Since my swimming escapades last week a few more challenges were thrown my way, none so than having to go ride to the Tokai Mast this morning having to start off in pitch black darkness with only my Magic Shine light showing the route and of course the howling South Easter, but more about that later.
Having mostly, well almost always, training on my own it was great fun this weekend to participate in a team at Xterra SA’s in Grabouw. It is such a great event and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not to be out on the bike by yourself for a change, and having some good friends in Victor Gardiner (our speedster of a trail runner) and Tammy, with new friend Claudia Wesemann (our swimmer, who was very disappointed about a no wetsuit swim) out there made the day so much more enjoyable, and of course on bumps into all the regulars at these events. A big thank you to Stillwater Sports and Entertainment for having my team (Adventure Whale and Friends) participate and congratulations on hosting a successful Xterra weekend.
Now back to the challenges, first of all I met our team swimmer, Claudia, that morning, so first challenge was to recognise her coming out of the water. “Remember I’m the guy with the KTM logo on my chest”. All went well as Claudia had a great swim and though the chaos we managed to find each other and off I went. Next challenge – fighting off triathletes on mountain bikes as I went out with a flurry of athletes, all weighing far less than my 108kg’s. The first part of the race is up, up and up so I was passed by plenty lightweights, not deterred I focused on the long term and my riding in preparation for the Absa Cape Epic. Next challenge – now thanks to coach Swen Lauer my technical skills have improved immensely and I can now actually ride over a rock, blessed with these skills the single tracks were fantastic as I caught up with the other riders , biggest challenge to pass them on the single track without crashing or riding over them. But mountain biking is a friendly and courteous sport so no of the above-mention happened and no athletes were harmed during my mountain biking leg, on purpose that is. (Did witness a few crashes of riders in front of me going down the rock garden.
Finally the 27km (actually 27.8km) was done and chip handed over the Kidney Stones Gardiner, who finished really fast and style, smashing the route and bringing Team Adventure Whale into 16th place in the team category (If only I pushed myself more on the bike we would have done a Top 10). Thanks for a great day out Victor, Claudia, Tammy & Willie (Rumour has it that he is soon to be a mountain biker again) and well done to all that participated.
Next challenge a braai at friends in Grabouw with a hidden agenda (nothing to be disclosed here) and the challenge to not drink too many beers, eat too many succulent filet and stay away from the sweet deserts. I succeeded in only one of the abovementioned challenges.
Now back to today’s challenge, I have never liked riding to the Mast – ever – so when I had to do it today I was not a happy person (a little more than usual). I had to go out early to be back at the office for a 8:30 conference call, which means I would be riding in the dark (yes, with a light) in Tokai forest, I had to push myself (I can only do one pace up to the Mast, sorry coach) and the South Easter were blowing. Not my idea of fun. But I did it and now for tomorrow up and down 3 times (Hope Craig Kolesky is still joining me)
The last week or so I have been really struggling to keep myself motivated as the Absa Cape Epic approaches and the butterflies are flying around in my stomach like the High Protein Future Life in my blender whilst preparing a recovery smoothie. I’m really nervous, nothing must go wrong now, can’t get sick, stick to the training programme and mentally to keep the end goal in mind. It has been an incredible journey so far and I don’t want to mess it up so close to the goal. It has been challenging as I would like to just go out and ride my bike without the ‘have to train’ part attached to it.
Let’s do this, focus and enjoy