Going to Extremes

Now this could be interpreted in many ways, it is an extremely long time since I posted on this blog (Am I extremely lazy in updating and writing this) or the fact that I took on the Ride2Nowhere in September in extreme weather conditions (heat wave) or the fact that the day one climb(s) was extremely tough and that I was extremely under trained. It could also be the fact that two weeks later I took on the extreme 100km MTB challenge the Karoo2Coast with no significant training post the Ride2nowhere due to being man down for more than a week on anti-biotics. Then it could also be the fact that I took up the 107km PPA One Tonner Road Bike Challenge later with no significant trainer either due to recovery from abovementioned Karoo2coast, the sore back and working away from home and late commitment to the event. So possibly did not extremely feel like writing for extreme mental recovery after doing all the above-mentioned and more.

Some peddle assist was required up some of the hills. Fantastic team work and love riding with these two

I do sincerely apologise for any possible readers out there that may or may not have missed my cycling and training updates. I apologise to the both of you and endeavour to try and update more regularly. I won’t spend too much time on the event feedbacks (I think it might be a lie, read on to find out).

Fun was had as well. Dom and Andrew flying down (Not sure who went ahead to take the pic)

The Ride2Nowhere (still a must do event for everyone) was tough as Dom, Andrew and I took up the short route challenge of which day 1 does include a lot of climbing in the first half of the ride. Some, including myself, may not have been as prepared for a MTB ride, especially post a cold and rainy Cape Town winter. So day one took its toll and we laboured to the finish line. What we do know is that we found the location of the church in McGregor. Happy to cross the finish line we recovered and hydrated as one should with loads of wine and meat on the braai after a long tough day.

We debut in our Triptych Resources kit as well. Official transfer partner of the event. (Myself, Dom, Andrew and Trystan)

Dom was taking strain and the next day there was digging deep to be done after the character testing of day 1. As those that have done endurance races are well aware of and may have experienced the exploration of those deep dark places in your mind. A HUGE thank you to Andrew and all his support, helpful hands up the hills and supportive words. We found the church in McGregor again.

 

Well done to my fiancé as she took to the starting line the next day as we rolled up and out of McGregor for day 2, the start of the heatwave with a cool 36 degrees Celsius (and much higher in the mountains). The spirit was good and we enjoyed the trails until the heat got to us. Andrew had to go ahead as Trystan, his son, had a fall and had to be taken to hospital (Superman off the bike). Dom and I worked our way towards the finish. There is a saying that you are only one ride away from your next fall and someone, a female, not naming names, that rode with myself and Andrew, somehow got it right on a slight incline to topple over to the side. (Which foot’s cleat was out if the tumble took place towards the downhill on the right)? Glad you were not too hurt the unnamed one.

It was hard work up the hills

We ambled on, but eventually the heat took its toll and Dom wisely decided to call it the day after about 27km. She was left stranded in the middle of nowhere with only the blistering sun as company as I continued on chasing to catch up with Andrew and to find civilization. (Don’t fear she was with the route medic and at a known location to the event organisers. I would never leave her stranded without back-up and support knowing she would be safe, besides she’s has been stranded alone before. No too long ago left in the middle of the Krom river (not by me, although I was present). She knows how to look after herself. Riding on I could start to feel the effects of being out in the heat and ran out of water. Dehydration started to set in (Nothing to do with a runny tummy on Thursday, loads of anti-inflammatory or not drinking enough water) as I peddled on passing all the known faces that passed us earlier. I got to the last water point desperate for fluids, fighting off dizziness and a headache and could not even interact in a well-mannered fashion with everyone there, including Dom (whom I was very happy to see was not in the middle of nowhere anymore) and her rescuers. In retrospect I should have not continued.  The last 10km was extremely long as I pushed just to reach the finish and having to stop and slow myself down to ensure I stay upright to the finish. It was a long tough day and extremes were reached in a test of perseverance. I did however find the church in McGregor.

