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

No Speedy Beans Here – Ride2Nowhere here we come!

Two more days and back on the starting line for my favourite 3-day mountain biking event (Ride2Nowhere) and this year the team is complete with my fiancé, Dom able to ride and joining Andrew Norman and myself as we endeavour on a weekend of mountain biking fun, loads of wine, friends and great food. Not necessarily in that order.

Crossing the finish line for the 1st time at the inaugural Ride2Nowhere in 2012

I love this event and it will be my 8th year of participating (in its 8th year of existence) and what makes this even more special for me, besides the amazing trails, fantastic race village vibe, like- minded participants (racing not a priority) and awesome event organisers (Eulogy van Dyk and Con Viljoen) is perhaps the fact that I in some sort of manner have been involved since the inception of this bucket list event. Just love the whole concept and have come to know most of the community involved in making McGregor a destination every year in September.

 

My biggest fear this year is that I do not, for some unknown reason, cycle in hiking boots. Surely common sense should have prevailed by now. I am probably in my worst MTB fitness shape to take up the challenge since that inaugural experience in 2012 (And having to fight off a bout of flu last week did not help the last minute dot com training). But, hey we will be out in the middle of nowhere to have fun, enjoy the beautiful Karoo spring flowers (after all the rain) and make Paul Valstar wait for us at the finish line. Keeping him away from red wine as long as possible, if possible at all. Paul here’s to catching up with a few bottles of the red fermented grapes in the mix as per R2N tradition. (Does anyone know how to add cleats to hiking boots, would Duct tape hold it in place?) Did someone say muscle memory?

 

But seriously, so looking forward to this weekend, guiding and riding with Dom on the trails doing something we love together, suffering and up hills included on our mountain biking journey. (Patience Andrew, we will reward with cold beers). Staying at McGregor Backpackers again and our hosts Geoff and Dorothy are the best (even though they sprayed us off with ice cold water last year after the mud slide on the bike)

 

We doing it for the love of the ride! Andrew and Dom, are you excited yet!? I can’t wait.

See everyone in McGregor!

Below a few selective photos from my Ride2Nowhere journey since 2012

Help me support the McGregor Young Warriors. Raise fund on my GivenGain platform

A Rap Over The Knuckles

Yes I am guilty, guilty of many various things, one being not regularly updated this blog and the other not training as disciplined as I should be. (If you were a cannibal and on the Banting diet (Low Carbs, High Fat) my body currently have the fat required for fitting into the dietary requirements). When in primary school (in the previous millennium) we had a maths teacher and as they tended to do is try and teach their pupils the multiply tables. We got tested weekly and for every mistake you got rapped over the knuckles (now fortunately I was great at maths and rarely had to feel this pain – yes I am boasting – but it was some way of motivating us pupils to study and learn what was required, but enough said of that method of teaching where mistakes was punished with pain.

I went out riding this last Saturday and my research has confirmed that the current Table Mountain habitual conditions were conducive to the successful relocation of Polar Ice Bears

I went out riding this last Saturday and my research has confirmed that the current Table Mountain habitual conditions were conducive to the successful relocation of Polar Ice Bears #BlockHouse

Anyway I had a real deep look at myself as the pants slowly started to fit a bit tighter and after reasoning with myself concluded that it was improbable that they (the pants) would be shrinking and thus only reason was that my body mass must be increasing. Queue the guilt and commitment to settle in to force oneself to face the brutal cold and darkness of Cape Town’s winter to get up early and start training. Okay I’ll confess, on 2 week days I’m still heading indoors to Virgin Active to punish myself on the WattBike. It seems I did not have enough of that torture in the build up to the Absa Cape Epic. (They are forcing me to do 2 sessions on the WattBike after for some unknown reason they cancelled our 6am Spinning Class – yes I am moaning)

 

I am riding the Ride2Nowhere (Presented by WeChat) in McGregor in September and the aim during this current dark and cold period is to maintain the fitness levels post the awesome summer riding days to be in shape for this amazing event. Fortunately Coach Alasdair Garnett is always helpful with advice and thus the two high intensity sessions (that’s why I miss the Spin Class) in the week, finished off with riding over the weekend and the fitness levels should be able to be maintained. Well I hope so! Anyway watching the diet when it is cold and dark also presents a challenge and let’s not talk about comfort food and the mental challenges to try and not do that impulse purchase. Be strong (Not very successful at being strong as it is impossible to walk past Biltong and not buy some, it is just too tempting).

