Having been lucky enough (thanks Stillwater Sports) to obtain an entry for the 3rd year in succession to ride the FNB Wines2Whales to expectations were high in performing, especially if you blog about all the training you do…
So there we were, Evert Ferreira and I at Lourensford for the 3rd time. Now those that have followed my journey knows that the event organiser heard last year that I am planning to ride again and got involved in bettering my riding and training to be fit enough and enjoy the event more. This is where it all started, they training, the weight loss and just general healthier living.
2011 saw myself and Evert take a short 25 hours and 17 minutes to get to the Onrus finish over the 3 days. (9, 8 & 8 hours respectively).
But were it not for this experience, riding most of the event with Errol and Matt the sweepers to wanting to return to better our time, I would not be where I am today. As said, scared that they had to wait until about 5pm again on the last day, the cavalry was send in (just joking) as I met with Nicola and coach Swen Lauer (http://swenlauer.wordpress.com/services/coaching/ ) to help me become a better rider (Read all about it on FNB Wines2Whales’ website – http://www.wines2whales.co.za/index.php?id=78 )
Sticking to my training plan I worked hard to be a better and fitter cyclist dropping my weight from 135kg in July 2012 to 125kg at the start of W2W. So for round 2 we took 21 hours and 49 minutes as 40 degree heat made us sweat a bit more than usual and given my partner were still on a 26” bike with not much training either. We still felt proud in taking off nearly 3 hours on 2011. Now since then everyone knows my drive to be leaner, meaner and fitter and especially a better climber. Apparently weight plays a role here for some reason.
Anyway, so arrived the start day of 2013 W2W. All ready to go and great to see all the familiar faces, talking to coach Swen who has been instrumental and in general just all the support. Thanks Gerald de Kock
for mentioning that I am half the man I used to be. Still the man – just less of me. Just kidding
around it was great to hear everyone’s reactions and positive comments on the transformation. Needless to say the pressure mountain and with that the still drizzling rain that did not seem to stop from Thursday onwards. Wet, wet, wet, mud, mud, mud – what can I say. Day 1 was one of the toughest days on a bike as I had to mud wrestle my bike over numerous mountains and obstacles. Disappearing back brakes and chain suck not making life easier and as always the @%&^*#*^ Gantouw Pass with forced portage. Well mud, mud and mud we made it to the end of day 1 in one piece in just over 7 hours. Thanks for all the skills training coach; it really helped me on the treacherous route to navigate myself safely home although covered in mud.
Needless to say day 2, normally the single track fun day, offered another day of mud wrestling your bike from start to finish. Peddling in the mud is so much hard word as you don’t seem to get anywhere as the mud acts like glue and through in un-ride able mud sections, it was another really tough day, plus I decided to see what is on the other side of a switchback (see the result in the photo). Anyway I did not feel great and had no energy whilst my partner seems to kill the inclines with ease. All and all we did nearly the same time as in 2012 and day 2 was done. Ice cold beer deserved. Never have I seen so much mud. Mud in every crack!
Thankfully there was no more rain and the trails dried out a bit for day 3 going “downhill” to Onrus. This was a fun day as I felt good and strong on the bike. Having lost a bit of time at the start we managed to finish the day in 6 hours (could have been 5 and half) we broke the 20 hour barriers as we finished in 19 hours and 35 minutes, an hour 15 quicker than in 2012.
What hurt me the most about the 2013 Wines2Whales is that my riding partner lost close to 4kg over the event and me close to a massive 300 grams. Life is cruel!
Thank you to everyone that has supported me so far and the fantastic people at Stillwater Sports and FNB Wines2Whales, Player23 Jan, my boss, family, Wikkelspies, Evert and Nikki, Coach Swen, Nicola, Jacky who believes in me and my yet unknown girlfriend, I really do appreciate you support.
To everyone out there with a mountain to climb, or mud wrestling with your mind to finish or attempt a difficult challenge, just go out there and do it. Make sure your reasons are right in what you want to achieve and why you are doing it. Most importantly have fun!
I wanted this blog to be humorous, but I am too tired to have any creative thoughts at current.
Important mental note: Do not have too much fun at an 8 day stage race launch prior to attempting to ride a multiday stage race that involves mountain and mud. #Broken
PS: Willie not sure if the BEST Biltong from Pretoria in my fridge will last through the remainder of the day.