Seriously Fun

After the months of dedication and discipline in training for the 2016 Absa Cape Epic (it was worth it) it was great to be out on the bike at the Cell C Arabella Challenge over the weekend hosted by Stillwater Sports. No pressure and just having fun and of course a couple of glasses of wine.

The weekend started off with the Mother of all storms that fortunately settled the trails and we had super riding conditions

The weekend started off with the Mother of all storms that fortunately settled the trails and we had super riding conditions

A weekend at Arabella Hotel and Spa is always a world class and wonderful experience, being it for and event like the Arabella Challenge or just for a weekend breakaway. The whole event is very much family based and has a very relaxed and chilled atmosphere and vibe going with it. The weekend was spent with a lot of familiar faces although the usual suspects were sorely missed, but wine induced or not – the weekend was serious fun. Great company and the amazing trails made for fun weekend, not even the monstrous storm that hit the Cape on Friday afternoon and evening could damper the weekend celebrations. I even managed to play 9 holes of golf after our ride on Saturday. The first time in over three years and the least said about it the better. Congratulations Rob Kucera and Jon Adams, myself and Wayne Siepman are demanding a rematch. #GolfHacker

Congrats to Rob Kucera who tactically attacked on the 1st climb of Day 1 to kick my butt in mountain biking and golf. Super weekend Rob, was great fun

Congrats to Rob Kucera who tactically attacked on the 1st climb of Day 1 to kick my butt in mountain biking and golf. Super weekend Rob, was great fun

 

Since the Cape Epic I have not been on the bike as much as I would have liked to, purely because I do not like the winter and being cold. Getting up early and going riding in the dark on your own (and finishing in the dark) is not fun, but I have also been lazy and the fact that for the last 4 weekends I’ve had a bachelors, wedding, 40th and the Arabella Challenge the enjoyment factor of these did not contribute much to me getting 2 days of riding in over the weekends. And now heading for the 5th event in a row with another 40th celebration this weekend to continue the ‘perfect’ lead up to having to be ready for Gravel and Grape 3 day MTB race come the first weekend of May – I will be suffering. The Iqela Events team must be forewarned that we are looking forward to a fantastic 3 days of riding.

 

Saying that, I can’t wait for this race as I will be joining up with the Original KTM Phat Boy, Evert Ferreira as we once again combine as riding partners after Ev’s sabbatical of 3 years. Will be awesome to have him back on the bike and at least I know that I won’t be enjoying a post ride beverage on my own.

Cycling the 13km back from Wildekrans to Arabella for the golf with Corné Barnard from Rockhopper Adventures leading the KTM bus out

Cycling the 13km back from Wildekrans Wine Estate to Arabella for the golf with Corné Barnard from Rockhopper Adventures leading the KTM bus out

I know I have to stay focussed and keep on training whilst keeping with my diet if I want to stay on top of the Obelix curse and prevent myself gaining weight and growing back into my clothes of 6 months ago. With all these social activities and horrible winter weather of cold and darkness it will take once again epic like dedication and discipline to keep this slim physique. Let’s hope I can defeat the laziness over the

We just had to enjoy a cold beverage from Honingklip Brewery on the last day. It went done superbly after 16km of single track at Wildekrans

We just had to enjoy a cold beverage from Honingklip Brewery on the last day. It went done superbly after the hard work of riding 16km of single track at Wildekrans non stop.

next couple of months to be in top riding shape when spring commences. I know it will be tough, but it is better than having to buy a new wardrobe again…

Caged Animal – where’s the Vet?

It has now been nearly two weeks since the completion of that 8 day mentally challenging MTB race aka the 2016 Absa Cape Epic and I have done no exercise of any sort. Now before you start judging me and thinking that I have thrown in the towel of have become lazy and so forth, here are all the excuses.