 

It is the 5th year of the Ride2Nowhere and it will be the 5th year I will be riding it and still remains one of my

Sunday was road bike day and to be all by myself on top of Chapman's Peak was surreal. (Polar Bears could relocate there as well)

Sunday was road bike day and to be all by myself on top of Chapman’s Peak was surreal. (Polar Bears could relocate there as well)

favourite events of the year and I don’t want to be stone dead last like in year 1, thus the training. What Eulogy van Dyk and Con Viljoen has achieved with the event is fantastic. To have seen it grow so much, whilst still keeping that friendly, relaxed  and community feel is just great. Everyone I know always enjoys this ride and the whole event and the warm, friendly and festive atmosphere of McGregor. If you are looking for an event to do in September, to shake off that winter legs, enter now rap yourselves over the knuckles to get out there and training to be ready to enjoy the tranquillity of McGregor and the beautiful scenery in the flowering season of the Karoo. And what is extra super cool is that you get a R1000 back in your Wallet if you enter through WeChat!

 

Here’s to taking my body features of the Banting Dietary list with loads of training. #NoMoreFat

PS: There are super awesome wines in the McGregor area. #JustSaying Bring all your friends!

Some views one gets whilst facing the cold but actually still riding your bike. Check out the awesome Mitas Tyres

Some views one gets whilst facing the cold but actually still riding your bike. Check out the awesome Mitas Tyres

The Ride2Nowhere and new water bottles

This year has been my 4th year of riding the Ride2Nohwere and I’m afraid the secret is out as we had the largest field ever, close to capacity which I’m sure will make this an even more desirable event when the entries open soon (www.ride2nowhere.co.za).  What a gem of and event this is, fantastic riding which encompass the true soul of mountain biking fun in the mist surreal of settings of the tranquil town of McGregor.  Well done to Eulogy van Dyk and Con Viljoen for putting together this amazing three days of riding, which is actually much more than just riding as the whole community of McGregor jumps on board as the town is filled up with like-minded mountain bikers and family.

One just have to stop on the ride of Ride2Nowhere to take some photos or take in the scenery.

One just have to stop on the ride of Ride2Nowhere to take some photos or take in the scenery.

With “less” training on the bike than previously I wasn’t sure what to expect from the body for 3 days of riding after the beating it took at the previous Sunday at the Feadhelath MTB Challenge at Meerendal Wine Estate over the Tygerberg MTB Trails – Let’s just say pain and suffering on the massage table. Anyway back to day 1 of Ride2Nowhere. This was a real tough day as we rode 61km with 1700m’s of climbing over rocky and technical terrain that brought back Absa Cape Epic memories. What made it even more challenging were the wind, rain and ice cold conditions on top of the mountain, but there was no quitting as we toughed it out to the finish line.

Day 2 was slightly longer at 68km’s (and perhaps due to some awesome red wine i.e. Lords Shiraz) with the same

As always Lords Winery were at the order of the day

As always Lords Winery were at the order of the day

amount of climbing but with some beautiful riding and in the words of Event

All over the race villages were these and similar motivational/inspirational poster - and I mean everywhere

All over the race villages were these and similar motivational/inspirational poster – and I mean everywhere

Director: “It’s always very difficult to explain why McGregor or why come and do this race, but it is only once you are here and experience it that you understand why we love it here.” No truer words spoken, the changes to day 3 were phenomenal and I will be back in 2016 to experience the Ride2Nowhere and McGregor for the 5th time. Hope you will join me in what is a wonderful weekend of more than just Mountain Biking.

 

We stayed at McGregor Backpackers (www.mcgregorbackpackers.co.za)with the Norman family (Andrew, Dianne and Tristan) that arranged the accommodation and on their recommendation, it was super fantastic and owners Dorothy and Geoff were friendly and accommodating and please check out their website and if you thinking of visiting McGregor – this is the place to stay! Well done to Andrew Norman as well for finishing his 1st stage race and sorry Tristan that you unfortunately fell ill, next year a must do again (No waiting for dad 😉 ).

Well done on completing that 1st stage race Mr. Andrew Norman!

