Resolution Health Zurreal – Ride the Rhino – Stage 1 and 2

Overcast, drizzly and generally quite chilly conditions greeted us for the start of the 3 day Resolution Health Zurreal Ride the Rhino. Our starting point was the Langebaan Country Estate. The first stage would see us traverse the coast line before heading inland towards Darling to our overnight stop. Day 2 presented a 90km loop starting and finishing in Darling with the final day starting in Darling and finishing off at Hillcrest in Durbanville.

 

On the racing front a relatively flat first 50km and a strong headwind, meant a large group of 30 riders stayed together. After turning inland towards the hills, the EAI team heated affairs at the front; the racing was unfortunately short lived. Some confusion with route markers had arisen, and ultimately the day would be neutralised later on. On the plus side the weather had cleared up into a sunny west coast day, with the many daisies in bloom at this time covering the countryside. I was having visions of wet, muddy camping… Not ideal having not brought my gumboots with!

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The peloton leaves the picturesque Langebaan.

Image credit: Chris Hitchcock

 

After some charming local hospitality at the Darling Country Club and the promise of better route marking we set off on the second stage of the Ride the Rhino. A tougher day was on the cards and the early highlight the, Renosterveld Singletrack. The racing split the field up here and I soon found myself on my own, dangling a tantalizingly close 30 seconds off the EAI pair of Rabie and Combrinck. 2 against 1 in the wind isn’t fun, this 30 seconds soon turned into a few minutes.

 

Respite from the wind was brought on by the Dassenberg Donder… Yes the name says it all, it was a b*tch of a climb! The lower slopes being exceptionally rough through the veld and fynbos until we hit the jeep track to take us to the tower on top. My first sighting of the cement strips brought a sense of relief, to enjoy something smoother you know, soon replaced by ah sh!t, this is going to get steep! And it did get steep, 28% steep!

 

A quick dash off the side of the mountain and we arrived at the final water point at Cloof Wine Estate, also the hosts of the Rocking the Daisy’s music festival. The EAI boys had taken a wrong turn and I was now upfront on my own. The South Easter, who I had cursed earlier, was now my friend as the tail wind pushed me back to the finish in Darling. EAI found their way again, and we rode the last 20km into the finish together.  They had won the team category and me the solo category.

 

There won’t be a dash to the finish line tomorrow, an 88km stage with some nasty looking spikes towards the end of the route profile suggests otherwise!

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Good morning Darling!

Image credit: Chris Hitchcock

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Steve being rad in his pink Speedo and Rhino Horn. I believe he has ridden both full stages like this. Maybe he needs some ASS MAGIC?

Image Credit: Chris Hitchcock



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Tip Trans Experience

I‘ve been doing a lot more riding as opposed to racing over the past few weeks but last weekend it was back to what I am paid to do, race my bike.

 

It was an early start on Saturday morning to make the journey out to Citrusdal for the Tip Trans Experience. A 115km marathon starting and finishing just outside Citrusdal, we would do a loop in a northerly direction over the Nieuwoodt pass, along the banks of the Clanwilliam Dam and then back to Citrusdal. It really was a very scenic race and I am glad I made the mission out there for the first time.

 

The race started with us following one of the Tip Trans 20 wheeler trucks out of town piloted by the Tip Trans owner, Pieter Visser. A lead group of about 15 riders soon formed and then was whittled down to 6 riders over a frolling climbs before we hit the Nieuwoodt pass 30km into the race.

 

Louis Bressler Knipe set a steady tempo on the front until 2km from the top when Johann Rabie attacked and went clear to win the KOM. Louis and I joined Rabie on the descent and the 3 of us rode together for most of the remainder of the race. On mostly gravel roads it would not have been pleasant to be on your own especially with a building South Easter on the 30k stretch back to the finish.

 

With the last 10km of the race turning off the gravel road onto jeep track this is where the race would be made. Rabie attacked up a rocky climb 5km out, I responded but just couldn’t get onto his wheel and so the furious time trial to the line commenced with Rabie taking honours, myself in 2nd and Louis rounding out the podium.

