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Offline Buff

Buff's wife tackles her first Swartland 200 - RR
« on: February 19, 2014, 09:43:37 pm »
I thought I would share my experiences of my first ever Off road race in the hopes that it would encourage more ladies to join me in this amazing sport. It has challenged me and pushed my personal physical boundaries, but it's kept me out of the psychologists chair ever since i started. It's a great stress reliever. Although, you'd never say so after reading this.


1:30am in the morning – and I’m Wide awake.

Sleep has decided it’s no longer anywhere close to a possibility. And why?  Well, because I’m too bloody nervous, that’s why!!! I had the absolutely bright idea of entering my first Off-road Race EVER. And that as a lady of a wonderfully young age of 27…. okay, Okay, OKAY 37. I’ve had my Yamaha TTR125 for about a year now, and I got tired of sitting in the pits and seeing everyone else have fun. So brilliant idea, don’t you think? Well at 1:30 in the morning, it doesn’t seem like such a great idea anymore!!
WHAT WAS I THINKING!!!!

My kit is packed, bike is loaded on the trailer, all ready for today and now I just have to wait for the 4:30am alarm to go off, so I can wake my amazing dear husband who is sacrificing his chance to race today, so he can babysit me on my first off-road race. He even surprised me with awesome new sticker kit for my bike, done by Erich Luff.

O Boy!! The Nerves are killing me!!!

4:25am

5 minutes to go till the Alarm goes off. I still have not slept... at all. That’s right, 3 hours of trying to psyche myself up so I don’t back out. But I think I feel the start of a stomach bug. Oh Crap!!! I’ll go back to the bedroom and wait for the alarm so I can gently wake Brett.

4:30am…….Alarm…..“Babes, Babes!!! IT’S RACE DAY!!!”  (Gentle enough?)  ;D

The rest of the morning went smoothly, too busy to think about the race again until we were in the car on our way to meet the rest of the Gang. It’s going to be Chelsea Droomer and Renier Du Plessis ( 2 juniors) first races as well.

Renier (YAMI SUPER10's son)


Chelsea (David from Cayenne@Droomers' daughter)


We arrived and found a spot to setup or pit. Registration was a breeze. Well done to the WCOC guys, you were really jacked up. I was a bit out of sorts not knowing what all the stickers were for and where to put the transponder (or what Chelsea will call the translator). But everyone was very friendly and helpful. Unfortunately, none of this was quelling my nerves.
I kitted up, my brain being pudding at this stage. I couldn’t think anymore. Putting my socks on seemed more complicated than a game of Chess, and the whole time, all I can think about is, WHAT WAS I THINKING!! I kept my composure though and no one noticed until I left half my kit off, only to be told by Chelsea that I had to put my vest and chest protector on too, BEFORE my camelback. Ja Ja. Laugh if you must guys.



Right, all set and we off to the start. I had my mother and my one daughter on the start line as my own rent-a-crowd. Amazing how no matter how old you are, when you do something you really scared of, how you always still need your mommy about. Thanks Mom.



The start was a bit chaotic. I wasn’t sure where I needed to be, but it looked like everyone was just milling about and chatting, so I did the same. A really scary dude started calling out names for the start grids and boy I do mean scary. He had the authority of my old high school vice principal, and when he spoke, everyone switched off their bikes and listened. I did the same in fear of getting detention. After race briefing we were all good to go. The butterflies were amplified by all the noise of the bikes and I swear I almost turned around and hi-tailed it on my TTR all the way home. But Brett was right there next to me, and the excitement and pride reflected in his eyes motivated me to stay.





The surge of adrenalin at the start and the whole morning’s anticipation got me through the first sandy bit through the forest, but no one warned me about the trees being so close together. My claustrophobia caused me to get out of there as quickly as possible. Please tell me how the quads made it through there?

The first few km went uneventful. But nerves and unfamiliarity with the markings caused me to overshoot a marker and then I realized I needed to actually concentrate on where I was going. It helped once all the riders were passed and Brett and I were riding at the back by ourselves and a few marshals passing us every now and then. I started to relax and really get into it.
Good advice is to actually watch for triple markers though. I can’t stress this enough, it’s really good advice. It can prevent a lot of unnecessary accidents. I think Brett has had his fill of straightening my handlebars during this race. But for some or other reason, I just never saw them, and they caught me unawares on more than one occasion.

How did I not see these triple markers?


the inevitable straightening of handlebars


The only part of the course that had me really rattled was a little sloot. And when I say sloot, at the time I thought it was the Grand Canyon. But, in hind sight, it was a little river sloot, with a steep sandy entrance, a little puddle about 3 meter in diameter that was muddy around the puddle with patches of sticky clay. No biggy. But it was the only part of the course that pushed me out of my comfort zone. After successfully stalling my bike numerous times, climbing off my bike and feathering it passed the obstacle course and a quick pep talk by my very patient husband, I was on my way again.

The steep sandy descent into the pit of hades


The pit of Hades


I also found out, that when my husband said: “keep the markers on my left hand side” you do not have to take it so literally and always keep the single markers on your left, because sometimes it’s just plain easier to have it on your right, especially when all the other bike tracks pass the marker on the left and I pass it on the right, sending me over a lovely rocky enduro obstacle.

