On Sunday morning at around 3am, an alarm will go off next to my bed. I’ll knock it off the beside table, curse, blaspheme and curse some more. I’ll get up and think to myself that perhaps those extra beers at the Radium Beer Hall while watching the Scotland-Springbok match were a mistake. I’ll wonder why I didn’t take on the advice I gave myself last year when I said I would not drink the night before taking part in a big race.
On Sunday I will ride my 10th Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge.
On Sunday, at 3.30am, as I lie in bed wondering if I should just go to the VIP tent later instead of riding, I’ll remember the words of one Kevin Evans to Lance Armstrong before the 2010 Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour and “harden up”. I’ll get out of bed for the absolutely last time and get into the bath. I’ll have a quick feel of the legs, maybe give them a little scrape with a razor to make them smooth. Here’s the thing I have learnt about cycling over the years – sometimes it doesn’t matter if you’re fast, but as long as you look fast. I’ll dry myself off, put on suntan cream because it seems to work better and longer if you put it on a good few hours before you go out into the sun.
I’ll walk into the spare room at my girlfriend’s place and curse again. Where the hell’s my bike? Where’s the KTM Strada? I was sure I put it there on Saturday afternoon? I’ll stomp into the lounge. And the kitchen. Then I’ll remember how after the taxi had dropped me from the Radium I had insisted on packing the bike into my car so I wouldn’t forget.
I’ll walk to where I had laid my kit out the night before on the sofa. I’ll slather chamois cream on the bibs, wince and moan as the coldness of it forces my testicles to retract as though Khanyi Mbau has walked into the room. I’ll try on a few tops, and realise that my five months of tapering since I finished the Absa Cape Epic has not been good for my figure. Less medium and more “extra medium”.
I’ll pack my bags and a coolerbox with water and a towel for a post-ride wipe down, and clean clothes to change into. Then I’ll drive to the start of the race, where I’ll listen to people say how untrained they are. Then we’ll ride, for around four hours in my current state, I think. My hangover should be gone by the time we hit the Joe Slovo offramp. I’ll ride my 10th Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge on Sunday. I’m looking forward to it.