Monday, December 21, 2009

Mud and more Sunday 20th Dec

Lion got new tyres on his mountain bike and wanted test out the new grip. We ventured put to the MTB track that is next to the ORT airport, lovely day with the rising sun not too hot as there was a bit of cloud to keep things cool.

The single track was awesome - as usual Ratty led the way - there was a nice bridge made of crates to get over the worst of the mud (luckerly for Lion the horse flies were still sleeping). Loads of mud and water, at one stage the single track was a little stream for the rain water to run off from the previous night . The forest section was enchanting - the winding track made you loose your sense of direction. Lion fell off a few times - not because of the new tyres but a co-ordination problem. Pictured below is Lion tackling the big grass and Ratty with splash up on his back.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Alien infestation in Benoni?

I must admit Richard has been a good host, for his privacy I have not written about the horseflies last year,
but certain events have left me with no choice this may yet become a matter of global importance.
One for the men in black if we have any.

Confused? Yes, so am I.

Perhaps the best place to start is at the beginning lets go back one year then shall we?

The Rat and the Lion were still new to mountain biking, Ratty’s little brain is equipped with a GPS and as such finding paths is normally left to him, Finding s water is also a little sideline ratty gets into, so inevitably at some point we end up in a swamp.

It is rainy season and Ratty heads for high ground, The Lion instead is wading knee deep in stagnant water with his bike on his shoulders (just like a real man would)
The lion must have been a prime target, Perfect DNA for a host.I believe a mutant species of horseflies (possibly alien) Took to feasting on the lion, - he suffered terribly and was bitten at least 50 times

For a while we steered clear of the swamp…

But Sunday 13 of Dec, the lion seemed a little different on his ride, he kept trying to meet up with other alpha males, he kept heading for water and he kept falling of his bike. I think his body was being controlled from within. Ratty proverbially speaking smelt a rat when the lion headed on towards the swamp. This confused ratty a little because it was after all rainy season.

Perhaps the company of a newly found alpha male who had tagged onto the ride made the Lion want to show off, we headed straight to the stream. Fortunately ratty was first to wade across, unfortunately he cut himself in the crossing.


Ratty turned to the Lion for courage and was most horrified to witness, a chilling sight, live horseflies seemed to be erupting from the Lions skin!

Savage and eager to start a new lifecycle they attacked us, Lion and the more alpha male suffered terribly.
Ratty who was fortunately on the other side of the stream took to his bike and fled suffering only a few bites, no eggs were laid.
Someone though needs to start watching Richard, I believe the mutant flies possessed with a higher order intelligence carefully selected a host (why else would ratty have escaped, not once, but twice)

The lion’s insistence on attracting other alpha males seemed programmed,  I believe it an uncontrolled action to lure good DNA into the swamp. I believe the proximity of the stream close to Denel aviation and all it’s military secrets is not coincidence, I believe more eggs were laid and the number of hosts has multiplied.

Now where are those men in Black?



Monday, November 30, 2009

Beast of the East 29th Nov 09

The Beast of the East mountain bike race held at Dunplain Equestrian Estate in the East Rand - the Lion needed to lick his wounds after the 94.7 race and rediscover that Mountain Biking is far better than riding on the road (Ratty declined to share this expeience with Lion).

This was by far the best race of the year - the course had a bit of variety from drop offs, jeep track, water and water crossings. I did the race with work colleague Martin Felix and my neighbour Gerry Capatos. It was really an awesome experience, I felt strong the whole race and did my best time or km per hour this year.
Below are picutes of Gerry and Martin at the start.

Momemtum 94.7 road race 15th Nov

What a long, hot and tiring race - Lion was reduced to a kitten in this race. The mountain bike and the hot tar for 96.5km, was not a good combination (never mind the fact that hills were on steriods that day). Next year will have to be on a road bike :( and I must refrain from partying in the early hours of the morning in Cape Town a few days before.
Positives - it was awesome experience 26000 people started the race (so I never rode alone) and there was a real vide between everyone. Below is a picture of me and a good mate Bradley who came to support around the half way mark.


