A Letter to an Olympian

Dear Ash

I am writing this letter as a friend, fan and ‘younger brother’. As you may know I didn’t make the South African Olympic Team this year, apparently you have to be one of the best riders in the country to go to the games which I am unfortunately not (yet).

I am however talking to the Olympic Committee about adding the “Track Stand at the Traffic Lights” discipline to the 2016 Games in Rio (I managed to beat Ollie at this activity during our ride to Olympia this morning)

I need a favour you see. The other evening I was watching a TV show on how they make the Olympic medals and they looked pretty cool, all shiny and sparkly. If it’s not too much bother please could you win one of those medals on Sunday afternoon? (Note: catch the race live on SS4 from 12:50-17:15) I would really appreciate it and by knowing you I think it would boost my social status.

On a more serious note all the best Ash! I am very proud of you for just being at the Olympics but knowing you, this is not enough and coming away with anything less than a medal I think you may feel slightly disappointed. Champion, (aka Carl, Ash’s husband and one of my best friends) has told me your form is great and you’re more focussed than ever. I really am excited to see what you can do. I believe you’re going to make it count and use the opportunity you’ve been given to the full.



P.S. The gold medals are the shiniest.

New Financial Sponsor Announcement: Asrin Property Developers

They say everything happens for a reason and as most of my friends and family will tell you I am a firm believer in this.

My season this year took an unexpected turn just after the Cape Epic with the loss of my financial sponsor at the time. Any athlete will tell you what a blow this can be as you are now short of funding to travel and race and it leaves you in a bit of a predicament.

I have been very fortunate and privileged to have been recovered from this situation. The regular blog readers will have seen I have been riding in the Asrin Property Developers kit for the last two months and I am proud to announce that I have now signed with Asrin and will be joining there team for the rest of the year.

As mentioned Asrin is a property development company and some of their bigger projects include: Eden on the Bay, Millennium Business Park, The Pavilion Shopping Centre and Falcon Crest. Have a look at their website by clicking here or on their logo alongside to see their property portfolio.

I would like to extend a big thank you to Nizaam and Ishmail for taking me in under the Asrin banner and cannot begin to express my gratitude for this.

The team has an awesome dynamic going and I have really been enjoying this. Everyone gets on really well and this makes travelling together and the after race banter a pleasure.  I am really looking forward to spending the rest of the season with this awesome team.

The eagle eyes may have also noticed I’m on a new race machine be sure to check in next week for the announcement on this.

Knysna Oyster Festival Mountainbike Marathon and National Road Classic

I had more reason to be excited for this last weekend’s racing and that came in the form of a shiny new bike. My new baby: the Black Spade Hard Tail 29er. It was to be my first time on the big wheels and wow was I impressed! I’ll be blogging on this awesome bike soon I promise!

Let’s take things back a notch. I was invited to stay the weekend with the Smit Family in the Knysna Quays. We stayed in an awesome house which was centrally located and I must extend a big thank you to them for their wonderful hospitality. It is great being able to walk to most of the places we needed to be and rolling two minutes down the road to the start line. I wasn’t the only one racing with Shaughn taking part in both the mountain bike marathon and road race and Ash doing the shorter mountain bike race on Saturday. Both did well in their respective races and I suspect they may ramp up their training a bit for the Stellenbosch marathon later on this month.

I wasn’t flying the Asrin flag solo this weekend and Nizaam would be competing in both the mountain bike marathon and the road race. Unfortunately he had quite a hard crash in the mountain bike race but made up for it with a solid result in the road race the following day.

Nizaam lining up for his mountain bike start.

On the grid on Saturday morning a class field had lined up to take on some 80km in the Knysna forests. Fortunately the forecasted rain had held off and I wouldn’t have to subject the new weapon in my arsenal to too much treacherous mud! Nedbank 360 Life put a full team on the line as did RECM with their roadie cousin Lill (Bonitas). Also there was the Blend Properties team, Groustra (RSA Web/Rocky Mountain), Munnik (Go Pro/GT) and Craig Boys (Daiken).

The start is a tough one with the ascent up Simola coming in the opening kilometres followed by a short downhill and another stiff climb which levels out  near the top but carries on for what feels like ages. It was at the top of this climb I found myself in a group consisting Ollie Munnik, Craig Boyes, John Wakefield and two other chaps whose names I didn’t quite catch.

