Sunday, April 2, 2017

Ezemvelo MTB race 01-04-2017

No April fool here, what a great race at the Ezemvelo Game Reserve. A nice representation from the Benoni Rough Riders with Michael, Wayne, Paul, Darren, Fabio and Dustin smashing it in the heat and dust. It was a really great race, smooth flowing tracks with a bit of loose sand on occasion. The only draw back was the bottleneck in the beginning at a river crossing. After a short queue and chance to talk a bit of crap with fellow riders the race carried on. A few more river crossings left wet shoes for the rest of the race. The scenery was spectacular being in a game reserve outside Bronkhorspruit. Not much game could be spotted besides a Kudu buck running across the track a few meters ahead of me. I handled the race ok, pacing myself for most of the time but really felt the lack of hill training and the extra few kilos that have snuck up on me, near the end.  
Fabio, Darren, me, Mike, Wayne, Dustin and Paul
Darren, Mike and Paul patently waiting a the first river crossing
The last (heart break) hill before the end
Sunrise taken in one of the early morning rides before work

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Another day another sunrise

Great rides last weekend to the Broodblik and back on Saturday and Monument single track on Sunday. Legs were pretty heavy after spending 10 days overseas in Spain and England with plenty of over eating and drinking. Nice sunrises with the winter chill knocking at the door. 
Sunrise before off to eat pancakes and drink crap coffee
Mr Epic (Ashley), Becky and me selfie
Sean fixing a puncture in the crops
Banting breakfast at Hava Java after churning up the single track at Monument

Thursday, March 16, 2017

RIP Barry

With deep regret, Barry Mccallum passed away last week. Reading the 50 odd pages on the you realize what a impact he had on so many people's lives in the cycling community. I will miss my interactions with him on Twitter and the odd visit to Procycles on a Saturday where his sense of humor always cracked me up. 

I found found a post from my Blog in 2012 where I did a ride that Barry organized in the mine dumps:

I will hopefully be able to attend his funeral and join the memorial ride this Sunday. We will miss you Barry. 
Nice turn out riding from Procycles to Grapes
Stopped to have a beer a Barry's favorite haunt Grapes

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Mike the Sushi King

February 2017 is here already, how time flies when you are having fun on the bike. Few great rides in the last month with a great bunch of riding mates. It is incredible what a nice group of people are on our riding group - The Benoni Rough Riders, always good banter on the WhatsApp group and there is always fantastic company on our numerous rides (except if it is raining then it is just me and Norman Nofriends). 
Early morning sunrise ride before work 
Sunday breakfast ride - other Mark, Mark, Juan, Paul and Michael 
Sunday afternoon ride with my son and wife...more fun and coffee
The last couple of Sundays we have made a point in our ride to go to the Monument MTB track that a group of guys have made for the benefit of the local riding community. They have done a lot of work there and it is a great flowing track that keeps you honest as you go up Monument hill a few times on the route. Normally we stop for a breakfast and coffee at Hava Java coffee shop on the way home, but this morning we only had coffee as Michael invited us to try his Sushi from his Sushi Bus (he had some stock left over after a event yesterday). Really tasty, we all tucked in, it was awesome and we are all very grateful for Michael's excess stock that needed to be eliminated.  
Michael the Sushi King 
Paul, Sean, Mark and Anton tucking into the tasty sushi  
And of course I have to mention my long time mate Greg Heunis, always there to assist me with any mechanical issues that I have with my bike. Here he is putting 2 new tyres and a chain on my bike. Really thankful for the all the years I have had him practicing his skills on my bike... :-)
"I can't seem to get this bottle of Stans to fit inside this tyre"

Sunday, January 15, 2017

2017 bring it on....

So 2017 is in full force and here's hoping it will be bigger and better then 2016. We had some lekker rides at the end of 2016 - I did over 300km in the last week and finished off the year on 8914km. Nice time in the saddle - almost 9000km in 445 hours. That is an extra 18.5 days of life I scored getting up early riding with my mates.
Becky followed by Greg and Claire on the tandem behind
Group ride for Jess near Serengeti 
Jess now living in the USA joined us for a morning ride :-)
I had a dumb fall earlier this week and came down really hard on my hip and ribs. Pretty sore and left with some bruising and a fractured rib. Plenty of TLC and strapping from the Chiropractor.

Stopping to celebrate Becky's 10,000km PA milestone 
Pancake ride on the last day of 2016 - Greg is guarding them from Claire
Looking forward to more time in the saddle for 2017 with some awesome people. We have entered a new stage race in May called the Trail and Trout (Bronkhorspruit to Dullstroom) which will be incredible. Hopefully I will remain injury free and be able to enjoy the experience. 

First ride of 2017 at BCC - my wife was nervous of the new bridge
Customary selfie by the forest stop sign
Great ride today, followed by a breakfast at Hava Java. Benoni Rough Riders is expanding and we are getting new people joining every week. Awesome to meet different people and share our new and past mountain biking experiences. 

Action photo I took today after our  breakfast/coffee stop

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

To the Barn that is Red and back...

Great ride to the Big Red Barn mountain bike park outside Irene on Sunday the 18th of December 2016. A few dedicated mountain bikers met at 05:30 at the BP to push our bodies to the limits whilst having a whole lot of fun. Fast ride there averaging almost 24km/h (thanks to Billy and Ian). Once at the park, Alister took us on some of the best parts which was extremely enjoyable. Awesome trails that are fun to ride even for the technically challenged like myself. Breakfast followed by the slog home. The ride home was great, nice pace and Ian took us on a different way that really broke the manotamy of riding the same parts getting there. Really enjoyed this ride - I finished on 101km and was not completely broken. 