Kudos for Dom on day 3 as she took on the challenge to ride on all 3 days. We went well and Andrew joined up with us again after taking care of Trystan the previous day. Day 3 is always a great riding day at the

It was extremely hot out there

Ride2Nowhere and we took it easily and enjoyed the amazing trails and environment. Another wise decision was mad at the last water point as Dom decided she will stop as she enjoyed the ride up to then and pushing on would just be a bit too much. (It was 39 degrees Celsius in the shade). Seeing her wait at the finish line as Andrew and I crossed put a smile on my face and made me happy. More of this to be experienced two weeks later but for now we found the church in McGregor.

 

The view from Paradise Found Guest House in Knysna

So enter more anti-inflammatory and not enough water to result in extreme urinary infection later in the week which resulted in antibiotics which resulted in no training for the 100km Karoo2Coast experience. Dom returned from Kenya after midnight on that Thursday before the event and were off to work 1st thing in the morning to get her event report done. We left for Knysna after work to stay at the amazing Paradise Found Guest House a must stay if you go in that direction. It must have been extremely tough for her as sleep deprivation is not a good thing for the De Lauwere and especially after a tough event week away from home. Rain was predicted for our ride and I optimistically tried to tell myself it will stay away. It did not! Not having done the event before I had no idea what to expect but knew I would have to dig deep to finish (Those deep dark places mentioned

Well done on finishing a tough ride Andrew Norman and fighting the conditions out there with me

before). We got up at 4am and drove 2hours to Union Dale for the start wh

Apparently it was wet and muddy out there

ich also makes it an extremely long day before you event started. A huge thank you to my brother in law, Johan Labushcagne and my sister Dirkie for arranging everything for us. The ride was in extreme conditions as it was bucketing down with rain, ice cold and icy windy combined with loads of climbing made it a bug challenge to keep going. Our average temperature for our 7h35min bike ride was 8 degrees Celsius with a max of 16 and a low of 3. It was F….xtremely cold. My back started giving me issues after halfway, which delayed our ride a bit as I had to stop to stretch it out and Andrew very patiently guided me to the finish. And here again we had our biggest supporters waiting for us at the finish line as Dianne and Dom braved the extreme weather to wait for us. Happiness, a warm heart and a smile on the face as our names got shouted and we saw familiar faces.

 

Enjoy the downhill, the climb is about to start

Not having suffered enough on the bike I agreed to ride 106km PPA One Tonner road bike with Andrew. Working away from home resulted in minimum training and especially also having to recover after Karoo2Coast as well ma

Put in the hard work to reap the benefits, but also take time out to relax and reward yourself

de the ride really tough. But we did it, 107km done and dusted back pain and all. Hopefully I can avoid going to extremes in the future to participate in events and get myself back to the training regime of a few years ago and be better prepared to enjoy these amazing events even more.

Keep on living healthy, get yourself out of bed, off the couch and active it really makes a difference in living, feeling better and happier.  After this is posted I’m hitting the couch to catch up on some weekend sport I missed.
PS: Looking to move your bicycle from door to door addresses or specific event transfers. We can help and you can find out more here: www.advwhaleeventsolutions.co.za or travelling to South Africa and need assistance with moving your bikes we have a solution for you

No Speedy Beans Here – Ride2Nowhere here we come!

Two more days and back on the starting line for my favourite 3-day mountain biking event (Ride2Nowhere) and this year the team is complete with my fiancé, Dom able to ride and joining Andrew Norman and myself as we endeavour on a weekend of mountain biking fun, loads of wine, friends and great food. Not necessarily in that order.

Crossing the finish line for the 1st time at the inaugural Ride2Nowhere in 2012

I love this event and it will be my 8th year of participating (in its 8th year of existence) and what makes this even more special for me, besides the amazing trails, fantastic race village vibe, like- minded participants (racing not a priority) and awesome event organisers (Eulogy van Dyk and Con Viljoen) is perhaps the fact that I in some sort of manner have been involved since the inception of this bucket list event. Just love the whole concept and have come to know most of the community involved in making McGregor a destination every year in September.

