When there is just water…

Now those that know me know that over the last few months a have had some seriously bad luck with my geyser at home and seeing that this is Friday the 13th we can talk about bad luck. This week I attended the Absa Cape Epic sponsors ride and dinner at Steenberg Golf Estate and was ecstatic to be able to go for a mountain bike ride in the week and not be stuck in the office. Having my brother-in-law with Morné van Greunen from exxaro / Cycle Lab Pretoria on the ride, as well as the potential 2015 Absa Cape Epic riders of Rob Kucera and Andrew Rogers made this ride even more enjoyable. It’s a great bunch of guys and to spend time together on the mountain bike and in my back yard in Tokai made for a great afternoon of riding (And all of us are KTM bicycle rides, just saying).

Riding through Faerie Garden in Tokai with Johan and Morné

Riding through Faerie Garden in Tokai with Johan and Morné (Photo from the Absa Cape Epic taken by Greg Beadle)

Now it being the rainy season on Cape Town there is water everywhere and the pessimistic (realistic) self, decided that I can’t risk not training on the day as I thought the ride might get cancelled after the endless rain we experienced in the lead up days. So 05:15 spin class for an hour, 40 minutes of weight training and then no ride cancellation and an hour 20 ride in the afternoon. A proper days training, I could have been a pro. So after all that the ice cold Castle Lite draught tasted sweet with abovementioned friends (And if only Craig Kolesky haven’t decided to break his chain).
Now being a lead rider was quite an unique and first experience for me as you all know of my exploits and taking my time to finish an event, at the rear end of the field (except when riding with Thinus Crafford and me chasing to keep up, just ask Marius Hurter). So I took the boys down the Tokai single track having to make sure I stay on the bike and for the non-Cape Tonians they are not used to the slippery roots in Tokai – so much responsibility to keep them save, I even broke a sweat. (That could have been because of all the layers I wore for the cold, always be prepared for the worse). Water was streaming everywhere in Tokai and it was a pity we didn’t have more time to take the boys to all the routes up in Tokai. This is if I could remember all as I haven’t been up there because of ALL THE RAIN. So much water and cold, as a potential pro athlete I should consider moving to warmer climates during the winter I think. I digress.

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Andrew and Rob’s first experience of Tokai Forest (Faerie Garden) and hopefully we can do another ride with them to show them more. (Photo from the Absa Cape Epic taken by Greg Beadle)

Now leaving the Absa Cape Epic ‘after’ party I was saying good bye to John Smit (you know him as the former Springbok captain and now Absa Cape Epic finisher) and clearly the Cape Town weather has affected John’s mind, I say water on the brain, as told me “See you next year” – meaning riding the 2015 Absa Cape Epic (unless, miraculously Thinus finds us a sponsor), no pressure) . Madness I tell you! I came to this realisation when after a few glasses of red wine at the function my geyser decided to let me have a cold shower to bring me to my senses, no Absa Cape Epic thoughts – WAKE UP! I’m sure I will see John at some race in the future.
Talking about water on the brain, it is official I am riding Wines2Whales with Thinus, which means I have to keep on training and maybe in the rain. It seems that Thinus for fun go ride a quick 20km with 700m of climbing, for fun and do climbing loops – madness! And yes it forces me to keep on training. The infrequent training has helped my knee to recover (as a true sportsman you never reveal your weakness, in my case the left knee and oh shoot (nice word I used, could have used a different one), I just did. Having struggled with my back as well at the Darling Extreme a visit to the chiropractor and masseuse sorted that out for a bit. I still blame the bad knee for the lower back pain as I transfer my cycling cadence away from the leg and use my back or so they claim, maybe it is just old age and a hookers disease, NOT that kind of hooker, we are talking sport here – rugby.
Anyway with the following events lined up Die Burger Mountain Bike Challenge, Ride2Nowhere, Arabella Challenge, Grace2Grace, Berg and Bush Great Trek and Wines2Whales Adventure I am confident that I will keep and improve on my current body shape and I can’t let the Sedentary Sloth beat me in weight loss and fitness.
As an Aquarius I must just do my job and carry this water through the winter and keep on training.
And I won’t be Banting!

PS: I am suppose to do the Liberty Duo Challenge this weekend, but it looks lik

Look at that descending style. Swen Lauer will be stoked with my style!  (Photo from the Absa Cape Epic taken by Greg Beadle)

Look at that descending style. Swen Lauer will be stoked with my style!
(Photo from the Absa Cape Epic taken by Greg Beadle)

e rain…

Will we see these two at the 2015 Absa Cape Epic (I I could do it ....) (Photo from the Absa Cape Epic taken by Greg Beadle)

Will we see these two at the 2015 Absa Cape Epic (I I could do it ….)
(Photo from the Absa Cape Epic taken by Greg Beadle)

Always beautiful and privileged to ride here

Always beautiful and privileged to ride here (Photo from the Absa Cape Epic taken by Greg Beadle)

Yes there was bike pushing - to get up this hill (Photo from the Absa Cape Epic taken by Greg Beadle)

Yes there was bike pushing – to get up this hill (Photo from the Absa Cape Epic taken by Greg Beadle)

Snap, Crackle, Pop!

