Friday, August 20, 2010

Trans Baviaans 2010 part 2

The Start

The vuvuzelas sounded and the race began... slowly...

To get 1000 riders in 350 teams out of the start area was always going to take a while. When we finally got to the start blimp, people were going around it, through it over it... no, not really over it :-)
It was quite cramped though...

There was another whole mass of people off to the left of the blimp which you cannot see, because they are not on the photograph :-)

Finally reaching the blimp, I went through it and blasted off down the road in chase of the leaders. The team was on my tail, and we caught and passed the leaders at that stage in about 45 seconds.

Oh wait... That was the dream I had the night before...

What actually happened, is in the start confusion, I managed to sneak through the crown fairly quickly, and promptly lost the rest of the team, who are obviously not as adept (rude?) as I am at crowd swimming. So I rode along at a nice easy pace waiting for them to find me, which they eventually did - about 1km later :-)

We toured through the town of Willowmore, down the main street and the turned off onto a rocky jeep track, which would eventually (at 7km) spit us out onto the main dirt road leading through the Baviaans Kloof. On this road we would stay for the next eternity.
This would last until about CP2 at 110km, with Hammer Nutrition CP1 at about 50km. At CP 2, we had sent our light ahead in the race box 1, so we spent some time refilling energy drinks, lubing chains and attaching lights. Then we were off again.
We rode along one of the most beautiful riverside jeep track, with plenty of small river crossings, just enough to get your feet wet...
Some small climbs, and then the first "biggie" for the day - Up to the top of the Baviaans Back. Not high by any means at about 200m, but fairly steep and at a time in the race when the climbing legs haven't really done anything yet, so it comes as a shock. Also, we hit it about 16:00, meaning it was actually quite hot. But it was quickly dispatched, and the a rocking downhill the CP3, with box 2. Here we ate a quick supper of sosaties and potato and coffee, with some orange slices thrown in. I didn't eat too much, as I am prone to and not particularly fond of cramping. Fortunately, it was starting to cool down a bit as the sun dipped below the mountains.
Then we hit the fangs: two short sharp climbs of about 100m high and 1-2 km long each. They were almost over before they began. By this time it was starting to get a bit darker, so the light were beginning to come on.
We had finally reached the MAC - Mother of All Climbs. It is 500m high stretched over 10km. All I can say is that the granny gear was used copiously. I put my head down and just went, eventually cresting after running out of water about 4km from the top. I had a bit of a wait for my team, and then we hit CP 4 where we had soup and sat at the fire trying to get a bit warm. It was after all, after 21:00. Luckily we had sent all our warm clothes here in box 3, which was gratefully donned.
In the dark...

We pushed on to CP5, which was reached after an awesome descent in the dark, with lots of switchbacks. It was amazing to look back and see the lights coming from almost directly above us. CP5 also heralded our first meeting with our SuperSecretSecond Support driver. I caught an energy dip here though, and it was decided, quite unanimously I might add, that we were going to have a sleep here for a while. Long story short, I slpet for about 30 minutes in a camping chair freezing various parts of my anatomy off, while the rest of the team slept in the Sharan, fogging up all the windows...
I went to warm up at the fire, and managed to bum a piece of game sausage off the people there. I also consumed copious amounts of Energade or some such, not really sure what it was, and I didn't really care. I have to say, some of the people there were also "well lubricated"...
We finally left for the final stint to the finish. We still had another 50km or so to go, and were finally beginning to smell the end. A bit prematurely, as it turns out though.
As we hit the Never Ender, a climb which is not steep specifically, but stretches over approximately 18km with 400m accumulation, we also got caught in a windstorm, with gust of up 80km/h, if I had to guess. This wind came from all directions. You never knew when it would come from where. It almost blew me off my bike on more than one occasion. To make matters worse, Cat-I was seeing some seriaas sleep monsters, which were threatening to put her on the ground and keep her there for a while. She did manage a 10 minute snooze while I changed a battery, and we finally made it to the unmanned CP6, which was at the very top, and earlier than expected based on the route instructions.
CP7 Followed soon after, and here we had Jaffles, Coke and coffee and Cat-I had another good snooze. The people manning the refreshment table said that the last person who laid on the ground like that was put on a drip by the medics. Cat-I, however, said just leave me, I wanna sleep :-)
Much refreshed we attacked the last 22km, which turned out to be the only piece of singletrack. OK, it was a narrow dirt road come jeep track, but it FELT like singletrack :-)))
One climb of note, which was rocky and technical, then we were back on big dirt roads. Finally reaching the main tar road going past Jefferys bay, one could literally feel the spirits lifting. We were almost there!
We turned off into Jeffreys Bay and rolled into the finish after 18h42min.
The Finish - YAY!!!

