Pissing on the bike and losing my tenting virginity

The title is pretty self-explanatory. Pissing on the bike and losing my tenting virginity, one obviously a first for me and the second, a skill I’m trying to perfect.

 

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that pissing on the bike is an art but it is a skill which can save you a lot of energy and time in a bike race. In order for it to be done successfully its best to do it on a downhill, obviously not too steep and in a mountain bike race a good surface helps. You need to put the foot which side you want to ‘go’ on at the bottom of your pedal stroke, whip your member out and then aim as far away as possible and concentrate. Trust me it requires a good deal of concentration. Try being as quick as possible and getting as much out as possible. Hope this little ‘how to’guide helps some of you! Ladies, you’ll have to stop I guess…
Today I successfully managed to do it twice! It can be made further tricky with wind which was pumping today, make sure you’re going with the wind and not against it for obvious reasons or you may have a golden shower. I also succeeded in doing it both times as I was going past a photographers, I did apologise to both, the first a tannie watching from her stoep out in the middle of the Karoo… What are the chances?

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A helping hand always helps, here Evans shows how it’s done like a pro.

Image credit: cyclingtips.com.au

I don’t know how, but over the years of doing mountain bike stage races which are usually in the sticks, I have always managed to avoid ‘tenting it’. Through landing my bum in the butter I’ve managed to stay in various forms of brick and mortar accommodation and camper vans and in doing so avoiding the dreaded tents.

 

This week however I am tenting it, at the hardest race on the calendar nogal. I will admit that I do have the luxury of having my girlfriend’s dad, Shaughn, staying in a camper nearby so I do still have some luxuries like a little Nespresso coffee in the morning.

 

After some proper rain which succeeded in making my tent almost as wet inside as outside, a spot of wind and just in general roughing it out I think I am qualified enough in this tenting business to not need to do it again in the near future.

 

If mojo and connection allows I’ll try blog again this week.

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Epic tent village at first light.

ABSA Cape Epic 2014 Preview- Team Swift Carbon Racing 325

I rode my first Cape Epic in 2010 with less than 12 hours’ notice and a man I met on the morning of the race (I’m pleased to say we’re still good friends). I’ll be riding my 3rd Cape Epic this year, with a bit more notice, 5 days to be exact. You can organise a lot more in 5 days than 12 hours…

As I said I’ve received a last minute invite to ride the ABSA Cape Epic with a good friend of mine, Simon Swemmer under the Swift Carbon Racing banner. Simon’s original partner Mark was forced to pull out of the race and Simon had me on standby, and just like that I was super subbed in.

Simon is at first noticeable for his giant calves, he could kick start a small plane with them. I use it as the reference point when explaining to people who my partner is: “Ya Simon, the guy with the huge calves” to a reply of “Oh ya him”. Although we have not ridden much together before, I am sure we are in for a fantastic week of racing. Simon will be held accountable for the rescheduling of my planned coffee rides next week, coffee shops are not frequent in the Klein Karoo you know.

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Simon and I had a serious team meeting at Giovanni’s, it didn’t last long…

I have also been very fortunate to receive some added support from:  Glasshouse Consulting and DC76 who have stepped in to help take care of the extra costs, of which there can be many at the Epic… I must also thank my personal sponsors here as they have also all contributed in their own way and have made my job easier next week allowing using some of the best equipment and nutrition out there. So a big thank you to: Merida Bikes, Continental Tyres, Enervit Nutrition, Nike Vision Eyewear, Squirt Chain Lube and Sludge Tyre sealant.

We kick our foray off tomorrow at Meerendal Wine Farm just outside Cape Town with a 23km prologue. A prologue is a short time trial which separates the teams into the different start batches for the first proper stage on Monday. An 11.31am start time gives you enough time to sleep off your hangover and still come cheer us on. We are the first of the UCI teams to start and thus according to the lady at registration are professionals, confirming what I have liked to believe all along. If you’re not in the vicinity I expect you to be glued to your television sets, SS6 is where all the action can be from 9.30am. You can also follow us via the Tracker app, our team number is 325, the links to this are on www.cape-epic.com

I’ll keep the blog updated, as and when I can summon the energy and internet connection next week.

The mood is light and jovial now, it may not be on Monday afternoon after the traditional b!tch that stage one of the Epic can be.

Wrapping up Tour de Boland and The Cape Argus

*Note this post is overdue; I wrote it just after the Argus but have only just got around to editing and posting it.

