Going to Extremes

Now this could be interpreted in many ways, it is an extremely long time since I posted on this blog (Am I extremely lazy in updating and writing this) or the fact that I took on the Ride2Nowhere in September in extreme weather conditions (heat wave) or the fact that the day one climb(s) was extremely tough and that I was extremely under trained. It could also be the fact that two weeks later I took on the extreme 100km MTB challenge the Karoo2Coast with no significant training post the Ride2nowhere due to being man down for more than a week on anti-biotics. Then it could also be the fact that I took up the 107km PPA One Tonner Road Bike Challenge later with no significant trainer either due to recovery from abovementioned Karoo2coast, the sore back and working away from home and late commitment to the event. So possibly did not extremely feel like writing for extreme mental recovery after doing all the above-mentioned and more.

Some peddle assist was required up some of the hills. Fantastic team work and love riding with these two

I do sincerely apologise for any possible readers out there that may or may not have missed my cycling and training updates. I apologise to the both of you and endeavour to try and update more regularly. I won’t spend too much time on the event feedbacks (I think it might be a lie, read on to find out).

Fun was had as well. Dom and Andrew flying down (Not sure who went ahead to take the pic)

The Ride2Nowhere (still a must do event for everyone) was tough as Dom, Andrew and I took up the short route challenge of which day 1 does include a lot of climbing in the first half of the ride. Some, including myself, may not have been as prepared for a MTB ride, especially post a cold and rainy Cape Town winter. So day one took its toll and we laboured to the finish line. What we do know is that we found the location of the church in McGregor. Happy to cross the finish line we recovered and hydrated as one should with loads of wine and meat on the braai after a long tough day.

We debut in our Triptych Resources kit as well. Official transfer partner of the event. (Myself, Dom, Andrew and Trystan)

Dom was taking strain and the next day there was digging deep to be done after the character testing of day 1. As those that have done endurance races are well aware of and may have experienced the exploration of those deep dark places in your mind. A HUGE thank you to Andrew and all his support, helpful hands up the hills and supportive words. We found the church in McGregor again.

 

Well done to my fiancé as she took to the starting line the next day as we rolled up and out of McGregor for day 2, the start of the heatwave with a cool 36 degrees Celsius (and much higher in the mountains). The spirit was good and we enjoyed the trails until the heat got to us. Andrew had to go ahead as Trystan, his son, had a fall and had to be taken to hospital (Superman off the bike). Dom and I worked our way towards the finish. There is a saying that you are only one ride away from your next fall and someone, a female, not naming names, that rode with myself and Andrew, somehow got it right on a slight incline to topple over to the side. (Which foot’s cleat was out if the tumble took place towards the downhill on the right)? Glad you were not too hurt the unnamed one.

It was hard work up the hills

We ambled on, but eventually the heat took its toll and Dom wisely decided to call it the day after about 27km. She was left stranded in the middle of nowhere with only the blistering sun as company as I continued on chasing to catch up with Andrew and to find civilization. (Don’t fear she was with the route medic and at a known location to the event organisers. I would never leave her stranded without back-up and support knowing she would be safe, besides she’s has been stranded alone before. No too long ago left in the middle of the Krom river (not by me, although I was present). She knows how to look after herself. Riding on I could start to feel the effects of being out in the heat and ran out of water. Dehydration started to set in (Nothing to do with a runny tummy on Thursday, loads of anti-inflammatory or not drinking enough water) as I peddled on passing all the known faces that passed us earlier. I got to the last water point desperate for fluids, fighting off dizziness and a headache and could not even interact in a well-mannered fashion with everyone there, including Dom (whom I was very happy to see was not in the middle of nowhere anymore) and her rescuers. In retrospect I should have not continued.  The last 10km was extremely long as I pushed just to reach the finish and having to stop and slow myself down to ensure I stay upright to the finish. It was a long tough day and extremes were reached in a test of perseverance. I did however find the church in McGregor.

Kudos for Dom on day 3 as she took on the challenge to ride on all 3 days. We went well and Andrew joined up with us again after taking care of Trystan the previous day. Day 3 is always a great riding day at the

It was extremely hot out there

Ride2Nowhere and we took it easily and enjoyed the amazing trails and environment. Another wise decision was mad at the last water point as Dom decided she will stop as she enjoyed the ride up to then and pushing on would just be a bit too much. (It was 39 degrees Celsius in the shade). Seeing her wait at the finish line as Andrew and I crossed put a smile on my face and made me happy. More of this to be experienced two weeks later but for now we found the church in McGregor.

