Lion of Africa De Grendal Mountain Bike Race

My Epic partner Riaan and his wife Marli are invloved in the organisation of the Lion of Africa De Grendal mountain bike race this year. The event will take place next weekend in the Durbanville area so be sure to mark it in your calender!

You can click here to enter online.

The Herald Karoo to Coast

 

 

Some days I guess it’s just not meant to be. Yesterday was just one of those days.

This past weekend I was off to Uniondale for the famed Karoo to Coast mountain bike marathon. I travelled down with a good friend of mine Noel (we went in his car so Witblitz had to stay at home).  Our first stop was in George where we had lunch with Noel’s parents and I got to experience some of Noel’s Mom’s famous “Hoender spaghetti pasta”. It was good! From here we made our way to the little dorpie of Uniondale for registration. The organising committee headed by Zandile were kind enough to sort out my seeding so that I could start in the elite batch the next day.

After a short ride on the Ou Wa pad we settled into our accommodation. We were staying in a farmhouse with a bunch of Davie’s (Noel’s brother) friends. Really nice bunch of guys and it was a good evening spent getting to know them.

 

Some new branding on the shirt this week.  

 

Standing on the start line the next morning a very competitive field lined up. Notably Kevin Evans(SA Marathon Champ), the Mr Price GT  and Schwinn teams, Francois Theron(Garmin Addidas), the Blend Properties and Fairbairn Capital teams from Cape Town, Matthys Beukes(Scott) and a whole host of strong riders from the Southern Cape region. My goal was a top 10.

A short start loop on the tar brought us to the start of the Ou Wa Pad. A very rough, loose, rocky 15 km section including a significant climb and tricky descent (a Wa pad is a wagon trail for those of you that are not familiar with Afrikaans). I sat comfortably in the top 10 up the first section of the climb. Suddenly it felt like I popped, no major acceleration or anything, just nothing from the legs. Guys passed me left and right. I tried to conserve as much as possible and went over the top in the 3rd group.

Riders make thier way up the Ou Wa Pad.

Image compliments AndreCT

 

I thought I would be able to recover in the group on the gravel roads and hopefully my legs would come right but on the rolling climbs after Avontuur I was red lining it to hang onto a group which contained guys I usually beat by 5-10 minutes.

Soon I was on my own and after a few efforts in vain to hang onto groups that came past I retired myself to just enjoying the day. The valleys we rode through were beautiful in the Klein Karoo region. I found a riding partner for the day after 40km, Davie. My legs started to come around at around 60kilometres and as I paced Davie we soon managed to catch many of the fast starters until we had our own nice group going. Some nice hard tempo riding took us into the Knysna forests and on to the finish.

The race is by no means an easy downhill ride to the coast from the Karoo. There are plenty of climbs thrown into the 103km which bring the total ascent to 1800m. I have a bone to pick with the race and I will be back next year. Ou Wa pad hier kom ek!

Sorry for the lack of photos this week, Action Photo have yet to upload to their site. I will post something if I find anything good.

On Wednesday I fly back home to KZN where I will be staying with my parents for a couple of days. The Hilton leg of the MTN National Marathon series will take place on Saturday and im expecting a tough race with 2500m of vertical ascent in the 105km route.

New Co-Title Sponsor!!!

Today I will be announcing my new financial partner to the team.

I am really excited about this and the possibilities it will afford me in my mountain biking career. Without further a due I would like to present Sean Williams Contracts!

 

I met Mr Sean Williams at a mountain bike race I did a few weeks ago and we got chatting and things have developed from there. Sean himself is an avid mountain biker and has done the Joberg 2 C (finished in the top 10 I might add) and will be doing the Natro Berg and Bush in November. Sean has generously come onboard and I hope that we can form a long and fruitful relationship.

 

 

So what does Sean Williams Contracts do you may ask. Well they import fine Italian furniture into South Africa and then along with interior designers and architects take on the projects such as the interior fit outs of restaurants or corporate clients (chairs,bar stools, tables and couches) . The business is run with the motto: “Service and Quality with a Distinct Difference”.

