Falling Apart

Life has the knack of throwing curveballs and challenges at you just as you think that things are running smoothly. I think we all know what I am talking about, that unnecessary thing that happens to put you back in your place or to irritate you senselessly and you ask but why, why Larry, WHY!?

So no sneaky creepy spider in my pants taking a bite in my scrumptious nether regions, but that dreaded back hernia is back. Taking a vow of silence to not let potential athletic scouts know about my setback in my bustling cycling career, I have to come forward in public to face the scrutiny of why it happened again. The simple answer is; I don’t know! Supposedly not allowed to carry heavy stuff and then maybe doing that exact thing (define heavy if you feel indestructible) over a few months could have played a part, or maybe it was just inevitable after the first structural damage to the spine.

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Yes that is me in the background pushing my bicycle at the 2014 Absa Cape Epic. The day when you get published in a national magazine (Ride) and the focus was not on you but the guy (Reuben Van Niekerk) riding his bicycle in front of you (He is amazing for what he has achieved)

 

And no, my Fiancé had no part to play in my back deconstruction (Oops, did I type this out loud. Sorry my love). Dom was away in Zambia and I (currently working for myself as you would call it if you looking for a fixed employment space) was ready to go on an early morning bike ride. Everything was ready, tyres inflated to the exact pressure desire, lights fitted and charged, water bottles filled, clothing and shoes ready to just crawl into to be out of bed and onto the bike in 5 minutes. It did not happen that way.

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An Epic time with Gerrie Beukes and Mitas. Did some marketing activation work for Mitas Tyres, Official Tyre Supplier of the Absa Cape Epic and realised again what a massive operation this is (One I hope not to have on my back)

My cellular device, that also doubles as an alarm clock, rudely shouted at me at 5:15 am and determined to go burn off all the beer and pizza reserves rolled over towards the edge of the empty, lonely bed to get up for a nice short 3 hour ride. Feeling not entirely mobile and in a little bit of pain I got up and headed towards the cycling clothing pile sat out in formation to crawl into. During the sloth walk I realized that cycling were not going to happen uncomfortableness in the lower back and pain messages slowly made its way to my mushy brain.

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Look I made it to TV at the Cape Epic Grand Finale (The bigger portioned person on the blue shirt on the left)

The pain in the right hamstring burned its way to me hopping back to bed as it felt like I torn every muscle in that hamstring and the pain in the back kicked in. All this suddenly felt familiar to that day in October 2017 when my back decided to do the same on the day Dominique left for Durban for a week of work. As Alanis Morissette would say in her beautiful voice: “And isn’t it ironic, don’t you think”

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So awesome to have my Fiancé at the Grand Finale with me

This Tuesday has become unforgettable in my life as I were confined to nearly no movement the whole day and using every kind of pain pill and/or anti-inflammatory available in our house. Nothing worked and don’t event bring up trying to go for a wee. Firstly it would take like felt like an hour to try and get upright from the loving couch absorbing my pain as I lay in the fetal position (or anyway that did not hurt), then having to hop and sloth slowly towards the bathroom. Reaching this short term goal, standing like a canine to do number one whilst biting down on all your resolve to try and dissipate the pain hoping that the release of build-up water in the bladder goes down and out quickly. It was not pleasant, neither was trying to stand or be upright anywhere. But enough of relaying my painful story and chasing away my potential athletic sponsors and back to reality. Life throws difficulty at us all the time and things we may not want or expect. The way we move on and handle these hazardous obstacles will be what define us and I will be back out riding as soon as I can. This Monday is D-day as the qualified doctor paid highly to use a knife for fun, I mean work, will determine my path forward post the MRI review as the machine will reveal my deepest secrets. Hopefully I am not falling apart too much.

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Legend at the Absa Cape Epic and former Springbok tighthead prop, Marius Hurter with former Protea Netball star, Adele Niemand making sure our nerves worked throughout the week as the pushed the cut-off times to the limit

Watch this space and hopefully soon we can go on a cycling journey towards fitness again with my Fiancé riding the path with me. Catch us soon.

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The start of my 2014 Absa Cape Epic. The week at this years’ Cape Epic brought back a lot of memories

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The finish of my 2nd Absa Cape Epic in 2016 with Thinus Crafford. Who knows, maybe a 3rd one is still achievable; bad back and all. Hell of a story 

We will see you at the Walkerbay Xtreme (working) and the Ride2Nowhere (hopefully riding)

Broadening the Horizon

A new year and the same challenges; get fit and stay fit whilst checking the ever expanding body weight in check. It is tough when one is still growing and require/enjoy food so much. (I will get to the broadening horizon later on.)

The holidays are over and we are all back in to reality of what the human race currently is, work, eat, sleep and work again and most of us try and break this habit through throwing in some exercise (or other recreational activities) into this mundane life schedule. We had an amazing holiday as Dom and I embarked on a road trip through South Africa (close to 5000km travelled) catching up with friends and family.

