Ice Cream, Gum Guards and Mud Slides

The KTM Boys and Peter ;) From left to right: Myself, Rob Kucera, Thinus Crafford, Peter Varrie (Recover soon Peter - he had a bad fall), Andrew Rogers and Marius Hurter

The KTM Boys and Peter 😉 From left to right: Myself, Rob Kucera, Thinus Crafford, Peter Varrie (Recover soon Peter – he had a bad fall), Andrew Rogers and Marius Hurter

As most know I attempted my 5th Wines2Whales Adventure this weekend and to ensure it was a real challenge numerous obstacles were thrown my way, some self-inflicted and others from the Loving Mother Nature.  Now for protection from my numerous fans rooting for my athletic success I won’t mention the names of my friends that forced alcohol down my throat in the lead up week to the event. Yes, there was Tequila involved when I found myself out on a great evening Tuesday night and then the next day there was some more of the beautiful gold coloured liquid from Mexico, which brings us to Thursday and race registration and one cannot be unsociable and must enjoy a few beers with your mates and friends you haven’t seen in ages.

Big to smaller in the Ice Cream challenge; Marius, Rob, myself and Thinus in the start chute before we are about to ackle the race defining hill) Photo Credit: Alexa CunningHAM!)

Big to smaller in the Ice Cream challenge; Marius, Rob, myself and Thinus in the start chute before we are about to ackle the race defining hill) Photo Credit: Alexa CunningHAM!)

 

So Friday arrived and up the mountain we went (400m climbing in the 1st 5km, which is “moerse baie”!) on what would turn out to be a memorable adventure. Myself and riding partner Thinus Crafford had a social bet in racing against Rob Kucera and Marius Hurter (Rocking the orange of KTM Bicycles), the prize a 2l tub of ice cream to each member of the winning team. Now with both of them 100kg or slightly above we thought we were really in with a shot of tasting that sweet ice cream of success. But that was not to be. Rob and Marius rode a tactical superb race as they gunned it from the start, exploiting my climbing weakness and conquering the hill and leaving us behind eating dust, literally and figuratively. Now not making excuses at all but around 40km into the race I hit a solid brick wall so to speak, no energy and nowhere to plug in to recharge, coupled with that a stomach that wasn’t appreciative of my lifestyle choices earlier in the weak, my fastest gear on the day was granny gear and that was just to keep forward motion in trying to reach the finish line on day 1.  So day 1 was not pretty as I had to tough it out through keeping a stomach in check and to make it even more challenging a back that decided pain in the lower back at every little incline is what you will experience. Any hopes of catching the ice cream leaders were ripped from my mind as I struggled up the Gantouw pass step by step with no energy and having to rest to stretch an aching back every few steps. A BIG thank you to Thinus who came down to fetch my bike and pushed both bikes up the pass resulting in hamstring cramps for him a bit later as we started on the single track stretch. I say thank you, but I missed my bike to lean on whenever the pain got too much. Thanks TC, we might still have been on the mountain if you did not come down to help. We limbered to the finish at granny pace, knowing that the next day could only be better. But enough about me on day 1, Thinus decided to fall like three times, mostly in sandy patches and for no reason at all. It did pay off at the end as the photo we posted of him in his natural state resulting in him winning a new Suunto Traverse watch and head lights. Worth the pain I would say.

What one looks like when you look for all the dusty sandy places to fall.

What one looks like when you look for all the dusty sandy places to fall.

Thinus made it on stage to mince a few words with Max Cluer on why he is such a filthy person

Thinus made it on stage to mince a few words with Max Cluer on why he is such a filthy person

Great prize to win. Thanks Suunto for his new Traverse watch

Great prize to win. Thanks Suunto for his new Traverse watch

Having had a proper meal and big meal on Friday night in the Food Lovers riders tent and cleansed the body of all the poison’s elements in the system, I was ready for day 2 which was evident on the climb out of the race village as my partner thought he was still going to wait for me as I sped past him to continue the drive to make up time in the ice cream challenge. Now Marius prior to the race told us to make sure we have our gum guards for the ice cream challenge as it will be tough out there and we should be ready. We pushed ourselves in trying to make up time as we both are pretty good technical riders and today was a single track play day. The previous evening rain fell and at some stage I found myself sliding sideways though mud on approach to a single track entrance, I knew this was going to be a fun day. Having gotten control back of the bike I dually got off and walk the remainder until we could ride again. We did really well and after the 3 falls on day one, Thinus managed to fall only once today and that in a switchback with a spectator crowd from opposite the gorge letting him know that they saw him fall. In fairness, it wasn’t quite his fault as the rider in front of him stopped in the middle of the switchback. Hampering our progress that dreaded lower back pain attacked again which made climbing tedious and painful with me having to get off the bike at times to stretch out my back in the hope it will become better. It did not, but on we went and we would have made my brother-in-law Johan Labuschagne proud as we even skipped two water points in our quest to taste that ice cream. It did not quite work as we were 3 minutes slower than the pair from Team Westin, Rob and Marius but it was a much closer day after the 30min we lost on day 1.