 

The view from Paradise Found Guest House in Knysna

So enter more anti-inflammatory and not enough water to result in extreme urinary infection later in the week which resulted in antibiotics which resulted in no training for the 100km Karoo2Coast experience. Dom returned from Kenya after midnight on that Thursday before the event and were off to work 1st thing in the morning to get her event report done. We left for Knysna after work to stay at the amazing Paradise Found Guest House a must stay if you go in that direction. It must have been extremely tough for her as sleep deprivation is not a good thing for the De Lauwere and especially after a tough event week away from home. Rain was predicted for our ride and I optimistically tried to tell myself it will stay away. It did not! Not having done the event before I had no idea what to expect but knew I would have to dig deep to finish (Those deep dark places mentioned

Well done on finishing a tough ride Andrew Norman and fighting the conditions out there with me

before). We got up at 4am and drove 2hours to Union Dale for the start wh

Apparently it was wet and muddy out there

ich also makes it an extremely long day before you event started. A huge thank you to my brother in law, Johan Labushcagne and my sister Dirkie for arranging everything for us. The ride was in extreme conditions as it was bucketing down with rain, ice cold and icy windy combined with loads of climbing made it a bug challenge to keep going. Our average temperature for our 7h35min bike ride was 8 degrees Celsius with a max of 16 and a low of 3. It was F….xtremely cold. My back started giving me issues after halfway, which delayed our ride a bit as I had to stop to stretch it out and Andrew very patiently guided me to the finish. And here again we had our biggest supporters waiting for us at the finish line as Dianne and Dom braved the extreme weather to wait for us. Happiness, a warm heart and a smile on the face as our names got shouted and we saw familiar faces.

 

Enjoy the downhill, the climb is about to start

Not having suffered enough on the bike I agreed to ride 106km PPA One Tonner road bike with Andrew. Working away from home resulted in minimum training and especially also having to recover after Karoo2Coast as well ma

Put in the hard work to reap the benefits, but also take time out to relax and reward yourself

de the ride really tough. But we did it, 107km done and dusted back pain and all. Hopefully I can avoid going to extremes in the future to participate in events and get myself back to the training regime of a few years ago and be better prepared to enjoy these amazing events even more.

Keep on living healthy, get yourself out of bed, off the couch and active it really makes a difference in living, feeling better and happier.  After this is posted I’m hitting the couch to catch up on some weekend sport I missed.
PS: Looking to move your bicycle from door to door addresses or specific event transfers. We can help and you can find out more here: www.advwhaleeventsolutions.co.za or travelling to South Africa and need assistance with moving your bikes we have a solution for you

It finally happened

Now I’ve been meaning to get on my bike for ages. Sounds familiar? I’m sure it does and as for me I have been meaning to start riding in the week before work for ages, months at least. But somehow could never get myself to go out in the cold and dark and either ended up in gym or on the couch in front of the TV. Having recently completed the Ride2Nowhere stage race I thought that would jump start myself to commit to that tenuous early morning training routine. Didn’t happen! So a bout of flu and a Braai (Heritage) day recovery done, I finally got myself to dress up (warmly) and hit the tar road pedalling and that ONE DAY too late to see the Blood Moon in full showing, dammit! Next weekend is Berg and Bush and two weeks later Wines2Whales so I might need to keep on going – to keep on going and going and going … (Only wish summer would arrive in Cape Town soon)

 

I recently had to see two mates leave Cape Town, one that is moving to the Land of the Long White Cloud and the other one to the City of Gold  (Well somewhere between the City of Gold and the Jacaranda City). Victor, to you, Tammy and Blake – Kia Ora and all the best in the new chapter of your life. To Thinus, Lolla and Thiaan (Yes the cats too) will miss my weekend short visits after our mountain biking excursions. Make the most of life in Gauteng and see you soon and we have a few days in March to spend together on the bike.

 

In short, I need to get my, you know what, into gear to get into the prime shape my pristine athletes body was in way back in early 2014. So focus, start eating right, try to not drink beer (Evert, I said try, not succeed) and get back into that habit of training and having fun on the bike, and apparently if I stick to the previous training programme, some swimming updates aka perfecting the doggy paddle.

 

See soon and keep Balance in the Force. (I probably need to blog more often)

Time to start pushing myself to get back into that training habit and disciplines

Time to start pushing myself to get back into that training habit and disciplines

 

PS: I have a colleague that at the age of 28 weighs 154kg’s (yes he is close to 2m’s tall) – how do we get him active, healthy and to quit smoking….#AdventureWhaleChallenge

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

Up and Up and Up and Up and UP!