Well done on completing that 1st stage race Mr. Andrew Norman!

Although I missed my mates there from last year, it truly was another magnificent weekend that we are privileged enough with to experience through the association with mountain biking and the sport.  Thanks to Jan du Toit that helped me with my KTM activities at the event and always there to help and support us at the water points.

 

All and all once of the penned in dates on my calendar and hopefully in 2016 my other mates will be up to it and join us.

Part of the climb on day 1 ...

Part of the climb on day 1 …

On another note, I came to realise that the water bottles I am currently using on my bike (as pictured) is a bit dilapidated so I decided to ride the 2016 Absa Cape Epic for some new ones.

At this time of posting the blog, I hope my riding partner Thinus Crafford is out training….

Apparently I have the official right to use this ;)

Apparently I have the official right to use this 😉 oh and hopefully get some new water bottles

Chasing “Die Windhond”

Now “Die Windhond” or translated to Queens English, The Greyhound, is a nickname we in our cycling friends group have given my riding partner Thinus Crafford. Why you would ask, well it is quite apparent, once he is released he disappears off into the distance like a Greyhound chasing a fake tasteless rabbit on a race track and there is no stopping him. Don’t get me wrong I am not dissing my friend, he is a great riding partner and has loads of patience to hold back and wait for the whale who is currently in a rebuilding phase, well okay on a weight loosing and fitness regaining phase and it is always great to ride with TC (and for that matter all my other mates). It must be tough on “Die Windhond” to be caged and held back when all you want to do is speed of at full tilt once the starting gates have opened. So respect to my mate.

Chasing "Die Windhond" and catching him - inconceivable

Chasing “Die Windhond” and catching him – inconceivable

So why I am bringing this matter up and posting it to go viral, it is my commitment to try and catch up with him. To go back to all the things I posted and preached here on training discipline, commitment and eating right, but all in balance with not taking out the enjoyment factor of training, being fit and mountain biking with friends. After trying to keep up these last two weekends at the Arabella Challenge and Houw Hoek Tour, I realised I better get my act together again. Will I ever catch up with “Die Windhond”, I don’t know but I am sure as hell going to try. Apparently, according to cycling fundi Shaun Roos I don’t push myself to the extremes that I can, Have Shaun not heard of the energy management philosophy I cycling by… (Always have some in reserve you never know when you might need it, no need to cycle up a 20degree climb at 100% max heart rate, but I do get his point which I just choose to ignore)

Always there when riding

Always there when riding

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These two are nuts

Back to me trying to catch up with The Greyhound, I present Newton’s Second Law: Newton’s second law of motion pertains to the behaviour of objects for which all existing forces are not balanced. The second law states that the acceleration of an object is dependent upon two variables – the net force acting upon the object and the mass of the object. The acceleration of an object depends directly upon the net force acting upon the object, and inversely upon the mass of the object. As the force acting upon an object is increased, the acceleration of the object is increased. As the mass of an object is increased, the acceleration of the object is decreased.
Simply put, if Thinus and I am cycling, pedalling with the same force, the 30kg that I am heavier than him will affect the acceleration or speed I will be moving at than he, as a light weight will be accelerating or moving at. So for me to keep up with his speed I would need to use more force, which would take more energy (we are moving into E=MC² territory here) and with energy depletion I would have to be super, super fit to maintain that over the normal mountain biking distances ridden and thus back to my energy management philosophy. Either I get quickly halfway or I go at a sustainable pace to the end and enjoy the ride…

Where the legend of "Die Windhond" all began

Where the legend of “Die Windhond” all began

Anyway I am working hard to bring down the mass equilibrium whilst increasing the force to be able to catch that fake rabbit on the dog track trails and then “Die Windhond” so we could kick some butt again come the Ride2Nowhere and Berg & Bush mountain bike rides later in the year. Will I ever catch “Die Windhond”? Unless he suddenly puts on 30kg and/or drink a barrel of wine before a race, I don’t think so. What I do know,  is that I will be on the trails and I know he will be there as well as we go on our 2015 mountain biking adventures. Perhaps not always in the same time zone, but on the same trails, enjoying that we are able to explore and experience chasing anything but fake rabbits in the great outdoors.

