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

That Rude Awakening

Welcome to the harsh reality of mountain biking without proper training, that is the message I received from my body as we fought through the 60km Fedhealth MTB Challenge, hosted at Meerendal on Sunday. Those lazy mornings of rather going to the spin class then face the cold and dark riding your bike, or the infamous snooze button that kept you lying in a bit later finally caught up with me – Extreme suffering! Now the buck stops here and the training will go into full motion again. Although I enjoyed the ride I had to dig deep at stages to keep on going, missing that base endurance. All said and done it was a great ride and the event organisers (Stillwater Sports) really created a whole family weekend of mountain biking and growing the sport with young and old. I’ll be back next year and the event will surely be bigger and better (if only I had a T-shirt)

My riding partner (Thinus) and I did pretty well I think as I’m pretty satisfied with the time (although on his own Thinus would probably be an hour quicker) we took to finish. We have an adventure coming up, so watch this space…If only my partner stopped when I fell over and had to rely on the 5-10 cyclists I was holding up on the single track climb to extract my body from the side of the road. Just saying – why ride alone…

Anyway Ride2Nowhere is coming up this weekend and I am really looking forward to it as this event has always been penned in on my cycling diary. Not sure how the body will react to stage racing after the reaction from the 60km one day race. I think the images in the blog says it all – suffering.

So for all of you that haven’t embraced the spring weather (well supposed to be spring) to get active again, do it now or face the suffering I experienced once you get back on the bike again. Apparently I still have quads and they work, I promise you as I can feel them right now. For some reason when you climb for days on end your back doesn’t appreciate that either and neither does those hamstrings, that when they have had enough they send out cramping signals – Try peddling now with us, you masochist they screamed at me. So thankful there was only a few kilometres left…

Enough of that – on the bike we climb!

Apologies for not posting during winter hybernation

Up and down and up and down and up and down and up and up and up

Up and down and up and down and up and down and up and up and up

Did I maybe suffer on the day...

Did I maybe suffer on the day…

Speed

Speed

 

Feeling that passion again

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

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

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

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

The view from the Block House up table Mountain

The view from the Block House up table Mountain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is what it is ;)

The heading is especially for my friend Nikki.

The time is now and as I am typing this blog post a I’m slightly concerned that I might not be prepared sufficiently for the Cape Town Cycle Tour MTB event this Sunday and the road race on the 8th of March. That rolling over in bed option rather than getting out on the bike seems to have won more than it should have, and if you weight challenged like me you need all the quality preparation you can get when entering these events. Anyway, never having been scared of a challenge (besides going on blind dates) I should be ready to rock and roll or is that push and pedal…

 

We have a bike display at The Westin Cape Town for the period of the Cape Town Cycle Tour and Absa Cape Epic - go check it out if you can

We have a bike display at The Westin Cape Town for the period of the Cape Town Cycle Tour and Absa Cape Epic – go check it out if you can. Some great prizes to be won

I blame having send my mountain bike in for some tender loving care and being a week without it for not getting out there, not feeling the road bike vibe and bored of the gym has made me reluctant to be active. I know, lame excuse.  Eating habits have also not been great.

 

The next few weeks will be busy with all the activation around the events of the Cape Town Cycle Tour and the Absa Cape Epic and hopefully the Cape Doctor would not be blowing too bad over this period.  Good luck to everyone participating in these events and I hope your preparation & training has been good.

 

Fantastic to see my tyre brand as official tyre supplier of the Absa Cape Epic. Rubena (Mitas)

Fantastic to see my tyre brand as official tyre supplier of the Absa Cape Epic. Rubena (Mitas)

So I have also been trying the running thing, outdoors that it, on an on and off basis and I’ve realised just how tough I have made it for myself by not being too active over recent years and especially running. Running always meant knee and back pain for me, and to confess, that has not changed at all is I have fought through numerous painful experiences of back and knee(s), coupled with tight calves and sore ankles in trying to get this whale body into running shape – a running event looms in the near future. Don’t want to reveal too much for fear of failure – but you know I will try and push all the way to do it. Can’t change anything up to know, the training is (was) what it is and can only go out and do it.

