Phat Boys – Nowhere to hide

Thank G… arnett that I don’t have to be on my bike today J

Will i be able to survive 8 days of courage with this bloke on my left...looking forward to a tough and great week Thinus

Will i be able to survive 8 days of courage with this bloke on my left…looking forward to a tough and great week Thinus

A few days left before the start of an unforgettable adventure and I know my riding partner Thinus is super excited and also nervous, and so am I as well. To finally get to the starting point of 6 months of disciplined training and sacrifices to friends and family is daunting and that drive to finish all 8 days exhilarating. I think the biggest challenge on Sunday would be to hold back Thinus from not shooting out of the starting blocks like the Greyhound (“Die Windhond”) we know that he is from the excitement of being on live TV for the first time (Supersport 6 from 09:30 – 14:00) oh! and of course to have gotten to the start of a life dream and bucket list event could also play a part. For those that want to follow our adventure, our prologue start time is 08:11 on Sunday 13 March, our race number is 321 and you can follow the race live through Tracker.

 

From a form point of view I should be feeling confident as I completed the Cape Town Cycle Tour of 109km’s in a personal best time of 3:30 in my 5th attempt at this race. Taking 23 minutes of my previous best time in 2014, I am also confident that Thinus is in top shape, which could spell tough times for me trying to keep up with the speedster. Here is where we have to say thank you to coach Alasdair Garnett from The Practise, keeping us focussed and well trained, we appreciate your input and effort and we both wish that you and Gretha could have been in the race with us. That would have been fantastic; we wish you well and know we will be thinking of you, all the best for your personal challenges ahead, we sure all will go well.

Not too a bad time for a Phat Boy at the Cape Town Cycle Tour... now I can retire from this event

Not too a bad time for a Phat Boy at the Cape Town Cycle Tour… now I can retire from this event

Live well, eat well and play hard, so after the race on Sunday some great company at the Westin Cape Town as we consumed some Burgers and Beer for recovery

Live well, eat well and play hard, so after the race on Sunday some great company at the Westin Cape Town as we consumed some Burgers and Beer for recovery

 

To KTM Bike Industries and Mitas Tyres for giving us the opportunity to ride the event and for all the support through all the relevant persons involved here, Johan, Greg, Willie, Pavel and Morné from The Bicycle Company sorting out and handling our numerous outrages requests. Thanks Morné and team, your support has been fantastic. To all my family as well from backing me and following my journey and putting up with me (all my sisters will know). To my mate Rich from Freewheel Cycology and crew for sorting my bike out with a proper pre-epic service and making sure I’m all ready and set up to go.

So my partner had this brain wave to thank our supporters through doing some special for them - great T-shirt TC

So my partner had this brain wave to thank our supporters through doing some special for them – great T-shirt TC. Thanks for the awesome shirts Canterbury (CCC)

To our mates in our cycling group thanks for all the support so far and backing us even though some of you support the wrong rugby teams. Kuc thanks for all those weekend rides, always a pleasure and great fun and next year is your turn. Wikkelspies for always having my back and eager to join in the riding over the weekends and getting me on a bike in the first place. Andrew we’ve missed the riding all the events we did in the past thank for the support and always encouraging words to keep us going. Eben I know would have loved to still be riding with us over the weekends and riding Camels in Egypt is just not the same as mountain biking, we know you miss it, hang in there and thanks for the support. Ev, my partner in crime and for months supplier of free beer at the braai, you have done so much for us with regards to apparel and always eager to help and sort things out, we need to get you back on the bike, sure Nikki can handle the tribe over weekends 🙂 Thanks for all your support Nix. Marilize we haven’t forgotten you, we know you always there to make things happen. Vik, Richard and Rodney from Creative Workshop – just saying lunch is on me after the epic and there will be Tequila, you guys are legendary.