My super "love the steep climbs' partner Thinus Crafford and myself on the "podium" after finishing with 2 other guys. Apparently the beat us by beat us by 415 positions on the last day

My super “love the steep climbs’ partner Thinus Crafford and myself on the “podium” after finishing with 2 other guys. Apparently the beat us by beat us by 415 positions on the last day. Manuel Fumic & Henrique Avancini of some other bike brand Factory Racing Team

Common sense dictates that one should at least take a small break after riding 647km with 15,000m of climbing over 8 days and that was the plan for the first few days. Take it easy, body not feeling too bad and able to still walk without too much pain or effort, all was looking good for a quick recovery and with Easter Friday the ideal day to get back on the back the plan for the week was set.

Then I made the fatal mistake. I met up with a friend at a well-known establishment in Cape Town where I got exposed to celery juice. To protect my friend and the establishment they will not be exposed but I have made contact with my lawyers. Now I don’t like celery, but I thought I would give the juice a try, living sort of healthy now you know and how bad could it be? It actually turned out to very tasty and I even contemplated having a second glass, but that might have been too healthy.

Miss the dirt and the grind #OfficeHater

Miss the dirt and the grind #OfficeHater

Anyway I digress, the point I’m trying to bring across in my rambling is coming back to the no exercise and that all being due to flu – herewith the Wikipedia description of the flu: “Influenza, commonly known as “the flu”, is an infectious disease caused by an influenza virus. Symptoms can be mild to severe. The most common symptoms include: a high fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pains, headache, coughing, and feeling tired. These symptoms typically begin two days after exposure to the virus and most last less than a week. The cough, however, may last for more than two weeks”

Thursday night I still felt strong and actually consuming my first beer (lite) since finishing the Cape Epic with my good mates Willie and Belia making burgers with the legend Henties de Villiers visiting from Oudsthoorn. Moderation was the key as I had that cycle planned for Friday. Good morning Good Friday and good day man down de Ridder. Now you have read the definition of flu and saw that symptoms typically begin two days after exposure…and the conclusion – blame the celery juice as it was the only thing I did out of my normal habits. Happiness engulfed me as I spent my entire Easter Weekend feeling sorry for myself and under the duvet in front of that square box showcasing glorious sport. That was just great.

Super Supporters Willie du Plooy and Chantel Rall with us showing our support in wishing Chantel all the best #FuckCancer #LoverChanty I think I might have a shaved head shortly

Super Supporters Willie du Plooy and Chantel Rall with us showing our support in wishing Chantel all the best #FuckCancer #LoverChanty I think I might have a shaved head shortly

Always fighting the fight against that extra weight the slightest amount of food consumption adds to my big boned bodily structure, I endeavoured each night after Easter to go exercise the next day. That has not happened yet as I only feel close to 100% human again today, I did however go shower at the gym to keep up my monthly visits. The things we have to do…

Stuck in the office for the week without physical activity and the pressure applied by the boss man post Cape Epic made for a wonderful few weeks as I felt like a caged turtle -wanting to break out at speed with the mind but the body just not responding in a Tasmanian devil way.

So my Cape Epic blues has been a great experience and I would rather be riding the Cape Epic every week than be stuck in the office. I actually miss the structured training regime from coach Alasdair Garnett and it was super cool to see him and wife Gretha at the finish, if I do attempt a third one for that Amabubezi title I already know who my coach would be and thank you to KTM Bike Industries SA and Mitas Bicycle Tyres SA for making it possible for us to ride this year (we had no tyre or bike issues) as well as all our awesome supporters lead by Loriaan aka Lolla Crafford.

Super cool to see these mad people at the finish - miss it

Super cool to see these mad people at the finish – miss it

Back on the bike for me and I should also maybe run a little bit as I do have the FNB Cape Town 12 OneRun on the 15th of May but firstly I have to keep in shape for the Cell C Arabella MTB Challenge on 23 & 24 April followed by the Gravel and Grape MTB Challenge 6 – 8 May 2016.

The one thing I know is that I will stay away from the celery juice.

