When I start out the new season, , I always aim to, besides my more specific goals, do something new and different; may it be going to races I haven’t done before, riding in new places or experiencing new things.
I believe very much in the saying “Adapt or die…”
This year I can say I have definitely done that. Looking back I have been so privileged to have been able to do what I have, thanks to the awesome support from sponsors, family, my girlfriend and friends.
Having joined the Toyota Cycle Lab team at the end of last year I approached the season thinking that I would be making more of a move from mountain biking to road. This is where the better opportunities seemed lie for me.
The teams focus for the first couple of months was the Virgin Active Pro Classic series and then the Giro del Capo road tour which culminated the summer season. Things went fairly well for me. I found some sprinting legs and learnt more in terms of bunch positioning in the sprint with every race and got a few top 10’s in the league races as well as taking a win at the Killarney mid week criterium in the sprint thanks to a great lead out from my team mate Matt Evans. (A big thanks to Carinus for the countless hours he spent on the scooter motorpacing me, the training was invaluable.)
Image Compliments Torque Pics
The team was also very privileged in having a few high calibre riders join us for the Giro del Capo. This helped us to finish as the best Western Cape team in the team competition and numerous top 20 finishes on stages. To Shaun Ward, Silvio Bundi and Thomas Zahnd; thanks guys for joining us and it was a privilege getting to know and learning from you.
The week following the Giro, I felt like I had good form and after spending time with Silvio and Thom (who were actually out to do the ABSA Cape Epic) I was determined to try and get a ride in the Epic. Erik Kleinhans tried to help me get a ride with a random French guy but that was not too be and after having been in contact with the Epic race office for the week I was told to get some of my things ready and I might get a ride Saturday afternoon kind of thing (the event started on Sunday morning at 8am).
Come 5pm on Saturday and still no call I said to Mel that I didn’t think it would happen. Not fifteen minutes later, I received a call from a friend of mine, Bunnie Loubser.
Unfortunately for him he had not been feeling well and had paid a visit to the doctor who had done blood tests and diagnosed him with glandular fever. I felt terrible for Bunnie but at the same time, I very excited that he was giving me this opportunity to ride.
ABSA Cape Epic
I met my partner the next morning, Riaan Boshoff and his wife Marli, about an hour before the start. Crazy in that guys train for months on end with their partners to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses inside out.
But what can I say, the Epic was one of the best experiences of my life and Riaan and Marli will be lifelong friends of mine. I really enjoyed riding with Riaan and taking in the epicness of the epic and Marli pampered and looked after us the whole week like we were winning the event 🙂 You can read all about the Epic here if you would like but I won’t go into detail with it again.
ABSA Cape Epic
The Epic re-sparked my love affair with mountain biking. I decided that this was now where I wanted to go in cycling. The two months following the Epic was spent recovering and then travelling all over the Cape to events. Another highlight was the Klein Karro Klassiek where Erik and I travelled down together and camped for three days drinking numerous espressos and chilling in the warm baths at the Calitzdorp Spa.
Heading back to Pietermaritzburg for the mid year holiday I managed to win an entry into the two day Dusi Mfula race, compliments of Cube Bikes South Africa. I was lucky to find a last minute partner; Hilton Frost, and we did well to finish 4th in the event. This started my relationship with Paul, Darryl and Jacques from Cube and resulted in them sponsoring me with a bike for the year. It is a bike that I have thoroughly enjoyed riding and I hope to carry this relationship long into the future.
Do yourself a favour and click on their logo to look at their 2011 awesome bikes (which won two design awards at Euro Bike this year).
Cube AMS Pro Elixir R
It was at this time I met my current coach Ian and we have been working together ever since, and I believe there has been improvement and I’m looking forward to working together into the future
Following this sponsorship I was now more determined than ever to move forward in my cycling career. I raced across the Cape and KZN participating in numerous events such as the MTN National Ultra marathons, Karoo 2 Coast, Potberg marathon and the Riebeck Valley race. I was lucky to have Squirt Lube and Sludge Tyre Sealent join my “team”. Using these great products was vital to my racing as chain suck was a thing of the past and punctures non-existent.
MTN Hilton National Ultra Marathon
Sludge Tyre Sealent
The Riebeck Valley mountain bike race proved to be a BIG turning point in the year. It was the first mountain bike race that I had won in the season and it was here that I also met Sean Williams. I had been searching desperately for a financial sponsor and after meeting Sean he was extremely enthusiastic in coming on board and helping me out.
Sean and Kay.
Restaurant fit out Sean’s company did.
The finances that Sean has helped me with have been fantastic. It has enabled me to travel to many races and expose myself to a higher level of racing that would not have otherwise been possible. We will be riding together towards the end of the year in the Leeuwenboschfontein stage race in December.
PVM Nutritional Sciences.
Things started to come together further in this time as two new sponsors joined the ‘team’. PVM nutritional sciences and Dulce Cafe came onboard. I have been using PVM products for a number of years and found them to be a superior product which works incredibly well.
Dulce Cafe, Waterstone Village, Somerset West.
The support Elana from Dulce cafe in Somerset West provides me with is also invaluable. When you’re next in the area, pop in for a healthy meal that will make your taste buds dance.
To all my sponsors: Sean Williams Contracts, Cube Bikes South Africa, Dulce Cafe, Squirt Lube, Sludge Sealent and PVM Nutritional Sciences a big big thank you for your support. It is more appreciated than you can imagine.
Heres to 2011, lets rock n roll…