 

Thinus also have so many people that are supporting him (us), I might not know all so if I miss someone I do apologise as all of you have supported Thinus and the Phat Boys in so many ways. First of all Lolla who had to be a Cape Epic widow for close to 6 months, your support has been amazing and we could not have done it without your support and involvement and encouragement . It must have been tough at times and the sacrifice made is appreciated. I’m sure Thiaan more than did his part in Thinus’ journey to the start on Sunday. Thanks to Loriaan’s family and the Lutzville Hotel for their support, Nolan and family from the Tyger Valley Cadence Cycling Performance Centre, André and the guys from Thinus’ work, Intaprop, thanks gents, much appreciated. Morajane du Plessis attorneys and Gerra with the support from Jo-Rie, Hannes and Paula and Pieter and Liesel, Riaan Gouws and everyone that Lolla has added onto the WhatsApp group that I might have missed.

 

I’m now tired of typing and saying thank you, if I missed anyone it was not on purpose and I apologise as I am still sulking after the T20 lost to Australia last night and might not be totally refocused on the cycling side of things.

My friend Chantel Rall were also supposed to be on the start line with us, but unfortunately her cancer returned and all my thoughts and wishes are with her. Hang in their Chantz and loads of love, we will miss you in the start chute but will hopefully see you at the finish line again. #LoveChanty

 

Let the adventure begin.

 

PS: Belia, if we (when) we make it to the finish line on the 3rd, please make sure it us Ultra Mel custard that is on that Malva Pudding…

Start of the 55km to be completed in 3:48 with a tumble or two

Start of the 55km to be completed in 3:48 with a tumble or two

Breakfast at The Westin Cape Town for the media launch of Columbia as partner of the Absa Cape Epic Pictured are Jeremy Harris of KFM, Rob Kucera General Manager and cycling training buddy and a Phat Boy)

Breakfast at The Westin Cape Town for the media launch of Columbia as partner of the Absa Cape Epic Pictured are Jeremy Harris of KFM, Rob Kucera General Manager and cycling training buddy and a Phat Boy)

Early morning selfie

Early morning selfie

Minglong with the who's who at the Columbia breakfast. Amazing journey by Fat Kid on a Bike aka Ron Rutland

Minglong with the who’s who at the Columbia breakfast. Amazing journey by Fat Kid on a Bike aka Ron Rutland

A great night at the cricket with some mates, pity we lost against the Aussies

A great night at the cricket with some mates, pity we lost against the Aussies

Riding through the burnt landscape of Simonsberg at the Cape Town Cycle Tour MTB Challenge.

Riding through the burnt landscape of Simonsberg at the Cape Town Cycle Tour MTB Challenge.

This is serious

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.

#HappyFace

#HappyFace

The last time I saw a leg look like this was when Thinus bought some land at the 2015 W2W Adventure race

The last time I saw a leg look like this was when Thinus bought some land at the 2015 W2W Adventure race

 

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.

Jonkershoek top tier with Pieter du Plessis from Iqela Events

Jonkershoek top tier with Pieter du Plessis from Iqela Events

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.

KTM's on display in Jonkershoek - stunning view

KTM’s on display in Jonkershoek – stunning view

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.

 

Maybe some day I will be able to eat again (12kg's down from beginning November, no too bad)

Maybe some day I will be able to eat again (12kg’s down from beginning November, no too bad)

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)

The compulsory selfie

The compulsory selfie. Thanks for 5hours of fun on the mountain bike Pieter

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).2016 KTM Revelator 3500

Mental – Songs in my Head

As a result of having entered the 2016 Absa Cape Epic I am forced to spend numerous hours on my KTM mountain bike and as I mostly ride alone one has plenty of hours for your mind to go to wonderful and weird places. Don’t worry, I think I am still sane and of the right state of mind.