Felt much better day 2 after proper nourishment in recharging my small body. Great food from Food Lovers

Felt much better day 2 after proper nourishment in recharging my small body. Great food from Food Lovers

We all stayed at the lover Arabella Hotel and Spa during the event which resulted in some quality time spent with great people at an awesome venue. Thanks to Wayne and his staff for looking after us and to the support team of Marilize, Hannetjie and the Hurter kids. Over the weekend we have been watching the weather closely, even closer than most farmers would do, and heavy rain was predicted. To our surprise on Sunday the weather seemed cleared and we were distrustful of the weather man and his predictions. How wrong were we, with word of approaching rain we stood in the start chute (with just a cycling jersey on me) hoping it would stay away. Then after racing to position ourselves over the first kilometre the rain started to come down and wind picked up. Did someone say summer (Southern Hemisphere) and it is 1 November! Where the freaking heck did that storm come from, gale force winds with rain pelting into the exposed parts of your body (which in Lycra is a lot) with slippery mud forming with every drop of rain. Now Mr. Ride-and-Fall apparently had a fall at the Houw Hoek switchbacks which I did not see, but the next fall was the worst of all. Importantly he did not wear his mouth guard for the challenge and as I came up the trail being naturally slower I saw his bike in the bushes and no rider and then him lying on the ground, knocked out cold. Yes it is serious as it could have been worse, fortunately Thinus was okay and we moved him out of the way to the side of the trail to find himself after he has been very groggy.  After a couple of

Fantastic to be able to stay at Arabella Hotel and Spa. Thanks Wayne to you and your team for always great service

Fantastic to be able to stay at Arabella Hotel and Spa. Thanks Wayne to you and your team for always great service

minutes we decided to move on the next water point as it did not make sense to sit around in the pouring freezing rain. We moved on at my pace, which is very slow for him and once we fought off the elements we approached the doctor at the next water point with Thinus disappearing into the ambulance for a private interview from the doc to make sure he weren’t concussed. Fortunately all was good and he could actually remember his partners’ name. Thanks for the help Alexa Cunningham to get the doc to look at Thinus. Off we went from there to slip slide our way through numerous muddy trails with me tucking and rolling to avoid a tree stump a slid onwards toward the finish line. For good measure Thinus took his 3rd tumble on the day as we rode over the waterfall section, fortunately that was that for the day as we made it to the finish matching the time of Team Westin on the day but still having the day 1 gap separating us as we ended and adventure full of character testing challenges and fighting the extremes of the weather in the Cape.

 

From big to smaller again as we "represented' our tyre sponsor in Mitas Tyres

From big to smaller again as we “represented’ our tyre sponsor in Mitas Tyres

Lessons learned from this experience is that when you are an athlete in training, try and avoid Tequila in the lead up to your event as it comes back to haunt you, make sure you wear a gum guard if you are a serial faller off your mountain bike and mud sliding can be fun but also dangerous and make sure I have a gas mask ready for sharing a room with my riding partner at the 2016 Absa Cape Epic (You all know who I am talking about)

The FNB Wines2Whales is an awesome 3 day stage race and I have been privileged enough to know have completed five of these. Thank Michael Meyer and the Stillwater team for your support and putting together such a world class event.

 

PS: Don’t tell my pharmacist sister I rode the last day on pain pills to get to the end also bad luck to Andrew Norman who had to pull out on day 2. I know you were really looking forward to doing the event. Next time. To Ashleigh Haigh-Smith good luck in doing all 3 events, you will be super fit come this Sunday and lastly, do you think Marius and Rob would mind if I courier the ice cream to them…

After conquering the extreme weather conditions, nothing beats a hot shower - dirty apparel included

After conquering the extreme weather conditions, nothing beats a hot shower – dirty apparel included

W2W – Going for number 5

It seems like a lifetime ago when I first was crazy enough to attempt riding Wines2Whales on my 26” KTM Score Prestige with in retrospect having had no idea what laid ahead and what I was doing.  What was the longest day (s) of my life on a bicycle just inspired me to become better, healthier and fitter to not have to go through that again. I am still grateful for my mate Evert Ferreira who started on this journey with me and stuck it out as I walked down single track that today I could ride without even flinching. From those early days I am about 30kg lighter a living a healthy balanced life with exercise (well mountain biking mostly) playing a big part in my weekly routine.