A few of the top brand restaurants whom they have supplied furniture to include: Debonairs, Wimpy, Europa, Tasha’s, Steers, Nando’s and Primi Piatti’s. So as you can see they are well established in this country. In addition to this a few of their corporate clients include: FNB and ABSA Capital head offices, Investec, Radisson Hotel group, Standard Bank, Oprah Winfrey Academy for Girls and the Durban Convention Centre. Pretty impressive right?

Sean is also involved in some cool other projects, his main focus is to adopt as many of the endangered species like the Gorilla’s in Uganda, the Wild Dog, the Cheetah, and the Egyptian Vulture. On top of this the company has sponsored a Polar Bear in honour of the great Nelson Mandela.

 

 

You can join the Sean Williams Contract group on Facebook by clicking here. If you would like to visit their site please click on the logo on the right hand side of the screen.

For me it’s off to Uniondale this weekend where I will be racing the Karoo to Coast, a race over 100kms from Uniondale in the Karoo to Knysna on the coast.

Have a good weekend folks.

New sponsor to help me live the dream

So I mentioned on my Twitter account a few days ago that I had some exciting things in the pipeline. It’s something that I have been working on for a few months now and it is strange how these things just seem to pan out in the right direction in the end.

So what is it you’re asking…

I have two new financial sponsors on board! Far too excited about this. I am going to announce the first today and the next tomorrow so be sure to check the blog again tomorrow.

The first of these sponsors is Dulce Cafe! I am sure you have all heard of them and hopefully visited one of their cafe’s before.

 

The majority of this will be coming from Elana who is the owner of the Dulce Cafe at Waterstone Village in Somerset West.

The important part is that they have great coffee, (top of the list for me when I go to a coffee shop) the Lavazza range (Imported Italian Coffee).

 

 They have recently had a menu make over, displaying a wide variety of tasty, healthy food. Click here to have a flip through their menu.

You can join their group on Facebook here and you can follow them on Twitter through this link. If you would like to have a look at their web page click on the Dulce Cafe logo on the right hand side of the screen.

Be sure to have a look again tomorrow for the next announcement!

Orbit Tour de Worcester Pro Classic Series # 1

Sitting in the dark sipping on some espresso (feeling Italian), out of a travel mug (not so Italian) but anyway it was off for a day of skinny wheel bike racing. Something I, nor the Toyota Cycle Lab Elite Team haven’t done in a while. In fact I think that last race we did on the tarmac was the Giro del Capo.

We have a revamped team this season of four riders which means that the going can get tough at times when competing against squads of 9 plus riders but the old stalwarts in Matt Evans and Matt Wentworth return for another season of battle, myself too, back in the mix (not such an old stalwart) and our new recruit Ryan Binedell.

Anyway back to the story, we ventured to the other side of the mountain, through the tunnel and popped out in Worcester for the Orbit Tour de Worcester. It is a different race in that it incorporates a short section of gravel road in the middle of the race but other than that it is quite flat gaining only 550m of vertical ascent in its 102km.

 Image compliments of Ronelle Rust – Torque Pics 

Leaving the Daschbosch Winery at a rather frisky pace the bunch soon all grouped together and I was eager to get into an early move. My chance came a few kilometres in when I followed an Outriders rider across to a break of two guys, 1 from GT Velokhaya and the other from Pick n Pay. On our way across another guy from Velokaya joined us and off we went. It seemed at first as if our efforts were in vain as the bunch held us just there hovering until eventually the elastic snapped and they let us go.