Monday, November 2, 2009

First 100km up

Sunday the 1st of November Lion accomplished an amazing feat. He teamed up with a couple of road bikers (sorry for being unfaithful Ratty) and punished the tar for 100km. It was tough going trying to keep up with the lighter road bikes (and the fitter people on them) but it was acheived.

Come on 94.7 road race - the Lion is not afraid anymore.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Northern Farms 18 Oct 09

Great short ride at the Dirt Festival at the Northern Farms. We completed the 20km route as we has to rush home as one of the Lion cubs was in hospital. The track was very lucky not to have the 2 heavy weights punish even further..

2 fat bastards before the race

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday Ride - 3 October 09

What an awesome ride today, I picked up ratty at 06:00 and we ventured off into the Benoni outback. First stop at the sandpan for a few 'careful' rides on the off road bike track (ground is very loose after the first summer rains).
Off through the open veld heading towards Bapsfontein - we met up with a group of 5 mountain bikers who were going on a long distance ride. We did about 15km with them and they showed us new a new route into the plots. It was nice chatting with the guys and I did not have to look at look at the Rat for a change. We peeled off with one of the riders when we realised that these boys mean business and were doing a long haul.
Ratty and Lion rode through the agricultural plots and on piece of single track, my front wheel hit a large grass clump, back tyre slid out and I went flying face first into the grass. Ratty who was (too) close behind me went crashing into my bike and we both ended on the ground. Below is a photo of the aftermath (there were a group of farm labourers who witnessed this an couldn't believe their eyes - eish). Petit Boere market next - we rode in past the stalls and stopped for a quick coffee followed by a home made lemon shooter to restore our dignity.

Homeward bound in lovely overcast weather.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday 20 Sept Ride

Ratty and Lion got off to a cold windy start, the Rat had tried his best to weasel out of the ride, but sanity pervailed (a real man does not say no to the fresh open plains that beckon). Off to the sandpan at a brisk pace 25km/h (ok that is brisk for us).

At the Sandpan (old mine with lots of ramps and small hills that motorcross maniacs have converted to a small track) Lion almost came a croper had Ratty not warned him that there was a massive hole after the ramp he was about to ride over - phew.
Off to the pan which had dried up somewhat, crossing over the dried mud that was once covered in water a few months ago. Below are photos of the two of us and the seagulls that we disturbed.

The next few kms were hard and relatively fast, Ratty reminiced that we first walked to one small hile next to the polar field - the legs are getting stronger.

A few kms from the end - yes you guesed it Ratty had another puncture. Two at the same time to be factual (but the front one sealed itself) so only the back one which had a new tube in from a puncture during the week was damaged. THE SCORE IS 11 NIL TO LION.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lion Cub in the forest

Ratty organised a great event on saturday for 1st Benoni Sea Scouts - they did a hike to the airport and then rode their mountain bikes around the 2 tracks. Here is a photo of a Lion cub who went along for the ride.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Irene - Nissan Down and Dirty MTB race

Lion's ride
Was really an awesome ride.. managed to finish the 60km and I wasn’t last (was close though only seven finishes behind me), I took it really slow and enjoyed the ride chatting to the few that I could keep up with. Large field over 550 for the 60km (of which 10% didn’t finish) and 700 for the 30km.

The route was really great nice hills and single track with a cool forest piece in the middle. Lost my bike clock in the first bumpy part but 10km later by pure luck, I asked a rider how far we had gone - he didn't know...but he had picked up my clock and gave it back to me - wow what are the chances of that in a field of over a 1000 riders (he pulled out a few kms later).

Now that I can do the distance next time I will try to do it a bit faster and try make it before they pack up the finish line.

Ratty's ride
I thought it best to start with a simple definition,
"Karma ", understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect, one's acts considered as fixing one's lot in the future existence.