See. Look Look. tracks on Left marker on right. I went right.


Enjoying the flat open stretches


If only the whole track was like this


The sand was tough. I have never had to work so hard on the bike. It was exhausting work. My little Yamaha TTR125 has really tiny wheels and the sand made me feel like a fly trapped on flypaper. I had to nurse my way through the sandy parts. It wasn’t difficult, just really draining. Straight lines in sand is one thing, but this twisty turny, MIND THE FREAKING TREE is another story completely.
In the end, I did find out that the more aggressive I rode the bike, the easier the sand became… but then… it was directly proportional to the amount of times I fell over, rode over precious vegetation, or unintentionally went careering off into the unknown. Thank goodness, Port Jackson is not environmentally sensitive vegetation. At least, my chaperone gave me some very constructive support. “Whatever gives you traction my darling!!!” Ja right.

Looking for "Traction"


Sand


Sand


and more sand


and you guest it... more sand


And the dreaded vegetation that got in my way


I was proud of myself with the little downhill that was thrown in. To you guys, yes, it probably felt like a little mole hill, but to me, I was careering down Mount Kilimanjaro at breakneck speed. Did I mention I was so proud of myself? That is until I got lapped by another rider and he asked my husband, “is this the junior track?”
Like, dude?!!!!! Come on!!!

Here's the dude asking Brett if this was the Junior track


There was one really hair raising moment when my back wheel washed out on some gravel while in 4th gear going at a bit of speed and my rear wheel overtook my front in a skid. It was the first time that I’ve fallen that I first took time out to see if I was okay before going to my bike. Breathing – check, Toes – check, Fingers – check, Broken bones – Phew !!! I was pleasantly surprised that it was the first fall of the day that I actually didn’t get hurt in, even though I was going quite fast. My bike unfortunately was not so lucky. Safety gear works!!!

Once again Brett straightened my handle bars and then tied the handle bar guards back to my bike with cable ties.
Eventually after more grueling sandy tracks, Brett had to let me go it alone, while he stayed to help Dion (Yami Super10) with fuel for his bike, as he had ground to a halt with an empty fuel tank. McGuiver, I have my own special Camelman!!

Fixing my Handlebars


I really enjoyed the last 7 km by myself. I had gained in confidence, I rode at my own pace without worrying that Brett would be getting bored or that he would be stressing out about the breakneck speeds I was going. Okay, I can dream, can’t I?
It was all good, until about 100m to the finish line, when my little TTR’s small wheels couldn’t quite make the angle of the last ditch and there I was left precariously perched in the ditch doing a slow motion tilt to the ground. I am very vertically challenged, so I stood no chance at keeping the bike propped up. Memories of my first introduction to clipless bicycle peddles went flashing through my mind. TIMBER!!! I hit the ground with the TTR on top of me.

It was great amusement for the farm laborers that were watching though, and I am so pleased that I could brighten their day. I was stuck there though for a good 15 minutes trying to get my bike started again. I thought it was just exhaustion, but then David Droomer, who was marshalling on the junior track, came to assist me. I had flooded my bike and there was fuel in the airbox. I now know how to fix that if it happens again.

In hindsight it was probably a good thing, because if I made it back to the finish line within 2 hours, I would’ve been sent out again, and there was no way that my fitness would’ve held out.
My time was 2:22:40 and seeing as there were only 4 ladies racing on the day, I received a trophy for 4th place. That trophy was worked for and I will always remember this day. It was fun, hard work, draining, but even the parts where I was frightened, I still enjoying pushing my personal boundaries.

What I learnt on the day:
•   how to fix the chain when it comes off when you decide to drag a tree stump along with you.



•   that during high speed wipeouts, just go with the flow, you will eventually come to a stop.
•   Watch out for triple markers.
•   And most importantly, that praying during the race helps a lot.
•   Racing is fun; I absolutely loved every minute of it.

I’ll be back on the 15 March in Botrivier. Who's joining me?
« Last Edit: February 19, 2014, 10:31:54 pm by Buff »
Present bikes: BETA 300RR, KTM 690, Yamaha WR250F

If you're dumb you gotta be tough !!!
 

Offline Worth-It

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Re: Buff's wife tackles her first Swartland 200 - RR
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2014, 10:23:10 pm »
Nice one Mrs Buff :thumleft:
Hope to join you in the coming events.....maybe after a wee bit of training, I might just get the courage to do it with you :ricky:
Nice report :sip:
 

Offline Yami Super 10

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Re: Buff's wife tackles her first Swartland 200 - RR
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2014, 10:37:35 pm »
Nice one Cat :thumleft:  you did very well for the first race :ricky:
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Offline GJ

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Re: Buff's wife tackles her first Swartland 200 - RR
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2014, 10:57:37 pm »
Bret,jy is gelukig om n vrou te he wat die sport saam met jou doen,well done Cat :thumleft: :hello2:
 

Offline Rynet

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Re: Buff's wife tackles her first Swartland 200 - RR
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2014, 05:34:53 am »
Very well done Mrs Buff.   :ricky: Respect to you for pushing through your comfort zone and doing it , and finishing well too.  :thumleft: thanks for sharing and for the pics.  :3some:
 

Offline whitedelight

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Re: Buff's wife tackles her first Swartland 200 - RR
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2014, 06:26:07 am »
Nice one Cat :thumleft:
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Offline Crossed-up

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Re: Buff's wife tackles her first Swartland 200 - RR
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2014, 06:41:46 am »
Great report and very well done indeed.
 

