriformis, etc but hey its a long day and we all have pains. I hurt my left knee a few months ago going toooo fast on a dog run and that was hurting a bit not real pain just a niggle but enough to cause angst.. We settled in to a rhythm and plodded along.... and along.... My but its a long way.
I try and maintain hydration to a level that I never need to stop.. Kypie was not so successful, but still managed to keep up. We passed 1000 hills chef school but they were not handing out beers for tasting! oh well better keep going.
We went through 60km in around 3:53 on my Garmin so we had a few more minutes in the bag. Going up Cowies the last major hill Kypie fell back a bit , but I had told him about the downhill, except for another damn bus, dawdling down ... then they jogged a bit till the road narrowed and tehy slowed to a crawl. We went off passing on the grass again then they started jogging so we rejoined. Kypie confirmed that sub 8:30/km would get him to the end, and I extricated myself from the bus and shot in front , this was around the 70km, I kept looking back but never saw Kypie.. I got into a nice rhythm and just kept going. Passed a friend Peter Bosch who had done Jackie Gibson with me , he was battling but I thought he would make it ( later I found out he baled with 3km to go- it is a tough race) Those last few kms just drag on and on and on ... and on.
We had seen a friend Pottie a few times along the way and guessed he was seconding his son , with a less than 2km to go Kobus introduced himself as Potties son, its a small world... I was hoping to at least get a 11:3X but just missed out, 2 years ago i did 11:45:03 now 11:40:06 . Job done for me ..
I enjoyed the race , some niggles but always thought and felt comfortable.
My 3 goals were
"My Goals for Comrades 2016
1 For Liz to finish her 10th Comrades- hope sjhe achieves her goal time
2 For Kypie , Giep and myself to all finish Comrades by walking it...
3 For me to better my down pb of 11:45 and possibly by overall Comrades PB of 11:27"
My awesome wife did an amazing 9:33 so now has her green number.
Kypie ( 11:50) and I finished as planned , Giep struggled and baled but maybe we can help him more next year if we train together.
I got my down PB, I maintained my pace the whole way. I am very happy
Interesting comparing our pacing
Now to plan the rest of this years races..
Mont aux Sources http://www.wildseries.co.za/events/mont-aux-sources-challenge/about/
Sani Stagger http://www.sanistagger.com/
African Centurion http://www.africancenturion.com/raceinfo.html