PS:  We still have not found that Cape Leopard on route, hopefully in one of my next MTB Challenges – come now show your support for the Cape Leopard Trust we need them to survive!

 

The Granny Gear Conundrum

First of I need to state what a fantastic weekend at the Arabella Hotel and Spa for the Arabella Challenge over the last weekend. Great riding, great facilities and great people and friends around made this a most memorable weekend in 2015. The Arabella Challenge includes a 1 day and 2 day Mountain Bike event as well as 11km and 22km trail run over the weekend and brings out like-minded people loving the outdoors and being active and to be able to do this in the scenic area of Arabella Hotel and Spa is a real privilege.

 

The Hurtenator, myself and the 'Windhond' - "These two guys are just trouble" - is that what the gesture means?

The Hurtenator, myself and the ‘Windhond’ – “These two guys are just trouble” – is that what the gesture means?

Thanks to Angela Rogers for organising a world class event and hosting us with Arabella Manager Wayne Siepman and team. Thank you guys for a great weekend and platform to showcase our KTM Bicycle brand. This event is already written in the diary for 2016, I won’t miss it!

 

After my realisation of my washing powder shrinking my clothes the last few weeks I have been disciplined and changed my diet to be nearly as healthy as when I trained for the 2014 Absa Cape Epic – yes nearly because enjoying an ice cold beer now and again is a given, but other than that trying to cut out most carbs and cutting down on portions and slowly getting myself back on the bike. For those that read the previous blog would know that I was living it up with travel and so forth and alas all trying to change that in the last few weeks to be 100% prepared for Arabella was never going to happen. Weight and gravity would play a role in my performance as the Arabella Challenge is known for loads of climbing. (I worked it out, average climbing of 26m over 1km on day 1 (1190m over 45.8km) and 26.4m over 1km on Day 2 (1252m over 47.4km). Coupled that with too much red wine (Thanks Alexa Cunningham), mixed with some brandy and then Spiced Gold (Thanks Nikki Ferreira) and the normal beers with the mates and riding partners Thinus Crafford and Marius Hurter my day 1 was not that great. Someday I will learn.(I could have posted photos of someone dancing wearing a red belt, but I won’t. The supper with all was great and I haven’t had so much fun in quite a while and the sufferig on day one was worth it)

Thanks Marius for sticking with me on Day 1, it was an awesome ride, although it took some time for this body to function properly and well done CunningHAM! For your 2nd place and keeping the ‘Windhond’ aka Thinus away from us so I could utilise my granny gear as much as possible (Even though Marius did mention to me that I should find some other gears than granny, and that’s where it all started).  The best invention in cycling is the granny gear to keep us big boys active and going upwards, just saying.

I blame the one in the black kit in the front for forcing that awesome red wine down my throat for climbing at granny speed. Well done on your 2nd place Alexa!

I blame the one in the black kit in the front for forcing that awesome red wine down my throat for climbing at granny speed. Well done on your 2nd place Alexa!

 

With day 1 done and dusted we were far more well behaved, and although we still enjoyed the rugby Stormers vs Bulls (well nearly enjoyed it) with some beers dished up by Evert Ferreira moderation was the order of the day. A biohazard zone was declared in the bar area where we were watching the rugby as a gas released by an associate had all of us running for masks and fresh air. I will not name names but he rode with me on the second day of the challenge and gave me lots of stick for trying to propel my heavy and tired body forward on day 2 as we started the day with 600m climbing over the 1st 12kms. Now for this person, Thinus, who gave me so much stick on having to find another gear than granny, which forced me to use profanities and obscene gestures towards him, I do apologise and say thanks for enduring the 3h57m with me on the bike. It was great fun and you know I am working towards a leaner and meaner me again. Soon I will be fit and most importantly lighter again, or alternatively I could add a 30kg bag for you to carry with when we cycle again – just kidding, looking forward to our next ride.