Having always been slightly bigger build than the average human being I used to find myself playing in the middle of the front row of rugby teams since high school days and way too long during varsity (for the current Varsity Cup Champions, just saying) with the odd occasion, well more than I would have liked to, also to the left of the guy in the middle of the scrum. Anyway so like most of us getting older that participated in this physical sport, it catches up to you. And then for some unbeknown reason you decide to take on one of the toughest mountain bike races which requires a sh!tload of riding. Needless to say your back is quite involved in this training and former sport participation, so the odd lower back pain will set in.

Now in beginning December I was getting a much needed massage (as our athletes in training do) when Nicole Walder mentioned that my spine is a bit out of line towards the left. My answer: “It should be, from lying on the couch during winter hibernation, for years some might say.” But after indulging the painful merciful muscle release torture she mentioned I should perhaps go to a chiropractor to sort me out, get me straight one would say. Now that has been playing on my mind since the beginning of December. I have never been to a chiropractor, does it actually work and being a bit stingy, what would it cost. So I just delayed and delayed and being from the tough parts of the North West province, toughed it out – until now.

The needles are quite an experience, especially if you see what it looks like afterwards

The needles are quite an experience, especially if you see what it looks like afterwards

So I finally got the courage together to book a chiropractor visit for yesterday. Having the image of Alan Harper from 3 & ½ men as chiropractor in my head, I was not convinced that it would work. But training for the Absa Cape Epic one will try anything. So onto the table I went.  Going through my history with chiro Carl de Coning he made me feel at ease (even if he is a Sharks supporter) and explained exactly what he was going to do, first the needles – and OMG, do you know how deep those things penetrate and bend (should have taken a photo). The needless was not as bad as I expected and then the manipulation started. Snap, Crackle, Pop.!

“You and I am going to scrum now, and I will help you to get in all the position you need to be in” Eish, I thought. What am I doing to myself, Snap Crackle, Pop. I did not know there are so many things that needed to be popped back in line. Carl was great and personally it was quite a weird experience to feel all these thin (lol) skeleton bones be manipulated back in place. The popping creaking in the neck was the worst…

Talking about popping creaking sounds, another snap, pop, crackle sound I experienced during the week was me destroying a Fynbos plant on my technical skills ride on single track through Tokai. Shhhh, don’t tell Sanparks, Fynbos are protected; I’ll be in trouble for destroying it. In my defence, the Fynbos should never have grabbed me by my handle bars as I rode past it, what did it think…I wouldn’t defend myself? Of course I would as a gently flopped my body onto the plant, snap, crackle, pop – and there you have it a wider single track going up Tokai. Mountain bikers can thank me later (I really should apologise to the Fynbos, I think – I am slightly bigger than it).

 

Had a great ride last Sunday up Red Hill. Stunning view over Simon's Town

Had a great ride last Sunday up Red Hill. Stunning view over Simon’s Town

Well this week riding has been interesting as coach Swen Lauer gave me some specific training rides to work on my cardio recovery including a pyramid ride. I won’t swear about this one, plus some hill repeats, lovely. But overall it was a good week as during my technical skills rode I conquered and rode all obstacles but one that I have been able to clear in the past. And yes Thinus, I managed that top single track rooted corner down (not up yet) without getting off or falling.

With 50 days left the nerves are slowly setting in as the prologue is getting closer every day. Next week I will be off to Isuzu Ride The Rock in the Cederberg (www.cederbergevents.co.za) for a 3 day stay race. This is truly a great event, so relaxing and in a surreal setting with no cell phone reception and fantastic red wine.

 

Back to the chiro, I feel fantastic today and can actually look far left and far right again as I can freely rotate my neck. Back feels great and on my ride in Stellenbosch tomorrow we will see how it holds up.

 

One last thing, congratulations to everyone that completed the Ironman 70.3 in East London last week, it’s a great achievement and special mention to my friend Chantel Rall who overcame cancer and was determined to walk the red carpet at the event – inspirational. You make me believe that this Absa Cape Epic 800km 15,000m of climbing 8 day mountain bike stage race can be conquered, creaking back and all.

Read her race report and journey here: http://www.theworldaccordingtoaprincess.co.za/2014/01/my-ironman-703-journey-after-it-all.html

 

Next week will be feedback on why I shave my legs, and/or should I wax….eish

My healthy lunch caused quite a stir on Facebook. Maybe I should weigh myself again and give an update

My healthy lunch caused quite a stir on Facebook. Maybe I should weigh myself again and give an update

Had some time to watch the cricket at Newlands last week - a welcome break from cycling

Had some time to watch the cricket at Newlands last week – a welcome break from cycling

Post-Holiday Blues

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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