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The holiday started off with a catch up ride with Rob Kucera all the way from Turkey (Weiss Bier were consumed post ride and nice to have met Andrew McLachlan

We had some fantastic experiences from swimming and braaiing in Stillbaai with Willie and Belia to Sushi supper with Dom’s gran in PE. From PE it was into survival mode as we travelled through the old Transkei to Leisure Bay (Port Edward) to spend a few days with Jaco and Elmarie Maritz with the bonus of catching up with Elton Murison, great times with great friends in reliving old times and creating new memories. (We did do a cycle here at Clearwater MTB Trails through the banana and coffee plantations)

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Enjoying the sun and warm(er) water at Leisure Bay (Port Edward) with Jaco and Elmarie

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Riding at Clearwater Trails with Jaco (Pictured) and Elton (Too fast for the photo)

Next stop Pretoria with the sister, brother in-law and kids (Magriet, Dirk, Dian and Marzanne) as the next survival exercise took place in going Christmas shopping in the malls… Also managed to get a ride and a visit in with Andrew and Angela Rogers whom I haven’t seen in ages and had a braai and quick catch up with legend Hugo Kemp and family (Michelle, Muller die Riller and Mila)

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Having MTB Fun at the Red Barn Trails in Irene (Andrew, Dom and Magriet)

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Time for a brandy and coke in Pretoria with Hugo and Dirk

Off to the mother (Marie) in Brits for Christmas/Birthday celebrations and experiencing the fumes out of Satan’s but c…. Yes, it was during the heat wave and Brits was a cool 40 degrees Celsius. Off to Dube Private Game Reserve and riding with animals and spending time in the pools and water slides (these are dangerous if you weigh 116kg and pick up speed that may or may not result in taking you over the edge of the slide)

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Driving over 2500km to taste that Van Gaalen Cheese Farm Schnitzel again. Treating the mother for a day out

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Game Riding at Dube Private Game Reserve – what heat wave?

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Giraffe spotting. “Don’t look now, but there is something behind you Silly”

Next stop Johannesburg to catch up with Dom’s mom (Marianne), sister (Danielle aka Noodle) and Matt, introducing them all to Yahtzee. We had loads of fun and Marianne kicked our butts in Rummikub and dominoes. We did not cycle here.

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We discovered a new love for games. Marianne kicked out butts though

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Is that Humansdorp I see? Chasing dad Chris into the Northwester 

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Something special about a braai on the Kromme River

Next stop Kromme River (St Francis Bay) via PE for New Year’s Eve with Dom’s dad and Sanette. The surprise is that Noodle and Matt joined us for the few days we spent there on the river, fishing, swimming, vacationing and one windy cycle. From here we road tripped further for a one night stay with my sister, Dirkie and Johan (Labuschagne) who owns Paradise Found Guest House. Here we did cycle and ‘assisted’ with assessing the best wine to stock. And that was that, we headed home for clothes washing, cleaning and resting after an amazing road trip with too many great memories made to list in this blog.

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‘Sampling” to find the best wine to stock at the guest house #view

 

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Riding in Knysna showing Swiss tourist around and practicing my on bike photo skills

This is where the new horizons start: Having to work off the holiday food stock built up and refreshment liquids retained, training is high on the agenda. Now besides the normal cycling routine our aim is to mix it up and do different training stuff. Dom having done kick(ass) boxing and loving it we decided to partake at the rumble class at Virgin Active. I think we are both still stiff and it is nearly a week later. Dom loved it and that makes me happy that she is able to enjoy this type of exercise again after having to give it up after our move from Stellenbosch to Cape Town and any exercise is good for me even if I do it in a manky way. And tonight we off to Aqua Splash at Virgin Active, also known as water aerobics or something and I have a suspicion we will bring down the average age at the class. But it might just be what we need to tone our bodies and build up strength in our muscles to compliment the cycling and training for the Cape Town Cycle Tour.

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Wishing everyone a fantastic successful 2019

So here is to broadening horizons and trying out new things in 2019!

(Looking to move your bike or any other event solutions, visit my website for more details www.adventurewhaleeventsolutions.wordpress.com)

Freewheeling Uphill

Getting back into cycling, or for the matter any form of exercise is not easy as my girlfriend/partner/__?__  Dominique (Dom) has recently discovered (The WHAT now!?). Andrew Norman and I are currently in training for the Race2Nowhere taking place on the 8th of December in McGregor and as we are of the bigger built human variety, we do need all the training we can get. Needless to say we planned a ride last Saturday and Dom willingly joined us for the ride. Now information on the ride may have been relayed to her slightly incorrectly. I love with her and enjoy every moment we are together, on and off the bicycle, and spending time riding is something I look forward to.

As the Cape Town Cycle Tour team reunited and we encompassed on our ride the realisation soon set in for her that this won’t be an easy ride for the first time back on the bicycle on quite a (long) while. We rode from Sea Point in Cape Town to the top of Chapman’s Peak and back (Only 54km with 723m of climbing where the ride was sold to her (I won’t name names) as an easy 40km ride).

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The Three Must Have Beers at Chapman’s Peak summit. Some were smiling and some were smiling a little less (It was windy)

Needless to say we weren’t very popular as the tiredness set in and especially on the return having to conquer the infamous Suikerbossie climb. Let’s just say freewheeling uphill were on the cards whilst others might had to peddle harder and working on their bike skills steering one handed uphill. And this after the wind towards the top of Chappies forced a certain member of our group to a stand still having to walk through the hurricane strength wind to the top resulting on no sort of freewheeling uphill and full on peddling downhill. But Kudos to my love as she persevered to the event even through experiencing Whale spotted hallucinations in the ocean, road curb brushing/bashing and non-church going language to complete the ride in one piece, but with a smile on her face. The rest of the day was subsequently taken as a rest day. Some might say I planned the ride in this manner to pacify any planned activities in order to be able to watch all the international rugby on TV that afternoon. I vehemently deny that! (Watching all that rugby was awesome:) ) Andrew and myself did do another ride on the Sunday to keep the legs going before doing the manly thing and attending a Christmas Craft Gift Market with the female of the species.

