SAVANAH!! I heard this shrill scream and turned my head towards the noise, OH sh(fill in missing vowel here)t! Now at this stage I was cycling through a sandy patch, in the lower Tokai forest, where runners, dogs and horses (with riders) go for their recreational jog, walk and in this case chasing a mountain biker. Those that have followed my journey might remember the Constantia Dog incident in early 2014, when a well-nourished LSM10 dog who was
clearly tired of consuming the prescribed veterinary food on its diet, and decided a bite from a well-defined muscled human leg would taste much better and thus my cry of anguish as Savanah the skinny runners’ dog came bearing down on me.
Knowing that trying to speed away in the sand I knew was not an option, so first instinct was to get to a stop and take my feet off the bike. Combined with the shouting of his/her (let’s call it a she dog, aka Bitch) owner and me getting of the bike Savanah slid to a standstill in a cloud of dust and sand coming to a stop a few centimeters from my previously bitten left leg. Good dog. (Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs and would have 20 if I could, so for a dog to want to attack me because I am a moving object, does hurt my feelings a little bit, because I know it is just instinct. Or it could be the runner owner that does not like cyclist and secretly trains the Bitch to attack). Relieved that Savanah managed to stop before crashing into me, teeth and all, the owner apologises saying sorry. No worries I say, not an issue. Off they went and back on my KTM Scarp I get – that
cry again SAVANAH! Off the bike again and fortunately Savanah retreats and goes back to run with his (sorry her) owner. Waiting until they disappear into the forest I get up and tackle the sand again. Apparently some dogs see you as prey as clearly this one did, find out what to do when a dog is chasing you here or here.
When riding the Absa Cape Epic one will encounter many challenges on-route, like the sandy patch I was riding to up skill my sand riding technique as one, technical tricky terrain, thorns, heat, ridiculous climbs and even possibly a stray dog out there in the sticks. So I saw this as invaluable Cape epic training for me. Needless to say when I caught up with them on the other side of the forest again, I gladly took a small break until they disappeared into the sunrise.
My encounters of a canine kind did not end there. Later in that week as I was on my way home from finishing a ride on Table Mountain and cycling through a park close to Kirstenbosch / Bishopscourt area I was seen as prey again.
Fortunately the owner was close by and the dogs were well trained and listened when called back and soon found the tennis ball being thrown for them much more interesting than some sweaty mountain bikers legs. And again I love dogs, but I am not too sure what I would do if Rob Vember unleashes his trio of dogs on me…. Especially Mackenzie – sprint record at max cadence in heaviest gear! She is a show dog after all. But seriously, I do love dogs.
It has been tough this last week as the routine of training is catching up with me: “can I just sleep 5 minutes longer, it is still dark outside”. Time is running out as D-day is fast approaching and I thought it well to take my bike in for a proper service, and when I say proper, I mean proper as you will see from the images. The whole bike gets taken
apart and all the components get checked to make sure all is good to carry my petite 107kg body through the last weeks of training, but especially through the 8 days of the Absa Cape Epic. It is super important to make sure your bike is properly looked after and maintained. A simple thing on my bike was the hairline cracks that started to show on my rims. It has done a Absa Cape Epic before and many other stage races since 2014 and I wasn’t always my lean 107kg’s, so some components were bound to take a hammering as I am no slouch going down technical terrain as I hope my friends will justify this and that I am not being too arrogant for a 100kg rider. To
be honest, I have no choice but to go downhill quickly as gravity has that pull, I am just saying and in the words of my mate James Bell (oh and Nikki Ferreira), Safety First.
Hope this update was a bit more positive and thanks to Loriaan for approving myself and Thinus’s supporters T-Shirts. I think it looks great and thank you for everyone that is supporting us and following us on this journey (Too soon to reveal the T-shirt design).
PS: I have seen more squirrels on my rides than dogs and none of them has ever decided to attack me. What I am most afraid of when I do have an encounter with a squirrel is that it might be out gathering nuts for the winter…