What cycling friends do in the bush, even "Die Windhond" made it onto this phot

What cycling friends do in the bush, even “Die Windhond” made it onto this photo

Life happens…

Dear Diary it has been 4 weeks since any physical activity in the form of exercise that includes cycling and or cardio in the gym and I can only blame life. Having packed my bag for gym the previous night I tossed and turned this morning, I’m lying, I only turned and the decision was made that I did not feel like going to gym this morning – and yes my clothes are fitting a lot tighter than before. I will have to investigate the washing powder I am using as surely it has nothing to do with living the dream from entertaining clients at the Absa Cape Epic, flying to Taiwan for the Taipei Bike Show and or being sick with flu for the last week and a bit. Nothing I tell you.  Before I continue I would like to apologise to the readers I might have on this blog, as per the exercise I have been neglecting the writing as I need to find that inspiration again for both instances.

 

Riding with the JAGFoundation and the Ride4Change campaign with Stefan Sahm and Timo Cooper

Riding with the JAGFoundation – JAGRiders programme in Bonteheuwel – and the Ride4Change campaign with Stefan Sahm and Timo Cooper

Spending the day at Absa Cape Epic registration representing Mitas. Pictured here with David & Johan Labuschagne, Janka Stevkova, Pavel Nosek (Mitas Czech Republic), Yolande de Villiers and myself. Janka and Yolande from SasolRacing went on to finish 3rd in the Absa Cape Epic

Spending the day at Absa Cape Epic registration representing Mitas. Pictured here with David & Johan Labuschagne, Janka Stevkova, Pavel Nosek (Mitas Czech Republic), Yolande de Villiers and myself. Janka and Yolande from SasolRacing went on to finish 3rd in the Absa Cape Epic

Anyway no excuse as around the corner is the 4th annual Arabella Challenge followed by the Houwhoek Tour a week later, so needless to say gravity and fitness might play a factor as to how I perform at these events. These events are a must on my calendar and I won’t miss it for the world, so join us if you can. With winter encroaching us slowly here in Cape Town riding in the early mornings are becoming more and more challenging due to the cold and especially the darkness which plays a major factor in safety on the bike obviously. So finding that inspiration and digging deep to go out there has been a real challenge, I do blame the flu I picked up coming back from Taiwan though. No I did not wear the ‘mask’ as you commonly see out there. I did try the beer and some of the local cuisine. No factor in shrinking clothes. (Now if only I didn’t donate all my ‘bigger’ clothes after the 2014 Absa Cape Epic weight loss saga. Fortunately Lycra stretches)

 

The sights and sounds of Taipei at night

The sights and sounds of Taipei at night

Spending some time at the Taipei Bike Show meeting up with KTM HQ Austria and KTM Asia

Spending some time at the Taipei Bike Show meeting up with KTM HQ Austria and KTM Asia

To some up my life the last four weeks: Last bike ride 12 March with the JAG Foundation and Ride4Change, and then the Absa Cape Epic activation and sponsor hosting of Pavel from Mitas until the 16th at the event that did involve some cold beers and eating out. Fly out to Taiwan for the Taipei Bike Show on the 17th and return on the 22nd, and of course eating out and having a cold beer or wine with the KTM guys and traveling colleague. After nearly 24hours traveling time; land on the 22nd at 16:00 and be at the Absa Cape Epic after party at 16:30 till late followed by wrap up day with Mitas and the family to ensure everyone is on their planes. Tuesday 24th break down KTM Bicyle display at The Westin Cape Town, Wednesday and Thursday catch up with some old friends, which meant Tequila was involved and still fighting off jet lag. Friday and the flu hits to have me man down the whole weekend and week to follow and withdraw from the crazy idea that was running the Old Mutual Two Oceans Half Marathon and then finally get back on the bike Easter Friday with Eulogy van Dyk from the Ride2Nowhere (Event not to miss as well), still flu-ish and then mechanical after 7km which meant organising another bike for the Saturday ride, with the 22km ride ending in the wind and rain encouraging the flu to stay longer. Easter Sunday potjiekos with mates and Monday lunch at The Toad in the Village and here we are…life just flew by in a few weeks.