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We had a post work ride this week which was great and now just to continue with the trend. Apparently we are riding the Cycle Tour again in 2019.

I jest, but when getting back into training the only thing is to keep on doing it as it will become easier the more one does the specific activity and the recovery of the body also becomes quicker and in my case it means I might have someone being able to watch the rugby with me. There is no such thing as freewheeling uphill, unfortunately one has to put in the effort and train for those uphill obstacles on and off the bike. It’s great to have Dom back on the bicycle and enjoying being out there riding. I just love it and it makes me happy.

 

I had an unforeseen challenge with my mountain bike as my remote shock connector on the shock broke and as a result had to get it fixed. In doing so the mechanics were unable to remove my shock as the bolts seems to have bent. (Don’t call me fat). Long story short (to quote a friend) the threat was there that my frame could break as the last resort was to hammer out the bolts. It was quite a stressful time as I waited in anticipation for the guys to attempt this delicate thunderous process. Should the frame break my only recourse would to go back to running, which was so 1980’s for me.

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Happy to be back on the mountain bike and be able to enjoy the Constantia Green Belt Trails after work. Thank you for all sorting out my shock.

Fortunately the bicycle shop got it out, the shock got serviced and I am back on the bicycle to create the next challenge for the bike shop as my bigger built physique adds more strain on all the pivot points of the bicycle. A big thank you to team at (Richard, Sean and the boys) Freewheel Cycology and Steve at Omnico (Fox) for making sure I can go riding again and keep myself and Dom on the bicycle and out in nature.

See you all at the Race2Nowhere (only doing the 68km) in December.

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The ride that bought me rugby watching time

IMG-2897PS: In the market for moving your bicycle anywhere or to an event, check out my new service offering here: www.adventurewhaleeventsolutions.wordpress.com

It’s Like Swimming

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When you take that initial plunge…

Yes, I am guilty as charged. I have been neglecting this blog and updating the happenings in my ordinary life and the challenges of getting myself (and Dominique de Lauwere) to spend time in the saddle again. No going back to the sore back analogy and excuses as I have accepted that the lower back pain will be there forever and just need to keep on moving and as some have suggested and instructed – stretch and core strengthening.

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Top of Chapman’s Peak in 38 Degrees Celsius Heat. On the way up someone stole my legs as there was nothing to power me up to the top. 

Those that know me know that I am not the keenest person on swimming and always state that I will swim and get into the water if the temperature is 28 degrees Celsius. So I have been recently coerced to taking the first ever swim in our pool at home during the recent heatwave that is blazing down on Cape Town. Now if it is close to 40 degrees outside it does not necessarily mean the water temperature post the winter has risen to acceptable temperatures to bath the body in at all. Now my love swam the day before and the second day of the heatwave the expectation was there for me to take the plunge and apparently swimming is good for recovery post exercise. This does not take away from the anticipation of diving in and the unknown temperature of the water caressing all the tender bodily parts inclusive of the heart and lungs. That ‘chill’ on the body that makes one gasp for air and shiver away into the depths. Well I approach it differently in trying to move in slowly into the pool, step by step which did not do much for acclimatising to the temperature (not 28). Eventually after probably acting like a little baby in my reluctance to get into the pool and being convinced by Dom that the water is beautiful I finally decided on the best way to get in.

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Spring is probably the most beautiful time to be riding around the Western Cape. Yes I have been able to go riding a little.

Stop mucking around and just take the plunge. Yes it is a shock to the sensitive bodily system, but is the only way to get into the water without hanging around in the swallow side should I or should I not get in and delaying getting in for that refreshing swim. (Yes, the water was still wet). I have now taken the same philosophy in getting myself back to training – just take the plunge. The only way to get back into it is to just take the plunge and do it. Yes there will be a shock to the system as per the cooler water on the body as one dives in, but the more you out there riding your bike or training, the easier it will get and the shocked system will adapt to know what the norm is again. So if anything is holding you back, just take the plunge and do it, even if the water is wet and not at 28 degrees. Nothing comes easy and it won’t become easier and more enjoyable (aka fitness) if you don’t put yourself out there and do it.

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Just outside my front door – #fortunate

I recently had an amazing ride with Andrew Norman (Triptych Resources) as we rode last Sunday and ended of the day with the better halves (Dom and Dianne) at Signal Gun Wine Farm. This ride really inspired me to get out again and enjoy every moment I am on the bicycle, whilst also reducing my presence to be much less than the current 120kg’s. I know it will be tough as we battle the post back hernia issues, but I’d rather be doing something than doing nothing and just complaining that the water is not 28 degrees (you all know what I mean).

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I sometimes go soft and take the road bike out as well. Love this bike and love the Peninsula route around the Cape.

Now to get my Silly into that “cycling/training” pool and to rediscover the love of the ride and hopefully I can more frequently update all on this new journey. See you all on the trails and at the Race2Nowhere in McGregor on the 8th of December.

PS: Need your bicycle or bicycles for a group transported anywhere in South Africa, contact myself or Triptych Resources and we will facilitate. From point A to point B or to selected events across the country.

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We were lucky enough to have tickets to the Springboks v All Blacks at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. And amazing day with my Silly. Just a pity about the end result for South Africa.

