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Gavin Horton's post race reflections

The following was sent to Gavin's gym members who he has trained over the years.

A week has past now that I finished the 2023 RASA and I’ve had time to reflect on, and take in what played out over the 14 days and 10hrs or so.

I explained to Bruce B a few days ago what the “the gym” was all about and want to thank all of you for contributing in some way to my race. I think it’s a sort of collective unconscious whereby we can drawn on the experiences and input from everyone to better our own performance. What I value most in this group is the spirit of “Endeavour”. I often say”we don’t go out there for small stories”, wether that results in success or not, it’s the spirit of endeavour that matters. The decision that Bruce and Enslin took to race when when all the snakes has withered, is what we are about.

This year Bruce H came and laid it out there that he was going for the record. To put that external pressure on himself after many years of roll overs and not being on the trail was a bold move. Allendale by 12:30, and then Ntsikeni by 21:30, after an hour rest at Allendale!! But things didn’t work out, and then I think the only record was hours slept at Ntsikeni.

I’d had a long term plan that focussed on racing the statistics, if I could finish under 14days then chances are you will probably be in the top 3. As it turned out most of the front runners indulged in self-sabotage by riding rigid single speeds. So the writing was in the wall, If I stayed in the game, physical stress would wear them down and gears would ride away from them after The Baviaans.

My main effort was focused on a push from Hadley to Willowmore and as it turns out that’s where I caught Mike to take the lead. Everything was going swimmingly until the Nuwekloof pass when sleep monsters were clubbing me from all angles! I managed to trudge through a 3 hrs twilight zone and at about 3am the lights came on and I made it to Willowmore by 5.

My equipment choice then really. And into play, the faster under tyre conditions and terrain allowed the TT bars to come into play and I klapped the next section.

The race then took on a different perspective as I caught up with riders down the route, I caught Mark Cowley, the two Nicks and Arn at Roux Pos. The going had been slow with all the water and detours and my intial goal of 12 days was not possible, so I focussed on the win and the added comfort of riding with fresher riders that would pull me along.

I’ve experienced 3 RASA’s, the 12 day 12hr ride till your retinas are swelling, the 2021, get sick and spend 24hrs in Rhodes and then ride a lone chase to the finish and then this one. Race for 12 days hook up with riders. In all the racing hype and record speak, I think I experienced best RASA this year. It’s not really about race it’s about the ride, or maybe for me a bit of both. The camaraderie one gets from shared hardship is difficult to beat.

I approached the lead up to the race with an intention of being competitive and thought there was a possibility of winning the race, but my resolve was focussed and solidified in four words whispered to me by one of my daughters as I kissed her head goodbye as I left for the race. “Go win your race”

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