 

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”
~ Henry Ford

Harvesting in Tokai forest has limited access to the trails

Harvesting in Tokai forest has limited access to the trails

Celebrated my birthday on my bike in the forest (before the Cape Town 10's and cold beer option were explored in the afternoon. Wasn't a good day for my diet)

Celebrated my birthday on my bike in the forest (before the Cape Town 10’s and cold beer option were explored in the afternoon. Wasn’t a good day for my diet)

The Front Row Tip

Now you guys might remember the previous post of the Momentum Grape MTB Rider as part of the Pick ‘n Pay Stellenbosch Wine Festival, well, that took place over the weekend and what a great experience it was, the ride and the wine fest. The Wine festival was located on the Coetzenburg fields and one couldn’t have asked for a nicer setting and the weather was close to perfect as well.

Myself, Chantel and Marius enjoying the sunshine at the Stellenbisch Wine Festival

Myself, Chantel and Marius enjoying the sunshine at the Stellenbisch Wine Festival

But back to the Grape MTB ride, aimed at bringing families together on an easy ride to the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve gate and back, and as I don’t have a family as of yet, I decided to invite a bigger person cyclist, like myself, in order for now one to dare laugh at me for being the only Phat boy riding. So enter, former Springbok tight head prop, Marius Hurter on his KTM joining me for the ride with plans to later go to the wine festival with his family. What a great ride it was. It was brilliant to see so many people come out for the leisurely ride and all just out there to be in nature and spend time with their kids and other like-minded people. (Needless to say, no one laughed at me and great fun was had on the bike as Marius and I sped off on the route, catching up on all things and having a jol).

Fantastic setup at Coetzenburg for the Pick 'n Pay Stellenbosch Wine Festival

Fantastic setup at Coetzenburg for the Pick ‘n Pay Stellenbosch Wine Festival

 

Ride done and dusted, Marius went back to fetch the family and I got a free breakfast thanks to Chantel and Cecilia that basically forced me to stay in Stellenbosch and taste wine. Marius returned to Wine Festival, 3 kids in tow. I won’t bore you with too much detail, let’s just say we know which of the Wine Farms in Stellenbosch’ Sauvignon Blanc wines we have preference to. Wine tasting as it should be, with no need to drive from farm to farm. Needless to say I did feel a bit deflated come Monday work morning. I don’t have the same pedigree as my learned friend when it comes to rugby achievements as former Springbok, Mr Hurter does. I am however also part of the front row fraternity, mostly playing where clever boys does, in the middle of the front row with the odd appearance on the loosehead side, so nothing compared to playing tighthead. Anyway back to the title of the post: Our front row tip to you is: DO NOT MISS THE 2016 STELLENBOSCH WINE FESTIVAL! It is a great event with loads of entertainment for all and loads of good wine. This year even Kahn made an appearance and provided some background noise my friend Nikki would have enjoyed. (Thanks Chantel & Cecilia for guiding us through the wine festival experience)

Can you from this pic where my chest is used as a canvas that I used to play rugby in the front...

Can you from this pic where my chest is used as a canvas that I used to play rugby in the front…

Another front row tip is to never underestimate the big boys on a mountain bike, we may be slow uphill but boy do we fly downhill. Also don’t stand in our way when we are hungry and want to buy a healthy burger.

Finding the right tyre pressure to ride your mountain bike on can be difficult and there are various hints and tips as to finding out what will work for you. Check this out for more:

 

All and all, make sure you have a lookout for the Stellenbosch Wine Festival next year and we will see you there on the ride and tasting some great Stellenbosch Wines.