Now what!?

It has been 5 tough weeks of getting up very early to get in a cycle and stay up to speed with the Virgin Active Epic Battle challenges. Seeing that I am not really partaking in any significant event other than the 109km Cape Town

This initiative by Virgin Active has been brilliant. When is the next one?

This initiative by Virgin Active has been brilliant. When is the next one?

Cycle Tour and 55km Cape Town Cycle Tour MTB, I grabbed the opportunity to follow some specific riding goals when Virgin Active announced their Cape Epic Strava / API based challenges and to stand a chance to win a 2018 Absa Cape Epic entry.

Or maybe I just missed coach Alasdair Garnett from The Practice telling me what to do each day in the lead up to the 2016 Absa Cape Epic. Perhaps I missed the suffering or got tired of aimlessly wondering / riding through the streets and trails of the Western Cape. Anyway, I think the concept is brilliant and it certainly helped me to get focused and sort of fitting into my clothes again. (PS: some feedback of the ‘fight’ with the Fashion Police at work – they are apparently slowly but surely getting my dress code

Fortunate to have the Table Mountain Trails & Greenbelt open for us for riding in Cape Town and played a part in getting that altitude required in the challenge

Fortunate to have the Table Mountain Trails & Greenbelt open for us for riding in Cape Town and played a part in getting that altitude required in the challenge

up to their standards).

 

Over the 5-week period there was a speed, 100km minimum, once off elevation, total distance and total altitude ride with different criteria in each to achieve to qualify for the draw of the 2018 Absa Cape Epic

Well done Dom. Conquering Chappies from Noordhoek side. Ready for the Cape Town Cycle Tour!

Well done Dom. Conquering Chappies from Noordhoek side. Ready for the Cape Town Cycle Tour!

entry. After 48.7 hours and 919km all these goals were achieved. Now we wait and see.

 

As a general aimless wanderer with most things in my life it great to have ‘someone’ tell me I need to achieve this and that and it just shows that when training it helps to have goals and plans. One is more focused to achieve something, well I am. Tell me what to do and I will go out and do it! (Probably in my own way)

Early morning in Camps Bay meeting Mr. Andrew Norman for what turned out to be an awesome ride in the rain.

Early morning in Camps Bay meeting Mr. Andrew Norman for what turned out to be an awesome ride in the rain.

 

What challenge is next, I’m not sure. This weekend I am doing the mountain bike leg of the Fedhealth XTERRA Grabouw Lite as part of the Drug Free Sport / I Play Fair team of South African Institute of Drug Free Sport CEO, Khalid Galant and prominent Drive Time KFM Radio Presenter Rob Vember. So, no pressure in me performing. Just kidding, we are out and out going to have some fun and create awareness for Drug Free Sport. Let see how my 14km MTB Sprint goes. Good luck Khalid with the swim and Rob with the run (hopefully you don’t wait too long for me). Thanks Nikki Ferreira for putting this all-in place, as they say: Just Add Milk (Let’s see that Social Media happening)

 

The Trainee - There will be no wind on the 12th of March and you will complete the Cape Town Cycle Tour Dominique

The Trainee – There will be no wind on the 12th of March and you will complete the Cape Town Cycle Tour Dominique

Now back to ‘student’ Dominique de Lauwere and her journey to her 1st Cape Town Cycle Tour. Over the last few weeks I took Dom on parts of the route for her to experience the different climbs and descents to realise that she can ride it. Riding the Cycle Tour does not have to be a sprint and one should manage your expectations and the goal of the 1st one is to finish and not worry about time, especially if training time has been limited and work interfered with the training program.

I’m sure Dom will be fine a she has shown the determination and will

The Riding Group, coach, trainee and Nairo Quintana (what are hills Jacky McClean?)

The Riding Group, coach, trainee and Nairo Quintana (what are hills Jacky McClean?)

to do it, whilst also enjoying the cycling (And we miss our other riding partner – you know who you are Jacky M). One day of grit for 109km and getting as much time as possible on the bike in the next two weeks before the ride on the 12th, whilst also not overdoing it with too much exertion of too long and tough rides. Now Dom has been keen for training rides no matter how hard the wind is blowing and or the daunting tasks of going up Chappies and Suikerbossie climbs for the first time. I believe this will and determination to do it will stand you in good stead Dom and get you to the finish line. (If not I will retire as a cycling adviser and go back to talking about front row play in rugby)

 

In a previous life at work we discussed targets and goals and Mr. Shane Colloty was always adamant that a target is something one hits and a goal is something you want to achieve.

The Virgin Active Challenge is finished, so now what!? What is next? (No Thinus! I am not doing a triathlon). The search is on for the next set of goals….

I rode the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour MTB stage race recently and realised that every extra kg on the bike makes a difference - no more Pistachio ice cream

I rode the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour MTB stage race recently and realised that every extra kg on the bike makes a difference – no more Pistachio ice cream

Just thought I'd share and early morning sunrise on my way to work

View 1: Just thought I’d share and early morning sunrise on my way to work

View 2: Always great scenery riding over Chapmans Peak, especially on a beautiful that like this one was

View 2: Always great scenery riding over Chapmans Peak, especially on a beautiful that like this one was

View 3: The view from behind of the R304 outside Stellenbosch

View 3: The view from behind of the R304 outside Stellenbosch

The facial expression says it all with nearly 1600m of climbing on the 55km route of which most was single track at the Simonsberg Contour Ride - eina!

