I was very fortunate enough to be able to take part in the USSA (University Sport of South Africa) tour this past week. At first I was very doubtful of my abilities as a road rider and was not keen to participate in the race. As it got closer to race day I started to become very excited as it would be a new aspect of racing that I have never experienced before.
Day one was a new experience as it was two stages in one day. We had a 66km road stage followed by a 20km time trial that afternoon. I managed to stick with the bunch until the last climb to the finish where I was dropped and finished mid pack in 23rd position. I caught up one position on the time trial later that afternoon. I was 22nd on the GC after day one.
Day two was the 110km long stage. This was the stage I was dreading the most. I stuck with the group all until 60km where an attack was made. I tried my best to stick with them but could not. I dropped back to the chasing bunch and we were slowly closing them down when unfortunately my legs couldn't give anymore. I dropped back and rode solo for the last 30km leaving me 30th on the GC after day 2.
Day three was the hill climb and crit race. We climbed a total of 91m in 1km (pretty damn steep). I dug deep and managed a 16th on the hill climb. The crit race was one of my favorites, it was the last road stage and definitely the most fun. 30 minutes of flat out sprinting and super tight corners! A perfect way to end the USSA road tour.
Day four was my where I did my best. 35km, 6 laps of 7km on a very fun cross country course put me right at home. I was not expecting big things but got a huge surprise with the amount of energy I still had left in my legs. I had an absolutely amazing ride with no technical problems or cramps. I held a solid pace right to the end and managed to place 8th overall.
It was hard, it was painful but I loved every second of it!