Behind the scenes with the Asrin Cycling Team at the Pioneer

Gangsta’s!

Rocking out the new lid.

Room service.

The Washing Line Bench.

Beer box – food tray, only in the Klein Karoo!

The camp spot in Prince Albert.

Our neighbours.

Morne the mechie – “En so werk dit!”

Hasi enjoying an afternoon coffee.

Afternoon social in the camper.

One of the Euro teams were particularly worried about the treacherous riding conditions in Africa so took a spare tyre along.

Gotta look good for your partner!

Hasi’s new state of the art pedals, now available at Game stores countrywide.

Gibson with the camper tyre after the boys experienced a blow out!

The boys at lunch.

Gerald de Cock needs a new bike!

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Double Skinny Wheel Action Weekend

After a week of racing on the fat wheels it was back to some skinny wheel action. This came in the form of the final Western Cape Spring League events. The first being the Durbanville road race on Saturday, and the second the Atlantis Kermesse on Sunday.

Image Credit – Ronelle Rust/Torquepics

With my bike lights on, I lined up bright and early in Durbanville for the road race. The route was mostly flat with a couple of rolling climbs, the most notable of these on the Paardeberg circuit. I decided to attack on this hill (note: more of a hill than a climb really) and got a bit of a gap (first time in my life? haha). This prompted a response from the bunch and after a hard effort we had 6 riders clear, including: Charles Keey (Blend), Kyle Donnachie and Dave Garrett (Focus), Stefan Ihlenfeldt(Bonitas), Jan De Beer(Maties) and I. The group was particularly strong so I thought we had a good chance of staying clear, but this move turned out to be to no avail and we were reeled in.

The finish went up about a 1km climb at 5-6% gradient, nothing too hectic but it did make it a bit harder. I was relatively well positioned and took 4th place in the dash for the line with Stefan winning, Kyle 2nd and Reniel Matthysen (Intellibus) in 3rd.

We were fortunate to start at a more respectable hour on Sunday out in Atlantis. The event would involve racing 10 laps of an 8km circuit through an industrial area, not particularly scenic, but hey, we were here to race bikes.

There were two major breaks that stayed away for a couple of laps on the day. The first containing: Garret, Ed Greene (RSA Web) and van der Bank (Nu Water) went away early but was reeled in mid-way through the race. The second had young Chris Jooste (RSA Web) and Carstens (Nuwater) in the mix. I tried to bridge across to this move with Ed Green (RSA Web) and Boyd Roberts (Intellibus) with two laps to go, but the peloton was not having any of this, and closed us down.

 Image Credit: Robert Ward

It looked like we would be sprinting for 3rd place until, with a rapid charge into the line, we caught the final escapees in the last 3km. I was again relatively well positioned and ran 3rd in the dash for the cash. This time the line came too quickly though, as I perhaps started my sprint too late. Unfortunately the PPA finish line photographic equipment wasn’t entirely up to scratch and it was difficult to judge who had in fact taken 2nd place, between Roberts and I. Well done to Kyle for taking it.

All in all, a good weekend of action on the skinny wheels.

All Images Credit: Robert Ward

Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek Stage 6

With the dreaded sound of rain on the roof of the camper, the last day of the Pioneer dawned upon us. I however had the most awesome surprise with my girlfriend Ash and her family arriving, to support us on the final day, with me not knowing a thing about it! I think this helped us with an added bit of extra motivation.

The stage would be tough one, going straight up Montaqu pass at the start and then a fast run in to the finish.

Getting ready for the start.

Driving the pace.

The pass was amazingly beautiful (and hard!) and Oli and I found ourselves in a strong group including the Robert Daniel Momsen pair and Patroon (Petrus). As we went over the top I drove the pace and we soon picked up the Austrian Cube rider.

Oli and I now needed to put in a solid effort to the finish as with two teams ahead and many chasing, we wanted to make the podium on the final day. It was a big effort indeed with the rain and mud making matters bitterly cold, we also went straight through the feed stations to save time.

It worked! We came over the line in 3rd place on the day, we had left it late but it was really worth it. It also meant that we would be on the podium for at the final Prize Giving dinner which would be great exposure for our sponsors Asrin Property Developers.

Stoked to be finished.

Bromance?

Stoked to be finished!