We gratefully munched the complimentary Spur burgers (who knew they could taste that nice?) and went off to our campsite, which our SuperSecretSecond Nicolien, henceforth known as Kattemaaier ;-) set up while we were still busy with the first half of the race.
Funny story... Kattemaaier is an ardent amateur photographer, as I mentioned in part one, and part time mudskipper. The lack of proper photos is due the the fact that she tripped and fell in the mud, covering herself and her camera with mud. I hope it's fixable...

Yes, we were at the sea
Mudskipper Pan

 Thanks to all for a very memorable time. I would race with you guys anytime anyplace.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Trans Baviaans 2010 part 1

This weekend past the long awaited and prepared for Trans Baviaans took place. It happened to coincide with the Leadville 100, a 100 mile MTB race in Colorado at high altitude (see Fatcyclist's blog here and here - well worth the read...)
The Trans Baviaans is somewhat tougher.
Yes, it's at low altitude, and yes, the climbing is similar (slightly less, in fact) over a longer distance. This sentence, however, also contains the reason for my statement. A Longer Distance. 65km longer, to be more precise.
This race is billed as the the longest single stage mtb race in the world. This may have been true at its inception, but now with Sani2C nonstop and Desert Dash, it may have lost its claim. However, because Desert Dash can be done solo, and many do it, it can also be done as a relay, and Sani2C Nonstop seems to be a bit erratic in taking place, I'm going to claim that we finished the longest single stage mtb race in the world. There is no halfway, no team relay.
You just keep going. And going. And then you go some more :-)
But man, what a beautiful piece of country. I tell you the truth, SA must be one of the most beautiful place in the whole flipping world.

The Journey

Anyhow, the team (Adri Ferrari, Carine Cat-I, Brendan DuctTape, Nicolien Without-Nickname-yet and I) drove down to Willowmore (the start) on Friday. It's a long drive from Gauteng. It took about 10 hours to get there from picking up the girls in Jozi, and another 2.5 hours before that for us guys to pack and travel to them. This of course includes lots of stops to rest eat and take photos (Did I mention that our designated SuperSecretSecond and support driver Nicolien is an ardent amateur photographer and part time mud-skipper?)

We came from there...
We're goin there...
We also discovered just about how far a VW Sharan TDi can go one a full tank... Pretoria to Willowmore... 1050km on 80l with 5 people and four bikes...
We made it with a fume to spare :-)

The Accomodation

Registration and Race Briefing were dispatched  with jovial informality, and then we were off to our accommodation for the evening. A bit of a drive back along the way we came, but we weren't scared of a little thing like that. We were booked in to a guest farm owned by Cobus and Louretta Lotter. It should be noted here, however, that they own TWO farms, one which is the guest farm previously mentioned and one where they themselves stay. We were supposed to go to the one where they stay. Of course, the gps coords were for the other one...
Luckily here in Africa we don't trust high technology, so we also had paper directions. Luckily.
The place where we were to stay is nestled in between the Witteberg and the Skoorsteenberg mountains. It makes for spectacular views and a slight minority complex. Of course, it also makes for excellent cellular reception... NOT!!!
Our hosts were incredible.
We arrived there in the dark, and were immediately greeted by various dogs as we stepped out.
then Tannie Louretta came out and welcomed us in and ushered us to the dining room where she had prepared a meal of epic proportions for us. There was enough food. Now, we are a bunch of cyclists (OK, actually adventure racers) and, as everybody knows, only a true cyclist is a bottomless pit when it comes to food (and I'm willing to extend this to adventure racers as well), AND given the fact that there were at least 25 of us between the two farms, AS WELL AS the fact that the food was scrumptious I must give all praise here. And all this with no electricity supply. That was taken care of by a generator!!! These people know how to host. Really well.
View past the farmhouse
We slept like rocks after sorting out the race checkpoint boxes. It's amazing how quiet it is when the nearest tar road is 16km away, and there is no light pollution. We awoke the next morning refreshed.
I climbed up a small koppie to the north of the farmhouse to watch the sun come up. It has actually become a special time of day for me.