 

Local cuisine at KTM dinner, can't quite remember what this was

Local cuisine at KTM dinner, can’t quite remember what this was

Also local cuisine as it was bought in Taipei. Has nothing to do with my experience currently of a heavier gravitational pull from Mother Earth

Also local cuisine as it was bought in Taipei. Has nothing to do with my experience currently of a heavier gravitational pull from Mother Earth

I think all of us have different challenges in life for different reasons and that does play a factor in ones state of mind and behaviour. The only thing we know is that life goes on and it does not wait for you and you need to go out there and make things happen to what you desire and belief that you want out of life, i.e. a washing powder that does not shrink your clothes.

Now that is enough preaching from me as I have some big decisions to make and the first being will I go to gym after work. The bag is packed so I might as well go see if I can still survive the super circuit and then go charge those cycling lights.

 

Hopefully I will be back on track and be able to give some feedback on the next challenge and life adventure and Chantel Rall I’m still not totally convinced Iron Man is for me…#Swimming

 

View from the top of the Taipei Garden hotel

View from the top of the Taipei Garden hotel

As South Africans do we found a pub, even if it was English it was the closest to home and even had Super Rugby on the TV, and of course cold beer

As South Africans do we found a pub, even if it was English it was the closest to home and even had Super Rugby on the TV, and of course cold beer

 

 

 

Taipei1

The MRT is a bit busy on a Saturday in Taipei and maybe I should have worn the mask to fight off the impeding flu

The MRT is a bit busy on a Saturday in Taipei and maybe I should have worn the mask to fight off the impeding flu

A bit more of Taipei City, also known as a enormous flea market

A bit more of Taipei City, also known as a enormous flea market

Recovering at Stage 9 of the Absa Cape Epic, the after party. Best way to combat jet lag i thought.

Recovering at Stage 9 of the Absa Cape Epic, the after party. Best way to combat jet lag i thought.

Taipei10

Unfortunately Marius Hurter was nowhere in sight when I had to break down the KTM display at The Westin Cape Town

Unfortunately Marius Hurter was nowhere in sight when I had to break down the KTM display at The Westin Cape Town

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!

Nowhere but actually somewhere

Now all regular readers of this blog know that I have been bitching and moaning about not getting enough exercise and had the winter blues. But with the 3rd year of the Ride2Nowhere and my 3rd appearance, what a fantastic event as I not only surprised myself fitness wise but also had a whale of a time.

 

All finished and done. Great 3 days on the bike with Thinus Crafford, Andew Rogers and Rob Kucera (Well most of the 3 days because "Windhond" Crafford dropped us on day 2 as he sped off to the finish line.

All finished and done. Great 3 days on the bike with Thinus Crafford, Andew Rogers and Rob Kucera (Well most of the 3 days because “Windhond” Crafford dropped us on day 2 as he sped off to the finish line.

The event has always been close to home and the whole characteristic of the Ride2Nowhere is the way I see my mountain biking as well. Not a race but an adventure to enjoy the outdoors and don’t worry about how fast you can finish it. Enjoy being out in the field, riding you bike at places you would never have been able to. Enjoy the scenery and the camaraderie of friends around you on the bike and off the bike, with a glass of red wine of course.

 

No the route was not easy and we were given a true mountain bike experience, but just being out in nature with friends made up for the suffering one might have endured on those sneaky little (or not so little) climbs pushed you to your limits or limited you to pushing your bike. With the local community of McGregor getting involved and the voice of Mountain Biking, Paul Valstar commentating the weekend of good food, wine and friends is on my riding calendar to stay. Well done to Eulogy van Dyk and Con Viljoen for putting up a fantastic getaway weekend of mountain biking. So don’t miss this and enter for the 2015 Ride2Nowhere (www.ride2nowhere.co.za)

 

It was sad to leave Lord's Winery behind (in the background) The Shiraz is amazing

It was sad to leave Lord’s Winery behind (in the background) The Shiraz is amazing

The KTM Boys - Rob, Andrew and Myself

The KTM Boys – Rob, Andrew and Myself

So yes, on my journey to fitness and weight loss I do feel like I am getting somewhere again and the sacrifice of early morning and disciplined training is slowly paying off again (now just those eating habits) Thanks to Thinus, Loriaan, Thiaan, Gerra, Andrew, Angela and Rob for a great weekend!

 

Next up is BRAIT Grace2Grace at altitude at the Mount Grace Hotel in Magaliesburg. I will let you know how much the lungs burn sucking in the thin air at altitude as I hit the first hill.