Ok, like most of you know is that I am challenge by gravity as for some reason it’s more difficult to move heavy objects up a hill, physics or something. So there you have it, Mother Nature and the laws of earth are there to make me suffer, and even more so on a bicycle.

Arriving at the Fairview Attakwas (registration on Friday, one could feel the excitement in the air as over 1000 mountain bikers descended on the Karoo town of Oudtshoorn, it was either that or I was really nervous as to what was to transpire as I would get on my bike the next day. Would the 121km take me 11hours, 10, 9 or would I not make it (2013 I pulled out after 43km, back pain and probably carrying a kilogram on my body for every kilometer of the race – you do the math.

Greg, myself and Craig before the mad rush of  a start

Greg, myself and Craig before the mad rush of a start

Mother Nature wasn’t totally cruel as she at least provided natural air conditioning with over cast and cool conditions, far from the 40 degrees Celsius it would normally be. Having checked in at the hotel we (Greg James, myself and Jan du Toit, with Craig Kolesky and a mate joining us) had dinner at Brian’s Grill. While all the avid cyclist at the table went for steak (Why Jan ordered the fish and chips I would not know but he was not cycling) I ordered the pizza. Reason being, that pizza really worked for me at W2W although I could never eat as much pizza before a race as Shaun Roos does (and he weighs 60 odd kilograms). All carbo loaded and ready to race we went to sleep.

Arriving at the race start, bumping into to everyone one knows and feeling the excitement does bring out some adrenalin and anticipation to start riding. Off in the starting shoot and away we go. Now the start of a mountain bike race is always frantic as everyone jolts for position trying not to purposely bump someone out of the way, and I felt like it at the start. Give me my space!

Now I have done the first section of Attakwas in 2013 so I knew what to expect and rode at a comfortable pace within myself spending a lot of time with Craig on the bike, him showing off by taking photos while riding and sharing some good advice for the Absa Cape Epic challenge that lies ahead having done his first in 2013.  So we ride, ride and ride with some decent climbs and arrive at the 2nd water point from where I bailed last year. So we enter the infamous Attakwas and then more bike walking (without a leash) became part of the challenge. Up and Up, and then a steep decent  with a serious technical bit just before the famous Spur burger water point, that coach Swen Lauer would have been proud of if he saw me ride it. Then the Spur burger (chicken off course) and then the toughest part of the race, SERIOUS! It was tough. You think you finished with the tough part and then they bring on all these climbs, up and up and up and down and up and up and up and down and UP until you finally hit the finish line to a Mr. Paul Valstar doing what he does best! What and amazing feeling to have finished it and such a great experience  to have ridden with Craig for most of the race (next time no cramps Craig) and well done to Greg for also finishing it – as we said – this was going to be our year we conquer Attakwas and so we did. Jan, the legend deserves a special mention, not only for his snoring on the Friday night, but also for looking after us and supporting us in this quest in making sure everything is organised.

Some bike pushing was required - up and up and up and UP!

Some bike pushing was required – up and up and up and UP!

Thank you to everyone and their well wishes beforehand and on the day and to

Eating dust sitting in behind Craig whilst he shows off taking photos and riding with only one hand on the handle bars

Eating dust sitting in behind Craig whilst he shows off taking photos and riding with only one hand on the handle bars

all the congratulations afterwards and support in doing the event. It was a great weekend, catching up with old acquaintances, seeing Karl, Stefan and Vincent of Team Bulls again, the Team ABSA guys with fellow KTM rider Kevin McCallum and Clayton Duckworth that handed me my first beer for 2014 (needless to say a second was enjoyed with Kevin) and so many more to name (so those I haven’t named as the blog is becoming too long, sorry, but know I appreciate everyone’s support)

Coach Swen (http://swenlauer.wordpress.com/services/coaching/), bring on the training plan and lets keep focussed on the Absa Cape Epic, thanks for you guidance and support and for the training plan that is clearly getting me up those hills.

King of the Attakwas - not quite yet, still had to go up and up and up and down and up and down and up and up and up

King of the Attakwas – not quite yet, still had to go up and up and up and down and up and down and up and up and up

Good luck to everyone that is doing the Half Ironman in East London this

See, riding with one hand and taking photos - the ion camera is seriously cool

See, riding with one hand and taking photos – the ion camera is seriously cool

weekend, Greg being mad enough to do the Half Ironman a week after Attakwas and a special mention to my friend Chantel Rall who kick a$$ in East London this week.

Go well Chantel, you will do it. All the hard work will pay off, you are an inspiration – http://www.theworldaccordingtoaprincess.co.za/p/my-journey-with-cancer.html

Until the next adventure

All images used in this post was taken by Craig Kolesky – http://craigkolesky.com/