 

My biggest fear this year is that I do not, for some unknown reason, cycle in hiking boots. Surely common sense should have prevailed by now. I am probably in my worst MTB fitness shape to take up the challenge since that inaugural experience in 2012 (And having to fight off a bout of flu last week did not help the last minute dot com training). But, hey we will be out in the middle of nowhere to have fun, enjoy the beautiful Karoo spring flowers (after all the rain) and make Paul Valstar wait for us at the finish line. Keeping him away from red wine as long as possible, if possible at all. Paul here’s to catching up with a few bottles of the red fermented grapes in the mix as per R2N tradition. (Does anyone know how to add cleats to hiking boots, would Duct tape hold it in place?) Did someone say muscle memory?

 

But seriously, so looking forward to this weekend, guiding and riding with Dom on the trails doing something we love together, suffering and up hills included on our mountain biking journey. (Patience Andrew, we will reward with cold beers). Staying at McGregor Backpackers again and our hosts Geoff and Dorothy are the best (even though they sprayed us off with ice cold water last year after the mud slide on the bike)

 

We doing it for the love of the ride! Andrew and Dom, are you excited yet!? I can’t wait.

See everyone in McGregor!

Below a few selective photos from my Ride2Nowhere journey since 2012

Help me support the McGregor Young Warriors. Raise fund on my GivenGain platform

How To Train Your Fiancé

NO! Not in that way and I am not Hiccup and Dom, my wife to be is not Toothless… (Not sure how this will be taken – toothless – have no bite or is as cool as Toothless the dragon…mmmmm). Love you my Silly!

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Early morning rides. The best time there is! #sunrise

Our whole relationship started with me being instructed that I will be her cycling coach for her to do the Cape Town Cycle Tour. From that moment we have not looked back, but life has sort of taken our time to cycle together away from us. Either being through work taking up valuable experiencing the universe time, or a stupid herniated disc I suffered as you all know.

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Amazing to be able to ride in our neighbourhood and have this

Our major cycling goal for 2019 is the Ride2Nowhere (you can still enter here to experience an amazing weekend in McGregor) and we seriously need to amp up, or is that commence our training. We’ve managed to go for low intensity bicycle rides of the flatter kind infrequently and from knowing the pain of riding a 3 day MTB race without proper preparation; TITS are required (Time in the saddle) to build up fitness and endurance.

 

I recently got myself motivated to start training again and over the last two weeks have been spending time on the WattBike in the gym and going for some base building road bike rides, alone. Just not the same without your partner. With work interfering and being in Kenya for more than a week, Dom was unfortunately not been able to join me. And I love doing things with my Toothless Dragon, especially going on bicycle rides as that forms so much of who we are.

 

The eternal question; how does one go about motivating your dragon, I mean fiancé? Oops I did it again.

Do you promise a bottle of quality red wine at the end of the week when the weekly goals are achieved as one of our friends, that won’t be named for his or her protection, have suggested.  Maybe not, but might have to revisit this offering once the fiancé has read this post (Am I walking on thin ice perhaps? Follow me on Instagram (@Ridder7) to see if I managed to survive this blog post.

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I love riding with this Silly one

The one thing I have learnt subtly and abruptly when training your fiancé is to not say NO when asked to please create a training plan. Even though the training plan might be floating around in your own headspace, it needs to be on paper. I should have known from my past suffering in training for the Absa Cape Epic that it is better having clear and defined goals and plans to tick off once completed. This plays a major part in your motivation for training, the success and achievement of actually having completed what you set out to do as part of the goal of the bigger picture training.

Sorry my love, you know I love doing this for you and I’m sure sticking to our plans (that will be on paper soon) we will have a great experience at the Ride2Nowhere, get fit, healthy and enjoy the time together.

Let the journey begin…

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Some motivational tips to exercise regularly https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/fitness/art-20047624

1.       Set goals – Start with simple goals and then progress to longer range goals. Remember to make your goals realistic and achievable. It’s easy to get frustrated and give up if your goals are too ambitious.

2.       Make it fun

3.       Make physical activity part of your daily routine – f it’s hard to find time for exercise, don’t fall back on excuses. Schedule workouts as you would any other important activity.