 

Keep fit and healthy!

 

PS: Good luck to Vik who committed to 28 days without alcohol from today – MADNESS! But good luck, know you can do it and no alcohol includes those horrible chocolates that have alcohol in!

The view from The Barn guest house we stayed at

The view from The Barn guest house we stayed at

Thanks Pick n Pay Robertson, the water points were amazing

Thanks Pick n Pay Robertson, the water points were amazing

Young Thiaan Crafford helping dad Thinus with getting the right tyre pressure to race away

Young Thiaan Crafford helping dad Thinus with getting the right tyre pressure to race away

Thanks for the gift Ride2Nowhere as I am one of a few to have done all 3 events (This one much quicker than the previous two)

Thanks for the gift Ride2Nowhere as I am one of a few to have done all 3 events (This one much quicker than the previous two)

Interesting experience watching the rugby in the Overdraught Pub with the locals (and some other 'clever' cyclist)

Interesting experience watching the rugby in the Overdraught Pub with the locals (and some other ‘clever’ cyclist)

Not sure why I am publishing this photo. Lets just say we draw a lot of attention on the fancy dress day. For some reason the girls dressed up as flowers stayed clear and far away from us

Not sure why I am publishing this photo. Lets just say we draw a lot of attention on the fancy dress day. For some reason the girls dressed up as flowers stayed clear and far away from us

Putting in the hard work

With the Ride2Nowhere in McGregor happening this week from Friday I had to put in some strategic cycling last week to ensure the legs are strong and ready for action come the word go on Friday morning. And after my Europe trip and Weiss Bier that normally goes hand in hand with going to Germany the commitment and sacrifice training wise was required.

 

For the fun of David, Johan and Morné decided to ride up Möggers Climb (Sigmarszell, Germany) with me in tow, very slow, 418m climbing in 4.9km - I made it though. This is the view from the top

For the fun of David, Johan and Morné decided to ride up Möggers Climb (Sigmarszell, Germany) with me in tow, very slow, 418m climbing in 4.9km – I made it though. This is the view from the top

The week in numbers then, just below 6000m of climbing in 250km of cycling, a combination of Mountain Biking and Road Riding to build strength in the legs and work on the endurance to ensure I can keep up with my partner, well ok, let us be brutally honest, to ensure he doesn’t have to wait too long for me at the climbs and on the route in general. Thinus, remember the Ride2Nowhere is for fun and enjoyment and the race against the ‘other two’ secondary. To be honest this is one of the riding weekends I look forward to in the cycling year and if you haven’t joined us at the 2014 event, be sure you enter the 2015 Ride2Nowhere (http://ride2nowhere.co.za/ ). I can wait to see what the event organisers Eulogy van Dyk and Con Viljoen have come up with for us this year. Well done so far guys and here is wishing you all the success for the coming weekend.

 

If climbing in Germany/Austria wasn't enough I put myself through a week of tough training in preparation for the Ride2Nowhere

If climbing in Germany/Austria wasn’t enough I put myself through a week of tough training in preparation for the Ride2Nowhere

With Spring in the air it is so much easier to get out and ride, it is light earlier and the sun sets later, although still cool you don’t experience Eskimo room temperature anymore when you go out at 5am. Best of all, I can already feel the weight shedding off my winter food fed body.

 

As most know I attended the 2014 Eurobike show 2 weeks ago and it was totally insane. To comprehend how big the world cycling market is one needs to attend this show and to realise how small a portion the South African market is, is scary. It was quite an experience, besides attending the show and occassionaly perusing through cycling related stands, it was great to see parts of Europe I haven’t seen before and exploring the Bodensee area at the border of Germany, Austria and Switzeland on bicycle. The Europeans are just geared for cyclists and the road user so considerate to actually see cyclists as co road users – if only. The whole trip was truly planes, trains and automobiles, oh and bicycles…

 

Now to stay disciplined and enjoy the Ride2Nowhere in McGregor with consuming the award winning Lord’s red win in moderation to not hold back Thinus Crafford in our Giro d’amici challenge with the Westin 2015 Absa Cape Epic riders and of course for the Grace2Grace, Berg & Bush and Wines2Whales that still lies ahead.

 

Come on summer!