No really the Lion is actually somewhat literate, both brawn and brain has he, hence his tenacious approach to a relatively simple 60km ride.

½ life or ½ man
Now back to the half life of ratty and the decay rate of bad Karma
Ratty had very cleverly faked injury, and strategized on why it would be better to only do half the distance, what worried him was the fact that the lion though him to be joking
This gave ratty half a nights rest before the race. In the morning he half filled his bottle with energy juice, ready was he for his 30/60km freewheel in the park and off he went to fetch the lion.

I think the lion only realized the rat was seriously downgrading when ratty registered for half the distance - Enter Karma – ratty was rewarded with a girly handout pack complete with pink razor. Ratty stoutly ignored the implication

Then the lion started chatting to the real girls doing the 60km event instead ratty sat in the truck and pouted pretending to stay out the sun. It really was not his place to talk to these obviously genetically superior alpha specimens, he doubted the lion ought to be either but the lion felt invincible.

Rat waited patiently as the lion prepared to start with the rest of the UNSEEDED 60km riders
Hmm he thought this lot are going to take half a day to finish, plenty of time for a snooze when he got back. As the lion slowly disappeared in a cloud of dust ratty assumed his position in the starting block, nice easy ride, chat, chat enjoy the rest of the afternoon, soon be back home while the lion filled in medical aid forms he thought.

The first 10 km rat took easy, striking up casual friendships and generally enjoying the fact that his heart rate had to be at least half of Richards. Round the bend and up the first hill, time to get serious and rat slyly found the inside line and geared down in time Snap – the Goose had broken a chain, small set back for the mechanic in rat and he was soon on the way again – it would be fun passing all the slower folks on the hill, hee hee. Snap again the Goose revolted a second time, rat let out a barely audible curse, No problem pass them again rat thought.
This time the rat had to wait until he was second last before he succeeded in begging a chain splitting tool as his had broken. Rat returned the borrowed tool and looked down to see he had forgotten to thread the chain through the front chain ring selector, he would have limited gearing for the rest of the race. Small hints of guilt entered ratty’s conscience as he wondered how far back the lion would be by now.

The downhill was great, even the stingy rat ignored the discarded treasures – old bike tubes and lost water bottles on route. Why do people do that?
The next little hill felt tougher the sun beginning to play a role, the lack of gearing however playing a larger role, the rat was forced to dismount and push, lucky no girls overtook him.

I think it was while re-positioning his chain whilst in motion (neat little trick don’t you think?) it had bounced off on the fast downhill, a consequence of the lapse of concentration during his earlier repair. Another momentary lack of focus must have followed because the rat woke to voices asking him if he were ok. He recognized the painful grunt as his own voice and realized he must have fallen (One would think this would pay the karma but alas there is more to follow).

Gingerly the rat proceeded, a thumping headache kept him company at the back of the race. He passed another injured beta male and stopped to help, wondering if he could bum a ride back on an off rode ambulance, this was not to be because an extremely keen 3rd class first aider relieved ratty of this opportunity.

The rat continued and under a tree he spied a damsel in distress, Ratty grabbed the chance to rest and offered to fix a puncture, gallantly offering her his only spare tube. He learnt with difficulty, perhaps the concussion playing a part, to spell her name and gracefully cycled side by side as they made their way to the finish. Could this appease the karma he wondered?

But Karma was still un-avenged, the lion was still sweating, no getting off that lightly rat man -- there’s more for you.....
Lovely stuff a spin tyre cut as the ratted Stan forded the stream, with latex spraying everywhere except sealing his tyre the rat dismounted to push again.

Ratty was both down and dirty after the race, but he felt good at least the lion had not yet finished and he could yet gloat at the sweaty little heap of despair he was sure the lion would be. The Alpha girls had left the car park (in fact most people had). The rat felt lonely but WOW! Hey! Wondrous beast! Here comes the LION. Well done big boy.

P.S. I missed you so.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ratty poetry

Poem written by ratty before our big race on Saturday (he has downscaled to the 30km - 60km for the Lion)

No ride and no nook,
no beer till you puke,
just rest for your best.