The facial expression says it all with nearly 1600m of climbing on the 55km route of which most was single track at the Simonsberg Contour Ride – eina!

Sexy legs. Especially the one with...with the Wines2Whales socks on

Sexy legs. Especially the one with…with the Wines2Whales socks on

Blown Away

Apologies for not having posted something more regularly but it has been holidays and we tried to stay away from the computer as much as possible, but not from training and working on that weight loss goal, and oh yes not quite away from the ice cold beer in the holidays as well.

 

Training is going well and everyone asks me if I am ready for the Absa Cape Epic, I don’t think one will ever be ready. You can only train as much as you can and cleverly (thanks to coach Alasdair Garnett from The Practice) to ensure you are as best prepared as possible covering all the bases from Endurance to strength and hopefully by sticking to the training regimen the mental strength to keep on going gets tough.

Top of Dorstberg with my Han(S)olo ride over the weekend in 38 degrees heat. Tough out there

Top of Dorstberg with my Han(S)olo ride over the weekend in 38 degrees heat. Tough out there

With less than two months to go I must admit that I am getting slightly nervous. But enough of that, the last two weeks were quite intense and hard training and living in Cape Town the non-stop 40km plus South Easter wind that blew did not make going out early mornings for training any easier. But as the saying goes you can’t choose the weather at the Absa Cape Epic so it makes sense to go out and ride in whatever the weather throws at you and do the training required on the specific day. I must confess the 1st two days of being blown away I chose the “easier” option and forced myself indoors to Virgin Active and time on the WattBikes, since then I made myself an attitude adjustment and decided the wind won’t stop me from getting out there and doing the training that’s required. Can’t disappoint Training Peaks and have a red block popping up.

 

The base 2 & 3 training, strength with endurance has been tough and the hill repeats I had to do painful as I sadistically chose Price Drive In Constantia (one of the steepest roads in Cape Town) to do my repeats on. I did come close to losing the breakfast I did not have before the ride. It was painful. Enough of that, too many things happened in training since I last Blogged so I won’t bore you too much but choose the easy way out with posting photos.

 

The legs are hurting and tired, today is an off day and I am really appreciating that and ironically with stunning weather predicted for Cape Town this week I am scheduled to find myself in the gym for a few sessions this week indoors. On the 30th I will be doing the Ashburton Marathon at Meerendal Wine Estate on the 30th, just 107km’s to go with a bit of climbing. Let’s see what happens! Glad to report that it seems that my riding partner and other PhatBoy is on track with his training and ready to put me in the hurt locker on the bike…can’t wait! Remember to follow us once the event kicks off, Team Mitas KTM PhatBoys for 8 days of survival.

Top of Chapman's Peak saw me a couple of times over the holidays. Thanks for a great ride yesterday Wikkelspies!

Top of Chapman’s Peak saw me a couple of times over the holidays. Thanks for a great ride yesterday Wikkelspies!

 

Riding with the family up in Pretoria over Christmas

Riding with the family up in Pretoria over Christmas

Enjoy the photos and wishing everyone all the best for 2016. Live each day as your last.

My thoughts are with my friend Chantel Rall and her battle with Cancer, thinking a lot about you Chantz, be strong and keep on fighting. You know your # – F. .k

Always great riding round Cape Point

Always great riding round Cape Point

A quick stopover at our Creative Agency and friends

A quick stopover at our Creative Agency and friends

Caught up with Absa Cape Epic partner Thinus Crafford as we tackled Hoogekraal with maxed out temperature of 47 degrees

Caught up with Absa Cape Epic partner Thinus Crafford as we tackled Hoogekraal with maxed out temperature of 47 degrees

Showed the Joburger what the top of Chapman's Peak look like ;)

Showed the Joburger what the top of Chapman’s Peak look like 😉

Seen many of these - sunrises that is

Seen many of these – sunrises that is

Did numerous rides with these buggers. Thanks gents for spending time out on the trails. The compulsory selfie on top of Dorstberg with Willie and Rob

Did numerous rides with these buggers. Thanks gents for spending time out on the trails. The compulsory selfie on top of Dorstberg with Willie and Rob

View over Simon's Town from the top of Red Hill

View over Simon’s Town from the top of Red Hill

First time up Signal Hill with the bike and what a view

First time up Signal Hill with the bike and what a view

Always a great pic from the Blockhouse on Table Mountain

Always a great pic from the Blockhouse on Table Mountain

There was some time to socialise as well with actually 'watching' a Football match at The Toad

There was some time to socialise as well with actually ‘watching’ a Football match at The Toad

Enjoying that last holiday beer

Enjoying that last holiday beer

Cancer

Stopped over in Kalk bay to say howzit to my friend Hanli and have a look at the Ocean Deck Shop, home base of the I am Water Foundation

Stopped over in Kalk bay to say howzit to my friend Hanli and have a look at the Ocean Deck & Shop, home base of the I am Water Foundation

All About Endurance

Last week I was privileged enough to ride the Fedgroup Berg & Bush Great Trek and what amazing single track riding it was. This was really a super fun event where one starts off on top of the escarpment in the Drankensberg and just drop down (well mostly) onto the plain through a network of manicured and super exciting trails.