 

The Running Whale

Imagine this – a BIG killer whale swim casually out of the ocean and then starts running onto Terra Firma (imagine it has legs). Have you pictured that yet? Well that was me this festive season as I suddenly and without prior notice realised my clothes have shrunk and in desperation I convinced myself to run… not sure though if it can be called running or even jogging – picture that BIG killer whale trying to run again – get the picture?  Sing it! “Every day I’m shuffling”

 

When one has time out on the mountain

When one has time out on the mountain

Early morning riding in Tokai

Early morning riding in Tokai

One forgets how easily one can fall back into old habits of, well eating too much and not sticking to portions, you know when the food really tastes good and you want more. Damn all those that cooked over the Festive Season and also those that introduced me to a certain brand of Ice Cream. Damn you! Oh and to all those that kept the beers ice cold for consumption, not sure you are my real friends anymore, all the braai’s and lazy summer sunny holiday days; it could be the reasons I gained some weight or what I believe is more likely is that my clothes shrunk over this period.

 

Enough of that, back to the result of running, believe it or not myself and my brother in law, Dirk Sieling went on the first (of only 4 so far) 5km runs the day after Christmas. Since then I have not been able to climb stairs properly as the Hulk has grabbed onto my calves and is still holding them tight in his hands – stiffness and pain galore. But I haven’t given up as I believe in changing up my cycling and training routine and jogging will be part of it going forward. To a limited degree of course as it will never replace mountain biking (Which I also did plenty of during the Festive Season).

 

How difficult it was to lose all that weight, so easy it seems it is to put it back on if one does not keep watch of what, or even more important, how much you eat even if you train and is still super fit. So my commitment for 2015 is to ‘un’ shrunk my clothes and get back to that epic shape I was in a year ago.

 

Having more time available (when not out eating too much food and enjoying a cold beverage) was fantastic which meant one could go riding whenever one wanted to, which I did whilst still eating too much. One could say my shrunken clothes are self-inflicted. Thanks to everyone that joined me on rides this holiday and to Dirk for actually running /shuffling twice with me.

 

Here is to wishing everyone a fantastic and fit 2015 and remember anything is possible if you put your mind to it, or stop going for that second helping, that also helps. And then a week after the Cape Town Cycle Tour, it seems I need to find events to keep me busy in February.

 

Next event is the Cape Town Cycle Tour MTB on the 1st of March and hopefully by then I will be in pristine shape that does not include round.

Great quick ride from Cape Town up Chapmans peak and back with Willie du Plooy

Great quick ride from Cape Town up Chapmans peak and back with Willie du Plooy

Thinus Crafford took me on a hill climb ride of note. Strava climb challenge nearly done in 1 ride

Thinus Crafford took me on a hill climb ride of note. Strava climb challenge nearly done in 1 ride

That hilly ride Thinus Crafford took me on

That hilly ride Thinus Crafford took me on

Always beautiful at Silvermine Dam (Which I must probably go swimming in again soon)

Always beautiful at Silvermine Dam (Which I must probably go swimming in again soon)

Good to have had my mate Evert Ferreira back out on the bike again (Now is he one of those that had all those cold beverages in stock...?)

Good to have had my mate Evert Ferreira back out on the bike again (Now is he one of those that had all those cold beverages in stock…?)

That missing drive…

The last two weeks has been something of a hiatus from exercise for me, not to lack of time, but lack of drive – missing that goal to work towards in training. Not that being healthy and fit and NOT FAT again should not be a goal, because it is, it is just that edge, motivation and drive to push yourself again that is lacking. Maybe having to go to extremes is what I need.

 

On Strava they have this new Freshness and Fitness tracker and one can clearly see that our winter was not good for me and that I have not reach the fitness levels again as in training for the Absa Cape Epic. Maybe I must enter again and find a sponsor or offer unnamed services in selling my soul to raise the amount of riding the Cape Epic again…

Good luck to everyone in training for that now as I do know it takes a lot of commitment and dedication.

 

I must have been super fit in March, because I am fairly fit now!

I must have been super fit in March, because I am fairly fit now!

This past weekend our little cycling group went for an early morning ride on the Tygerberg Mountain Bike trails, and that post a braai on the Friday, so the body and mind were not in total pristine riding condition – “everyday I’m suffering…”. But besides the performance limited non-enhancing substances of the previous night, what a lekker (great) ride and I just realised how much I enjoy being out on the bike, with friends and just riding and not racing. Good for the soul and hard on those quads up the climbs. We did encounter some free protein on the Hoogekraal section as it seems the whole of the Western Cape fly community converge onto this section and no it was not me who swallowed some free protein, I will not name names.