4.       Put it on paper (Yes, yes- I am doing it!)

5.       Join forces with friends, neighbors or others (Pick me Pick Me)

6.       Reward yourself

7.       Be flexible

A Stab in the back

Now I’ve been known to be as stubborn and hard headed as a donkey in many, many ways. Also especially when I have to do exercises to facilitate the recovery and improvement of my herniated disc (Sorry Cornell). For that I am now paying the price, and after the orthopedic surgeon consultation I literally got a stab in the back to kick my lazy donkey ass into gear. My medical aid hates me because they now have to spend the money they have taken from me over the years, my spine is unhappy with me because of a foreign object that had to be inserted into deep dark places.

Donkey

An epidural steroid injection (ESI) is a minimally invasive procedure that can help relieve neck, arm, back, and leg pain caused by inflamed spinal nerves due to spinal stenosis or disc herniation. Medicines are delivered to the epidural space, which is a fat-filled area between the bone and the protective sac of the spinal nerves. Pain relief may last for several days or even years. The goal is to reduce pain so that you may resume normal activities and a physical therapy program.

The result of the MRI indicated that I had indeed suffered a herniated disc again and all the jelly-like nucleus pushed through the disc’s outer ring and decided that I currently don’t have enough pressure in my life and tactically snuggled up against my spinal cord and nearby nerve. If that is not enough the disc releases material chemical irritants to contribute to nerve inflammation. Happiness.  “When a nerve root is irritated, there may be pain, numbness, and weakness in one or both of your legs, a condition called “sciatica.” There are!

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What is an epidural steroid injection (ESI)?

A steroid injection includes both a corticosteroid (e.g., triamcinolone, methyl-prednisolone, dexamethasone) and an anesthetic numbing agent (e.g., lidocaine or bupivacaine). The drugs are delivered into the epidural space of the spine, which is the area between the bony vertebra and the protective dura sac surrounding the spinal nerves and cord

After consulting with the doctor I made a decision after the previous conservative treatment did not yield the desired results to go for a stab in the back, also known as an epidural steroid injection (https://mayfieldclinic.com/pe-esi.htm). NO, I am not in labour!

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Mmm, what’s going on here?

So hospital day booked, fiancé sent off to Zambia for some work, lifts organised (Thanks Ev and Nikki), clean and newest underwear on body, cell phone charged I walk through the doors of the hospital to check in on my own. Apparently a 30min procedure and you walk out the afternoon (not allowed to drive or operate heavy equipment (But I am a heavy equipment)) but you have to check in super early and have no food from the night before.

 

Pre-admission goes smoothly but no bed available yet so hurry up and wait in the hospital lounge area (Fortunately I had the vision to bring my fully charged powerbank with). Waiting, waiting and waiting my name finally gets called. “Do you need a porter or would you be able to find the orthopedic surgical area by yourself?” The Donkey stubbornness kicks in and off I waddle with my pins and needles leg and herniated back.

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Sing it! All by my self… The pre surgery wait

Pre-slaughter area found and bed assigned I sit and wait listening to the conversations of the other slaughtered, I mean surgically treated patients and their families present. Dude walks in puts a cup with a cover on the bed table next to me, says that is for your urine sample. Okay, I think (just gone to the loo before I explored the hospital in search of my bed). He starts to walk away and as another female nurse approaches he turns around and says for the first time: “Hallo, my name is (Insert name here), I will be handling you admission. Turns out the other nurse that walked in was there to observe him from a training point of view. I really felt welcome.

He goes nervously through all the processes of taking blood pressure, blood sugar and all the things they have to do before, gives me my incomplete dress that opens up at the back and something that is either a shower cap or something that turned out to be my fancy flimsy surgical underwear. After all this is done with the poor guys so nervous the next one arrives that is super friendly and does what she needs to including an ECG (which means a million little things get stuck to your fairly hairy chest). She is done and I inquire if these things should remain on my fragile body, she is neither here on there so I ask her to remove it. RIPPED off I am happy again. She then walks back into the room with the machine again. “Sorry, there was an error (no paper) and we lost all the data when we put paper in. We have to do it again” I have a bold spot on my chest now.