 

Day 1 of the Great Trek with super descending and a fit partner Thinus

Day 1 of the Great Trek with super descending and a fit partner Thinus

The Great Trek really offers super exciting trails

The Great Trek really offers super exciting trails

Having change my preparation slightly for riding these events with consuming some Pepto Sport in the lead up hour or so before the start, but most importantly gave my body sufficient rest and recovery before the race, the result a super 1st day on the bike with 94km completed with an average speed of 17.8km with 1225m of climbing. Being prepared for an event makes so much difference and ensuring that your body tapered and rested I have learned is essential, especially for endurance event like a mountain bike stage race. (I attended a recovery talk at SSISA which was really informative, thanks for the invite Nikki Ferreira). I really felt strong and fit on the bike as Thinus and I raced to the finish on day 1. Sadly this is where it all went pear shaped as Thinus somehow picked up an unnecessary bug that had as all really worried as he got very sick and thus did not participate in day 2 & 3. Next year buddy, we will be back and I will be in better shape and hopefully have broken the 100kg barrier. I know you looked forward to it but we will make up for it at FNB Wines2Whales Adventure next weekend.

 

The boys suffering on day 2 in the howling wind (and a fair bit of climbing)

The boys suffering on day 2 in the howling wind (and a fair bit of climbing)

Just love this KTM kit!

Just love this KTM kit!

The following two days (60 & 65km) I rode with Rob and Andrew as we enjoyed the picturesque trails and landscape. These two are training for the 2015 Absa Cape Epic and are really cool guys and it was, as always, great to be riding with them and sharing some of my MTB experience with them as they prepare for the ultimate mountain biking endurance race. The boys are looking good and on track and I really had to dig deep on the last day to stay with them as Rob was in Olympic form and racing up the hills a-la my partner Thinus – no mercy. Day 2 was tough and special as we rode up to the top of Spionkop (Where the famous Battle of Spionkop between the Boers and the British took place during the 2nd Boer War). Rode is such an open word, well walked up Spionkop as we were also hammered by wind in the day giving the South Easter from the Cape more than a run for its money as the wind was howling and made the last 20km on the day pretty tough. All and all this will be an event added to my riding schedule for 2015.

 

Ending of the week with 163km PPA One Tonner with Sean Fea-tonby and Chantel Rall

Ending of the week with 163km PPA One Tonner with Sean Fea-tonby and Chantel Rall

To finish off the week after I returned to Cape Town, eventually after 3h30 delay at Durban Airport to get home at 00:30 in the morning (taxi ride and all) I was entered to ride the PPA One Tonner. Only 163km on the road bike with my friend Chantel Rall to keep her company on the long ride as she trains towards Ironman with Sean Fea-tonby also joining in. You did well Chantel and the 163km’s is in the bank. Good luck for the Slanghoek Triathlon this weekend and you can follow Chantel’s remarkable story and blog updates here. Needless to say the massage I got on Monday after the slightly active week was heavenly and much needed for the recovery process as I prepare for FNB Wines2Whales Adventure with also doing the MTB leg in a team at the Slanghoek Triathlon this weekend before heading back to Cape Town to attend the Ryan Sandes – Vanessa Haywood wedding. Congratulations guys and looking forward to the big day on Saturday. It is all about ‘vasbyt’ (hanging in there) when one is attempting these endurance type events, and just keep on going to the end, a simple principle.

 

Now this last week was a true adventure with all involved as I was fortunate to fly business class to Durban and back which makes a huge difference if you actually have leg room. Thanks Thinus and your BA points. Then we were also fortunate enough to spend a night at the Fairmont Zimbali Resort/Lodge, what a spectacular place. I’m sure I will be heading back there as well. During the Berg and Bush we stayed at Champagne Sports Resort at one of the houses on the estate which was amazing. Thanks Andrew and Angela. And to end off the trip I got the catch up with an old varsity mate in the BA lounge as our plane was indefinitely delayed at some stage, but eventually got changed and made it home.

 

Having to read all the above mentioned must have been a true test of endurance, but through all that happened last week one appreciates the special things and people in your live again and realised that one must seize opportunities and live life full out every day and train hard and clever for those endurance events.

 

When nature calls and it is really dry in the Bush Veld

When nature calls and it is really dry in the Bush Veld

 

 

The boys at the finish, myself Rob Kucera and Andrew Rogers. We missed you Thinus

The boys at the finish, myself Rob Kucera and Andrew Rogers. We missed you Thinus

View from Fairmont Zimbali Resort / Lodge

View from Fairmont Zimbali Resort / Lodge

Hail devastation in Winterton and the race registration

Hail devastation in Winterton and the race registration

View from our accommodation at Champagne Sports Resort

View from our accommodation at Champagne Sports Resort

Heavt hail storm that hit Howick on our way back to Durban

Heavt hail storm that hit Howick on our way back to Durban

The plane that arrived late and that we eventually never flew in

The plane that arrived late and that we eventually never flew in

Feet up everyday to recover with my Skins socks

Feet up everyday to recover with my Skins socks

 

 

Snap, Crackle, Pop!

Having always been slightly bigger build than the average human being I used to find myself playing in the middle of the front row of rugby teams since high school days and way too long during varsity (for the current Varsity Cup Champions, just saying) with the odd occasion, well more than I would have liked to, also to the left of the guy in the middle of the scrum. Anyway so like most of us getting older that participated in this physical sport, it catches up to you. And then for some unbeknown reason you decide to take on one of the toughest mountain bike races which requires a sh!tload of riding. Needless to say your back is quite involved in this training and former sport participation, so the odd lower back pain will set in.

