Cries of Anguish…

SAVANAH!! I heard this shrill scream and turned my head towards the noise, OH sh(fill in missing vowel here)t! Now at this stage I was cycling through a sandy patch, in the lower Tokai forest, where runners, dogs and horses (with riders) go for their recreational jog, walk and in this case chasing a mountain biker. Those that have followed my journey might remember the Constantia Dog incident in early 2014, when a well-nourished LSM10 dog who was

The result of being caught by a canine whilst going uphill back in 2014

The result of being caught by a canine whilst going uphill back in 2014

Always stunning riding on Table Mountain

Always stunning riding on Table Mountain (Photo: Rob Kucera)

clearly tired of consuming the prescribed veterinary food on its diet, and decided a bite from a well-defined muscled human leg would taste much better and thus my cry of anguish as Savanah the skinny runners’ dog came bearing down on me.

Knowing that trying to speed away in the sand I knew was not an option, so first instinct was to get to a stop and take my feet off the bike. Combined with the shouting of his/her (let’s call it a she dog, aka Bitch) owner and me getting of the bike Savanah slid to a standstill in a cloud of dust and sand coming to a stop a few centimeters from my previously bitten left leg. Good dog. (Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs and would have 20 if I could, so for a dog to want to attack me because I am a moving object, does hurt my feelings a little bit, because I know it is just instinct. Or it could be the runner owner that does not like cyclist and secretly trains the Bitch to attack). Relieved that Savanah managed to stop before crashing into me, teeth and all, the owner apologises saying sorry. No worries I say, not an issue. Off they went and back on my KTM Scarp I get – that

Boys and their camera phone toys aka Rob Kucera

Boys and their camera phone toys aka Rob Kucera

cry again SAVANAH! Off the bike again and fortunately Savanah retreats and goes back to run with his (sorry her) owner. Waiting until they disappear into the forest I get up and tackle the sand again. Apparently some dogs see you as prey as clearly this one did, find out what to do when a dog is chasing you here or here.

When riding the Absa Cape Epic one will encounter many challenges on-route, like the sandy patch I was riding to up skill my sand riding technique as one, technical tricky terrain, thorns, heat, ridiculous climbs and even possibly a stray dog out there in the sticks. So I saw this as invaluable Cape epic training for me. Needless to say when I caught up with them on the other side of the forest again, I gladly took a small break until they disappeared into the sunrise.

 

My encounters of a canine kind did not end there. Later in that week as I was on my way home from finishing a ride on Table Mountain and cycling through a park close to Kirstenbosch / Bishopscourt area I was seen as prey again.

How fast would you peddle if Rob Vember's little pub Mackenzie

How fast would you peddle if Rob Vember’s little pub Mackenzie

Fortunately the owner was close by and the dogs were well trained and listened when called back and soon found the tennis ball being thrown for them much more interesting than some sweaty mountain bikers legs. And again I love dogs, but I am not too sure what I would do if Rob Vember unleashes his trio of dogs on me…. Especially Mackenzie – sprint record at max cadence in heaviest gear!  She is a show dog after all. But seriously, I do love dogs.

 

It has been tough this last week as the routine of training is catching up with me: “can I just sleep 5 minutes longer, it is still dark outside”. Time is running out as D-day is fast approaching and I thought it well to take my bike in for a proper service, and when I say proper, I mean proper as you will see from the images. The whole bike gets taken

Thanks to the guys from Freewheel Cycology for the proper full service on my bike. Thanks Richard Coram and Sean Wightman

Thanks to the guys from Freewheel Cycology for the proper full service on my bike. Thanks Richard Coram and Sean Wightman

apart and all the components get checked to make sure all is good to carry my petite 107kg body through the last weeks of training, but especially through the 8 days of the Absa Cape Epic. It is super important to make sure your bike is properly looked after and maintained. A simple thing on my bike was the hairline cracks that started to show on my rims. It has done a Absa Cape Epic before and many other stage races since 2014 and I wasn’t always my lean 107kg’s, so some components were bound to take a hammering as I am no slouch going down technical terrain as I hope my friends will justify this and that I am not being too arrogant for a 100kg rider. To

Stripped to the bare minimum - the masterpiece of the KTM Scarp frame

Stripped to the bare minimum – the masterpiece of the KTM Scarp frame

be honest, I have no choice but to go downhill quickly as gravity has that pull, I am just saying and in the words of my mate James Bell (oh and Nikki Ferreira), Safety First.