Pictured on the left is myself and Evert finishing Wines2Whales with the Sweeps Errol and Matt - Great bunch of guys and I'll always be thankful for their patience and help. Pictured right is myself and Thinus Crafford finishing in 2014

Pictured on the left is myself and Evert finishing Wines2Whales way back in the day (just before sunset) with the Sweeps Errol and Matt – Great bunch of guys and I’ll always be thankful for their patience and help. Pictured right is Thinus Crafford and myself finishing in 2014 with smiles.

 

I must thank Michael Meyer and his Stillwater Sports team who has been encouraging and supportive since I ensured their days of the 2011 Wines2Whales were much longer than they anticipated, the patience they had and the support to have me back the next year to race it again and through their initiative helping me with training and guiding me on the path to cycling and discovering the enjoyment of mountain biking. (Also the following year the event introduced cut-off times, I’m sure that had nothing to do with me and my endurance ride of chasing the sunset on the bike each day)

FNB Wines2Wales is a signature event for me and hopefully it can remain on my riding calendar for many years to come as I am super chuffed to be able to attempt to finish the event with for the 5th time. I am really looking forward to the event as the Stillwater team always puts together a well organised and enjoyable event and every year there are more and improvements. Please don’t tell them my training is not where it should be.

I just had to share this pic from my early toxic fluid cleansing ride outside Robertson this weeken

I just had to share this pic from my early toxic fluid cleansing ride outside Robertson this weekend

This weekend saw me out camping, something I haven’t done in ages and what a great experience it was. Forget about sleeping in a tent and all the other non-apparent glamorous stuff as just being out with great people with loads of fun made for a fantastic weekend. Well done Nikki on surviving your first “glamping” (Glamorous Camping) experience. Rich and Diana thanks for the organising of everything and all the arrangements, I’m sure Toby, Anna, Matt and Liesl will support me in saying that it was great and we need the abovementioned four to ensure we visit the best farms for great wine tasting. Speaking of which, this fits in perfectly with the upcoming Wines2Whales adventure as instead of riding my bike and training, I tasted wine instead and the good food enjoyed (even my potjie as edible) worked towards adding to my whale weight. It was a great weekend and we had so much fun and laughs that the one bike ride on Saturday morning might as well been seen as just body cleansing of toxic fluids. Let’s go camping!

 

I can’t wait for the weekend to catch up with all my mates and people one has befriended at W2W over the years. Thinus travel safe and let’s make this one and event to remember and make sure Rob and Marius does not get to taste that tub of ice cream of success!

As at most camping trips cold liquid was enjoyed

As at most camping trips cold liquid was enjoyed

Fire and a potjie as we waited for the wind...

Fire and a potjie as we waited for the wind…

The yummy contents of the potjie (No it was not banting friendly)

The yummy contents of the potjie (No it was not banting friendly)

A Zebra was spotted in the campsite #NoComment

A Zebra was spotted in the campsite #NoComment

A plan was made to watch the rugby (and then we lost)

A plan was made to watch the rugby (and then we lost)

Don't worry Evert, only the adults went wine tasting

Don’t worry Evert, only the adults went wine tasting

Blown Away

Figuratively and literally blown away, what an amazing FNB Wines2Whales Adventure experience this year as the team from Stillwater Sports just keeps on improving on hosting the event and looking after the riders. Then of course the trails and changes in the route were a positive to have eliminated some of the tedious, and dare I say it, ‘horrible’ sections of the previous years. The riding was fantastic, so big up to Johan Kriegler, his team and the guys from Cape Trails. We do appreciate the hard work and effort put in that makes this another must ride event of the year. Congratulations to the W2W team and good luck with the Ride and Race. I am sure the riders will go away extremely pleased and ready to enter for 2015.

