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.
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.
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…