Most of us just get on and ride our bike but here are some tips from the internet to assist with maintenance and having a good ride or this

Hope this update was a bit more positive and thanks to Loriaan for approving myself and Thinus’s supporters T-Shirts. I think it looks great and thank you for everyone that is supporting us and following us on this journey (Too soon to reveal the T-shirt design).

Oh crack and a cry of anguish - result is new rims and another cry of anguish when the bill came

Oh crack and a cry of anguish – result is new rims and another cry of anguish when the bill came

 

PS: I have seen more squirrels on my rides than dogs and none of them has ever decided to attack me. What I am most afraid of when I do have an encounter with a squirrel is that it might be out gathering nuts for the winter…

Finally got that WattBike in the gym that can measure your performance or non performance for coach Alasdair Garnett at The Practise

Finally got that WattBike in the gym that can measure your performance or non performance for coach Alasdair Garnett at The Practice

When your bike service takes up the whole day and you mate and bike shop owner sends you this :)

When your bike service takes up the whole day and you mate and bike shop owner sends you this 🙂

Power Zones and Comfort Zones

Eish! Haibo! Bliksem!

If I could use proudly and traditionally South African words to express where I am at now with regards to my 2016 Absa Cape Epic training (Follow the links on the words of you are not a South African to find out what it means). I knew when my rubber arm(s) were bent and I buckled under peer pressure to ride the Cape Epic again that it would take a lot of hard work, dedication and training.

The training in the off season on Castle Lite with my mate Ev did not put me in the light weight category of cycling and in the greatest of shape once this monstrous decision was made (We had to finish the free cases of beer). But hey, I’ve done it before so I can do it again and this time from a stronger base and less weight to lose (until I got on the scale and it told me a different Fairy Tale – “Mr Adventure Whale, you have reached baby whale status again and I weighed in at 118kg in October, as per my previous post – WTF!)

The benefits of being out early mornings in Beautiful Cape Town #Sunrise

The benefits of being out early mornings in Beautiful Cape Town #Sunrise

The good news is that yesterday when getting my doctor to verify that I am medically fit (note: not mentally fit) to ride the event, I weighed in at 112kg. Progress made or does the Virgin Active scale add those extra kg’s to make us train harder, who knows but I feel progress are being made. Talking of ‘made’, going for that much needed sports massage made my, and all my aching muscles’ day. One must not under estimate the value of a good quality sports massage on a regular basis. Thanks Nicole (Advanced Massage Therapy) for sorting out all my niggles and also sorting out those stubborn muscles in need of stretching. My calves thank you, so does my hamstrings and my quads and my back and my shoulders and my…every aching muscle in my body.

 

Enough of being zoned out on the torture chamber and back to the other zones. Normally I get on my bike and ride and that was my training, but with what coach Alasdair Garnett (from The Practice) has thrown in, it has been very focussed. We are in the base building phase and phase one included endurance and speed skill, and base building phase 2 started this week that includes Endurance, Force, Speed skill and Muscular Endurance.

I was really starving on this ride and for some reason no one wanted to feed me

I was really starving on this ride and for some reason no one wanted to feed me

Well let me go back a week when I had looked at the 30min gym training scheduled for me post doing the Pennypinchers Origin of Trails (Which was tough but awesome by the way):  10 Burpees, 25 Vertical Jumps, 10 Push-ups, 25 Squats, 20 Mountain Climbers (WTH is this any way I thought!?), 10 Alternating lunges, 100 Jump Ropes, Rest for 1 min AND REPEAT! Haibo! Eish! How will this body ever be able to do that went through my head? Of the exercises that I have done before, those were probably done in the previous millennium and the ones I didn’t know how to do was just too daunting – Bliksem!

