Out in my office and Standing up!

Now I have picked up a few comments from my friends that seem a bit envious that I am out and about on my bike, as it seems to them, all the time. Yes, this has been a week of note training wise. After the (wait for it) Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Momentum Mountain Bike Challenge I haven’t had a break with loads of hours training in this week. Yes, I am tired as I am typing this and you might see some drool on your screen. Monday started with a 4 hour ride, Tuesday some hill repeats, Wednesday a 3 hour ride in Tokai and yesterday I was fortunate enough to join the 2014 Cape Rouleur Festival ride, another 5 hours on the bike and ended up this morning at the Cape Town Westin for their Movement / Activities launch and filming by KFM. Average wake up time for this week past – 4:30 and through all this I still need to make sure that I do my actual job and things don’t lack behind. So yes, it has been great being out on the bike, but it’s also tough to keep up with your work and sleep. But it’s all worth it!

Myself with Jeremy Harris of KFM and Rob Kucera of The Cape Town Westin (Who is also mad enough to want to ride the 2015 Absa Cape Epic)

Myself with Jeremy Harris of KFM and Rob Kucera of The Cape Town Westin (Who is also mad enough to want to ride the 2015 Absa Cape Epic)

Joining the 2014 Cape Rouleur Festival Ride

Joining the 2014 Cape Rouleur Festival Ride

I officially have no clothes that fit me anymore…everything is just too big. Any females out there keen for a shopping experience in the men’s department?

The Mountain Bike Challenge was a fantastic experience as it was one of the few times I got if my bike at the finish and were smiling without wanting to curse the route designers for some ridiculous parts thrown in as some route designers like to do. And then I experienced the roadie thing by siting in a bunch with the 2014 Cape Rouleur Festival Ride, a different type of cycling experience to be on other than my usual of training by myself. I felt lost between all the roadies as I missed my single tracks; just kidding it was an amazing experience to be part of this race.

With 15 days to go, the nerves of riding the Absa Cape Epic has caught up with me as whatever can go wrong runs through my head and please tell sick people to stay away from me! Mentally and physically that is.

Having fun at the (wait for it) 2014 Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Momentum Mountain Bike Challenge

Having fun at the (wait for it) 2014 Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Momentum Mountain Bike Challenge

As a former and soon to be again Fair Weather Cyclist I can’t say that I am looking forward to riding the (wait for it) 2014 Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour in the wind. They are forecasting some strong winds for the weekend and that has nothing to do with a high bean intake. But tough it out I will have to as all the hard work and commitment has brought us this close to the start of the Absa Cape Epic that I can’t let it slip now. Keep up the training.

I will be riding the Absa Cape Epic for the JAG Foundation and the focus will be on creating awareness of the JAG BullyProof campaign. Why not like the JAG Foundation Facebook Page and find out how you and or your kids’ schools can get involved. It’s free and simple – Stand Up, Don’t Stand By. You can Create the Change – The JAG Foundation uses sport as the medium to teach children to engage in physical activity, absorbing its values and benefits, in order to produce holistically healthy individuals who believe in themselves and their future.

Hope to have your support and watch out for number 137-2 at the Absa Cape Epic and riding partner 137-1, Greg James, we’ll mostly be in purple. You won’t miss us!

To my envious friends – nah nah nah nah nah nah and get on your bikes!

PS: I hope my friends Evert and Nikki has the Boerie Rolls ready by the time I get to Hippy Valley (aka Sun Valley / Noordhoek) Sunday at the Cycle Tour (Would I be allowed to have a beer at 9am?).

Pictured from left; my 1st attempt at W2W in 2011. I was dead last and all the crew at Stillwater Sports had to wait for me to get to the finish. 2nd from left, W2W in 2012 went much better with the help from Swen Lauer and Stillwater. 3rd from the left the mud wrestle at the 2013 W2W race and then what I looked like last week on the bike at the Mountain Bike Challenge. (I should get some new kit)

Pictured from left; my 1st attempt at W2W in 2011. I was dead last and all the crew at Stillwater Sports had to wait for me to get to the finish. 2nd from left, W2W in 2012 went much better with the help from Swen Lauer and Stillwater. 3rd from the left the mud wrestle at the 2013 W2W race and then what I looked like last week on the bike at the Mountain Bike Challenge. (I should get some new kit)

Challenges Galore

Since my swimming escapades last week a few more challenges were thrown my way, none so than having to go ride to the Tokai Mast this morning having to start off in pitch black darkness with only my Magic Shine light showing the route and of course the howling South Easter, but more about that later.