 

It is finally time to be wheeled to the slaughter house (I mean surgery). This is quite a journey with an interesting character chirpy and happy and full of jokes pushing me a mile through the hospital and construction site. He did not want to stop for me to get a hard hat for surgery from one of the construction workers. I end up outside surgery lying waiting and the anesthetist come chat with me, get wheeled in eventually next to the surgical table with pillows all over it. Now I had to get myself onto the table and position myself on these pillows with backside facing up. Needle in the arm and chatting ready for a sleep and then I wake up chatting to a nurse. 45min I know nothing of and the recovery nurse telling me I can now have that cold beer. What is she talking about? Chatting along she lets drop that I have an active imagination – I wish I knew what I said in there….

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The post procedure selfie

To shorten the story I will skip the conversation with the 80 year old fellow next to me in the hall and as soon as I was told I could go I was out of there…. Needles, I mean needless to say; that stab in my back has motivated me to get my stubborn donkey ass in gear to get do my rehab and specific exercises, lose weight and get back on the bicycle again. No more excuses. The Adventure Whale is back.

 

Let the new journey begin…

 

 

Falling Apart

Life has the knack of throwing curveballs and challenges at you just as you think that things are running smoothly. I think we all know what I am talking about, that unnecessary thing that happens to put you back in your place or to irritate you senselessly and you ask but why, why Larry, WHY!?

So no sneaky creepy spider in my pants taking a bite in my scrumptious nether regions, but that dreaded back hernia is back. Taking a vow of silence to not let potential athletic scouts know about my setback in my bustling cycling career, I have to come forward in public to face the scrutiny of why it happened again. The simple answer is; I don’t know! Supposedly not allowed to carry heavy stuff and then maybe doing that exact thing (define heavy if you feel indestructible) over a few months could have played a part, or maybe it was just inevitable after the first structural damage to the spine.

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Yes that is me in the background pushing my bicycle at the 2014 Absa Cape Epic. The day when you get published in a national magazine (Ride) and the focus was not on you but the guy (Reuben Van Niekerk) riding his bicycle in front of you (He is amazing for what he has achieved)

 

And no, my Fiancé had no part to play in my back deconstruction (Oops, did I type this out loud. Sorry my love). Dom was away in Zambia and I (currently working for myself as you would call it if you looking for a fixed employment space) was ready to go on an early morning bike ride. Everything was ready, tyres inflated to the exact pressure desire, lights fitted and charged, water bottles filled, clothing and shoes ready to just crawl into to be out of bed and onto the bike in 5 minutes. It did not happen that way.

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An Epic time with Gerrie Beukes and Mitas. Did some marketing activation work for Mitas Tyres, Official Tyre Supplier of the Absa Cape Epic and realised again what a massive operation this is (One I hope not to have on my back)

My cellular device, that also doubles as an alarm clock, rudely shouted at me at 5:15 am and determined to go burn off all the beer and pizza reserves rolled over towards the edge of the empty, lonely bed to get up for a nice short 3 hour ride. Feeling not entirely mobile and in a little bit of pain I got up and headed towards the cycling clothing pile sat out in formation to crawl into. During the sloth walk I realized that cycling were not going to happen uncomfortableness in the lower back and pain messages slowly made its way to my mushy brain.

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Look I made it to TV at the Cape Epic Grand Finale (The bigger portioned person on the blue shirt on the left)

The pain in the right hamstring burned its way to me hopping back to bed as it felt like I torn every muscle in that hamstring and the pain in the back kicked in. All this suddenly felt familiar to that day in October 2017 when my back decided to do the same on the day Dominique left for Durban for a week of work. As Alanis Morissette would say in her beautiful voice: “And isn’t it ironic, don’t you think”

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So awesome to have my Fiancé at the Grand Finale with me

This Tuesday has become unforgettable in my life as I were confined to nearly no movement the whole day and using every kind of pain pill and/or anti-inflammatory available in our house. Nothing worked and don’t event bring up trying to go for a wee. Firstly it would take like felt like an hour to try and get upright from the loving couch absorbing my pain as I lay in the fetal position (or anyway that did not hurt), then having to hop and sloth slowly towards the bathroom. Reaching this short term goal, standing like a canine to do number one whilst biting down on all your resolve to try and dissipate the pain hoping that the release of build-up water in the bladder goes down and out quickly. It was not pleasant, neither was trying to stand or be upright anywhere. But enough of relaying my painful story and chasing away my potential athletic sponsors and back to reality. Life throws difficulty at us all the time and things we may not want or expect. The way we move on and handle these hazardous obstacles will be what define us and I will be back out riding as soon as I can. This Monday is D-day as the qualified doctor paid highly to use a knife for fun, I mean work, will determine my path forward post the MRI review as the machine will reveal my deepest secrets. Hopefully I am not falling apart too much.