Race Day

We had breakfast, another awesome meal where we couldn't finish all the food, packed the car, and drove off to the start.

Adri Ferrari
Carine Cat-I

I can't really wheelie...
Brendan DuctTape

Arriving without major incident (apart from a slight tire blowout) at the start, we get ready (mostly lubing bikes and placing purple alice bands on our helmets) we get to back of the start group and wait for the start in slightly nervous anticipation. For me anyway. At this stage, let me mention that my previous longest ride was 114km and my wife thought I was dead (she kept checking my pulse while I slept just to make sure I wasn't  :-) )
So this was at least double the length of anything I had ever tried.

But we were full of determination to see this through. Quitting is not something any of us take lightly, even with injury.
After the national anthem was sung (a first for me at any race, and a very nice touch), the vuvuzelas were sounded and the race began... be continued :-)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cullinan Diamond Dash MTB

Ok, no Kinetic Adventure for me. But I did do the Diamond Dash MTB on Saturday.
Brendan was also there (eventually :-) ) and Adri. I had a thought that we try to do it as a team, but du to various discombobulations that didn't happen.
AdriFerrari was in the starting group 5 min behind me. I have no idea where B-Dawg was, as I never saw him on the morning...
This did create some mild... worry... as he had arranged to fetch our numbers and race packs. AdriFerrari said that he was under the impression the race started at only 8:15, not 7:30 as it was actually the case.
So I started at 7:40 (3rd start group) after having waited and looked for B-Dawg without a number board. No one seemed to mind except me though :-)
The route was fast. Very fast. Not too technical, mostly, but with a fair amount of thick sand.
We headed out of Cullinan toward the northern side heading mostly downhill-ish for the first 15km, with some short sharp exceptions. Then after an orchard, we were onto some jeep track, followed by a piece of singeltrack with a mucky river crossing. 
Then one of the best parts: we were routed into a private game reserve (not sure if it actually is a reserve...) with another river crossing, but then we hit rocky singletrack as we headed into a gorge (see the image just before the "lowest point" - you can actually see the greenery of the gorge) with a waterfall and a cave. 
Strue. A cave. Well, maybe more of a tunnel than a cave, it had two entraces, but we'll stick with cave :-)
Very nice.
Then we were back onto district roads and smaller farm roads for some good timetrial training. At about 40km we hit my other favourite piece of the route. About 3km of downhill singletrack. Not technical by any means, but flowing hardpack fast. I almost felt like going back up to do it again!!!
Some more roads (This was not Magalies Monster, remember :-) ) and then over a rickety bridge and onto a piece of road next to an orchard. 
Hang on, I know this part... We came the opposite way earlier! for whatever reason, the organisers did not take us round the other side of Cullinan like last year (with its killer climb right at the end), but back along the same route we came out. Of course, then, one knows that all the nice fast downhills of the outride were now uphill drags... At least we knew what was was coming.
A little surprise loop at the end took us to within spitting distance of the big hole and then back to the start finish, for my time of 3:17:25, which I manually had to give to the timekeepers, as I had no number board. I measure just over 62km and 700m vertical ascent, so by no means a fearsome tough race.
All in all, though, a well organised most enjoyable outing.

Trans Baviaans, here I come....

Friday, July 2, 2010

Great Adventure part 3

It is now nearing the end of an exceptionally long, tiring and , for my wife, very painful, day

Jesse was born this afternoon at about 14:15, weighing 3.985kg, being 52cm long and having a head circumference of 36cm.