I must say I really enjoyed the Pioneer this year. The Dryland team really seem to be doing some right and it makes for a fantastic event. Thank you for having us.

I must also say a huge thank you to Asrin for really looking after us so well the whole week, our priority was to ride our bikes and we didn’t have to worry about much else with a great team around us. The vibe within the team was great and we had so much fun throughout the whole week!

To my partner Oli, thanks bru, you went deep this week and I think we made a great team, here’s to many races together in the future.

Also for the behind the scenes support from Nizaam and Hasi for advice and motivating us each day, to my parents for their wonderful support, to my girlfriend Ash and her family who supported me greatly and to all my friends for their sms’es and messages each day.

To all of my other fantastic sponsors namely Black Spade Racing, Dulce Café, PVM Nutrition, Squirt Lube and Sludge Sealant, thank you very much.

Sounds like a Grammy music award speech? Sorry about that 😉

TV Interview.

Celebrating 3rd place with the boys, Oli had trouble counting.

Stage Prize Giving.

Images Credit: Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek and Ash Smit

Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek Stage 4 and 5

Yesterday’s shorter stage of 64km was made more daunting by the phrase: “The Kamanasie”, I knew it would be hard but you never really know how hard it will be until you get there.

Luckily the organisers had opened the gates to The Kamanasie so we missed seeing the “welcome to hell” signboard as this may have caused us to turn around (with all due respect it was really beautiful though). The Kamanasie is a 14km section through a valley which is treacherouslyrocky and forced many hike a bike sections on us. The last climb is never ending as we switch from racing to survival mode. Old Petrus “Patroon” Malherbe provided Oli and I with entertainment through The Kamanasie. Patroon crashed just in front of us and spent the next few minutes lying on his back taking in the views (fortunately he was not injured). It did become the new joke of the day.

De Rust: Start of stage 4

The Real Kamanasie starts on the other side of this water station.

The Kamanasie looks somewhat tame from the air.

Oli at the top, doesn’t look like he went hard enough?

24 years old and I still need a dummy.

Anyway we finished the stage strongly just a minute off the Dutch, Cube Nutswerk boys in 6th place still maintaining our 4th on GC.

Yesterday afternoon and evening was spent listening to the millions of rain drops pattering on the roof of our camper. Pretty rad that we weren’t in tents! Thanks Zami!

With that in mind we awoke expecting a full on mud bath this morning. The organisers threw us a curve ball, although for the better, in shortening the stage as sections of the route were flooded. It also meant that we would start the stage an hour later. No problem! Another coffee and Nutella sandwich down the gullet and we were ready to rock and roll for take two. The only downside was that we would now be heading straight into a 5km climb, the Duiwelskop!

These bad boys come in handy cruising around a muddy race village.

Camper life, usually cleaner than this I promise Mom.

Typing the blog you busy reading!

The Austrian deep in thought.

Camp Site Images credit: Rene Haselbacher

We went over pretty well and as Oli would say we ‘pinned’ it down reeling in the boys on the technical downhill. We found ourselves just off the second group but struggled to close the last part of the gap on the flatter sections as they held the numerical advantage.

We enjoyed some rad single track through Saasveld, a previous host to XCO national races in the past, and flew down into George. We crossed the line in 5th, just off that elusive podium again.

Tomorrow is the final pull back up to Oudtshoorn and then time for a bit of an opskop! Chances are you’ll probably only get another blog next week with that in mind.

Till then, ciao!

Pinning it to the finish in George.

© Oliver Munnik – ‘Pinning’

Image Credit: The Muller Files

Zami burning up the field!


The Asrin ‘Amateurs’ in action.

And over the line.

All Images Credit: Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek (unless otherwise stated)

Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek Stage 3

Wow another tough day at the Pioneer. We were presented with another 100km stage but with fewer meters to climb.

 

A big group rolled out of Prince Albert and after a few k’s of racing we had Hasi and Zami off the front in a break. Nice one boys!

The group stayed quite large until we encountered some corrugations and a bit of crosswind. This resembled racing in Western Europe somewhat and with that the bunch split. We were happily still in the mix and stayed so until the main climb of the day; particularly rocky, rough technical ascent with a few hike a bike sections.

 

We got over the top in a decent position with good potential to bridge across to the front on the technical downhill but then the dreaded psssh sound arrived from Oli’s rear wheel. A rock had caught his side wall and we were forced to plug the tyre.