 

The KTM Boys on the Tygerberg Mountain Bike Trails: Willie 'I magically appeared in this photo' du Plooy, Rob 'Olympic' Kucera, Thinus 'The Greyhound' Crafford and myself

The KTM Boys on the Tygerberg Mountain Bike Trails: Willie ‘I magically appeared in this photo’ du Plooy, Rob ‘Olympic’ Kucera, Thinus ‘The Greyhound’ Crafford and myself

The early sunrise and late sunset is ideal to get in those riding hours in the week, must just now go out and do it. Evert Ferreira please get your damn bike now! I need a riding partner in the southern suburbs. Oh and of course I am not in training for the Absa Cape Epic so I am back to being a Fair Weather Cyclist, which means no riding in the howling South Easter blowing at 30-40km/h. No need for discomfort.

 

Sometimes you have to force yourself to get out there and active. Not a bad view and once out there you actually do feel great

Sometimes you have to force yourself to get out there and active. Not a bad view and once out there you actually do feel great

So seeing that all my blog readers are super fit already and I don’t need to motivate or help with advice on how to keep going, I decided to add something for my grimy mountain bike friends, helmet cleaning, bicycle helmet cleaning – when last did you clean yours?

I realised on Sunday as I forced myself to go for another ride after the long ride on Saturday, that my helmet might need some tender care, because the only cleaning it has experienced in who know since when, was the gallons of sweat perspiring of my head. Yuck! So my friend Google helped with a simple thing and here are some tips on cleaning your cycling helmet:

·         Leave the pads in for an easy wash. Simply give it a good hand swab in the sink with mild soap (like dish detergent) and cool water. Rinse with clean, cold water.

·         Take it into the shower with you after a ride. Scrub your body and helmet with a basic shampoo, being sure to rinse out all the suds. Now that’s a good time! When you and your lid are cleansed, let the latter air-dry. Do what you will with your own sorry hide.

·         If your helmet feels gritty, get new pads. That’s a great way to make it feel like new again.

·         Never dry your helmet in the clothes dryer with your skivvies or in the microwave with your lunch-it’ll severely weaken the shell and bonding materials. Avoid all solvents and harsh, petroleum-based cleaning materials-they’ll weaken the helmet by attacking the foam and shell. Don’t sticker up the shell-many adhesives will weaken it, rendering the helmet unsafe.

·         Helmet manufacturers recommend replacing an un-crashed, regularly used helmet approximately every three years because continuous exposure to sunlight and constant absorption of sweat will compromise the materials.

Source: http://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear/bikes-and-gear-features/brush-your-bonnet

 

So stop being so filthy and go clean that dirty helmet, unless you are super cool and don’t perspire

Two Triathlons and a Wedding – and W2W tapering …

The past weekend was probably not the best preparation for me leading up the FNB Wines2Whales Adventure this weekend as first off I attended the 2015 Absa Cape Epic Route Launch at The Westin Cape Town, which turned out to be a great evening with, as you guessed, too much red wine and a late night. Fortunate I had the experience to stay over at The Westin, so no driving with red blood in the veins, you see responsible. The obvious result of this endeavour was no training Thursday and Friday.

2015 Absa Cape Epic Route launch was a spectacular affair and I was not envious of those that have to climb 16,000m next year. Good luck Rob and Andrew, I know you will do it!

2015 Absa Cape Epic Route launch was a spectacular affair and I was not envious of those that have to climb 16,000m next year. Good luck Rob and Andrew, I know you will do it!

With KTM Bicycles we are involved with Iqela Events and the Slanghoek Triathlon (Mountain Bike and Road) took place on Saturday and Sunday. Now, not to do totally nothing I enter the long Mountain Biking long triathlon – AND NO! DON’T get excited, I entered in a team as I am still not doing the swimming bit (my triathlon buddies haven’t convinced me yet to jump in the water and seeing people forcing their bodies into tight fitting wet suits, I am convinced that that is not for me).