Our breakaway group worked well together. We knew that we should at least try and survive until the gravel section as this usually brings carnage to the race especially if you are not well positioned.  We did get to the gravel but our own group split, we soon dropped two riders and then it was just me and the two GT Velokhaya boys. I could see they were weakening and decided to drive the pace, I managed to get a gap and went for it. I was feeling very Spartacus/Cancellera like bumping along the rough gravel with the dust blowing from under my wheels. Back in the bunch it was carnage with only Mr Wentworth surviving in the front split, this after a year off racing almost! Mr Evans and Ryan were unlucky to get caught behind guys who made mistakes but Matt managed to find a few guys to work well together and they were soon back in the bunch.

Image compliments of Ronelle Rust – Torque Pics 

Unfortunately the gravel section soon came to an end and back on the tar I was out front on my own and decided to wait for the GT boys as it would be pointless carrying on, on my own. We again combined well but the bunch was soon upon us.

 Back in the bunch relaxing a bit the attacks came thick and fast and soon another move went clear, this is where the winning move of the day would come from.

Image compliments of Ronelle Rust – Torque Pics 

I thought the guys from the bigger teams would put in more of an effort to bring the move back but this was not to be as each team was represented in the move. It would then be a bunch sprint for 6th place. Our plan was to try and lead Wenty out to get that 6th. The jostling at the front in the last 10kilo’s was pretty crazy, on terrible potholed roads especially considering there was no prize money for 6th. Unfortunately it didn’t work as our train got a bit boxed in and Wenty finished in 15th with Evans and I finishing in the bunch. Ryan managed to finish in the 3rd split, a good effort considering it was his first league race.

Congrats to Erik on a solid win from the break (his second win of the weekend after winning a mountain bike race on Saturday) with Jos taking a good second after a heavy season of racing in Belgium.

After the race it was good to have the club gazebo there where we could sip on a few cokes and exchange war stories. I then joined Ray Cox to ride back to Stellenbosch, another 90km’s or so, giving us almost 200km and 6hours of riding, good training for the upcoming Ultra marathon in two weeks.

Have a good week folks!

Have a look at some more cool images from the race here that Ronelle also took.

Riebeek Valley Mountain Bike Race

So once again bright and early on Saturday morning Witblitz(my car), the Cube(my bike) and I cruised off to Riebeek Kasteel for the Riebeek Valley Mountain bike race. Going through the lush, green hills of the Boland on route to the start with the sun starting to peak out it looked like it was going to be a good day!

A view from the top of Kasteelberg just before the start of the descent.

A good size field gathered on one of the quaint side streets near the church hall ready to tackle the short 35km race. It wouldn’t be all plain sailing though with a few tough climbs thrown in; notably the ascent up Kasteelberg.

Another beautiful view of the valley from Kasteelberg. 

Off the start line a few of the other riders decided to set the pace and I was content just to follow. This soon whittled down the group to just 4 riders going through the vineyards along a jeep track.  A short while later I decided to accelerate and then it was down to two of us, Sean Williams (SWC) and I. We shared the pace making duties for a few kilometres until eventually I was on my own.

Lush green farmlands and fast gravel roads on route to the finish.

I settled into a good tempo whilst enjoying the course which took us through various vineyards, olive orchards and farmlands. The beginning of the ascent up to Kasteelberg took the riders through a large area which was shade clothed to protect the fruit on the trees, it was quite strange to be racing through it, something different nonetheless. Once out in the open again we tackled the beast of a climb. The gradients became very steep at times as well as a loose rocky surface to contend with.

A super fast and fun descent lead us back into the direction of the town and the finish. I checked a few times to make sure I was maintaining my lead and managed to just enjoy the last part. Coming into town I was stoked! My first win on the mountain bike in 2010! Great feeling and I enjoyed it. I really enjoy doing these small town races organised by the locals. Next time you’re in the Boland region be sure to stop in Riebeeks Kasteel for lunch or have a look at some of the curio shops, there are quite a few really good restaurants and arts and crafts that will impress.

Final Results

  1. Chris Wolhuter(Cube)
  2. Sean Williams(SW Contracts)
  3. Pierre Rocher

All images compliments of Nathan Krumm.