Taking on an endurance event does take a lot of mental aptitude from the discipline in the months of training to the determination to finish during the event. Thus focus is required with clear set goals or you could just numb everything out in your head through songs in your head – there you go, one song already that is on the head playlist: Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd –“I have become, comfortably numb…”

Great day out in Bonteheuwel with the JAG Foundations JAGRiders programme as we got to experience their self-built Cross Country Track

Great day out in Bonteheuwel with the JAG Foundations JAGRiders programme as we got to experience their self-built Cross Country Track

During the months of training one follows a rigid training program (The Practice), and if you are like me you want to follow that to the T (possibly to the frustration of coach Alasdair J ) to make sure everything is done as it should be. Having set goals really helps to stay focus and working towards your end goal. Back to all the time spent training – one will experience variable weather conditions (Especially in Cape Town) from gale force winds, to extreme heat to rain and even cold with some stunning days in between.  Now when I first got onto a mountain bike I made it quite clear to all that I am a Fair Weather Cyclist and will not go cycling in even a mildly strong breeze.  Things have changed since those days in 2011 as the philosophy now is (especially when training for an event such as the Absa Cape Epic) that you can’t control the weather at the race, go out and do what you need to do, you will reap the benefits should you experience similar circumstances in your endurance race. You can’t choose the weather at the Cape Epic, you have to ride each day and thus this mind set saw me train through 3 weeks of a howling gale force South Easter, not only cycling in the morning but going for a short run in the afternoon, it saw me got soaking wet doing hill repeats up Constantia Neck, it saw me sweat out litres of sweat when riding in 40+ degree Celsius heat and I am still here able to blog about it. This brings me to another song in my head: No Pain No Gain by Scorpions.

Fighting off "racing snake' instincts Willie du Plooy rode the Meerendal Ultra Marathon with me. Thanks Willie (Pictured here we are at Witsand on ride the week prior)

Fighting off “racing snake’ instincts Willie du Plooy rode the Meerendal Ultra Marathon with me. Thanks Willie (Pictured here we are at Witsand on ride the week prior)

I recently did the Ashburton Ultra-Marathon at Meerendal Wine Estate (I won’t say too much about this event as I don’t want to bitch and moan to much here and rather remain positive) where my substitute Cape Epic rider for the day, Willie du Plooy, fought off his Racing Snake instincts to ride with me as we took on the 101km challenge. We didn’t quite make the cut off at the 65km mark with an insane average speed required of close to 15km/h (Too fast for this F(Ph)at Boy). That did not stop us as we decided in no uncertain terms after some rude and explicit language (Directed at no one but venting our disappointment) to continue our ride on our own as the coach had 100km on the schedule and that is what we will do. Kudos Willie for continuing with me on the extended ride in the heat and wind, hopefully this pain will be our gain when we in the next race situation.

 

With only about 6 weeks left before the start of myself and Thinus’ epic adventure the time is now to keep focus and not let up on the discipline in the training regime. I would be lying if I say that I’m not slightly nervous. I’ve managed to get my weight down from 118kg at the end of October to 108kg currently and hopefully I can shed a few more kilograms in the next month to be as light as possible at the starting line. The pressure is there to not disappoint your friend who has been training for months and has the Absa Cape Epic as a bucket list event to finish, to not disappoint yourself and everyone that has vested in you and your journey to finish. There you go again – Queen: Under Pressure…

No matter the weather, I can't be a Fair Weather Cyclist anymore and has to go ride

No matter the weather, I can’t be a Fair Weather Cyclist anymore and has to go ride

 

For some reason I always seem to have the song: The Downeaster Alexa by Billy Joel in my  head…”But there ain’t no island left for islanders like me…Yea yea yea oh”

And this is to keep my Absa Cape Epic partner Thinus Crafford motivated for the last stretch: Bryan Adams: We’re Gonna Win (meaning finish)

 

Mental toughness is…

…when you, your body, the competition, nature, or the environment has the best of you so that you’re physically tapped out and need to figure out how to pull something out of yourself… not in a robotic way—in a way that’s mentally aware and engaged. It’s not just the ability to keep moving but to keep doing it in a way that’s engaged and competitive in the environment you’re in, whether that’s competing against the clock or other human beings. It’s easy when you feel good physically. It’s when that physicality leaves you.

