Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rooiberg Eco Ride 2010

Rooiberg Eco Ride 2010, wow what an experience (learning experience that is). The excitement and anticipation of the last few months finally came to fruition, as Greg and  me embarked on a memorable '3' day stage ride. Unfortunately the weather did not come to the party as it had rained for days and carried on raining most of the time we were there, needless to say the roads were extremly muddy and snotty. Below is the camp that we stayed at - room with 4 beds, shower and communual kitchen etc.

Plenty of rain, we had driven some of the route to the start and saw the condition of the road and hence below is a photo of the 'wet' Day 1 (maybe that is why Day 2 was so tough).
Day 2 - we did not really know what we were getting into, this was the toughest day in my brief mountain biking life. The route was really really tough, loads of hills (more like mountains) and difficult technical single track, loose rock and of course mud. 

This was before the pain started.
First serious hill 5km into the ride - aptly named Fat Bastard

I am supposed to ride this?

The Donga 3km of riding/walking on an enclosed walled ravine, plenty of water, what an experience.

Welcomed tea stop

Yes we rode/walked from one side of the valley to the other.

Self portrait after whilst resting up another steep walk up a hill.

Brunch in the bush, phew I needed the rest.

I finally caught up with racing snake Greg (by taking a few alternative short cuts), this was taken whilst walking up one of the infamous steep hills with loose stones so there was not much grip.
Till next year - where we will be better prepared and hopefully tame the beast this time.   

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sunday 18th April

Stan the man could not be woken out of his slumber this morning - wisdom comes with age they say. Needless to say Greg and myself set off from home at 06:15 to meet at the gym by 06:30.
Rich - "how far should we go?",
Greg - "don't mind how long is your pink ticket for?"
Rich - "no time limit, but I know you have a plan to catch to Nigeria"
Greg - "not fussed, if I had my way I would do the normal (50km) route twice" 
Eeeeeek Rich thought to himself - where was Stan his anchor man when he needed him?

Greg - rode hard (plane to catch....) and Rich spent the all the time trying to catch up.  Out through Marister/Petit towards Serengeti and through the mud, past the mielies to Barnhoppers model airplane flying club (past Bapsfontein road). Short rest, rearranged clothing, hydropack etc - there were no takers from the model aircraft owners for my kind offer "you can ride my bike, if I can fly your plane". On leaving the flying club, we saw a group of mongoose (if you look really close you may spot them in the photo below). 
Shortly after leaving the flying club, going through a dip I dislodged the side wall on my back tyre and had to bomb it quick, before carrying on. Rode through a really muddy part at one stage and had to really give it horns or else you would be stuck (spent the next hour or so to recover from this burst of energy). Back home via our normal pasage past Serengeti golf estate (Rich still walking over the bridge). Rich did his normal over the handle bars dismount when going through the small dip after the 'model speed boat' dam (eish I am getting good at falling). 

Back home in almost one piece 68kms of hard but great riding - come on Rooiberg I am not so scared anymore.... 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Back in the saddle - weekend rides 10 & 11 April

How awesome was it to be back in the saddle this weekend after 3 weeks off with the foot injury. Greg and me did 2 nice +50km rides (Greg and Stan have also been man down with the flu the last 2 weeks).  With Rooiberg Eco challenge in less then 2 weeks we really had to put in some time in the saddle. 

The weather was on ourside - the Saturday was bright and sunny and the Sunday was cold but dry. Couple of obsticles on the Saturday ride - overflowing sewage manhole that created a stinking stream that had to be portaged - Greg was first and showed me what not to do (wetting one foot), he kindly took my bike over cesspit (in the process wetting his other foot). We continued our ride with the dry footed Richard passing a few undeserved jokes towards the ripe smelling Greg. Below are photos of the traffic jam that we had to work around a few kms later near Serengeti.

The traffic on the Sunday ride was more about how many mountain bikers we saw on the route that we thought was ours, at least 20 other bikers were leaving their tracks on portions of devine route. I was really doing well with not falling on the Sunday ride, going through all the 'technical' bits wth ease until 5kms from home I had my first fall - cutting my tyre side wall in the process. 4 bombs later, there was no other way but to walk to the nearest garage about 1.5kms away. Greg being the nice guy that he is, let me ride his bike while he pushed mine (so that my foot injury did not take any further strain). That at least deserves another photo of the super hero Greg in this blog post (in his new SuperSport kit - courtesy of Melt and Pierre).
After the fixing the tyre at the garage, we continued our ride home and believe it or not someone moved hole that took me out a few weeks ago (by the Homestead dam wall). A nice over the handle bars dismount and a landing that must of measured on the Richter scale took pay to my temporary confidence in MTB technical skills :).