First time ever I had to pack a suit and a mountain bike

First time ever I had to pack a suit and a mountain bike

Probably one of the most beautiful settings for any event (Photo Credit - Me ;) )

Probably one of the most beautiful settings for any event (Photo Credit – Me 😉 )

So up at 4am to drive through to the venue, setup our bike display and get ready with team members Jörg and Leanne Knorr for the big challenge. Still feeling the effects of red wine in my blood I started to ride taken over from Leanne with a great swim and suffered my way around the Slanghoek Mountain that ended with ridiculously tight climbing switchbacks before giving over to Jörg for the run. In the end we ended top 5 in the teams… ja ok, there were only 11 teams, but top 5 is top 5!

Now that was Triathlon 1 done so on to the next phase of the weekend, the hour drive back to Durbanville and the Sandes wedding where super Ultra Distance Runner Ryan “Hedge Hog” Sandes and Vanessa Haywood (Local celeb, model and District 9 actress) got married at Nitida Wine Farm. So, all suited up I head off to the ceremony.

Suit Selfie

Suit Selfie

Bride Selfie (Ryan you didn't mind I hope?)

Bride Selfie (Ryan you didn’t mind I hope?)

I won’t bore you too much with how pretty the bride look, the awesome setting and how a beautiful wedding that was (you can read all about it in this weeks You Magazine or watch Top Billing on SABC3) and the fun time with new friends made and catching up with acquaintances and friends from the industry, even played Croquet (in a suit nogal) which was great fun. The evening flew by as the Red Bull bar was in operation and for those that know me there was also Tequila available – enough said as the wedding celebration moved into the early hours of Sunday morning. (And yes the tie and jacket came off early in the evening)

Now for the 2nd triathlon, yes the same Sunday! With numerous milliliters of Red Bull in my lean and mean mountain biking racing body, and with a dash of Tequila, sleep was hard to kick in, so early morning I decided to get in my car and drive back to Slanghoek for the road triathlon. Don’t get excited, I am not a fool or stupid, we did NOT enter the road triathlon. Who would do that the day after a wedding, and gladly I did not as the heat set into the valley and the lack of sleep took its toll during the day of representing my brand and watching friends participate (super proud Chantel) and KTM sponsored athlete Vicky van der Merwe win the event. A BIG mention to legend Jan du Toit for helping me out this weekend at the Slanghoek Triathlon, appreciate it Jan.

Thanks Leanne Knorr for swimming and making it possible to participate in the triathlon

Thanks Leanne Knorr for swimming and making it possible to participate in the triathlon

Jörg Knorr smashing it on the run. Thanks for the running part and helping out over the weekend

Jörg Knorr smashing it on the run. Thanks for the running part and helping out over the weekend

I did make a foolish statement during the day though as play on my mind was training for Wines2Whales and staying in shape and tip top form for the event as I said: “I will go for a quick ride this afternoon”. Needless to say this did not happen as my tired body, deprive of Red Bull by now just crashed on the couch and that elusive sleep struck me down. Rest at last.

It is probably not the best preparation and tapering leading up towards the event (one of my favourites) but I will have to take it as it comes. I know I will be rested. When competing or in my case, participating in an event one must try and be rested and not fatigued by too much training. I think, or sincerely hope, that I have managed to do that in between all the social events and lighter training schedule, as you all know by know that my Greyhound riding partner, Thinus Crafford, is slightly faster than me on a bike. But hey, here is to enjoying FNB Wines2Whales and to all those riding have fun out on the trails and be sure to be tapered properly – check this article out on tapering.

The next time I have to wear a suit will be quicker than you all think, so watch this space and no selfie this time. At least for wearing a suit you just have to taper mentally. Okay, I will say it in a public forum: Congratulations to Western Province for winning the 2015 ABSA Currie Cup.

*And no Nikki, I am not wearing a suit to the wine club Christmas party!

