For the love of the ride – the slogan of the Ride2Nowhere in McGregor was pretty apt for me as I returned to participation in a stage race, and my 7th R2
N, after the last few months and all the stumble blocks thrown in my way of getting any proper training done. The event is my favourite on the MTB calendar in the Western Cape and I feel that I have rediscovered my love for MTB riding.
Due to all the factors that have restricted any substantial training I decided to (in conjunction with Andrew Norman) scale down from the long to the short route event. As we drove to McGregor through the Du Toit’s Kloof Tunnel in the pouring rain and experiencing the snow covered mountains, we just knew that extreme weather would lie ahead for us when. Just how extreme we would not know until riding the next day. Welcome rain in the drought stricken Western Cape bucketed down and the mountains in the McGregor surrounds literally got covered in snow right before our eyes. It was going to be wet and cold, and it was.
Dressed up to the max for heat and staying dry we pitched at the start line on the Friday to go on an adventure of mud mountain biking. Thermal gloves and under layers got not keep out the cold. Rain and mud met us on our ride as we slid our day to the finish on day 1 in extreme conditions. Fingers were freezing on the downhills as one loses feeling and prays that you keep control of the gears and brakes, finished we did covered in mud in places that can’t be named on a PG13 website. We stayed at the McGregor Backpackers (not your normal backpackers. Amazing place to stay at) and owners Geoff and Dorothy were amazing in cleaning up our kit and we were fortunate enough to have Trystan Norman giving love and tender care to our mud covered steads.
Day 2, still freezing but no rain as we took on stage 2. It was a fun day out on the bike and the Lords Shiraz went down smoothly once we meander across the finish line. Day 3 was amazing riding in brilliant conditions after the extremities of the previous two days. No I used to be a fair weather cyclist but there was no hiding away from riding and finishing my favourite MTB event of the year. Thank you Andrew for some good times out on the bike, next year we will do the long again and Dom de Lauwere better join us and we’ll not get the vehicle stuck in the mud in order for Dianne Norman to be able to go wine tasting. Thank you to Triptych Resources for bike transfer, you guys were amazing. (Looking to transfer your bike, look no further)
Now back to that frozen porcupine slap in the face. As most followers would know I suffered the back hernia back in October last year. Now since this happened I have not been able to train fully and has been hampered by back pain and lack of power in the right leg. Still working on recovery and unsure if it will ever recovery fully. At the end of April I suffered a bacterial infection that had me man down with fewer, shivers and sickness and just as I thought this was over after the forced antibiotics and MTB ride back, the infection came back to put me in bed again and on another antibiotic serving. Needless to say exercise was close to nothing during this period.
And then the next thing, or should I say spider in the pants bit me that would result in me going to hospital for an operation and 6 stitches later and six weeks of no training. Now I am not sure if the girlfriend planted the spider in my sleeping pants, but one can never be too sure (just kidding). Yes the bite took place in the groin area and no super powers were received, only unfitness. Having recovered after the weeks of no exercise, it was time to start training for the R2N with only a few weeks before the event only to be hampered by rainy weather (not complaining) to not be able to ride outdoors. Time was spent on the WattBike in the gym as I probably only went on 4 outdoor rides before the R2N. Anyway, for that further slap in the face with the frozen porcupine I for good measure got retrenched at work as well.
It is just good to be back on the Mountain Bike and riding outdoors, even if I am fatter and in not great physical shape or condition. One can only remain positive and go to your place of sanity, which for me is out on my bike. So not being able over the last 11 months to be able to fully enjoy my riding, I am just glad that at least now with time on my hands I am able again to jump on my bike and find some sanity from the deep dark emotions lurking as a result from that frozen porcupine slap.