Having mostly, well almost always, training on my own it was great fun this weekend to participate in a team at Xterra SA’s in Grabouw. It is such a great event and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not to be out on the bike by yourself for a change, and having some good friends in Victor Gardiner (our speedster of a trail runner) and Tammy, with new friend Claudia Wesemann (our swimmer, who was very disappointed about a no wetsuit swim) out there made the day so much more enjoyable, and of course on bumps into all the regulars at these events. A big thank you to Stillwater Sports and Entertainment for having my team (Adventure Whale and Friends) participate and congratulations on hosting a successful Xterra weekend.

Myself, Victor (Speedy Trail Runner Gonzales)  & Claudia (who did not swim like a whale :) )

Myself, Victor (Speedy Trail Runner Gonzales) & Claudia (who did not swim like a whale 🙂 )

Now back to the challenges, first of all I met our team swimmer, Claudia, that morning, so first challenge was to recognise her coming out of the water. “Remember I’m the guy with the KTM logo on my chest”. All went well as Claudia had a great swim and though the chaos we managed to find each other and off I went. Next challenge – fighting off triathletes on mountain bikes as I went out with a flurry of athletes, all weighing far less than my 108kg’s. The first part of the race is up, up and up so I was passed by plenty lightweights, not deterred I focused on the long term and my riding in preparation for the Absa Cape Epic. Next challenge – now thanks to coach Swen Lauer my technical skills have improved immensely and I can now actually ride over a rock, blessed with these skills the single tracks were fantastic as I caught up with the other riders , biggest challenge to pass them on the single track without crashing or riding over them. But mountain biking is a friendly and courteous sport so no of the above-mention happened and no athletes were harmed during my mountain biking leg, on purpose that is. (Did witness a few crashes of riders in front of me going down the rock garden.

Finally the 27km (actually 27.8km) was done and chip handed over the Kidney Stones Gardiner, who finished really fast and style, smashing the route and bringing Team Adventure Whale into 16th place in the team category (If only I pushed myself more on the bike we would have done a Top 10). Thanks for a great day out Victor, Claudia, Tammy & Willie (Rumour has it that he is soon to be a mountain biker again) and well done to all that participated.

Look at that dismount skills -  was happy to be back at transition. Lost at least 15min in the last 1km single track behind the one la.. rider

Look at that dismount skills – was happy to be back at transition. Lost at least 15min in the last 1km single track behind the one la.. rider

Next challenge a braai at friends in Grabouw with a hidden agenda (nothing to be disclosed here) and the challenge to not drink too many beers, eat too many succulent filet and stay away from the sweet deserts. I succeeded in only one of the abovementioned challenges.

Now back to today’s challenge, I have never liked riding to the Mast – ever – so when I had to do it today I was not a happy person (a little more than usual). I had to go out early to be back at the office for a 8:30 conference call, which means I would be riding in the dark (yes, with a light) in Tokai forest, I had to push myself (I can only do one pace up to the Mast, sorry coach) and the South Easter were blowing. Not my idea of fun. But I did it and now for tomorrow up and down 3 times (Hope Craig Kolesky is still joining me)

The last week or so I have been really struggling to keep myself motivated as the Absa Cape Epic approaches and the butterflies are flying around in my stomach like the High Protein Future Life in my blender whilst preparing a recovery smoothie. I’m really nervous, nothing must go wrong now, can’t get sick, stick to the training programme and mentally to keep the end goal in mind. It has been an incredible journey so far and I don’t want to mess it up so close to the goal. It has been challenging as I would like to just go out and ride my bike without the ‘have to train’ part attached to it.

Let’s do this, focus and enjoy

View from the Tokai Mast this am

View from the Tokai Mast this am

You've looked left, now look right from the Tokai Mast

You’ve looked left, now look right from the Tokai Mast

Post-Holiday Blues

photo4

It was like Groundhog Day – I am at the Tokai Mast, I am again at the Tokai Mast, and again, and again, and again…

So back to the grindstone we go as work started for me today. After a relaxing holiday, sweating and grinding the gears on the bike, trying to stick to the professional training plan from coach Swen Lauer as far as possible, it’s now back to reality of working and training. It was fantastic to not be woken by an alarm everyday (not to say that it wasn’t freaking 5am everyday anyway) to be up in time to train before work, it was fantastic. I suppose all good things must come to an end and I haven’t won the lottery so back to the office and the everyday routine.

December is a crucial month in Absa Cape Epic preparation and I’m proud to say that I stuck it out, no matter how painful and long it got. Even during the Groundhog Day phase as the Tokai Mast was visited on numerous occasions (9 times in 8 days (5 rides)) I kept myself positive and focussed on reaching the top. At least some game watching was involved during the mast rides, saw a snake, dassie (did you know it is called a Hyrax in English – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyrax), baboons, Verreaux’s Eagle (Witkruis Arend), snails, ants, squirrels and homo sapiens all while carrying my light body up the hill in mostly granny gear. Forgot my helmet on the day I had to do it thrice and sported a nice head band tan for my efforts.