Not a small baby, then. But par for the course, given that my second son, Connor plonked a 4.16kg onto the scale 6 years ago. With one small difference, which I'll get to in a moment.

Yesterday my wife went to see the gynae for her check up, and she told him that if he thinks the baby is ready to be born, then she's ready for him to be born. Very much ready.

He said it was fine and that we much be the hospital at 05:00 to get ready for an induction. Administered, we settled down to wait.

And waiting would be the theme of the day to come.

Funny how time can be such a relative thing...

Anyhow, at 10:00 nothing much had happened yet, so the doctor decided to rupture the membranes. It was very shortly then that things started happening very quickly.

So from 10:30, until 14:15, less than 4 hours, the labour went form almost nothing the fullblown extremely painful contractions which followed quite rapidly on each other.

We had decided upon an epidural, as with the others, but as the labour progressed, the anaesthetist just didn't shown up. My wife's gynae had a Ceasarian section to perform at 13:00, but the the same anaesthetist was late for that. This was problematic, seeing as how he was supposed to come BEFORE the C-section to give my wife her epidural.

So she never got her epidural.

Let me rather not get into bashing people who are not able to defend themselves, however.

It may actually have been a blessing in disguise.

Jesse took one look at the outside world and tried to climb back into the womb... Seriously, he got a little bit stuck at the shoulder and almost got pulled back in. But a heroic combination of pushing and pulling from mother and doctor got him out in one piece, if a bit bruised.

But I have never heard a woman scream like I did today. You alway hear it on TV and think that they're dramatising this whole event.

Believe me, they're not.

My wife is an absolute trooper, and did an awesome job today. For all my experience in suffering with endurance MTB and painful injuries (I will repost a story I wrote last year about my shoulder in a month's time, watch this space...) I don't think I could ever have dine what she did. Not just 'cos I'm physically not able to, but I don't think I (or most men for that matter) am mentally capable of it.

But to see that little child come out into the light... That is the start of the greatest adventure of all - LIFE.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Rock 'n' Roll

It is now... really early on a Friday morning, 2010 World Cup morning in fact, and it has fallen (hehehe) to me to write this report.
Just shy of seven on the clock last night, about ten like minded insaniacs pitched up at the MooMall ready to brave the slightly... fresh, I believe the word was... conditions to do the famous Rock 'n' Roll Dark 'n' Dirty route. After the usual "social ride nobody gets left behind" speech by Hardy, we were off up the hill and onto Cruiser.
You can say what you want, but Cruiser at speed is still one of the more awesome tracks around :-)
After a quick pomp by Hardy - his rear tyre was squishy - onto Vetseun, taking it easy near the top with all the very loose rocks, and hen bombing it down to the stop street at Smuts Street. Then loop back onto Beeg-Dipper, with some nice technical rumbly climbs. It was somewhere up this where I earned the right to write this prose. I managed to almost endo. On an uphill. But I settled for an inelegant dismount. Unfortunately, my hands touched the ground, and someone was there to see it...
Oh well :-)
Then onto Mielie Muure DH Rush, which was awesome!!! We waited a while at the regrouping point for one guy (I believe it was Willem-without-the-helmet) lost his light. Reattaching required some innovative cable tie usage, and while it pointed somewhat sideway, it didn't come off again.
I took the first speed zone up the hill next th the tar, and then the other Leon took the second from the Shebeen.
Hardy took the third one to the Light At The End Of The Tunnel (Vision). Then down Mineshaft SZ, but just after Blair Witch, Hardy decided he was tired of pomping his rear tyre, and decided to replace the tube. He whipped out a coffee thermos, and some plastic cups, and we all cheered him on while he replaced his tube. Kudo's for taking LATEOTT SZ with a full, seemingly never emptying thermos of sweet milky coffee, by the way :-)
Next it was onto another awesome piece of singletrack, then back into Irene at the cemement factory and onto Python. After tour de Tar, where Mark came flying past me like I was looking for parking to take the tiebreak SZ, which stuffed up all the stats, prompting Hardy to call Quadbusta the tiebreak. This was taken by Leon Smith again, meaning that the Leon's took 3 of the 6 SZ's :-)
Almost home, we hooked onto a piece of dirt road which I have, in my capacity of Writer Of Report, have decided to call Chicanes, and onto the first half of Cruiser, only in reverse.
We were back at the MooMall at 22:30, after 3:14 and 30 km.