Customary breakfast after churning up the track...
Get in line - Billy, Michelle, Becky
The Famous Babekas Becky
Yes was in front of Ian at one stage
Billy the Bandit
Group shot almost home...
Ride in the rain last week - followed by coffee at the M&B

Monday, December 12, 2016

WattleSpring trails outride..

Yesterday we went on a great ride out to the new WattleSpring trails MTB park outside Bapsfontein. It was an exploratory ride to see how far the park was away from Benoni (+30km) and to see what the park had to offer. We met at the BP at 05:30 and made our way to the park - we got there around 07:00 and were met by Ryan who very kindly took us around the trail. Unfortunately there was a lot of rain the night before and most of the track was vey muddy and couldn't be ridden. My back wheel slide out in the mud a few times and I scored three spectacular touch downs. The parts that we did ride were awesome, lots of work and thought has gone into this track, there is loads of single track, jumps, berms and step downs etc... 
Can't wait to go back there when the track is dry and the whole route can be experienced. We cut our ride short because our bikes caked in mud and opted to go back to the club house for some coffee and a breakfast bun instead. After replenishing the body and washing off the bikes we made our way back to Benoni - I ended up on 90km round trip, what an awesome ride with fantastic people. 
Marco, Michelle, Juan, Von, (muddy) Me, Becky and Wayne after the WattleSprings virgin ride. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Guilty blog from the lame blogger..

So after 7 odd years later after my first blog post in February 2009 I have become a blog slacker. Life has overtaken me and the time to reflect on my MTB memoirs is sadly reduced. Never a less lots has happened since my last blog post. I have had some fantastic rides (most of them involving a voluntary coffee stop) and witnessed some incredible feats in this wonderful sport of mountain biking. 

Everest challenge 2016 - I went and supported Becky and Sean on their amazing feat of riding the same ascent as it would be to climb Mount Everest. They chose a hill in Linksfield over a 30 hour period (against adverse weather conditions) they climbed almost 9000 meters. They did 113 laps up the hill to get the 9000m which was incredibly tough and resilient. I did 10 laps with them and really admire their determination to complete this feat. They are amazing athletes and we are proud to have them as members of the Benoni Rough Riders MTB group. 

Mini Everest that had to be claimed 133 times
Sean, Becky and Rene the Everest conquerors
Everest route was drawn on their car to plot their progress 
Tired Champs after 30 hours slogging uphill
November was 94.7 road race month and I had a few rides to train for this. Not as many as I should of and I was a little under prepared once again. We had a great group ride out at Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve with the Apricot Tree charity group. Pretty hot ride with temps hitting 40 degrees Celsius - always a tough ride with loads of climbing. Sean was not riding after his Everest challenge the weekend before and brought the trailer and gas cooker to provide refreshments for the riders once they completed the route. Was really awesome - the nose cone of his trailer was filled with ice and packed with beers and cold drinks - these went down extremely well. 

One of the many 'training' rides followed by coffee and breakfast (Marco and Mark with no cash to pay the bill) 
94.7 road race 2016 was another awesome race. Once again I did this race with Wayne on our mountain bikes. We started at 7 o'clock and had a great chilled ride. Wayne had to wait for me on a few of the hills as my body had not yet recovered from the few days of drinking an eating I had subjected it to in Cape Town a few days before. The route this year was a lot better with us going around Kyalami race track instead of the inner city. Great ride once again representing the Apricot Tree school charity. Awesome support from the school with refreshments and massages once we crossed the finish line. 
Me and Wayne at the start of the race
At the finish - just over 4hours in the saddle
OK this is the end of the blog post - hoping for some long rides in December and will post more I promise. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

All good...

It has been a great few weeks of riding - last weekend we went to Heidelberg and yesterday we had a great ride via Sentrarand. On both rides we did new routes that I have not done before. Awesome rides with great company. Heidelberg ride we went to the Telkom tower and then to Wimpy for a breakfast via the army camp. Was pretty shocking the lack of security as we rode through the army camp and then went out the main gate. It did however bring back some memories going across the parade ground (I begrudgingly did 2 years military prescription in 1987-1988). 
Ashley and Graham (the 2017 ABSA Cape Epic contenders) did the radio tower a couple of times whilst the rest of us mere mortals were stuffing our faces with Wimpy's finest. On the way back, the group split into two and I toggled in between the A and B batch, eventually sticking to the B batch after being finally dropped by the A batch :-)
'no tools Marius' getting help from the group
After a bit of bush whacking (my fault)  we found the track to the tower..
The bunch at the top of the Telkom tower hill
Muddy route under the highway (wasn't me) 
Was only a piece of wire holding the gate together to get into the army camp
The slog back 
Becky and I were pretty dead on the way home...
Yesterday we went to Sentrarand and Alistair (on his birthday) took us on new routes next to the railway tracks and then we stopped at the Parks for a great coffee and breakfast.
Fast wide open spaces coming back from Sentrarand 
Bench warmers are back - yes after six months on the bench we managed to get Greg and Hansie back on their bikes. Paul is yet to join us but he got his bike serviced last week and Strava says he went for a ride on the weekend (just need to verify if it was on a dirt bike or MTB).  
Greg, Wayne and Becky having the customary Mug and Bean coffee.