 

PS: New research has apparently shown that exercise and red wine combined (red or white wine in moderation) is actually good for you as it improves cardiac health and lowers cholesterol – http://www.outsideonline.com/news-from-the-field/study-says-wine-benefits-athletes.html

Oh and I wonder if we will be lucky enough to attend the 2015 Absa Cape Epic route launch to be held at the fantastic The Westin Cape Town – http://www.cape-epic.com/news/624/?linkId=9511861

The outdoor harbour theater in Bregenz in Austria as part of their Summer holiday celebrations - impressive

The outdoor harbour theater in Bregenz in Austria as part of their Summer holiday celebrations – impressive

On the way back from exploring Lindau, Germany

On the way back from exploring Lindau, Germany

Prost! As always the Weiss Bier is a weakness and a reason to go to Germany

Prost! As always the Weiss Bier is a weakness and a reason to go to Germany

Lindau on bike. Yes I was on a hardtail, awesome bike the 2015 Aera 29 Comp

Lindau on bike. Yes I was on a hardtail, awesome bike the 2015 Aera 29 Comp

S-Bahn and Saffas take over with 4 boxed bikes during the peak hour rush

S-Bahn and Saffas take over with 4 boxed bikes during the peak hour rush

NO! This was closed at 9am in the morning and the church is 50 meters up the road

NO! This was closed at 9am in the morning and the church is 50 meters up the road

UVEX to keep my head safe, you know to protect the little sanity I still posess

UVEX to keep my head safe, you know to protect the little sanity I still posess

Great to catch up with Pavel at Rubena tyres, you know the tyres that keeps me firmly grounded on my bike and makes sure this body has sufficient grip to stay on the bike

Great to catch up with Pavel at Rubena tyres, you know the tyres that keeps me firmly grounded on my bike and makes sure this body has sufficient grip to stay on the bike

Catching up with the brothers from GripGrab gloves

Catching up with the brothers from GripGrab gloves – I Never Lose Grip

It’s over…

The break I have given my followers (Jeez, I sound like Joe Carroll from The Following) and Facebook friends of not seeing that dreaded Latest Move update – is over! Back exercising this morning after yesterday’s move of turning over and switching off alarm to not go to the 90min spin class at Virgin Active, only to later read the Sedentary Sloth’s aka Nikki Ferreira’s blog of how she managed to get to gym and work out – this after … oh shoot I can’t say how many years again…let’s just say decades of inactivity, probably since enforced PE at primary school level. Anyway back to me.

With the beginning of winter in Cape Town it is really tough to find daylight to go riding in and currently I am not a fan of riding alone in the cold and dark, so most of my fat fighting exercise regime will most likely take place at Virgin Active, where it is light and dry and warm. This means though that my Strava mileage will suffer and I will have fewer kilometres per week on the bike – dammit! But a change is as good as a holiday they say so I decided to change with the season as well and actually is focussing on learning to run again. Normally you only run when chased by a rabies infected squirrel, a hungry dog or angry baboon or a very clingy girlfriend. Proud to say I have master the human version of the hamster wheel in the gym now 4 x 20 minutes already (DO NOT ASK AT WHAT PACE I WAS RUNNING!) and this weekend will attempt my first trail run at the Duo Challenge at Blaauwklippen wine estate – this could be funny and painful.

Hopefully by including running in my regime now I can manage my weight with the, obviously, lesser riding time I now have. Seriously, the true test of ones’ commitment to exercise and healthy living comes in the winter months when it is cold and dark and one has to be clever to manage your activities and goals and be disciplined (Too early to go to The Toad for ribs and a Kilkenny draught?).

Then there is the matter of the Enduroman that could possibly or not at all be my next challenge, my friend Chantel still has to do a bit on convincing, she is an Iron Man so I can’t compete with that. The event has 2.5km swim –OK STOP, no need to go further – mental block right there! (Ok and 80km mountain bike and my new sport 21km trail run). I’m speechless and can’t say anything about the matter anymore – I know anything is possible…

Fingers crossed that I don’t look like a fool trying to run on Saturday but at least I have gotten some awesome Mizuno trail running shoes for the race.

Oh and remember not a lot of time left for those early bird entries for the Ride2Nowhere – DON’T MISS OUT!

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The Houw Hoek Tour is an amazing event

The Houw Hoek Tour is an amazing event

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