The group worked well together through the flatter sections of the course as we chased the group a few minutes up the road consisting of Evans, Groustra, Bressler Knipe and Morrison. Ultimately we didn’t catch them but did manage to finish just a few minutes shy of them

As the race wore on we shed two riders and approached the fast downhill into town with a group of just four now. It was to come down to a sprint for the remaining top 10 positions. I was really excited as I had some new tricks I wanted to employ after watching Griepel and the boys duelling it out at the Tour last week(No, this does not include lying on the tarmac!). It was unfortunately a bit dangerous as we had to contest this with the shorter route riders on the same track with us having to weave in and around them and try not freak them out at the same time. This you can see in the video clip I’ve uploaded below and I think I managed to just edge out Craig in the dash for the line.

Mountain Bike Marathon Sprint.

(enjoy the commentry: “speeding, speeding, speeding)


“You see it works like this…” 


After a massage, eating over half of the food in Knysna (No Oysters mind you) and a good night’s sleep I was on my skinny wheels ready to race early the next morning.

Unfortunately the racing became a bit negative with a full Bonitas team on the line on the day. I’m not going to go into the dynamics of how this affects the race but I will say I was quite pleased with how I was climbing and found myself in the main chase group after the steep ascent up Hoekwil. We numbered about 15 riders and I found my company to be mainly mountain bikers who had also ripped it up the previous day which was pretty cool.

At the end of the day Bonitas managed to fill most of the positions in the top 10 and I rolled over the line in 12th. I think the race could have been more interesting if there was another team or two to mix it up which in turn would give the individual guys like myself more of a chance to be more competitive.

Hunting down Renay G in our ‘fun’ sprint at the end of the road race.

(I got him on the line 😉 )

All in all I had a great weekend on and off the bike and come Sunday evening it was time to treat myself with an awesome pizza and a beer which went down particularly well! There were also perhaps a few awesome farm store pies consumed on the trip home but you can’t count those calories all day long!

Rijk Tulbagh Mountain Bike Marathon

It felt weird to be cruising to a race on my own again this last weekend after having spent much time with Rene, Phillip, Ishmail and Nizaam travelling to races over the last few months. Hasi is back in Austria, Zaami was sick and so I was flying the Asrin flag solo in Tulbagh.


After an hour and half drive in darkness with the odd patches of rain I arrived to gloomy overcast conditions with rain looking to threaten at any stage. Tulbagh is no stranger to mountain bikers having hosted the Cape Epic last year and a round of the National Marathon series earlier in the year. It was however, my first time out at this little dorpie which is nestled amongst daunting mountains with the Winterhoek Mountains on the northern side of the town topping out at almost 2100m above sea level. I would also be riding on a borrowed bike which I rode for the first time the morning before the race, to make matters interesting the brakes were opposite to how I would usually ride them and I would be rolling with grip shift for the first time in 7 years… But, I did enjoy the bike so thanks very much Ishmail for helping me out while my new baby is being built up(more news on that later in the week).


The start grid had a few of the usual suspects lining up behind the chalk including: Olli Munnik(GT/Go Pro), Nico Pfitzmeir(Robert Daniel Momsen), Dave Morrison(Blend Properties) and Timo Cooper( Rocky Mountain). It was the 5 of us that surged away from the rest of the field some 10km in up one of the first jeep track drags.


Things seemed to stay mostly together with Nico surging slightly off the front and then shortly thereafter Timo unluckily had a chain problem and this forced an early end to his day. I found myself behind Morrison who had been gapped by Ollie on one of the downhills. I came around Dave and pushed to re-join Ollie, after we had joined again Ollie and I set about working well together over the next few kilometres.


After a silly crash a short while later I couldn’t re-join Ollie and was left on my own hanging in between him and Dave just behind me. I decided this would be a good time to also make a quick adjustment to my borrowed bike and dropped the saddle slightly. This is when Dave passed me and I was now lying in 4th place.


As we traversed through the vineyards and up and down mountains I could make out Dave about 30 seconds ahead of me. It stayed this way for much of the next part of the race until about 15km’s to go I decided to put in a big effort as we hit a gravel road section to catch him. I managed to do this as we switched off the road and back onto some jeep track.


We rode together for the next few kilometres until Dave had to stop to sort out a dry chain, I had some Squirt on hand to help him and set off on my own. There was still a longish climb to be negotiated before the finish though, it wasn’t particularly steep but with Dave chasing it made it hard. I could ease off a bit as we got to the top and hit familiar territory for me in the single track back down to the town.


At the finish Nico had taken the win with Ollie in second, myself in third and Dave in 4th. It was a tough day out to say the least with less than 3 minutes separating the top 3.


This week I look forward to tapping off the training a bit ahead of the Knysna Mountain bike marathon and road race this coming weekend.