With two weeks to go before I have to go to extremes to finish some 8 day mountain bike stage race with my friend Thinus I decided that it is time to become more serious and focused on the event. So from now on just seriousness in whatever brain impulse send to my fingers to type, I promise I have no control sometimes, the mind wants one thing but the body does something else. This is precisely what happened at the 2016 Cape Town Cycle Tour MTB Challenge as I was descending down a very sandy switchback, my mind knew exactly what to do, or not to do and then your body still go and do it. Make sure you have momentum, weight back, stay off the brakes and just run through the sane – but NO! Let’s think about the front wheel getting stuck and then making it happen and in the process providing a spectacular tuck and roll for the string of cyclist behind you. Serious stuff I tell you and being a branded rider makes it even worse and then you also know people that has caught up to you from the next batch, aka Mr. Speedster Craig Kolesky.
But enough of that, two weeks to go and I am sure Thinus has a few butterflies roaming around (i.e. flying and crawling out of cocoons) in the stomach, I know I can feel the nervous excitement and I have been through this all before. The commitment one makes when deciding to ride the Cape Epic is immense as you are committing to someone else to give it your all to be ready and fit to ride for 8 days. It is not just about the time to train and the financial burden in paying and preparing for the race, but that camaraderie of knowing that you and your friend are both in it and committed to finish a bucket list event. I hope I have trained enough. To Loriaan, Thinus’ wife, you will soon have him back and come Easter I am sure Thinus won’t be going out for a bike ride and be spending time with you and Thiaan. Perhaps I should arrange a men’s golf tour for that weekend….
On Saturday I went riding on the famous Jonkershoek MTB Trails with Pieter du Plessis from Iqela Events and what a fantastic day out. To explore the Jonkershoek are with great company made the time go by quickly and soon enough my scheduled 5 hours was done after some nice decent climbs and super single tracks. Check out Iqela Events’ calendar and join us at these super events. Thanks for a great day out on the bike Pieter, we would have to do this again and I am really looking forward to the Gravel and Grape stage race.
At the MTB Challenge on Sunday we did a lot of trails in Simonsberg in Stellenbosch area and to have seen the devastation post the recent fires were shocking. Where we rode through forest in 2015 was only wasteland left with no vegetation. If not directly affected by the fires one does not always take in the damage that was done, it really was scary to see the mountain landscape in its current state. Respect to all the firefighters.
This weekend is the Cape Town Cycle Tour and I will be exchanging my mountain bike for my road bike. It will feel like I am cheating riding on something with such thin wheels. Now taking a dive off your mountain bike onto soft sand is slightly different from tuck and rolling onto tar – PLEASE everyone stay clear of me as I don’t want to fall and drop my friend Thinus a week before after training for close to 6 months. I will use my weight to push you away from me skinny cyclist – keep your wheels and handle bars far away from me.
See, serious stuff. I know coach Alasdair has said it from the start to ride with Electrolytes, which I have never done and on Saturday Pieter gave me some of his special mix as we filled our bottles with fresh and clean mountain water. (I will not divulge the secret Pieter but I will definitely use your mix and ensure I get my electrolytes in)
May there be no more sleepless nights and let the excitement build up to the 13th of March as TC (aka Thinus Crafford or “Die Windhond”) and myself line up on the start chute at Meerendal Wine Estate to start our journey of perseverance, endurance, pain and hopefully some fun. Hopefully next week I will still be typing with all my fingers and both hands as all road cyclist would have stayed clear of the orange flash on the Cape Town Cycle Tour Route. (Check out my new 2016 KTM Revelator 3500).