Here is the track recorded last night. It was a bit darker than the image though :-)

Thanks to all for a good good night...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

First Ascent Domestique Shorts

So the other day (just before Magalies Monster) I decided I need a new pair of shorts, seeings how my current favourite pair of Capestorm shorts (which is probably about five years old) was starting to look a bit like something out of a porn movie.
NOT that I know anything about that.
Although, almost any new movie nowadays can be classified as such.
Anyway, what was I talking about again?
Oh yes.
The porn shorts.
While still very comfortable, they were starting to be a bit... transparent in certain places...
So off to Sportsman's warehouse I go. Hiho, hiho...
Now, I prefer a more minimalist padding, cos I don't like the feel of wearing a nappy, and it's hard to run with thickly padded shorts, and also bib shorts don't do it for me. Which is a good thing, cos shorts are cheaper than bibs.
Anyhoo, SW did not have any Capestorm shorts. Only First Ascent and Howzit. So after having a good feel at both's padding, I decided on the slightly more expensive First Ascent's. These had an subjectively better feel to them, and being 8 panel, the fit is better than the others. For me anyway. The padding is a bit thicker than I prefer, but also quite firm, unlike the Howzits. The paddin is multiple density, with thicker harder padding on the sit bone area and thinner in the front and on the sides. Also, it touts to have "Anti-microbial padding". I would take this with a pinch of salt, cos after a few rides and (hopefully...) washes, I don't see it making much difference anymore.
So I pays may moneys. All R450 of it, which is slightly more than the recommended R440 on the First Ascent website.
Next day I do the Magalies Mini Monster, and lo, I completely forget about the shorts. I don't notice them at all. Which, to my mind, is exactly what you want. These shorts just fit nicely, pad comfortably without being squishy. No movement, and no uncomfortable squeeze from the waistband, which, by the way, is about 3cm wide.
So, there you have it. Even at the price, I believe these shorts are worth it. In fact, I have since bought two more pairs, which should sort me out for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Great Adventure update

Karen (my wife) is still having some contractions but not as strong as they were. Doc just saw her and he reckons she must stay there another day. The steroids only have any marked effect on the baby's lungs after 48 hours.
So here hoping they'll come home tomorrow, all healthy like.

Great Adventure

So last night we're about to get into bed, when my wife says, "I've been having these really strong and quite painful contraction all day. I wonder if I shouldn't maybe call the hospital and check if I shouldn't maybe come in..."
Of course, given that this is our 4th kid, I reckon that she would know if something is happening.
So off we trundle to the hospital after the nurse told to be rather safe than sorry.
The contractions were coming at a rate of about one every ten minutes, and the doc did an examination and proclaimed that he was going to treat this as premature labour (my wife is almost 35 weeks) so if we could score two weeks everything would be much better.
Cortisone, Steroids, Adalat (an anti hypertensive which also seems to stop labour) and a sleeping tablet later, I left my wife to sleep in hospital.
I'll keep you all updated as and when stuff happens.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Magalies Monster

What a race.
I am reminded why this race is my favorite one of all. It has more technical singletrack and seriaas rocky descents than any other single stage of any MTB race I have ever done, bar none.
It really does.
From a ride over a cement pipe, to large fixed rocks round Bufflespoort dam, to smooth flowing singletrack on the hiking trails in Mountain Sanctuary Park, to hectic smaller loose rocky descent to a portage river crossing and up a to the top of an almost-cliff, followed by a long technical climb on cut grass with loose rocks interspersed and a downhill of the same, to purpose built flowing singletrack along the Sterkstroom river, with bridges to cross over, and sometimes not, to technical rocky jeep tracks, and awesome rocky descents...
Man, I'm outta breath now :-)
This race is, to me, what epitomises what a mountainbike race should be. It has every aspect, with a definite lean to the technical, where a longer travel light all-mountain bike is not penalised like on virtually every other race I can think of, with their long miles of smooth dirt road.
The distance of 42km this year, may seem paltry, but it is surely the toughest 42km race this side of Alpine Heath (which I hear is, or rather was, no pushover ;-) ). It left me with just enough in the tank to be able to sprint the last 5km for a not too bad 2:30 finish, good enough for 32nd overall. The winning time was 1:57, which is flabbergasting.
In comparison with the long route which I did last year, the 42km has everything except the actual monster climb up Breedtsnek from the north along the 4X4 tracks and down on the dirt. Almost everything else on the long route is dirt road...
I firmly believe that in this case the half marathon is a better route than the full marathon.
Thanks to all for a wonderful day out.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Trans Baviaans Training Progress