Offline Lem

Re: Buff's wife tackles her first Swartland 200 - RR
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2014, 07:01:20 am »
hierdie is super cool, Buff & Catherine  :thumleft:

jy het seker gevoel soos 'n privateer op die Dakar rally. Sien uit na die volgende ride report  :deal:
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Offline Cracker

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Re: Buff's wife tackles her first Swartland 200 - RR
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2014, 07:30:54 am »
Great write-up and pictures ........  :thumleft:

Looks a very nice place to ride as well

Please keep us up to date with your progress
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Offline MissM

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Re: Buff's wife tackles her first Swartland 200 - RR
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2014, 08:21:43 am »
Awesomeness! I would love to give this a go :)
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Offline Herminator

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Re: Buff's wife tackles her first Swartland 200 - RR
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2014, 08:37:27 am »
Very Cool  :)
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Offline Offroad2

Re: Buff's wife tackles her first Swartland 200 - RR
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2014, 09:22:31 am »
@ Mrs Buff great report & glad you finished, well done !  :thumleft:
@ Mrs M - come join the ladies classes , see the thread " WCOC Introduction Class" which we will run at Bot River onwards (liitle sand).
Ladies now have a choice to get started in the Introduction class 1.5 hrs on jnr track (15-20km) or 2/3 hours on the Snr tracks (35-40km).

No Road like Off-Road
 

Offline Fuzzy Muzzy

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Re: Buff's wife tackles her first Swartland 200 - RR
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2014, 10:46:54 am »
 :o look at all that sand.. flip sorry I missed it

Great RR.. nice to see the ladies out there enjoying themselves.
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Offline MissM

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Re: Buff's wife tackles her first Swartland 200 - RR
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2014, 10:47:49 am »
@ Mrs Buff great report & glad you finished, well done !  :thumleft:
@ Mrs M - come join the ladies classes , see the thread " WCOC Introduction Class" which we will run at Bot River onwards (liitle sand).
Ladies now have a choice to get started in the Introduction class 1.5 hrs on jnr track (15-20km) or 2/3 hours on the Snr tracks (35-40km).



I'd love to, but I don't have a plastic! I don't think that 650s are welcome  :peepwall:
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Offline Garfield

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Re: Buff's wife tackles her first Swartland 200 - RR
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2014, 10:54:40 am »
Nice to see the TT-R put to good use  :thumleft:
 

Offline Offroad2

Re: Buff's wife tackles her first Swartland 200 - RR
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2014, 12:10:07 pm »
@ Mrs Buff great report & glad you finished, well done !  :thumleft:
@ Mrs M - come join the ladies classes , see the thread " WCOC Introduction Class" which we will run at Bot River onwards (liitle sand).
Ladies now have a choice to get started in the Introduction class 1.5 hrs on jnr track (15-20km) or 2/3 hours on the Snr tracks (35-40km).



I'd love to, but I don't have a plastic! I don't think that 650s are welcome  :peepwall:
Miss M  we have had a couple 650 run with our races ( if you dont mind some scratches) however that is going to depend on your rider ability & fitness level (on Snr Track)

The INTRO class (unlimited cc) is aimed at newbie ladies on about 16km track where they ride/race in thier own time slot with roving marshals to help out.
This track is a little challenging - our 85cc 2T & 150 4t run it at a differant time slot & are very competitive but you can get back in refresh and go out again.
Beserker might like to comment after all he is responsible for junior tracks


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Offline Scooterbike

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Re: Buff's wife tackles her first Swartland 200 - RR
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2014, 01:15:16 pm »
Nice report. I was one of the marshals that past you a few times. BUT NO!!! I was not allowed to help...!! Just go  she said   :ricky:
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Offline Snafu

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Re: Buff's wife tackles her first Swartland 200 - RR
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2014, 02:41:04 pm »
Well done!!!


and there goes the neighborhood :)
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Offline lowrider

Re: Buff's wife tackles her first Swartland 200 - RR
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2014, 06:51:01 pm »
Very Nice report, thanks for sharing your experience!
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Offline Buff

Re: Buff's wife tackles her first Swartland 200 - RR
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2014, 06:59:40 pm »
Nice to see the TT-R put to good use  :thumleft:

CAT here: hogging Buff's forum. Maybe I should get a profile.

I'm loving the TTR, even had her on the main MX Track. She might get a sister soon just for Zone 7 though.

But I don't think I'll ever part with her, she's been very good to me
Present bikes: BETA 300RR, KTM 690, Yamaha WR250F

If you're dumb you gotta be tough !!!