Playing photographic director and getting my friend Rob in a unique and uncomfortable position on the Blockhouse cannon. He might hate me for posting this :)

Playing photographic director and getting my friend Rob in a unique and uncomfortable position on the Blockhouse cannon. He might hate me for posting this 🙂 Happy birthday for the upcoming weekend Mr. K

Here are some interesting reads on the mental aspect of endurance events and training for it:

You all probably know that we will be riding with Mitas tyres in the Absa Cape Epic – herewith some more info:

Mitas Silant Salesman Jan16_Page_1

Mitas Silant Salesman Jan16_Page_2

Feeling that passion again

Even the cold winter rain in Cape Town is not dampening the enthusiasm to get back into a lean mean mountain biking machine. No but seriously, after going through a bit of a slump and not enjoying my riding I’m loving it again and is super keen to be fit and in great shape again. I know it will take commitment but the balance needs to be there in enjoying life as well, yes it means enjoying a braai and a cold beer with my mates.

There are many routes along the slopes with splendous views over the Cape Town City Bowl

There are many routes along the slopes with splendous views over the Cape Town City Bowl

With the Tokai Forest on my doorstep going through rehabilitation after the devastating fires from earlier in the year, and only opening up to the public towards the end of 2016, I had to find an alternative playground. I can’t believe it took me 5 years of living in Cape Town before I discovered that riding on the slopes of Table Mountain. Mainly jeep tracks and loads of climbing this is the perfect riding area to build on strength and endurance and of course the spectacular views makes all the climbing worthwhile. I’m really enjoying it to be out there as with the lack of daylight and winter rain it is difficult to force oneself to go out and ride alone in the dark and rain, thus the Virgin Active gym visits per month is increasing and when the opportunity is there to be outdoors, it’s really appreciated and even the 1700m climbing of the 60km ride from my house is done with a smile on my face. So when you have the opportunity go out experience the splendour of riding on one of the 7 Wonders of the World. Find details of the MTB routes on Table Mountain by clicking here:

The view from the Block House up table Mountain

The view from the Block House up table Mountain

Spending more time in the gym means that one can focus on that important strength work, including the tedious core exercise that will pay benefits when the sun is shining more frequently and the challenging trails are ahead of you.

For my friends in the Northern Hemisphere, enjoy your summer and make use of all the days you have to ride whilst we will cherish every day that arise with beautiful weather that allows us to be outdoors, be it on the bike, running, walking your dogs or chasing your cats.
Riding on Monday (on the tar nogal) I also experienced the benefit of having tubeless tyres as I must have rode some or other sharp object (and no it was not the sharp mind of my cycling buddy) as the hole sealed eventually and we could continue the ride home without having to put in a tube, fantastic! Lesson learnt here is to allow enough time for the sealant to seal and dry in the hole before you continue riding. Be sure you top up the sealant in your tyre if you deem that you lost a lot of liquid in the sealing process, which is super easy to do or just take your bike to your local bike shop and you are ready for the next ride.
Here are some tips from Bike Boo Boos on tubeless tyres

Until the next time, and hopefully the break before posting on the blog won’t be that long again.

Great day out on the bike this last Monday and it was super cool to ride with my first 3 Wines2Whales partner Evert Ferreira. Good to have you back on the bike!

Great day out on the bike this last Monday and it was super cool to ride with my first 3 Wines2Whales partner Evert Ferreira. Good to have you back on the bike!

The Big Boys of Marius Hurter, myself and Rob Kucera at the recent Absa Cape Epic sponsors ride at Meerendal. Living the brands and we made full use of the 'water' points supplied on the wine farm. #Mitas #KTM

The Big Boys of Marius Hurter, myself and Rob Kucera at the recent Absa Cape Epic sponsors ride at Meerendal. Living the brands and we made full use of the ‘water’ points supplied on the wine farm. #Mitas #KTM