Two inspirational personalities and friends. Chantel Rall having overcome Cancer, having done Iron Man SA and now going for it a 2nd time. Our champion for Slanghoek, Vicky van der Merwe, well done and all the best for the Rio 2016 dream. You will be there!

Two inspirational personalities and friends. Chantel Rall having overcome Cancer, having done Iron Man SA and now going for it a 2nd time. Our champion for Slanghoek, Vicky van der Merwe, well done and all the best for the Rio 2016 dream. You will be there!

Oops, this can be out before the You Magazine

Oops, this can be out before the You Magazine

 

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

 

 

Writers Block

Now I know I haven’t been updating this blog as regularly as I should be, I am so focussed on getting ready to ride Berg & Bush and Wines2Whales that these fingers seems to be clutched around my brakes on my bike rather than typing on a keyboard.

It has been strange for me to keep on pushing as last year this time I was sort of just beginning to think about training for the Absa Cape Epic and had certain dedicated goals as in fitness and weight loss. Now I’m still focussed, but do miss that planned and scheduled training regime provided by Coach Swen Lauer (Who by the way has opened a new Mountain Bike Training School, check it out: www.pedal2medal.co.za )

Crazy times riding with Swen and Heiko

Crazy times riding with Swen and Heiko

Recently I did the Ride2Nowhere, a 3 day mountain bike event in McGregor in the Western Cape, which will become a regular on my riding (note – not racing) calendar. It’s a fantastic weekend away and always good to have friends go with to share in the consumption of the Lord’s Shiraz.

Next up was the BRAIT Grace to Grace in the Magaliesberg, Mount Grace Country Hotel and Spa, an awesome venue and always a pleasure to stay there. The one challenge on this race was sucking in the thin air at altitude and clever boys we were, myself and Thinus Crafford to go for an acclimatisation ride the Friday afternoon before the race. Now those who knows a bit about mountain biking would appreciate me having to suddenly climb 200m is the first few kilometres of this warm-up ride with lugging 110kg’s with you – well that being you yourself. Great weekend and once again red wine was the order of the day which leaves me with the next challenge as we head to Berg & Bush – there is NO WINE FARM IN THE DRAKENSBERG! What to do?

Sucking in the thin air at Brait Grace2Grace - back in the Bushveld

Sucking in the thin air at Brait Grace2Grace – back in the Bushveld

I have also become a master of boxing a bike, so perhaps I should do a feature on that. Travel tips of what to take with and how the effectively box your bike when flying – I’ll leave that for another day.
Riding over the weekend with Willie & Thinus we encounter our first slithering creature, well the two of them rode over/past it without noticing and here is where it pays to be the slower one in the cycling herd of mates – they wake them up and you spot them to avoid them or just $$$$ yourself.

Anyway will keep you posted as we head into summer with warmer weather and longer days to enjoy. Have fun living healthy and keeping fit. Fortunately I am only suffering from Writers Block and not Riders Block otherwise my partner would be very frustrated with me going nowhere. (And don’t tell him I had a Weiss Bier at The Westin Cape Town the other day…beautiful and highly recommended with their famous burgers)

PS: In our friend circle we are racing for the Giro d’Amici (Cup of friendship) – fortunately I have the ‘Windhond’ aka Greyhound Crafford on my team.

Oh and by the 20th I might actually be thin and skinny as my light riding schedule is a Slanghoek MTB this Saturday, Tuesday to Thursday the Berg & Bush Great Trek and finishing it off on Sunday the 19th with the PPA One Tonner of 163km on the road with Chantel Rall = dehydration = beer at the Toad

KTM Bikes parked in a row for a coffee break at Meerendal Wine Estate

KTM Bikes parked in a row for a coffee break at Meerendal Wine Estate

Look! A WHOLE bunch of cyclist behind me, I'm not last!

Look! A WHOLE bunch of cyclist behind me, I’m not last!

The KTM Boys and the Greyhound - What a story to tell - Watch this space!

The KTM Boys and the Greyhound – What a story to tell – Watch this space!

Circles in the sa...bush AHEAD of Cyclist AGAIN!

Circles in the sa…bush AHEAD of Cyclist AGAIN!