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Legend at the Absa Cape Epic and former Springbok tighthead prop, Marius Hurter with former Protea Netball star, Adele Niemand making sure our nerves worked throughout the week as the pushed the cut-off times to the limit

Watch this space and hopefully soon we can go on a cycling journey towards fitness again with my Fiancé riding the path with me. Catch us soon.

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The start of my 2014 Absa Cape Epic. The week at this years’ Cape Epic brought back a lot of memories

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The finish of my 2nd Absa Cape Epic in 2016 with Thinus Crafford. Who knows, maybe a 3rd one is still achievable; bad back and all. Hell of a story 

We will see you at the Walkerbay Xtreme (working) and the Ride2Nowhere (hopefully riding)

Tsunami in the Klein Karoo

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Tsunami in the Klein Karoo

I’m not sure if I lost a friend or not. Imagine you are away for the weekend with all your mates chilling next to the pool and catching some rays in peace and quiet. Then suddenly out of nowhere in the middle of the Klein Karoo and enormous wave of water splashes unexpectedly over you. Drenched in the remnants of the tsunami you see the Adventure Whale bobble out of the water, what would you do? Yes, the cause of the tsunami was me as my current big massed body displaced the water from the pool onto my friends. No choice words were verbally heard, but I do have a suspicion that some may be utter inside their minds. Sorry my friends (especially Nikki), but I could not resist…SPLASH!

We visited the guest farm, 360on62 as a group of friends supporting our friend, Nikki Ferreira’s friends, Brendan Connellan and Dale Fraser which subsequently now also became our friends. The set up on the farm is amazing, the hosts went out of their way to make us all feel welcome as we utilised the swimming pool and Lapa to the max.  Besides the pool, Lapa and more than enough braai wood (which is the measuring tool myself and Evert Ferreira rate places at) the outside shower and the beautiful scenery, the whole farm getaway is fantastic. Simple and clean accommodation, the quietness of nature with a million stars overhead at night makes your stay pleasurable.

Going away does not mean one does not have to train and the host were more than accommodating in taking us on a MTB ride in the surrounding area. Have to keep working on that fitness and to work off the beverages consumed the night before. Some of us rode both days as others deemed rest in bed the better form of recovery from the night before…enough said. Some others had the intention of running, but only it stayed just intentions as the one and only Toby Murphy took to the trails without the likes of athletes in training Matt Bush and Evert Ferreira.

I also were fortunate enough to be at the Knysna Bull this past weekend and discover a gem of an event, unfortunately I was not riding but supporting the sponsors invited guests with bicycle and people transfers. Next year we will be riding it Mr. Andrew Norman…finding that workers we need. Here we also managed to fit in two rides, one up the Phantom Pass and the other through the local schools’ purposely built single track. Again amazing to stay at Paradise Found Guest House and the hosts, Johan and Dirkie, were amazing in going riding with us as well.

Back home and another tsunami hits – hello back and pinched nerve. At least I hope it is all it is as at this stage it looks like no Cape Town Cycle Tour for me. Numbness, pain and immobility in the back and leg makes one appreciate the times you had where you could go out and ride, i.e. at 360on62 and at Paradise Found with my family and friends.

 

I might have to fall back on the words of 5 time Cape Epic winner, Karl Platt; Eat less, train more – if only I can get this broken body training…and perhaps stretch and strengthen the core…sound so easy.

 

See you all soon on the bike again!

Broadening the Horizon

A new year and the same challenges; get fit and stay fit whilst checking the ever expanding body weight in check. It is tough when one is still growing and require/enjoy food so much. (I will get to the broadening horizon later on.)

The holidays are over and we are all back in to reality of what the human race currently is, work, eat, sleep and work again and most of us try and break this habit through throwing in some exercise (or other recreational activities) into this mundane life schedule. We had an amazing holiday as Dom and I embarked on a road trip through South Africa (close to 5000km travelled) catching up with friends and family.