Now take 5 hours in the sun and then remove the sweat band...

Now take 5 hours in the sun and then remove the sweat band…

The words of Karl Platt; “eat less, train more” as advice to riders at the 2014 Absa Cape Epic Route launch still rings in my head as I somehow trained more and ate more to still be above the 110kg mark. It’s like my body just don’t want to make me less of a man. Stubborn fat, get off me now! Or was that traditional food over Christmas at home, or quality the lamb I bought from TheFarmersDaughter (https://www.facebook.com/TheFarmersDaughterSA) or the only 2 beers I had during the break at the Ferreira’s, not sure but a fat war has been declared!

But seriously it is crunch time now and next week I take on the Attakwas (http://www.atta.co.za/), 121km of gruelling mountain biking. I sit here in fear not knowing what to expect at Atta, and this week in Cape Town weather wise, it looks like training will slightly hampered with miserable weather, just like the Monday Blues of being back at work.  Now this past Sunday I did 126km on my Mountain Bike on the road, but from incompletion of Atta in 2013, I know it will be ten times tougher – Judgement Day is around the corner.

I think the toughest part of all this training has been the reluctance to make social appearances. The problem being that I have two rubber arms and normally when there is a social occasion there is beer, and ice cold beer is good. So, be safe and stay away which is not good towards your friends and family. It does take a lot of sacrifice and discipline to train for the Absa Cape Epic and to my friends and family, please understand this commitment and my social reluctance from time to time. I need my beauty sleep and alcohol and fatty food free lifestyle for now. But on a positive note, my couch has given me permission to be out and about, other than on the bike. See you soon.

Wishing everyone a fantastic and healthy 2014, to everyone doing events they have been training for (Chantel) all the best, I know you will do well!

Here is to an adventures (with one ‘s’ as an adventuress is: A woman who seeks social and financial advancement by unscrupulous means – and that’s not me) 2014

View from the Tokai Mast on a clear day - no helmet required

View from the Tokai Mast on a clear day – no helmet required

Top of Chapman's Peak, nearly halfway through my 126km ride this Sunday

Top of Chapman’s Peak, nearly halfway through my 126km ride this Sunday

Being a Woman – Changing my Mind

No, no, no, no, it’s not like that the medication is NOT working I am still riding the 2014 Absa Cape Epic. I started with my official training programme from Coach Swen Lauer for next year’s Absa Cape Epic, all worked out and professional as Swen is and I appreciate that. Being and athlete in training or training to be an athlete I suppose I have to be exposed to the more professional stuff of athletes. We are using Training Peaks (http://home.trainingpeaks.com/) which looks like a fantastic tool, and in true form of a great coach Swen followed up with me last night to see if I understand the programme. Well I was guilty as I haven’t loaded the first day yet and while chatting on WhatsApp I duly posted my first day.

Then the words: “Hans stick to the programme as close as possible and you will be fine” – “But coach it’s raining tomorrow” – “So why don’t you just ride in the rain”. Well, being a Fair Weather cyclist there was no way this was going to happen so I packed my gym bag and set the alarm for a bit later. Riding in the rain goes against everything me as a FairWeatherCyclist stand for!

So 5:15 and my alarm go off and fortunately I had a dry nights rest. NOT what you are thinking, my roof is leaking after the freak storm and onto my bed through the light fitting. I live for danger and sleep with danger – lol. Anyway so up I get, shave, take my gym bag, and walk downstairs to go sit on a spinning bike for an hour. It wasn’t raining and I already peaked out my bedroom window earlier to gage the weather situation

WWBD - What Would Bakkies Do?

WWBD – What Would Bakkies Do?

Then I thought – what would Bakkies Botha or Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis for you that DON’T

I know what Detective John McClane would do

I know what Detective John McClane would do

know Die Hard – really?) do – they would toughen the %^%#& up! And then it happened I was being a woman and changed my mind – on with the cycling kit and out we went.

Now my coach will be happy as I stuck close to the plan but despite riding for an hour in the dry, this is Tokai as show the rain bucketed down and I got drenched, and this in November in the Cape. So toughened up I zig zag to ride my 2hours25 on flat road (I live in Tokai flat roads don’t exist) avoiding hazards like rain confused squirrels that tested my brakes in the rain. You were lucky, next time watch where you scurry to, the nuts on my bike is metal!

I do apologise if I offended any of my female blog followers by using the stereotypical mind changing woman thing, but please change your mind and forgive me.

Off to the next challenge on Sunday at Val de Vie where I will catch up with a few mates, Wikkel, Vic and new dad Thinus.

And maybe a photo of me possibly on a new KTM

*No females, squirrels or snails were harmed during this training ride*

PS: I heard my Absa Cape Epic partner did not go riding this morning