The Carousel Classic has always been one of my favourite races because of the longer distance, 150km, the wind and most of all, the fast rolling roads. This year’s race route was changed a bit and shortened to 110km though which changed the dynamic of the race to an extent. I preferred the longer distance as it became more of an endurance race of which rider had the best legs coming into the finish, but I was still determined to give it my best!
It is always a very early start to the day and the morning of the Carousel was very chilly. Our 4 man team assembled an hour before the start very positive and ready to race hard. The team had discussed the race and we all knew what was expected of ourselves. Everyone gave their bikes one last check and grabbed enough gels and food for the race and waited for the start.
Team Tasol/GT and Team Matlosana were the only teams fully represented as the rest of the teams had riders in Graskop racing the last day of the Clover tour. They took control, but we weren’t going to make it easy for them, we went with all the attacks and made a few ourselves. When we were about 5km out I was feeling good and wanted to put in attack with my hopes on winning solo. I spoke to Arran and he said I should give it a go and that he would sprint off the other teams.
I put in a big attack and managed to get a gap. The other teams didn’t want me to get away and gave a hard chase. I kept a gap for a while but it was not meant to be as they brought me back into the bunch. Martin countered my attack and got a gap for himself but this was also brought back by the other teams. This meant Arran would be our last card to play in the sprint for the line. It was an extremely close sprint coming down to the last 50m, but we had to settle for second, not a bad result for our small team but always disappointing. We always want to return home with the victory.
The team’s commitment to each other keeps on growing! I’m one very happy bike rider!