November has been slightly different this time around - normally in November it is post-Kona R&R time with only very little training and no serious efforts, just some fun events. However, with the addition of Challenge Bahrain to teh calendar on 6 December, it has been a balancing act between recovering from the season and keeping the fitness going for one last big race.
In order to do that I selected a couple of events to keep me motivated and keep the engine going. The first of those was the Stellenbosch Winelands marathon. I love running races, and it is too rare that I get to go and race one these days. They are so relaxed and about every persons own achievement - no points, qualification and huge financial outlay - people just show up and run, mostly supporting each other the entire way. It's cool and reminds me of my youth. I came 11th in 2:40:05 (officially - my watch said 2:39:59!) so it was a good training day. Jodie came a close second (7secs) in the half marathon, and also vowed to do more running races.
A week later and I had been drafted into the HotChillee Double Century team. The Double Century is an annual fixture on the SA cycling scene and consists of a 202km 'Team Time Trial' type event. Teams of 12 are set off 1 minute apart and the 6th person across the line stops the clock. So you can burn off up to 6 people on your team in goign for the best time. Our team included Sky's Ben Swift, Dan Halksworth and newly-signed MTN Qhubeka Pro Nic Dlamini. It was to be a hard day on the Cervelo S5 road bike with very few road bike miles uder my belt - you are not allowed TT bikes so my P5 had to stay home.
We rode hard and burned off 6 of our guys after only 130km, meaning the last 75km with no room for error. Despite this, and some cramps in the final 20km, we managed a respectable 2nd pllace overall. It was a lot of fun - Thanks HotChillee for the opportunity.
Now it is final prep for Challenge Bahrain as the final hit-out for the season. Here's hoping Jodie and I can both end the season on a high note before some much-needed rest.
After Bahrain Jodie and I will stop in Dubai and are guests of honour at a dinner by TriDubai in aid of raising money for Richard Holland who was badly injured whilst out training for a triathlon (more info here).