From now on, this will be called the TBTP, because I don't feel like typing out Trans Baviaans Training Progress every time I want to update y'all about how I believe it is going with the Progress of Training for the Trans Baviaans MTB race.
For those of you who don't know what this is, the Trans Baviaans is a 230km single stage MTB race, starting at Willowmore and ending at Jeffrey's Bay. Go check out if you wanna find out more...
Anyway, I see I've been rather remiss lately at chronicling my adventures during TBTP, but that's simply because, well, there haven't been any...
But last Saturday I had my longest ride since the 94.7 last year (yes I know it's a road race, so it's actually more like a 60km MTB). I managed a whole 90km with the group from Singletrack Cycles in only 4:46, including the obigatory group stops. Only 835m accumulated ascent, and not a terribly exciting route, but wholly enjoyable nonetheless. (I tell you, Kim, who frequently leads the ride, is a 64 yo guy and friggin strong. I hope to that good someday...)
I can actually feel that I'm getting stronger again, and that's a huge relief, because if you read my previous post about Forest 2 Falls, you'll realize that I was a bit worried about being ready for the TB.
I may have to put my bike on a diet though. I suspect freeride rims and all-mountain tyres may be slightly detrimental to ultra-ultra-endurance cycling. Just a little bit. I could probably shave 2kg off the bike with the correct choice of wheels and tyres. And then there's the drop seat post, which only weighs around 500g, but is still around 200-300g heavier than a lightweight standard post. But I'd have to be way desperate to do that.
Of course, by then the pilot should also be slightly (10%) less corpulent :-)
That's my hope, at least...

This Saturday of course is my favourite single day race, the Magalies Monster. I do the short one which is 45km long with 835m ascent, mostly because the route has everything that the makes the long one excellent, and none of what makes the long one a Monster.
Of course the fact that today is my birthday, and Saturday is the party after the race, also helps to make decisions :-)
The route is an awesome mix of technical singletrack, jeep track and some dirt and short tar road. Included are several river crossings, with one portage, and a jaunt through mountain sanctuary park's hiking trails. The short route also suits my singlespeed riding style (flat out) well, and is more advantageous to longer travel robust bikes.

Let Playtime Commence

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Forest to Falls Part 2

Never Tempt Fate.

You'd think that after more than 5 years of mountainbiking, I'd know better than to challenge the universe with a line like

"Bring It On"

The universe heard the challenge, decided to Take Me On, and proceeded to pipslap me round the mountain several dozen times.

Oh well. Next time...

The day dawned with an absolutely spectacular sunrise. At least, I'm sure it was, because I didn't see it. Our accommodation was west facing. But I'm convinced it was fantastic.

After all the necessary admin, we all lined up to start. There were some unofficial warnings about being careful of green mud, which would be slippery, and we were off!

Knowing that I was not as fit as I should be, I decided to take it easy and not go hell for leather in the beginning. Good strategy.

But it didn't work.

I still hit the proverbial wall, as per normal.

The route is laid out in a double loop, with the 35km route splitting off from the the 75km at about 33km. I almost took the temptation to go home and have a cold coke. But, me being me, I didn't. I should've, but I didn't.

Less than 1km past the split the big climb of the day commences.  500m accumulative ascent in 8km of very slippery rutted quad trail... The pipslapping had begun in earnest.