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The holiday started off with a catch up ride with Rob Kucera all the way from Turkey (Weiss Bier were consumed post ride and nice to have met Andrew McLachlan

We had some fantastic experiences from swimming and braaiing in Stillbaai with Willie and Belia to Sushi supper with Dom’s gran in PE. From PE it was into survival mode as we travelled through the old Transkei to Leisure Bay (Port Edward) to spend a few days with Jaco and Elmarie Maritz with the bonus of catching up with Elton Murison, great times with great friends in reliving old times and creating new memories. (We did do a cycle here at Clearwater MTB Trails through the banana and coffee plantations)

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Enjoying the sun and warm(er) water at Leisure Bay (Port Edward) with Jaco and Elmarie

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Riding at Clearwater Trails with Jaco (Pictured) and Elton (Too fast for the photo)

Next stop Pretoria with the sister, brother in-law and kids (Magriet, Dirk, Dian and Marzanne) as the next survival exercise took place in going Christmas shopping in the malls… Also managed to get a ride and a visit in with Andrew and Angela Rogers whom I haven’t seen in ages and had a braai and quick catch up with legend Hugo Kemp and family (Michelle, Muller die Riller and Mila)

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Having MTB Fun at the Red Barn Trails in Irene (Andrew, Dom and Magriet)

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Time for a brandy and coke in Pretoria with Hugo and Dirk

Off to the mother (Marie) in Brits for Christmas/Birthday celebrations and experiencing the fumes out of Satan’s but c…. Yes, it was during the heat wave and Brits was a cool 40 degrees Celsius. Off to Dube Private Game Reserve and riding with animals and spending time in the pools and water slides (these are dangerous if you weigh 116kg and pick up speed that may or may not result in taking you over the edge of the slide)

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Driving over 2500km to taste that Van Gaalen Cheese Farm Schnitzel again. Treating the mother for a day out

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Game Riding at Dube Private Game Reserve – what heat wave?

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Giraffe spotting. “Don’t look now, but there is something behind you Silly”

Next stop Johannesburg to catch up with Dom’s mom (Marianne), sister (Danielle aka Noodle) and Matt, introducing them all to Yahtzee. We had loads of fun and Marianne kicked our butts in Rummikub and dominoes. We did not cycle here.

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We discovered a new love for games. Marianne kicked out butts though

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Is that Humansdorp I see? Chasing dad Chris into the Northwester 

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Something special about a braai on the Kromme River

Next stop Kromme River (St Francis Bay) via PE for New Year’s Eve with Dom’s dad and Sanette. The surprise is that Noodle and Matt joined us for the few days we spent there on the river, fishing, swimming, vacationing and one windy cycle. From here we road tripped further for a one night stay with my sister, Dirkie and Johan (Labuschagne) who owns Paradise Found Guest House. Here we did cycle and ‘assisted’ with assessing the best wine to stock. And that was that, we headed home for clothes washing, cleaning and resting after an amazing road trip with too many great memories made to list in this blog.

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‘Sampling” to find the best wine to stock at the guest house #view

 

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Riding in Knysna showing Swiss tourist around and practicing my on bike photo skills

This is where the new horizons start: Having to work off the holiday food stock built up and refreshment liquids retained, training is high on the agenda. Now besides the normal cycling routine our aim is to mix it up and do different training stuff. Dom having done kick(ass) boxing and loving it we decided to partake at the rumble class at Virgin Active. I think we are both still stiff and it is nearly a week later. Dom loved it and that makes me happy that she is able to enjoy this type of exercise again after having to give it up after our move from Stellenbosch to Cape Town and any exercise is good for me even if I do it in a manky way. And tonight we off to Aqua Splash at Virgin Active, also known as water aerobics or something and I have a suspicion we will bring down the average age at the class. But it might just be what we need to tone our bodies and build up strength in our muscles to compliment the cycling and training for the Cape Town Cycle Tour.

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Wishing everyone a fantastic successful 2019

So here is to broadening horizons and trying out new things in 2019!

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