The week (and a bit) that was: Knysna Big 4 +1

Indeed this was the best 10 days Mel and I had this winter!
The plan was for us to ride the Mountain Bike and Road Ride together and then we would see how it goes from there.
80km Mountain Bike Ride:
We roll downhill to the start in the centre of town. M downs a petrol station coffee (to keep warm you know). We feel quite smug with our rather elite starting group with some pretty fast bikers. The “gun” goes off and we freewheel off towards Simola. The plan was to ride together and so we take the first hills at a steady pace. A couple of hours later I stop for a pee break, confident that I will watch M on the long uphill snaking into the green forest. Moments later I hop on my bike and to my horror I discover the uphill turns to down (The Triathlete’s favourite) and I know I have to push really REALLY hard to catch her! I scare myself and some squirrels in the process but finally I catch her and my only reward was a quizzical look and a “I wasn’t going that fast”
100km Road Cycle:
Somewhere about 20km in the ride we both have to stop for a pee break and pull out of a lovely slipstream. The Triathlete falls over creating some entertainment. We leapfrog with many others into the slight headwind. We cheer on imaginary friends and generally have fun. The Hoekwill climb is not so bad and we cruise down. I am keen to wind it on the way back so The Triathlete sucks wheel and I crank the big chain ring. Loving it.
I glance (gingerly at first) behind me to check if she is there and do not see her. I glance again and again then sit up. “I am here, go!” back in the drops and the train keeps going. (“On” and “Off” become our pretty good communication.)  Later at the Xterra the story unfolds as a fellow competitor comes up to us and asks if we rode the race. He and his buddy quickly realised that they would have to let her through if they wanted the benefit of our tow.
We sprint into Knysna the sub 4h time is within reach, but only just! Suddenly the traffic officers stop us to let cars proceed adding a little bit more pressure. We get given the go ahead and we crank the big blade home!
Featherbed 15km Trail Run:
We are on the Ferry and freezing. The race briefing goes quickly. I warm up a little and then we spring up the hill. I start off a bit conservatively as this is my first test in a year to see how the body holds up. The formalities of the warm up loop are over and I am just behind Landie on the single track uphill. I push on the walking sections uphill. This turns out to be more of a X-Country track than trail run that I am used to. My competitive spirit comes through and I give it all. I know that I will hurt tomorrow but I do not care. I am very very pleased with my top 10 place in the morning race and overall 12th!
Hunting Season is now in full swing and the big one turns out to be Xterra! Worth every cent of the R 200!
We quickly found a spot next to the pro’s to put our bikes. We got our bike shoes ready and everything was good to go.
The gun went off and we were off on leg 1: 3 km trail run, a quick uphill and then single track. Back to transition and run shoes off and bike shoes on and jump onto the mountain bike. Wet ground and mud everywhere. Back wheel sliding out and barely in control on several occasions. Uphill and down hill followed by the same. Again and again.  We climb in forests and dive through rivers. Paul Ingpen has bike issues and asks to borrow mine. “Later” I reply

A girl in pink decides to take a dive in a mud pool in front of me I only get both feet wet.

Finally 6km to go on the total distance of 22km and I kick for home
More climbing and then the bastard mud fest back to transition. I am in granny and hardly moving forward on the flat field into transition.

Very very dirty bike is racked. Bike shoes off, trail shoes on, helmet off and run cap on. Now for the last leg: 7 lm run. Up Heartbreak Hill. This guy in front of me starts walking and I can hardly keep up. The next few km’s are a blur but the most amazing single track follows. Finally the last leg jarring downhill and yes then another hill to climb to the finish. I look behind me. I do not want to get caught at this point and give it all.

Then it is calm. Done. I graze the food provided. Whatever sugar is provided is stuffed down my throat.

I wait for M, too stuffed to walk the little distance to cheer her on along the run route.

We are both pleased with our day!
Shower, bike wash, the best pizza in the world rounds off a quality day out!

Knysna Half Marathon is cancelled but a week later we park the car in Gordon’s Bay in a rain storm similar to Knysna. We stroll to the start of the 21.1 as the rain stops.
A short loop with one climb gets us warmed up for the 9km or so into the wind. I can tell it is TdF season as a cone of runners form behind me and a couple of others who are will to do the work. Some drop off the pace, some surge on as I start to feel the hurt. It has been too long away from this sort of thing. My aerobic fitness is there but my muscles can feel the pain as I push to maintain form in the final few km.
I am pleased but realise that there is a whole bunch of work to be done.I turn around and walk back checking my watch in anticipation.
There is one lone figure that is moving in every sense of the word. She can just make it if she is lucky!
In the end The Triathlete does a 8 min PB. I am proud!
This completes a most fantastic “week and a bit” of multi sport madness and one of the best holidays we have ever had!

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