 

The lap around the peninsula marked the end of a busy week of racing for the Lights by Linea team and I. The Argus as the race is more affectionately known is the biggest one day participation race in the world with 35 000 entrants. We would be spear heading that field.

 

But first we had the small matter of the Bestmed Tour de Boland to finish. The final stage was a shorter at 115km but would be a tough one. Starting in Riebeck Kasteel we would do a lap around town, some 2km before coming back through the start line, doubling as the first hotspot of the day. As you can imagine the pace was high, to keep it interesting within anther 2km we were heading up the Botmanskop pass.

 

The attacks came thick and fast and I tried to get myself into the break for the day. Although some of the moves hovered 10-15 seconds off the front the MTN Feeder Team shut them all down.

 

This meant that the race would now be decided on Franschoek pass. Our job was to get Stefan to the front of the group at the base of the climb and escort him for as long as possible. He started the day in 10th place in GC and hoped to move up. With the pace hot in the first kilometre of the climb I was off and rode my own pace to the finish. Stefan ultimately managed to move up one spot on the GC to 9th.

 

A day off racing naturally resulted in us doing a coffee ride. It was great to be back in Cape Town sipping on good coffee and sneaking in a crossiant. The Expo too was on the cards and I got to catch up with some of my great sponsors: Continental, Nike Vision and Enervit.

 

Finally the Argus was here. Many joke that it is the ‘funriders world champs’ but in all seriousness, winning the Argus carries some serious weight in South African cycling. I would go as far to say that in terms of the exposure one would get out of it, it is probably worth more than winning the national championships.

 

The peloton, some 180 riders strong was a nervous one. I’m happy to say I didn’t see any serious crashes and instead of fighting for position at the head of affairs I ‘chilled out’ at the back for the first half of the race. I think this saved a significant amount of energy and it paid dividends when sh!t got real in the later stages.

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The peloton still largely intact due to a strong headwind for the first 30km.

Image Credit: Capcha Photography

 

First up, the customary gutter wind along Ocean View, there was a small split but it came back together. Every time a split like this occurs though, it does result in guys going off the back off the race too. This was followed by the first of two climbs in the last quarter of the race, Chapmans peak. I felt good up here, followed the right wheels and was happy to go over the top near the front end. The quick decent into Hout Bay allowed the race to regroup slightly before the decisive climb, Suikerbossie.

 

The pace was hot up Suikerbossie! I was pleased to make it in the group of about 30 riders which would ultimately stay away to the finish. With just over 10km of flat roads to the finish the attacks came thick and fast. After a small split in the group I needed to get Stefan across to the front, riding at over 65km/h for a kilometer through Clifton saw me getting him back on but with just under 3km to go I was popped out the back to finish a couple of seconds down on the Hoff.

 

Hanco took care of Stefan into the final, but ultimately their chances were ruined with a television motorbike stopping on the right hand side of the road in their line. This was a sad outcome, with no real repercussions for anyone other than our team, potentially losing out on a good result. Luckily they came out safely thought and there were no crashes.

 

With a good couple of days of racing with the Lights by Linea team in the legs, I will mount my knobblied stead this weekend, to race in the next round of the MTN national marathon series race in Tulbagh. Being a UCI race and a week out from the Cape Epic the hotshots will be there and it will undoubtedly be a hard race once again.

 

1796656_683362465056988_1226817047_nThe Hoff wins convincingly.

Image Credit: Capcha Photography

Get your Argus preparation dialed!

I wanted to write about preparation today. With the Argus just days away, it’s an important topic to consider. If you have certain goals for the race I hope you’ve done your training and in that sense are prepared for what is to come on Sunday, but there is still much to prepare in order to be fully ready on the start line.

 

But first, let me stray for a second. This morning we took on the 3rd stage of the Bestmed Tour de Boland. The 140km stage would see us start in Tulbagh, head north through Porterville, turn in a westerly direction towards the N7 and Moreesburg and then South down to the finish in Riebeeck Kasteel. The gutter wind after Porterville is where the day’s selection was made. I had attacked just after the first sprint hotspot and tried to force a move but it was not to be. Shortly thereafter with a 15man split went away with the Lights by Linea team represented by Stefan.

 

With some of the GC guys missing the split the chase was on for a while but eventually it felt as if we were freewheeling most of the way to the finish, eventually 7 minutes down. The good news though was that Stefan had taken second on the stage! A great result for our small team.