 

The moral of this long ramble about weight and granny gear is that it is important that one sticks with the disciplines that work in your diet and try not to stray from it and as with most things dedication and hard work is important and for now, after the HouwHoek Tour this weekend, we will be back to the training regime.

 

I hope that next time we will have our friends out there again, those that couldn’t make it this year, we really missed you guys! Thanks for all the photos and Facebook updates Marilize van Niekerk and to all the friends that were there and the new ones we made.

To Du Toit Botes and Evert Ferreira for giving me so much stick – and they will know what I am talking about. Thanks for all the help and support Jan du Toit, it is appreciated.

 

Now for HouwHoek and to find a way to stay out of granny gear and grinding my way up the hills…

Room with a view. Always great to stay at Arabella Hotel and Spa

Room with a view. Always great to stay at Arabella Hotel and Spa

Spotted at 1st water point with no KTM PhatBoy is sight. Thanks Marius for at least waiting for me. Grinding in granny

Spotted at 1st water point with no KTM PhatBoy is sight. Thanks Marius for at least waiting for me. Grinding in granny

Did someone say helmet hair?

Did someone say helmet hair?

Life happens…

Dear Diary it has been 4 weeks since any physical activity in the form of exercise that includes cycling and or cardio in the gym and I can only blame life. Having packed my bag for gym the previous night I tossed and turned this morning, I’m lying, I only turned and the decision was made that I did not feel like going to gym this morning – and yes my clothes are fitting a lot tighter than before. I will have to investigate the washing powder I am using as surely it has nothing to do with living the dream from entertaining clients at the Absa Cape Epic, flying to Taiwan for the Taipei Bike Show and or being sick with flu for the last week and a bit. Nothing I tell you.  Before I continue I would like to apologise to the readers I might have on this blog, as per the exercise I have been neglecting the writing as I need to find that inspiration again for both instances.

 

Riding with the JAGFoundation and the Ride4Change campaign with Stefan Sahm and Timo Cooper

Riding with the JAGFoundation – JAGRiders programme in Bonteheuwel – and the Ride4Change campaign with Stefan Sahm and Timo Cooper

Spending the day at Absa Cape Epic registration representing Mitas. Pictured here with David & Johan Labuschagne, Janka Stevkova, Pavel Nosek (Mitas Czech Republic), Yolande de Villiers and myself. Janka and Yolande from SasolRacing went on to finish 3rd in the Absa Cape Epic

Spending the day at Absa Cape Epic registration representing Mitas. Pictured here with David & Johan Labuschagne, Janka Stevkova, Pavel Nosek (Mitas Czech Republic), Yolande de Villiers and myself. Janka and Yolande from SasolRacing went on to finish 3rd in the Absa Cape Epic

Anyway no excuse as around the corner is the 4th annual Arabella Challenge followed by the Houwhoek Tour a week later, so needless to say gravity and fitness might play a factor as to how I perform at these events. These events are a must on my calendar and I won’t miss it for the world, so join us if you can. With winter encroaching us slowly here in Cape Town riding in the early mornings are becoming more and more challenging due to the cold and especially the darkness which plays a major factor in safety on the bike obviously. So finding that inspiration and digging deep to go out there has been a real challenge, I do blame the flu I picked up coming back from Taiwan though. No I did not wear the ‘mask’ as you commonly see out there. I did try the beer and some of the local cuisine. No factor in shrinking clothes. (Now if only I didn’t donate all my ‘bigger’ clothes after the 2014 Absa Cape Epic weight loss saga. Fortunately Lycra stretches)

 

The sights and sounds of Taipei at night

The sights and sounds of Taipei at night

Spending some time at the Taipei Bike Show meeting up with KTM HQ Austria and KTM Asia

Spending some time at the Taipei Bike Show meeting up with KTM HQ Austria and KTM Asia