 

It was back to chasing as we had done yesterday. We made up good time and rode back up to the Dutch boys from Cube/Nutswerk just kilometres from the finish after some pretty big pulls. Although position wasn’t crucial, more so the time, I decided to go for a sprint and took them on the drag to the line. So it was 5th on the day for us and we maintained our 4th on GC.

 

I think our goal now lies in trying to make the podium one day, hopefully lady luck shines on us. Till another tough day tomorrow. Thanks for tuning in. Ciao

All Images Credit Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek

Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek Stage 2

This morning we left Calitzdorp and after a tour of the Karoo our stage would finish on top of the Swartberg pass. A real beast of a climb! This would be the first time in South African mountain biking history we would finish on top of an uncategorised climb. To make matters more interesting a R100 000 prize purse for the first team on top to grab the brief case full of crisp green notes.

 

We left Calitzdorp and soon we encountered some problems. A dropped water bottle early on wasn’t ideal, but no reason to panic. We cruised for a few more kilometres, and then trouble struck again as I flatted on a downhill which wasn’t of a particularly technical nature. With two plugs and a bomb we were on our way again.

 

Our day consisted of mostly chasing down team after team until we finally made it back to a group of riders we were with before including the: Robert Daniel/Momsen, Petrus ‘Patroon’ Malherbe (Future life) and Boyes (Contego).

On our way down the Swartberg Pass into Prince Albert with the Dutch boys

We rolled well together to the base of the beast. Here it was every man for himself. We managed to keep things nice and steady and reeled in big time to the Cube/Nutswerk boys from the Netherlands, who had gone out hard early, as well as finish just of the Robert Daniel/Momsen pair. This kept us safely in 4th position on GC.

 

Tomorrow we tackle another 100km stage but with considerably less climbing so let’s hope it’s not too much of a war zone out there.

Asrin Camp Setup in Prince Albert.

Zami and Hasi Cresting the beast.

Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek Prologue and Stage 1

While warming up for our prologue yesterday afternoon Oli and I had the same feeling. It was like we were about to do an XCO race. Quite ironic as the Pioneer is as far from an XCO race as there can be.

 

Anyway we had a great ride smashing it around the purpose built trails, opening it out where need be but not taking any stupid risks to finish the day in 6th place, well within striking distance of the top 5 teams.

 

A big group rolled out this morning and with no seriously big efforts a group of about 7 teams stayed together until the 50km mark. Oliver and I tried our luck with an attack off the front some 40km in. Although we were given some breathing space at first we were reeled in 5km later.

On the attack.

Consistency was the name of the game and after Oli went through a bit of a bad spot he came through strong at the end and we finished in a solid 4th place.

 

The route was great with quite a good mix including some awesome technical downhills and riding along the Red Stone cliffs.

 

Hasi and Zami also had a good day finishing in the top 30mens teams again.

 

You can catch daily highlights of the race on SS6 at 9pm every night.

 

Until tomorrow, ciao!

 

The event photographers on the move!

Hopefully we don’t see this vehicle this week!

All images credit: Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek

Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek Pre Race Preview

The day has finally arrived!

 

It all came about on a training ride one morning. Oli Munnik mentioned the idea of riding the Cape Pioneer together and after some consideration we were in.

 

Yesterday we made the trek down from Cape Town to the bustling Karoo town of Oudtshoorn. The trip was entertaining to say the least with DJ Haselbacher on the decks and former race car driver, Nizaam at the wheel. They will be teaming up this week to form the second Asrin Cycling Team.

This morning Oli and I went for a quick burn around the prologue route. To say it was rad would be an understatement. The kilometres of flowing, loose, rocky single track are unbelievable and the best part is that we get to ride it again this afternoon!

We’ll be on the starting grid at 14:41 to take on the 16km prologue. A shorter stage, but a tough 6 days still awaits us starting tomorrow. That doesn’t matter though because “honey badger don’t give a sh!t” and that’s the mentality we’ll have to adopt for this tough week in the Karoo.

Warning: Content not suitable for younger viewers.

I’ll try keep the blogs coming through the week, time and signal dependent of course. I’ll be posting more regular updates on my Twitter account which you can follow here and the race Twitter account here.

 

Here’s to a bad ass race!