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)

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

Barrowing through the comfort zone (s)

It’s been quite a journey from July 2012 where I weighed in at a colossal 135kg to where I am today at 108kg of nearly pure muscle  (lol) and all the different adventures I ventured on in the process and none so than this week to properly shove me out of my comfort zone.

Now those that no me closely no that I am a quiet reserved guy that does not quite like to have too much attention and is a firmly set creature of habit, I know what works for me and that is that. Creature of habit does not function well without their habits – fact!

The weekend stared off with a social mountain bike ride on the Xterra Grabouw route, where for a change I had to wait for Shané riding with myself and Willie du Plooy. I should have known then that the week coming would be a weird one where the universe would be turned upside down and kick me out of my comfort zone. Me waiting for someone riding with me, not something that I know, normally it is the other way round.

Me waiting for riders to catch up, should have known a weird week would lie ahead (Photo Credit: Willie du Plooy) Sneaky Sneaky

Me waiting for riders to catch up, should have known a weird week would lie ahead (Photo Credit: Willie du Plooy) Sneaky Sneaky

Anyway Sunday I did the Medallion Tour de Stellenbosch (shucks, must still add this to my adventure list) on the road bike and lets not say too much about that. It was freaking hot, they ran out of water on the route and I had to dig deep to hang on to get my oddly shaped body on a carbon road bike (KTM Strada 4000) to the finish line. All I can say it that is was supposedly good Absa Cape Epic training. Once again, I don’t like road races and having to drive that far to race – not something I normally would do.

Now it gets interesting, Tuesday had a 45min scheduled swim. Those that still have their brain cells functioning to remember my swimming escapades at Virgin Active last year will know that this is not my forte. Don’t get me wrong, I like splashing in a pool with a cold beverage in my hand, but swimming. I think the last time I had to properly swim (besides the Virgin Active attempt with floating aids (No Nikki not with Mili’s inflatable kid arm-bands)) was in the Crocodile River on my Grand-Dads farm. Then I was young and swam sort of frequently, stride after stride going forward through the water. This was not the case on Tuesday.

After endless deliberation with myself during the day if I would actually go swim or not, my mind somehow convinced me that I had to do it, I hate my mind. With the South Easter howling I even decided to stay clear of staring peeps in Virgin Active that would be judging my every doggy paddle as I would attempt the swim 25m without having to stop or drown and decided to give Silvermine Dam a splash (and you need like goggles and a cap, it would just mess up my hair wearing a cap). I really like it up there and I was sure that there would not be too many spectators in gale force wind conditions out swimming, beside me that clearly was not thinking clearly.

Take the plunge - don't take the plunge - ah what the h... let's do this!

Take the plunge – don’t take the plunge – ah what the h… let’s do this!

Arriving at the dam, I was right, there were not many people so I explored and found a secluded launching point. Doubts were still running through my head, should I swim and why coach, why!? Well I’ve done everything else asked of me in my training programme, I can’t skip this now, it would be failure. Inch by inch I venture into the dam, water and acceptable temperature (normally I would only swim if it was 28 degrees Celsius, minimum at least) and then the big splash! Gasping for air I attempted free style swimming, which to the people having a picnic must have look like no style swimming. Arm strokes, arm strokes, doggy paddle, doggy paddle, doggy paddle, crawl, float, swallow, spit, swim and repeat and rest and somehow I got to 45 minutes of what no one that was there would call swimming. I did fall asleep by 20:30 that night. Comfort zone broken!

 

I now, even more, appreciate the soft touch and feel of a woman’s leg – oops did I say that out load!

For some reason cyclist shave their legs, something to do with when you fall to keep the wounds clean or something, I do it to show of my sexy legs, I never fall (lol). But the whole process of shaving is a tedious task and to do it often in a confined shower area space is just not that much fun. “So why don’t you go for a wax I was asked” Mmm, ok if it will save me shaving and especially during the Absa Cape Epic then I am in, so I made an appointment, that was last Wednesday and sorry, your hair are too short, come back next week, which was yesterday.  No the girls at NGRY Spa was very accommodation and understood my reluctance and, ok let us be honest, fear or getting my legs waxed. They were actually great and made me feel at ease talked me through the process and so forth. Let me cut to the chase – I now, even more, appreciate the soft touch and feel of a woman’s leg – oops did I say that out load again!

%&#^*@&%@^*@^*@* ! ouch!

%&#^*@&%@^*@^*@* !
ouch!

Mother Father and all the small children in Africa – if I might borrow a saying from a friend – not knowing what to expect it was freaking painful as I fell into painful laughter every time Monique pulled on the strip to remove the wax, oh and hair, from my small and petite non muscular legs, a very small surface to wax. (Insert Swear words here). It feels like thousands of little pins hitting you with a burning painful sensation, and apparently (yes ladies) it is more painful for men. Fortunately nothing in the waxing room was broken during my sessions as I fought off the urge to scream like a little baby, laughing at myself the only way to handle the pain, with the calves and ankles the most painful. I survived and something else I did that got me out of my comfort zone of not living life.

In four weeks I will be back for a pre Absa Cape Epic wax, let us see if I stick to my scheduled appointment, I can’t promise anything. Like Willie said to me this week, a year ago I would never have even considered going for a swim in Silvermine, it shows that one can get yourself to barrow out from your comfort zone to do thing you thought you never would. Me getting my legs waxed should say it all.

Technical and mechanical session with coach Swen Lauer - more on this in the next blog

Technical and mechanical session with coach Swen Lauer – more on this in the next blog

Back to the serious stuff, on Thursday I had a session with coach Swen Lauer and some other riders on what one needs to take with on the Absa Cape Epic as well as some technical and mechanical tips and skills. It was very informative and helpful, perhaps my next blog will be about all this, in the meantime if you riding the Absa Cape Epic, why not contact Swen to look after your bike.

Until next time

Singing off as Comfortable Whale

 

 

Just a cool pic - silver lining...

Just a cool pic – silver lining…