To some up my life the last four weeks: Last bike ride 12 March with the JAG Foundation and Ride4Change, and then the Absa Cape Epic activation and sponsor hosting of Pavel from Mitas until the 16th at the event that did involve some cold beers and eating out. Fly out to Taiwan for the Taipei Bike Show on the 17th and return on the 22nd, and of course eating out and having a cold beer or wine with the KTM guys and traveling colleague. After nearly 24hours traveling time; land on the 22nd at 16:00 and be at the Absa Cape Epic after party at 16:30 till late followed by wrap up day with Mitas and the family to ensure everyone is on their planes. Tuesday 24th break down KTM Bicyle display at The Westin Cape Town, Wednesday and Thursday catch up with some old friends, which meant Tequila was involved and still fighting off jet lag. Friday and the flu hits to have me man down the whole weekend and week to follow and withdraw from the crazy idea that was running the Old Mutual Two Oceans Half Marathon and then finally get back on the bike Easter Friday with Eulogy van Dyk from the Ride2Nowhere (Event not to miss as well), still flu-ish and then mechanical after 7km which meant organising another bike for the Saturday ride, with the 22km ride ending in the wind and rain encouraging the flu to stay longer. Easter Sunday potjiekos with mates and Monday lunch at The Toad in the Village and here we are…life just flew by in a few weeks.

 

Local cuisine at KTM dinner, can't quite remember what this was

Local cuisine at KTM dinner, can’t quite remember what this was

Also local cuisine as it was bought in Taipei. Has nothing to do with my experience currently of a heavier gravitational pull from Mother Earth

Also local cuisine as it was bought in Taipei. Has nothing to do with my experience currently of a heavier gravitational pull from Mother Earth

I think all of us have different challenges in life for different reasons and that does play a factor in ones state of mind and behaviour. The only thing we know is that life goes on and it does not wait for you and you need to go out there and make things happen to what you desire and belief that you want out of life, i.e. a washing powder that does not shrink your clothes.

Now that is enough preaching from me as I have some big decisions to make and the first being will I go to gym after work. The bag is packed so I might as well go see if I can still survive the super circuit and then go charge those cycling lights.

 

Hopefully I will be back on track and be able to give some feedback on the next challenge and life adventure and Chantel Rall I’m still not totally convinced Iron Man is for me…#Swimming

 

View from the top of the Taipei Garden hotel

View from the top of the Taipei Garden hotel

As South Africans do we found a pub, even if it was English it was the closest to home and even had Super Rugby on the TV, and of course cold beer

As South Africans do we found a pub, even if it was English it was the closest to home and even had Super Rugby on the TV, and of course cold beer

 

 

 

Taipei1

The MRT is a bit busy on a Saturday in Taipei and maybe I should have worn the mask to fight off the impeding flu

The MRT is a bit busy on a Saturday in Taipei and maybe I should have worn the mask to fight off the impeding flu

A bit more of Taipei City, also known as a enormous flea market

A bit more of Taipei City, also known as a enormous flea market

Recovering at Stage 9 of the Absa Cape Epic, the after party. Best way to combat jet lag i thought.

Recovering at Stage 9 of the Absa Cape Epic, the after party. Best way to combat jet lag i thought.

Taipei10

Unfortunately Marius Hurter was nowhere in sight when I had to break down the KTM display at The Westin Cape Town

Unfortunately Marius Hurter was nowhere in sight when I had to break down the KTM display at The Westin Cape Town

Finding that inspiration again…

Now a month on after completion of the Absa Cape Epic I finally feel like I have found the motivation again to keep on training and riding my KTM Mountain Bike. Finding the right balance to live by post the big event has been challenging as it was so much easier to drink a few cold (lite) beers with friends and throw in a welcome back Tequila party and you know that one has consumed more litres of alcohol (in an adult responsible way) in 4 weeks than in 6 months leading up to the Absa Cape Epic – yes I have picked up a kilo or two and yes I am disappointed in that happening.
The previous two weekends saw me participate in the Arabella Challenge and Houw Hoek MTB Tour, two fantastic events with some amazing riding and climbing and post this I feel good and positive again about keeping the exercise routine going (Light like my beer). So let us start with the Arabella Challenge where climbing is the order of the day, but all in short and manageable bursts so everything is rideable, and it is here I realised that I could start pushing myself as I chased my light mate Thinus Crafford and former Springbok tight head prop Marius Hurter (not so light) up the hills. I got to get quicker… which means to get lighter.

