“Considering the bike troubles I had to deal with early on, I feel I overachieved,” she said.
Dreyer, 37, completed the 1 070km race from Bloemfontein to Wellington in two days, 15 hours and 10 minutes, shaving over eight hours off her time in last year’s event. She was the first woman home and sixth overall.
“Just 50km into the race my bike’s rear axle broke off. I thought it was game over for me.
“There were some nice guys along the route and one of them broke off a piece of space blanket to wrap around the axle.
“It kept the axle firm in its casing for the next 300km, until we reached the first race village.”
A bike mechanic at the village then threaded cable together to tighten the wheel.
“Unfortunately the thread kept undoing and the wheel almost fell off three more times,” the Pietermaritzburg-based rider said.
“Aside from the mechanicals, the race was really tough. I had forgotten how harsh it could be.”
The first 10 finishers all broke the course record, set by John Ntuli two years ago. Dreyer said this was the result of “friendly” conditions on the first day.
“Weatherwise, it was much kinder to us. There were a lot of side and tail winds and it wasn’t too hot.
“That allowed everyone to have a good first day; to put every rider ahead of the curve, timewise, simply because our bodies weren’t getting battered.
“It got tough on the second day. The temperature rose and we experienced gale-force headwinds,” she said.
“But credit to the riders. We had a strong field this year.”
Dreyer said Janine Stewart, the second woman to finish, had pushed her hard in the first half of the race.
“She’s a well-conditioned endurance rider and looked very organised. It worried me, because she got ahead of me for large parts of the way.
“Because of the mechanical problem, I had to play catch-up, but at the time I knew it was still early days.
“I couldn’t resist chasing the carrot, though, and I did manage to close the gap. We had many transitions throughout the first day.”
Dreyer believed Stewart might have gone a little too hard on the first day.
“I maintained a good pace and put her out of her comfort zone a little. I think she got a little too excited on the first day,” she said.
“I took over on the second day. She had a really good ride, though; she rode with a lot of gas and looked so comfortable.
“It was more mind-over-matter for me and I’m grateful for the result,” she added.
The overall men’s winner was Portugal’s Marco Martins, seconded by the first South African, Dion Guy.