Disaster strikes Rachel Fenton and Collyn Ahart at the ABSA Cape Epic
After a tough day yesterday we were really pleased to have a lie in this morning, as the race organisers set off each pen of riders at 15 minute intervals. This was in order to avoid too much queueing in the 22km of singletrack in today's 75km (short!?) stage. Back in F pen we were not off until 8am - pure luxury.
Unfortunately this is where things changed. At about 6km Collyn's knee, which she has been struggling with all week, finally became too painful and she had to stop riding. We called the medics and sat by the trail whilst the whole field rode past, every single rider asking if we were okay. Only an event like this can create that kind of commraderie.
You develop such a bond riding in a team like this that we were both really upset by the end of Collyn's ride. I am not ashamed to say we had a little cry sitting there by the side of the trail.
I waited for her to be picked up and then rode on alone. An odd feeling. I came here for an adventure with a friend and I felt so bad that I was continuing when she could not. I was constantly reminding the riders around me to eat and drink, just as we had been doing for each other.
I had a certain amount of frustration at the situation, that I had not been able to get her through. I wondered if there was anything more I could have done.
I took my frustration out on the trail, riding for Collyn as well as myself now. I rode hard. Starting from almost dead last I spent the whole day overtaking people (it has to be said this is somewhat motivating!) and tried to enjoy myself as best I could.
The trails were great, rolling, rocky singletrack - some of the best anywhere, although slightly full of braking bumps by the time 1000 riders had been through. But great trails are never the same if you have no one to share them with. Collyn, get better soon, I missed you out there!