Now in beginning December I was getting a much needed massage (as our athletes in training do) when Nicole Walder mentioned that my spine is a bit out of line towards the left. My answer: “It should be, from lying on the couch during winter hibernation, for years some might say.” But after indulging the painful merciful muscle release torture she mentioned I should perhaps go to a chiropractor to sort me out, get me straight one would say. Now that has been playing on my mind since the beginning of December. I have never been to a chiropractor, does it actually work and being a bit stingy, what would it cost. So I just delayed and delayed and being from the tough parts of the North West province, toughed it out – until now.

The needles are quite an experience, especially if you see what it looks like afterwards

The needles are quite an experience, especially if you see what it looks like afterwards

So I finally got the courage together to book a chiropractor visit for yesterday. Having the image of Alan Harper from 3 & ½ men as chiropractor in my head, I was not convinced that it would work. But training for the Absa Cape Epic one will try anything. So onto the table I went.  Going through my history with chiro Carl de Coning he made me feel at ease (even if he is a Sharks supporter) and explained exactly what he was going to do, first the needles – and OMG, do you know how deep those things penetrate and bend (should have taken a photo). The needless was not as bad as I expected and then the manipulation started. Snap, Crackle, Pop.!

“You and I am going to scrum now, and I will help you to get in all the position you need to be in” Eish, I thought. What am I doing to myself, Snap Crackle, Pop. I did not know there are so many things that needed to be popped back in line. Carl was great and personally it was quite a weird experience to feel all these thin (lol) skeleton bones be manipulated back in place. The popping creaking in the neck was the worst…

Talking about popping creaking sounds, another snap, pop, crackle sound I experienced during the week was me destroying a Fynbos plant on my technical skills ride on single track through Tokai. Shhhh, don’t tell Sanparks, Fynbos are protected; I’ll be in trouble for destroying it. In my defence, the Fynbos should never have grabbed me by my handle bars as I rode past it, what did it think…I wouldn’t defend myself? Of course I would as a gently flopped my body onto the plant, snap, crackle, pop – and there you have it a wider single track going up Tokai. Mountain bikers can thank me later (I really should apologise to the Fynbos, I think – I am slightly bigger than it).

 

Had a great ride last Sunday up Red Hill. Stunning view over Simon's Town

Had a great ride last Sunday up Red Hill. Stunning view over Simon’s Town

Well this week riding has been interesting as coach Swen Lauer gave me some specific training rides to work on my cardio recovery including a pyramid ride. I won’t swear about this one, plus some hill repeats, lovely. But overall it was a good week as during my technical skills rode I conquered and rode all obstacles but one that I have been able to clear in the past. And yes Thinus, I managed that top single track rooted corner down (not up yet) without getting off or falling.

With 50 days left the nerves are slowly setting in as the prologue is getting closer every day. Next week I will be off to Isuzu Ride The Rock in the Cederberg (www.cederbergevents.co.za) for a 3 day stay race. This is truly a great event, so relaxing and in a surreal setting with no cell phone reception and fantastic red wine.

 

Back to the chiro, I feel fantastic today and can actually look far left and far right again as I can freely rotate my neck. Back feels great and on my ride in Stellenbosch tomorrow we will see how it holds up.

 

One last thing, congratulations to everyone that completed the Ironman 70.3 in East London last week, it’s a great achievement and special mention to my friend Chantel Rall who overcame cancer and was determined to walk the red carpet at the event – inspirational. You make me believe that this Absa Cape Epic 800km 15,000m of climbing 8 day mountain bike stage race can be conquered, creaking back and all.

Read her race report and journey here: http://www.theworldaccordingtoaprincess.co.za/2014/01/my-ironman-703-journey-after-it-all.html

 

Next week will be feedback on why I shave my legs, and/or should I wax….eish

My healthy lunch caused quite a stir on Facebook. Maybe I should weigh myself again and give an update

My healthy lunch caused quite a stir on Facebook. Maybe I should weigh myself again and give an update

Had some time to watch the cricket at Newlands last week - a welcome break from cycling

Had some time to watch the cricket at Newlands last week – a welcome break from cycling

Naked exclusive, see me just in my Skin…

…s, sorry I carried the s across by mistake, should have been Skins. Anyway my good mate Evert Ferreira sorted me out with some Skins apparel. Really dig the stuff and tried out the recovery, what would one call it, pants? I presume they call it skins because you might as well be naked if you walk around just wearing the tight fitting apparel.

Don't have the physique of a cyclist yet and hopefully will never be THAT skinny, but love my new Skins!

Don’t have the physique of a cyclist yet and hopefully will never be THAT skinny, but love my new Skins!

But hey they say it helps with recovery so I am in, especially after this weekends’ riding, or was that mountain climbing as Thinus Crafford pushed me to my limits again climbing up Noordhoek Peaks the ‘wrong’ way. That was quite a workout, but good fun to ride with Thinus again. No photographers around so we managed to stay on our bikes and not on the ground like at the Ride2Nowhere. Back to the Skins, it is quite a process to squeeze my slender body into tight fitting material. I am still getting used to wearing Lycra in public and now this as well (No I was not black mailed to publish the Skins pics of myself, I think).