The front row and Thinus at Arabella Challenge. Thanks for some great times on the ride Marius and Thinus

The front row and Thinus at Arabella Challenge. Thanks for some great times on the ride Marius and Thinus

Well that didn’t happen in a week as the Houw Hoek MTB Tour started last weekend so I had to be prepared to chase Thinus again up those hills (with no Marius this week as a buffer) and fortunately the climbing was less and had more technical stuff which were awesome to ride. Chuffed with myself after day one of riding every hill, riding pofadder bridge and FINALLY mastering all the switchbacks going down to Houw Hoek Inn – it was an amazing day on and off the bike. Well the whole weekend was great as spending time with great friends is always good even tough Michael and Dulcie are still waiting for their lemon meringue. I digress, so chuffed with day 1 of Houw Hoek and with the anomaly of actually having a race start without a major climb to kill my legs and back in the first few kilometres, off we sped and raced (yes I raced) towards Hermanus. This was the first time ever I completed a mountain bike stage with an average speed of over 16km/h – too fast too furious but great fun and I will be back at Houw Hoek next year.
But back to the serious stuff; remember to order lemon meringue at least 30 minutes before you order your coffee, always be on the lookout for cut off tree trunks on a single track (Thinus), make sure you split the bill and remember to drink the wine on top off the Hemel and Aarde climb. Digressing again, heading into winter and no daylight to speak of in Cape Town, cycling outdoors will be harder to do, so I am now back in the gym working on the desired 36 visits per year for my medical aid, I even started running on the treadmill and can manage a snails’ pace of jogging for 20 minutes (I need to do this to keep up with my friend Nikki who recently at the age of, oh shoot I can reveal her age, got introduced to exercise. New words in her vocabulary includes: gym, walking, treadmill, towel, water bottle, tights (Skins I presume), tekkies (Mizuno of course), heart rate, circuit training, fitness assessment, recovery, lactic acid, muscles and a few more words, unfortunately I heading towards the end of the blog and has to stop now. Go Nix! The discipline of eating right and exercise will pay off and now that I have found my way back there – to have a balance between eating right, exercise and (lite) beer in moderation and riding my mountain bike for fun.

Look! You can see the mountain, oh and I'm actually smiling in a photo (collectable)

Look! You can see the mountain, oh and I’m actually smiling in a photo (collectable)

I still haven’t decided on the next challenge will be as I just can’t get my head around having to swim. My swimming issues are well documented so we won’t go into that perhaps I should also see head doctor Henning Gericke as it seems somehow he got the Stormers to win a game again (not that I really care, my blood is light (like my beer) blue.
So, no excuses everyone. Although we are heading into winter here we can still find ways to keep fit with a bit of commitment and to keep down those nasty sneaky fat cells that wants to expand if you look at food. Enjoy your training and have fun in what you do!
PS:
Oh and yes, I have suffered from writers’ block if you wondering why I haven’t updated the blog – ok I’m lying I was just lazy.

Always an amazing experience to stay at Arabella Hotel and Spa and even better if you can do that for two weekends in a row

Always an amazing experience to stay at Arabella Hotel and Spa and even better if you can do that for two weekends in a row

That moment...when we didn't fall like at the 2013 Ride2Nowhere in McGregor. We are going back there in September to have a similar photo taken without the crash landing.

That moment…when we didn’t fall like at the 2013 Ride2Nowhere in McGregor. We are going back there in September to have a similar photo taken without the crash landing.