Cyclists compete in round 4 of the Lights By Linea, Hero Challenge cycling series

Another image from the Lights By Linea Hero Challenge criterium on the weekend, had to post this one because my Mom said “I look so pro”…

Image Credit: Chris Hitchcock

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#throwbackthursday Tour de Boland 2009. I had owned a TT helmet for a year and still had  not had a chance to ‘test it out’, using it in a hill climb TT was not the best idea. 40C up Tall Monument.

Image Credit: Ronelle Rust

Back to the topic of preparation, in cycling and in life (how profound), I’ve learnt to control what you can and don’t stress too much about what you can’t, easier said than done. Nonetheless, as the team arrived on Wednesday morning I again landed up bringing the biggest bag. Whilst temperatures were forecast for the high thirties this week, you never know if the weather can change and hence if you go scratching through my bag you’ll find undervests, knee and arm warmers and rain jackets! Additionally I have certain things that I like eating, for example homemade muesli that Ash makes for me that I bring along. So whilst it may seem that I bring a lot of sh!t along, and I know I do, I’ve got most of my bases covered. This extends to certain medication you may need (legal of course!), race nutrition, equipment, spare parts or even your teddy bear to help you fall asleep at night.

 

Take these principles and apply them to your Argus come Sunday. Bring anything you may realistically need. Have your bike serviced ahead of time, test it after the service. If there’s a problem sort it out today! Not on Saturday night at 10pm.

 

The night before the race get your kit laid out, pin your number on, put your gels and bars in your pockets. Get your breakfast out and ready to eat in the morning. Essentially it’s all the little things that make a difference, do them right and don’t waste the hard training you’ve done over the past few months because of a silly, avoidable mistake. It may help to write down a list of anything that you can think you may need to do, then tick it off as you go to ensure you’ve got it all down.

 

Anyway, last stage of Bestmed Tour de Boland for us tomorrow, the shorter 115km stage will have a nasty sting in the tail as we have mountain top finish on Franschoek Pass.

 

Till next time, ciao!

Chilling out and catching up

Well it’s been a busy couple of days and it’s nice to chill out this afternoon and reflect on what went down. Don’t get me wrong, I chill plenty, but at home there is ‘always something you could be doing’. Now out in Tulbagh after the second stage of the Bestmed Tour de Boland I can chill out properly after a tough little stage this morning.

 

I got back from the big smoke last week Monday after a successful trip, securing a couple more product sponsors (more on this soon) and qualifying for Mountain bike Marathon World Champs.

 

Come Wednesday I was back at Killarny, searching for a bit of speed ahead of the final Lights by Linea Hero Challenge criterium on Sunday and the tour this week.

 

The crit didn’t go as planned. Although I made the front group, I crashed, twice. As a result, I have a nice hole in my hip right now and had to make some last minute bike repairs come Monday before the tour kicked off on Tuesday. Thanks to Charlie for hooking me up with a first edition Dura Ace 10 speed shifter #retrobadass.

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Warming up.

Image credit: Ash Smit

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Image credit: Rob Ward

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Image Credit: Capcha Photography

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Crash, boom, bang!

Image credit: Rob Ward

The TT kicked of the tour yesterday day, at just 18km with a tailwind for the first half of it, the times were fast! It wasn’t easy though with the finish half way up Helshoogte pass. Besides that, is a TT ever easy? I think I went out a bit too hard, mushroom clouded and limped home, somewhat down in the field.

 

I have joined the Lights by Linea team this week. A huge thanks to Wayne Roberts for the opportunity, it’s great to be involved. Our team is managed by John Robertson and includes Stefan Ihlenfeldt, Hanco Kachelhofer, Reginald Benjiman, Brandon Christians and myself.

 

With the TT out the way the second stage would be a 125km road stage from Solms Delta Wine Farm to Tulbagh. Along the way we encountered a tough ‘little’ dirt road climb up Jan Phillips drive in Paarl which caused the first selection, Botmaskop on the Riebeack Kasteel outskirts and some good hard gutter riding towards the finish just before Nuwekloof pass. Unfortunately with some dodgy gutter riding, we missed the front split of about 10-15 riders and Stefan, Hanco and I came home in the second group.

 

With two more road stages and some more passes to climb it won’t be an easy week to say the least. We’ll have Saturday to chill, before we tackle the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour on Sunday (the event name is seriously legit!).

 

Until my chill time tomorrow afternoon, where I’ll try keep you folks updated, ciao for now.

 

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The hurt.

Image credit: Capcha Photography