Swartland Mountain Bike Marathon

With my bike loaded, a coffee in hand and the sounds of U2 blasting over my car sound system, I was on my way to the Swartland Mountain Bike marathon, bright and early on Saturday morning. Although it was a great sunny day, there was still a lot of snow on the Swartland Mountains lining the N7, which meant temperatures remained on the chilly side.

 

I arrived at the Org de Rac wine estate and after quickly registering and suiting up I was on the start line, sans arm warmers…. Shivering… Hard core, or stupid? Anyway, we were on our way, and not long in Greig Knox (UCT-Private Client Holdings), Chris Botha (Cycle Lab) and I had managed to separate ourselves from the rest.

 

We rolled well together until we approached the infamous Koringberg for the first time. The first ascent up the mountain goes up loose along rocky jeep tracks. The climb kicks and then flattens out repeatedly to the summit. It was here that Grieg and I rode away from Chris. Towards the summit Greig managed to ride away from me and held about a 30 second gap.

 

The steep and fairly technical descent then awaited us. I could see Greig just ahead of me and took a few risks going down to try and close the gap. Unfortunately for Greig, he punctured near the bottom and I passed him and went into the lead.

 

I set about riding a good hard tempo but also without overcooking it, as there was still a good 50km’s of racing ahead. I half expected Greig to ride back to me, but he didn’t.

 

Koringberg presents itself for the second time at the latter stages of the race. The second ascent is somewhat shorter than the first but it’s much steeper, so knowing this I popped a PVM Octane Gel down my gullet to keep the energy levels up.

 

I managed to get up fine (ie. suffering like a dog). With my lead still intact, I approached the last very technical downhill, somewhat more cautiously as to not risk puncturing. The last 15km were tough! With a number of rolling hills, which are actually a bit more than what one would expect, with some kicking up some steep gradients sky ward.

 

I had done enough and come across the line first, after a tough sting in the tail. It felt great to win again, my first in a good few months! It was also my first win aboard my Black Spade Racing 29er hard tail, and in the colours of my new sponsors, Asrin. Thanks for the belief in me guys and let’s hope this is the first of many to come!

It was then back to Cape Town for Bono and I, to try and recover as much as possible for the next day’s race at Grabouw, the Oude Moelen Mountain Bike Classic. Blog to come soon!

 

 

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Does Usain Bolt dope?

Image Credit: Herald Sun

Interesting article I came across last week. Is one of the Golden Boys of the Olympics Usain Bolt doping? Put aside a bit of time(its quite long) and have a read. Try to be open minded, I found it to be pretty interesting.

” Passing an Olympic Drug Test Does Not Make Usain Bolt ‘Clean’ “

http://www.muscleweek.com/is-usain-bolt-on-steroids

Black Spade Racing

I have been working on a new project over the last two months or so and I am glad to finally able to announce it. As of this July I have joined Black Spade Racing, a bicycle company based out of Cape Town, whom I will be working and racing for.

A short while ago whilst having dinner with good friend Ollie Munnik he told me about an opportunity which he thought I may be interested in. As it turned out I was, and after meeting Collin Allin( the founder of Black Spade), and then the rest of the team: Rob, James, Andrew and Brendan I found out more what Black Spade was and is about and I couldn’t be more excited about joining the team.

Some of you may be wondering who Black Spade is and what do they do? As I mentioned it is a Cape Town based bicycle company. We do road, mountain and time trial bikes, a few selected components and road and TT wheels. Check out our website by clicking here.

The idea behind the brand is that we are edgy, funky and unique and hence can build you a completely customized bicycle. This can be from how your bike is spec’ed down to your paint job. The bike can truly be yours!

I am running the day to day operations of the business, so if you need a new awesome bike, you know who to call!

Additionally I have ‘moved up in life’, literally, and I’ll be rolling on the big wheels for the first time aboard the Black Spade 29er carbon hardtail. On the tarmac I’ll be cruising along on the Black Spade road machine, with some sweet Black Spade 60mm deep section carbon wheels spinning smoothly below me.

I’ve been putting these bikes through the paces over the last few weeks and wow I am impressed. As it turns out big wheels really are cooler and I’m glad to have made the transition.

29er MTB Frame

 

Road Bike

A Crash Course in Crashing – Die Burger Stellenbosch Mountain Bike Marathon 2012

Crashing, it seems, has a certain resemblance to puncturing for me. It goes like this: I won’t get a puncture for two months and then boom! All of a sudden in the space of a week I get 4. I hadn’t had a crash in quite some time -one of any serious nature that is – and then last week I was picking myself up once off the tar, and twice off the dirt.

Last week Monday I took a bit of a spill whilst on my mountain bike going down Little Chappies on route to the Ou Wa pad. I think what hurts more is the burn of the roasties getting into the shower after the crash. Luckily my steed came away lightly with just a few cosmetic scratches. Whew!

On Friday morning whilst cruising down a single track I came up behind a jogger. The above mentioned lady had her I-Pod on with the volume turned up so loudly that she didn’t hear my calls of, “sorry” and “excuse me”. I went down a small drop I’ve done many times before, far too slowly – that being behind the jogger – resulting in my wheel getting stuck in the rocks and boom! Over the bars I went. It wasn’t too serious but I was more pissed off at our jogger lady. In case you were wondering, she didn’t even hear me go down…

Come Saturday morning I lined up behind the chalk in Stellenbosch for Die Burger Mountain Bike Marathon. Albeit a bit battered and bruised, I was keen to race.

I found myself in the lead group of 7, including Keey and Du Toit from Blend Properties, Ollie Munnik(GT) Renay G(RSA Web/Rocky mountain), Dave George(360 Life) and Craig Boyes(Cycle Funatic). The race is notoriously a tough one with a sting in the tail, so I backed off a bit come the steeper climbs leaving town.

This left me on my own for a while before I settled into a new group containing Petrus Malherbe(Future Life), Bruce Hughs(UCT) and Neil Bradford(Toyota Cycle Lab). We combined well together over the next section of the race along the Simonsberg Mountain. We enjoyed some rad single track open only to most during the event each year!

Towards the end of this section my race came to an abrupt end. Bruce was climbing well, especially on the steeper sections of the course. I managed to go with him which split our group up a bit, but in order to not kill myself on the ascents, I had to push hard on the down hills to get back on his wheel.

It was not long after this, when coming around a fast right hand corner with, when I look back on it: a) the wrong tyres, b) too much speed and c) a hard surface with loose gravel on top; which equated me with crashing, again! Luckily once again the bike was fine! Whew! I on the other hand added a few more roasties to the collection and landed quite hard on my left hand shoulder.

I eventually got going again but had lost quite a few places by now, and with my shoulder the way it was, I was in no real position to race anymore. Nothing was broken, but probably a few strained ligaments (by my professional judgement). Fortunately I found some spectators with a bakki who could give me a lift to the finish.

So the goal for this week is to keep the rubber side down! (and not get any punctures!)