Dream of the ride you have it inside.
First sleep,
then dig deep for the path may be steep.

To push will be queer, you must ride it I fear.

But the girls and fat men will be at it again,
by the time you get in they will have finished their spin.
With libido to spare, they will have loving to share.

Alas sweaty men though courage you have shone,
you will be left to hone your egos alone.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Route 42 John Deere Classic

At last photos of the 50km John Deere classic, Ratty and Lion are pushing and the real man Malcolm the machine rides it out.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saturday Ride

There's a Lion in the forest.

Ratty with his protective headgear - those ears are warm

Ratty and Lion's weekend adventure ride took place at a MTB track next to the Airport. Really great technical piece in a small forest on the one side of the runway and a open stretch on the other side. Awesome to see the planes landing right next to you. Count down to the 60km race at Irene next weekend.....

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ratty ad lib lyrical

The rat pushed his bike down the drive, the fresh air of the crisp spring morning invigorating his senses. Birds were singing and soon the sun would rise, making it easier to see the off road paths, more dirt less tar, this would please the lion too.
Ratty heard voices and picked up his pace, these were real voices not the abnormal ones in his head, he was accustomed to those but real female twittering voices.
Mmm early morning talent, right in his line of sight!
Oh the joys of Spring!
Ratty took a deep breath, flexed his buttocks and pulled in his paunch “ Good morning ladies! Lovely morning for a jog he said” he cheerily greeted them as he surveyed the cut of their tracksuits. (This is a family blog)

With such an energetic start he cycled off to meet the lion for one their weekly rides, the best time of the day he mused.
Ratty and Lion will have to drink beer to finish composing their own rock song about cycling to honour this feeling.
In the meanwhile…. Courtesy of Queen … … I want to ride my bicycle I want to ride my bike. ….. Fat bottomed girls they make the rocking world go round

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Morning ride

Ratty was so fast on our ride this morning that he could hardly be captured on camera...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ride on Sunday 23rd August

Ratty woke up out of his normal dream and instinctively hit the snooze button hoping to return to dreamland, so far a normal start to his day.
So the story begins… the rat got out of out of bed and was transformed. Focussing his inner energy on the task ahead he dressed in battle gear and found the goose waiting. He busied himself with some minor mechanical adjustment to the goose until the rising adrenalin in his body woke his bowels.
Now… some 900grams lighter he was ready to go.The Lion by now would be cycling past the gymnasium. If ratty hurried he might catch the lion on the way up the hill.

After some primeval grunting the pair decided on a route and hastily ate up the tar looking for dirt. Ah the reward of the open fields the longing, the passion, the demands of the undulating paths beckoned…

The lion let out a “yip” a squeal of pleasure as he negotiated the drop off, scaring the honest passer by of the path, leaving ratty to apologise for the lions behaviour.
The rat did not mind, such was his joy of being free out of his cage, in the field “ Yip, Yip” The crunch of gravel under the goose felt good.

The pair rode on alongside sharing sordid banter but seamlessly moving to single file when the terrain demanded. Lion had seen a clump of trees on Google earth and seemed fixated about visiting them, his motivation unknown to ratty but he suspected the lion needed some distance in his legs to test his 60km commitment in Irene. No problem the rat felt good today.
But things changed as they dismounted to drag their bikes under the bridge. The lion choosing to lift his trek over the obstacle while rat chose the quicker race option, clearly the lion was inexperienced he thought smugly to himself.

Ratty did not even fear being shot as by an irate farmer so invincible did he feel
He had to admit though he was a little was relieved when a solidly disapproving steel gate forced them to urn again in a homeward direction. At the bridge the lions sudden stop for energy sachet made ratty a little more comfortable, the lion was capable of tiring after all… his own legs felt a little wobbly but he would not admit it now.