 

Rabie and I had also both gone under the previous course record of 4.01 set by David George in 2012, Rabie finished in 3.57 with myself just over a minute later.

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Tip Trans Experience podium with Pieter Visser.

 

The next two months are going to be very busy on the racing front and I am glad to have started it off on a positive note.

 

In Joburg Hanco raced on the road at the Dome2Dome Classic where he took a great 3rd place behind the Bonitas duo of Jayde Julius and Herman Fouche. A result made more impressive as he was racing as an individual against all the road domestic pro teams.

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Dome2Dome Classic Podium.

Altech Autopage Jozi2Kozi

A week has passed since I arrived home from the most memorable bike riding trip from Joburg to Kozi Bay. The 3rd edition of the Altech Autopage Jozi2Kozi was a resounding success. With the emphasis very much being that of a ride as opposed to a race, there wasn’t even a timing system; it changed the feel of the event in a very good way

 

We started off riding through the platteland for the first two days, the first night being hosted by the Standerton boat club. Their home brewed mampoer would rather be forgotten by most. It was dangerous.

 

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Leaving the concrete jungle for a week of riding through some remote areas, a stark contrast.

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Welcomed to the start on Day 1, yes I know it says finish on the banner.

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 After our overnight stop at the Standerton Boat Club(Read Mampoer capital of the world), day 2 starts with a boat ride across the dam. You have to jump off the boat into about 30cm of water on the other side and walk to the shore where your bike awaits. Did I mention it was 4C, never mind the wind chill on the boat and the icy water.

 

With the changing countryside and the mountainous terrain appearing on the horizon, the end of the 3rd day saw us ascend and then ride through Udo’s crater. Quite a remarkable experience and something the photos don’t do much justice. Again a memorable evening was in store for us with the German community in the hamlet of Luneburg hosting us.

 

 

From Luneburg we traversed into the rolling hills of Zululand and were now well and truly into Kwa Zulu Natal. Our first evening here was hosted at a cattle kraal, in what felt like was the middle of nowhere. Our journey through Zululand continued through to Lake Sibaya and then onto Kozi Bay on the coast.

 

 

Once in the Zululand region, along with Altech Autopage CFO Thinus, Hanco and I assisted at the school handovers. Altech donated financial resources to uplift schools, as well as gifts for the children, these will go a long way in uplifting their communities. A handover was also done for the anti-poaching unit at the Zululand Rhino Reserve which we had the privilege of riding through

 

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Before our first school handover Thinus found this dog at a water point, he called me aside and said imagine if Hanco was dog, he would be like that one. Small and red… The Ginger Ninja is a good sport and posed for a photo with his fury friend.

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This ‘castle’ in what was another ‘in the middle of nowhere’ moments greeted us as our first water point on day 2.

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Sunrise over Luneburg.

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Fast 30k on the tar to start day 3, helped get through the day a bit quicker.

 

It was really a remarkable 7 days of riding across an area of the country which for me and many others was largely unexplored. I met some awesome people, people who I am sure I will be friends with for years to come.

 

 

ASS MAGIC was also a sponsor of the event and I think it helped a large number of people through the tough 7 days on their ASSES! The feedback was great and the ‘ASS MAGIC ass of the day’ was a daily fun award given to someone who had made an ASS out of themselves.

 

 

I didn’t want to write too much about Jozi2Kozi but rather reflect onsome photos from the week. In their own way, they tell much more of a story, give you the reader a visual insight to the journey.

 

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The Pongola River, beautiful setting, with Crocs and Hippos below the surface. We had to cross this river.

 

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After we had made it safely across the Ginger Ninja went back to help his wife cross. I on the other hand took photos, awesome team mate.

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Riding selfie through the Zululand Rhino Reserve.

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Whilst waiting for some of our group to catch back up I started chatting to these ladies, they couldn’t believe that we were riding our bikes all the way from Joburg to Kozi Bay and were most excited to take a photo. 

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We stopped at a couple of Spaza shops to buy drinks in the Zululand region.

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The wolfpack.

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Finished in Kozi Bay with some hard earned beers.