 

Looking fresh and relaxed prior the start at Lourensford Wine Estate (If only the trees knew what was about to ... hug them)

Looking fresh and relaxed prior the start at Lourensford Wine Estate (If only the trees knew what was about to … hug them) Thanks for the photo Cherie Vale

Now to the blown away part – as we checked the weather for the weekend we noticed that there would be a slight breeze blowing over the 3 days, called the Cape South Easter and as most in South Africa know, there is no such thing as a slight South Easter. The wind would be howling! Now after the 2013 mud wrestle through day 1 of Wines2Whales, the wind was just another challenge. The event could not have started better as my riding partner and I decided that our pre-race meal would be steak and red wine, as always a brilliant choice as we fluffed around with last minute logistics, packing and ensuring our KTM Scarp bikes (Beauty aka Princess and the Beast be in top shape for the event; and I am not cycling on Beauty, just saying) are prepped and Thinus making sure the misses, Loriaan and Thiaan the little one is all sorted in joining us at Arabella Hotel and Spa later on the Friday.

 

Good to catch up with coach Swen Lauer. Hope I did him proud with my 'Olympic' performance

Good to catch up with coach Swen Lauer. Hope I did him proud with my ‘Olympic’ performance

Anyway, we shoot through early morning to the start early morning and it was great to catch up with loads of familiar faces. Eventually we start and off we go on the first &^#@^&& of a climb and expecting it to be as bad as previously I was pleasantly surprised when the road was in prime condition and the climb got cut short by about 2kms – awesome. And then open space and wham! Straight into your face the slight 50km/h South Easter and the battle begins… We had a good day on the trails as the revised route was a breath of fresh air and Thinus did not fall too many times, not yet that is. Once over the historical Gantouw Pass the fun began as we hit single trail after single trail. Fantastic riding and even being blown around on the bike was not too bad as the fun element compensated for peddling harder into the wind at times. Day one done and dusted!

 

On the morning of day 2 as we left Arabella Hotel and Spa the golf flags were being bent over horizontally and we expected the slight breeze to provide a real challenge on the day. Day 2 is the fun day with 70% of the route being on single track and this is where my riding partner decided to be even more environmentally friendly as he would be known as The Tree Hugger after completion of this stage. I know one should not laugh at someone’s misfortune and it could turn out badly if one falls, but to see your cycling partner end up hanging onto a tree with the bike on top of him did have its hilarious moments…if only I rode with a video camera because there is more to come. We had another good day of fun on the bike, tree hugging aside and were looking forward to the last day. As it turned out one just accepts the wind, keep on riding; enjoy the spectacular single tracks and the tree hugging spectacle that goes with it to make it another memorable day.

Relaxing and recovering after day 1 at Arabella Hotel & Spa with some Skins recovery active socks. Thank you for those involved in organising the accommodation and Skins

Relaxing and recovering after day 1 at Arabella Hotel & Spa with some Skins recovery active socks. Thank you for those involved in organising the accommodation and Skins

 

Ready for day 2 action with single tracks galore

Ready for day 2 action with single tracks galore

Day 3 is supposed to be a fast day and after sorting out some last minute logistics again for that post-race transport we head on over Houw Hoek Pass in the slight drizzle, thinking: Oh my word, rain and wind! But fortunately the rain disappeared and we were only faced with fighting the South Easter on the bike, and of course those nasty trees that could jump at you looking for a cuddle or a hug. We raced off and after the 2nd water point Thinus got attacked by a sandy patch on the trail and the closest friend he could find was a lonely tree minding its own business just going through the photosynthesis process bru and then suddenly received a hug from a sweaty human trying not to nose dive into a sandy patch. Saved by the tree from an embarrassing dive into the sand pit, good save Thinus. Anyway I won’t go into too much detail on the route and the happenings out there, from suffering uphill (as I normally do) to racing at uncommonly high speeds through certain sections and smashing those fantastic single trails with technical brilliance, as I just wanted to say that this was an amazing event and thanks for riding with me Thinus.

 

Since my first Wines2Whales in 2011 I have shown a slight improvement in my mountain biking capabilities and form:

2011 – 25:17:48 (Yes that is 25 hours in the saddle over 3 days!)

2012 – 21:49:14 (Yes, still over 20 hours in the saddle)

2013 – 19:35.01 (Just made it under 20 hours and still weighed over 120kgs)

2014 – 15:01:35 Yeah Baby!