Back in the saddle the Rat’s fears had just begun to subside when he noted an ominous collection of vehicles ahead. Rat felt his sixth sense warn him of something, and his heartbeat rose feeding new blood to ready his legs Outwardly he cheerily rode on, inwardly prepared to meet the strange looking crowd. The sudden aggressive barking of killer dogs made ratty fart and he dropped a gear to accelerate away from the source of danger He knew the lion behind him would never be scared, but noted the lion accelerate non-the-less.

Ratty was not entirely sure, but did the fat lady in the khaki uniform sport the mountain bike hunters logo on the camoflauge cap? Was the old man with the crooked nose assembling a shotgun? Ratty farted again and crossed the tar road into new territory his mind strategising how to throw the sent and get the dogs of their trail

The lion crossed the tar, they had not yet heard the bugles signifying the start of the hunt,
Rat was not sure this bunch played by the rules, he could still feel the hot breath of the Alsatian as it attacked the walls of its cage when he passed them. No this lot were not to be trusted but the wily rat would do what he could to save his skin.

Fight or flight?…. Flight came to mind
The lion saw it first but did not realise the implication, Rat did, he followed the lion into the refuse site, this might distract the dogs for a while. The chicken manure would help, the nearby chicken farm too Then rat saw the race track, surely mixing their tracks with countless others would help throw the hunters if not the dogs One more tactic, get down to the stream and wash the scent now….all would be ok….. Ratty could hear motorized bikes in the field, witnesses!! at last the hunters foiled.

Survival in agricultural wastelands of Benoni sure aren’t easy But now life was simple, head home, negotiate the polluted wastelands, avoid punctures and feed on protein when you get home.
Irene 60km here we come.

Ratty fixes all

Ratty the engineer breaking his chain to make it shorter after his rear deraileur was broken whilst doing the airport MTB track

John Deere Clasic

Lion on the left and his friend Ratty have just arrived home after a 50 km John Deere mountain biking race. Totally nacked but it was a good ride. Beat my time for the 40km race done earlier at Norther Farms - managed to win a bet with Malcolm the Machine as he didn't beat me by more then an hour this time :)

Another flat tyre Stan??

Part 1 - when it didn't happen

Stan the rat, spent a long time looking at the appalling weather outside. It is true that he contemplated turning his mobile phone off, surely thought, Richard the Lion will realise that this morning is not the best for an adventure ride. The rat drew a deep breath and the icy cold air filled his undersized lungs to half hearted capacity. The Mongoose well named for the metaphorical relationship it implied, stood nearby waiting to be used. Today it’s cold aluminium frame would see no action unless of course the lion phoned…..but the Lion did not.

This worried the rat a little, pleased as he was, his selfish survivalist personality was on occasion disrupted by his concern for the lions well being. He had put the absence of the lions call to the only weak point he knew the lion possessed. Richard had earned the name of the lion through fearless endeavour, through blood offerings in the swamp where he was once attacked by a swarm of vindictive and savagely territorial horse flies. The horse fly saga is of such epic proportion that it has earned nearly legendary status and really needs a more detailed chronicle, perhaps later.
Rat thought about the lion's early adrenaline raising interaction with the steamroller, redeeming features he thought but that too needs dealing with a little later.
Suffice the reader for now to know that the lion has also proved his mettle in resilient comeback after numerous falls. His tenacious handling of extreme physical and mental challenges was proven, ratty had to admit. Only a truly extraordinary circumstance would have keep the lion away.

Oh well, perhaps on Wednesday the rat thought, as he returned the Mongoose to its stable. The Goose would be even more demanding to ride if it did not get a mid week release.
My first mountain bike race at Northern Farms in February 2009, 40km of mud and sweat, had to walk quite a bit, my time was awefully slow, they had packed up by the time I finished :) (Ratty was scared and I had to do this one without him). Thanks to Melt and Pierre for meeting me at the race and doing some of the course with me (won't mention the jibes on the amounts of girls ahead of me). Malcolm the machine really put me to shame by beating me by an hour and 20 minutes.