My mate Thinus Crafford on top of the world after we finally conquered Noordhoek Peaks

My mate Thinus Crafford on top of the world after we finally conquered Noordhoek Peaks

Finally someone that rode with me to take a photo of me to proof that I am riding and not just Photoshopping my bike into images

Finally someone that rode with me to take a photo of me to proof that I am riding and not just Photoshopping my bike into images

Leading up to Attakwas this weekend I am slightly nervous to go out there and test the results of all the training. I have also realised the importance of a proper diet, ensuring one eats right to train and compete. What makes it more difficult is that I am also trying to lose weight. Look at my skins pics, am I skinny yet?

Anyway, blender bought for smoothies, watching those carbs and trying not to snack on wrong stuff, living the healthy life. Trying to blend in a smoothie after each ride as they say that apparently a high protein smoothie assists with muscle recovery, I can only imagine how sore my muscles would have been was it not for high protein smoothies and Skins recovery apparel…

2014 being a new year I ventured out to Jonkershoek to go do my LSD (Long Steady Distance) ride. What awesome riding, I really enjoyed it and the single track is fantastic. I will definitely drive there again to go ride. Riding up and up just to come down with endless single track – thoroughly enjoyed it. Next time Craig Kolesky, and Thinus you must join us.

Back to my bike pics. Riding in Jonkershoek for the first time - was great fun

Back to my bike pics. Riding in Jonkershoek for the first time – was great fun

Now Attakwas this weekend looms. In 2013 I attempted to ride this brutal race only to pull out after 47km with severe back pain as my setup wasn’t quite right. This year I have no excused as I will attempt the longest mountain bike ride of my biking career. Watch this space as I will update after the event.

It will be tough!

And tonight will be tough as well as I head off to a braai and will have to say no to beer and no to carbs – what a life 🙂

Out and about. Went to watch Bastille at Kirstenbos Gardens - awesome show and performance

Out and about. Went to watch Bastille at Kirstenbos Gardens – awesome show and performance

The crew at Bastille with me, Evert, Elana, Nikki and Rob

The crew at Bastille with me, Evert, Elana, Nikki and Rob

Near death experience in Tokai forest on Friday. Earlier that tree was not lying in the road

Near death experience in Tokai forest on Friday. Earlier that tree was not lying in the road

Post-Holiday Blues

photo4

It was like Groundhog Day – I am at the Tokai Mast, I am again at the Tokai Mast, and again, and again, and again…

So back to the grindstone we go as work started for me today. After a relaxing holiday, sweating and grinding the gears on the bike, trying to stick to the professional training plan from coach Swen Lauer as far as possible, it’s now back to reality of working and training. It was fantastic to not be woken by an alarm everyday (not to say that it wasn’t freaking 5am everyday anyway) to be up in time to train before work, it was fantastic. I suppose all good things must come to an end and I haven’t won the lottery so back to the office and the everyday routine.

December is a crucial month in Absa Cape Epic preparation and I’m proud to say that I stuck it out, no matter how painful and long it got. Even during the Groundhog Day phase as the Tokai Mast was visited on numerous occasions (9 times in 8 days (5 rides)) I kept myself positive and focussed on reaching the top. At least some game watching was involved during the mast rides, saw a snake, dassie (did you know it is called a Hyrax in English – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyrax), baboons, Verreaux’s Eagle (Witkruis Arend), snails, ants, squirrels and homo sapiens all while carrying my light body up the hill in mostly granny gear. Forgot my helmet on the day I had to do it thrice and sported a nice head band tan for my efforts.

Now take 5 hours in the sun and then remove the sweat band...

Now take 5 hours in the sun and then remove the sweat band…

The words of Karl Platt; “eat less, train more” as advice to riders at the 2014 Absa Cape Epic Route launch still rings in my head as I somehow trained more and ate more to still be above the 110kg mark. It’s like my body just don’t want to make me less of a man. Stubborn fat, get off me now! Or was that traditional food over Christmas at home, or quality the lamb I bought from TheFarmersDaughter (https://www.facebook.com/TheFarmersDaughterSA) or the only 2 beers I had during the break at the Ferreira’s, not sure but a fat war has been declared!

But seriously it is crunch time now and next week I take on the Attakwas (http://www.atta.co.za/), 121km of gruelling mountain biking. I sit here in fear not knowing what to expect at Atta, and this week in Cape Town weather wise, it looks like training will slightly hampered with miserable weather, just like the Monday Blues of being back at work.  Now this past Sunday I did 126km on my Mountain Bike on the road, but from incompletion of Atta in 2013, I know it will be ten times tougher – Judgement Day is around the corner.

I think the toughest part of all this training has been the reluctance to make social appearances. The problem being that I have two rubber arms and normally when there is a social occasion there is beer, and ice cold beer is good. So, be safe and stay away which is not good towards your friends and family. It does take a lot of sacrifice and discipline to train for the Absa Cape Epic and to my friends and family, please understand this commitment and my social reluctance from time to time. I need my beauty sleep and alcohol and fatty food free lifestyle for now. But on a positive note, my couch has given me permission to be out and about, other than on the bike. See you soon.

Wishing everyone a fantastic and healthy 2014, to everyone doing events they have been training for (Chantel) all the best, I know you will do well!

Here is to an adventures (with one ‘s’ as an adventuress is: A woman who seeks social and financial advancement by unscrupulous means – and that’s not me) 2014

View from the Tokai Mast on a clear day - no helmet required

View from the Tokai Mast on a clear day – no helmet required

Top of Chapman's Peak, nearly halfway through my 126km ride this Sunday

Top of Chapman’s Peak, nearly halfway through my 126km ride this Sunday