You all know about my journey and I am slightly lighter in weight than I used to be. It just shows that you can achieve something if you work hard towards it and align you with people that motivates and support you. So thanks to Evert Ferreira for riding with me over the first 3 Wines2Whales events and sticking with me patiently on the bike as I slugged on to the finish each day, appreciate the effort and support mate, and Wikkelspies for believing in me and encouraging me and always willing to go for a ride. Thanks to Thinus Crafford for this year pushing me (although he would deny it) to new levels of mountain bike riding throughout the year and to the Wines2Whales team for having me back each year after that first few races. To coach Swen Lauer for getting me on the right track and always helping with advise and support (Check out his training school – Pedal2Medal)

 

So the aim for next year would have to be to better the 15h mark. We finished 249th overall and 121st in our category. Super chuffed! Not that the results really matters as participating and completing it was all that it was about.

 

And not even the howling South Easter could damper and blow away the fun we had at the 2014 FNB Wines2Whales event.

Heading into Botrivier on the last day with Thinus for once not overshooting a corner #insideline

Heading into Botrivier on the last day with Thinus for once not overshooting a corner #insideline

Proud of his dads first Wines2Whales finish and probably will grow up to be a tree hugger ;)

Proud of his dads first Wines2Whales finish and probably will grow up to be a tree hugger 😉

Finished and proud of it!

Finished and proud of it!

Two Triathlons and a Wedding – and W2W tapering …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suit Selfie

Suit Selfie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oops, this can be out before the You Magazine

Oops, this can be out before the You Magazine

 

Back on the damn bike ;)

It has been a fantastic week! No training, no exercise, nothing! Just being lazy and of course working and supporting at FNB Wines2Whales race. Supporting fellow KTM riders Johan Labuschagne & Yolande de Villiers and spending time with my sister (married to Johan, which meant I supported my brother in law as well) driving from water point to water point with Dirkie and Henties (Yolande’s husband). Always good to see the De Villiers family from Oudtshoorn and FNB Wines2Whales has become some sort of a tradition. Well done to Yolande and her partner (Jennie Stenerhag) who won the ladies at W2W. Johan and Gerrie Beukes just missed out on the podium finish 4th in the Vets category. But enough of that now…and the race guys had it easy anyway – NO MUD!

Congratulations to Yolande de Villiers and Jennie Stenerhag winning the ladies category at FNB Wines2Whales

Congratulations to Yolande de Villiers and Jennie Stenerhag winning the ladies category at FNB Wines2Whales

When my alarm went off this am I did not really feel like going riding as I enjoyed the week of

Johan at water point 2 stage 2 heading for the amazing new hanging bridges on track

Johan at water point 2 stage 2 heading for the amazing new hanging bridges on track

sleeping a bit later every day, immensely. But hey, apparently I’m doing some 8 day mountain bike race next year so I better get my arse lighter and in gear. So scrambling to get everything right off I went and the body ached and moaned at me, why am I doing this again? But as the ride progressed and I was climbing up Black Hill I was actually enjoying being out on the bike again and for good measure on the way home I threw in a Boyes Drive Climb. Better get the intensity up!

I’ve entered myself to ride the EAI Val de Vie MTB Challenge on the 24th and better keep in shape. Can’t go and disappoint Victor Gardiner by not being in top shape at one of the events hosted by the new company he works for (See Vic, no names named for the All Speed Go event)

And then the following week of for some altitude training at the Magalies Adventure where I will hopefully be Having Proper Fun again as guest of the hpf guys. So the pressure will be on to perform and I do think I need to arrive a wee bit earlier in Gauteng / North West just to acclimatise. My slender body needs all the oxygen I can get. But seriously, I am lying if I’m saying I’m not nervous about riding the 2014 Absa Cape Epic, because I am! In the words of Karl Platt: “Eat less, train more”, but I need my food. I digest again, sorry digress again.

Dirkie wanted to see whales again like in 2012, thus see turned from the ocean and faced me with the camera..

Dirkie wanted to see whales again like in 2012, thus see turned from the ocean and faced me with the camera..

See you on the trails and soon I will be following my training programme again,

Always good to see the Hurtenator, here with myself and Henties. War stories off the bike from Marius

Always good to see the Hurtenator, here with myself and Henties. War stories off the bike from Marius

tailor made for me by Coach Swen Lauer, legend! (Does anyone know how to get your resting heart rate, I never rest, please help as the coach is looking for this)

Till next time and then I’ll give some feedback on doing a VO2 Max test – eish!

This moment made my W2W Race - Mad Cherie the photographer always in good spirits!

This moment made my W2W Race – Mad Cherie Vale, Newsport Media photographer, always in good spirits!