Congrats to Team Sovereign who came in at 42nd out of 256 who finished the race!
Team Leader Fanie Nel sums up the race as follows:
We indeed had a very successful event.
We were in for quite a bit more than we expected when the weather gods decided that 200 km in fair weather isn’t enough punishment. We had lots of rain, wind and even some hail en route! Furthermore when we started I could see that some of our riders were going to struggle on the day. After 45 km we had to make the call to either go for our target time or leave some riders behind. As much as we wanted to take everyone to the line it was discussed many times before the race…..We need 6 riders to cross the line for sub 6 and that is what we were there to do. At the 115 km rest stop we were only 6 riders crossing the mat together.
This wasn’t that bad as time stops for 30 minutes after the 6th rider crosses the line. That means that we can regroup, some people just have less time to rest! But I really had a problem you never want to be 6 riders ahead of the others, one mechanical could mean disaster. Luckily Bertus was just 5 minutes behind us and another two riders arrived before we left again. Between this and the second stop our strongest rider got a puncture. This had a real effect on our chances of riding under 6 hours. We decided to gamble a bit and hoped that he can catch up before we had to leave the next stop. Even though he had to cycle on his own he only lost 10 minutes on the front six.
At the 2nd stop we had an emergency meeting. We were 9 people and looking at the time we had left it was almost impossible to finish under 6 hours even if the 6 strongest went one. The choices were to finish much slower or really dig deep and hope for something that is close to a miracle. It was decided to stick to our original plan and that is if there is a shimmer of hope of doing sub 6 hours we must go for it. We pushed hard (averaging 53 km/h the last 7 km) and the 6th person crossed the line in 5:58:21.
That is the quick recap on the race. Unfortunately it is impossible to capture the emotions that you go through in words, but I can promise you that if we have your support we will definitely back next year to fly the Sovereign flag high.
Here are some pictures from the race: