Last week I was privileged enough to ride the Fedgroup Berg & Bush Great Trek and what amazing single track riding it was. This was really a super fun event where one starts off on top of the escarpment in the Drankensberg and just drop down (well mostly) onto the plain through a network of manicured and super exciting trails.
Having change my preparation slightly for riding these events with consuming some Pepto Sport in the lead up hour or so before the start, but most importantly gave my body sufficient rest and recovery before the race, the result a super 1st day on the bike with 94km completed with an average speed of 17.8km with 1225m of climbing. Being prepared for an event makes so much difference and ensuring that your body tapered and rested I have learned is essential, especially for endurance event like a mountain bike stage race. (I attended a recovery talk at SSISA which was really informative, thanks for the invite Nikki Ferreira). I really felt strong and fit on the bike as Thinus and I raced to the finish on day 1. Sadly this is where it all went pear shaped as Thinus somehow picked up an unnecessary bug that had as all really worried as he got very sick and thus did not participate in day 2 & 3. Next year buddy, we will be back and I will be in better shape and hopefully have broken the 100kg barrier. I know you looked forward to it but we will make up for it at FNB Wines2Whales Adventure next weekend.
The following two days (60 & 65km) I rode with Rob and Andrew as we enjoyed the picturesque trails and landscape. These two are training for the 2015 Absa Cape Epic and are really cool guys and it was, as always, great to be riding with them and sharing some of my MTB experience with them as they prepare for the ultimate mountain biking endurance race. The boys are looking good and on track and I really had to dig deep on the last day to stay with them as Rob was in Olympic form and racing up the hills a-la my partner Thinus – no mercy. Day 2 was tough and special as we rode up to the top of Spionkop (Where the famous Battle of Spionkop between the Boers and the British took place during the 2nd Boer War). Rode is such an open word, well walked up Spionkop as we were also hammered by wind in the day giving the South Easter from the Cape more than a run for its money as the wind was howling and made the last 20km on the day pretty tough. All and all this will be an event added to my riding schedule for 2015.
To finish off the week after I returned to Cape Town, eventually after 3h30 delay at Durban Airport to get home at 00:30 in the morning (taxi ride and all) I was entered to ride the PPA One Tonner. Only 163km on the road bike with my friend Chantel Rall to keep her company on the long ride as she trains towards Ironman with Sean Fea-tonby also joining in. You did well Chantel and the 163km’s is in the bank. Good luck for the Slanghoek Triathlon this weekend and you can follow Chantel’s remarkable story and blog updates here. Needless to say the massage I got on Monday after the slightly active week was heavenly and much needed for the recovery process as I prepare for FNB Wines2Whales Adventure with also doing the MTB leg in a team at the Slanghoek Triathlon this weekend before heading back to Cape Town to attend the Ryan Sandes – Vanessa Haywood wedding. Congratulations guys and looking forward to the big day on Saturday. It is all about ‘vasbyt’ (hanging in there) when one is attempting these endurance type events, and just keep on going to the end, a simple principle.
Now this last week was a true adventure with all involved as I was fortunate to fly business class to Durban and back which makes a huge difference if you actually have leg room. Thanks Thinus and your BA points. Then we were also fortunate enough to spend a night at the Fairmont Zimbali Resort/Lodge, what a spectacular place. I’m sure I will be heading back there as well. During the Berg and Bush we stayed at Champagne Sports Resort at one of the houses on the estate which was amazing. Thanks Andrew and Angela. And to end off the trip I got the catch up with an old varsity mate in the BA lounge as our plane was indefinitely delayed at some stage, but eventually got changed and made it home.
Having to read all the above mentioned must have been a true test of endurance, but through all that happened last week one appreciates the special things and people in your live again and realised that one must seize opportunities and live life full out every day and train hard and clever for those endurance events.