At first I was looking at the option to do this at home but then realised it won’t work, my duplex ceiling is just too low and there will be

Good to have had Pieter du Plessis from Iqela Events and KTM Ambassador out riding Origin of Trails

Good to have had Pieter du Plessis from Iqela Events and KTM Ambassador out riding Origin of Trails

jumping involved (not that I jump very high). So after some correspondence with the coach and some encouraging words that it will only be daunting the first time round, I did some research and saw that the studio 1 at my gym is not in use early mornings. The perfect place to hide away from providing the general gym members with some comic relief in my attempts at doing this routine, and it has all the equipment one needs – an exercise mat and a high enough ceiling. Fortunately no one was around to video tape my first attempts at these exercises. When last did you do Burpees or do mountain climbers and jump in the air 25 consecutive times – eish! The gym has no skip rope so fortunately I did 100 jump ropes with an imaginary rope and not once did the rope get caught in my feet, my perfect exercise from the list above.

Surfs up! The one thing I haven't attempted yet is surfing. Maybe my mates Ev, Matt and Toby could take me sometime (Would I fit in a wet suit?)

Surfs up! The one thing I haven’t attempted yet is surfing. Maybe my mates Ev, Matt and Toby could take me sometime (Would I fit in a wet suit?)

For the next couple of days, my muscles not pampered, stiffened up and my quads felt like after stage 1 of the 2014 Absa Cape Epic – don’t touch me or make any attempt to move at all – stiffness galore. But did I listen – No! The training goes on and onto the bike we went again, knowing that a second session of these functional exercises was around the corner. Doing this exercises that I felt daunting at first makes one belief you can actually do it if you apply your mind,  it does  totally push you out of your comfort zone but by just doing it, it does become easier and one realised when things look daunting just go out and do it, it might not be as bad as you think. Having broken through this comfort zone I do realise the benefits of these exercise in explosive power and total functionality and the benefits for me, so I’ll keep on doing it when required, but always in studio 1 away from the public. (The tremors experienced in the Westlake area recently is due to a jumping whale)

 

Last week I had to do 1 hour spin ups on the Watt Bike (just after the burpee episode) which really tested character to push on and keep going at the relevant cadence and heart rate. Up next on the Watt bike was Zone 2 to 4 with Single Leg drills, with the exercise broken down into the relevant Power Zones and not Heart Rate Zone. This was a first for me, I just always got on the Watt Bike and pedalled at whatever I felt comfortable at and at the required heart rate, no focus on power whatsoever.  Apparently the biggest advantage of training with power is that it is like lifting weights, it gives you a distinct workload or total amount of work done. So yesterday’s power zone exercise I think was to assist in getting that peddling stroke symmetric, thus the single leg drills as well as having to focus on staying within a certain power zone whilst at a certain cadence. Not as easy as it sounds and eish, it takes focus and endurance to stick within those parameters.

I like to be outside on the bike but the Watt Bike has it benefits and that is that it can help you get the specific training you need done in a relatively short amount of time each week, certainly less than riding on the road and more focussed. But Haibo! I have had to dig deep at times to keep up to the required cadence and Power Zones. Still though, hard as it has been with getting up early mornings, trying to eat less and right, going out and doing the daily exercise and also put aside some time for work, the journey thus far has been fun and knowing my riding partner is going through the same as what I am, helps a little bit in keeping that discipline and determination of not taking the easy road.

 

All I can say is that when you commit to training for a specific endurance event, know these words, Eish, Haibo and Bliksem – you might be uttering them at numerous time as you push yourself towards your goal!

Now that functional 30 minute training routine is waiting for me again this Friday – Bliksem!

Messing around on Table Mountain with the Flying Pharaoh (Eben Nel) before he leaves for Egypt and Willie du Plooy our pro athlete to keep us in check

Messing around on Table Mountain with the Flying Pharaoh (Eben Nel) before he leaves for Egypt and Willie du Plooy our pro athlete to keep us in check

Playing photographer to give Eben some memories before he departs SA

Playing photographer to give Eben some memories before he departs SA

Glad I am still able to lift my bike above my head. Love my KTM Scarp Prestige

Glad I am still able to lift my bike above my head. Love my KTM Scarp Prestige

The Orange brand dominating Table Mountain at the Blockhouse

The Orange brand dominating Table Mountain at the Blockhouse

Willie just showing off

Willie just showing off

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