This was followed by an awesome technical singeltrack descent (I wish there was more of that in many races). Rocky, with roots and pine needles. And in places more than 60 degrees down bubble. It's at times like that that I remember why I lug my 16kg Morewood up insane climbs.

This was followed, ranging from between 100 and 200m vertical gain in the space of 2 to 4km. Just as steep, but not as long. However, due to all the cosmic pipslapping, I was starting to cramp. Even views such as this, called the avenue of trees, only distracted me briefly. 

This is why I ride my mountainbike and suffer and cramp. To see images like this. Yes, of course also for the challenge, and not to mention the friggin awesome downhills. But mostly for the beauty of God's creation.

This was also the race where I came the closest to giving up. I was cramping almost every single muscle in my body, including my triceps and my fingers. If it wasn't for the couple who were riding with the support vehicles (you can actually see them in the 2nd pic at the start right in front of the photo with the blue sleeveless tops) I would probably have loaded my cramping butt into the aforementioned support vehicle. But they encouraged the heck outta me, and got me onto the bike for the last 8km, which only had one small climb right at the end called "Laaste Strooi". 

And then I was finished. Not last, amazingly, about 30 minutes before the last finisher. 

I'll chalk this one off as experience and a good yardstick for Trans-Baviaans in August. I have a long way to go.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Forest to Falls part 1

Crystal Springs: a gold crown resort 10km from Pilgrim's Rest, up near the top of Robber's Pass. It is also the place where we managed to get timeshare accomodation for the weekend.
The reason being that tomorrow is the Forest to Falls Mtb race. I am entered to do the 70km marathon, for which I feel wholly unprepared.
Oh well. It wouldn't be the first time :-)
So maybe tomorrow I'll take it easy, with plenty of stops for photo's. Maybe the phone will last long enough to record the whole race tracklog too...

Bring It On!!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spur Adventure


So my mate Robin says to me about a month ago that he saw an advert for this sprint adventure race happening in Groenkloof on the 24 of April, and do I wanna do it.

Always game for some good clean fun (!) I said yes quite quickly.
Francois who was within earshot at the time also said he'd join us. So we were a team!!!
Less than a week later, Francois pulled out, citing a "forgotten previous engagement" ... uhuh...
Still a team, but the more the merrier, so I ask Duane, about a week in advance. His comeback? "I thought about it long and hard, and I'm not gonna do it. I don't wanna die..." (He's been for a run with me before)
So I called Frik. He seems keen, but says, "Jy hardloop nie vir my weg nie, hoor? Dis 'n team race" (He's also run with me before...)
Now we were a force to be reckoned with - Team RoFL is born.

Friday afternoon brings with it a sudden drop in temperature, and quite a bit of rain, which was still going strong at six the next morning. It was really hard getting out of bed, that's for sure.

The Team pitches at my place and we load up the bikes and running shoes, and we're off into the mist - with one return to fetch my cycling shoes... 

Groenies seemed rather quiet when we arrived, surprise surprise :-)

I estimated about a hundred people milling around the start area, which I thought was a brilliant turnout given the weather. After registering, we join the throng. Race briefing was a motivational speech about us all being winners for coming out in this weather.

Then we were off!

1st leg was a 2km run to spread out the field a bit. We took it nice and easy. At T1 (which was the start/ finish) we put the running shoes in the backpack, hopped on the bike and took on the mud for a 14.5km mudbath-on-bikes, with some really sweet downhills and short sharp climbs. We also had some water crossings, one of which the photographer shouted at me "I WANT SOME SPEED!!!" He was standing in the river at the time. Needless to say, I was utterly soaked and he jumped up to keep his camera dry when the bike ploughed though the river at speed. I'm waiting for that photo to appear somewhere :-)

At T2/T3, we donn the running shoes again for one of the best 4.5km runs I've ever done. Beautiful scenery and awesome terrain. There were lots of requests to take the short route back to the transition though. Fortunately, through my incredible leadership abilities, I was able to convince Team RoFL to take the high road.

Back on the bike for 2.5km, including sublime (if somewhat slippery) singeltrack to the Finish where we spashed over in 2:25 (more or less).