Monday, February 28, 2011

Last week in Feb

Interesting week the last week of Feb - the fine balance of riding and healing. I didn't have a big week on the bike as the dog bite is still sore and healing slowly.

Tuesday I took the day off work and took the opportunity to use the present that my two friends Melt and Pierre organised for my birthday i.e. MTB skills clinic with Dylan Victor. The lesson was really an eye opener, Dylan is awesome and really knows his stuff, I definitely came away a much better rider. I learnt all about weight on the bike, posture, taking corners correctly, momentum, climbing, descending etc etc.

I also had a couple of gentle rides with my children this week, as I have entered them in a race next weekend. They got up really early (for them at least), to ride with me - below is a picture of them admiring the sun rise.  
Sunday - I went to Groenkloof in Pretoria to test out my newly acquired MTB skills. It was a fantastic ride and besides the fact I did not fall once, I achieved loads of little milestones in having more confidence in some of the technical bits and also climbing the koppie that I struggled with last year.  I saw plenty of game: 2 kudu bulls, a wildebeest, a herd of impala and I almost rode into a few zebra. I got so close to them I could have touched them.

Who put a Zebra Crossing on a MTB track?

I am ready for the next week and hope to spend more time on the bike (giving all dogs a wide berth).

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bite of a dog

Sunday the 20th of February 2011 and my first visit to the doctors emergency rooms for the year. For once it was not a result of falling off my mountain bike. We were riding  next to Serengeti Golf Estate on jeep track, when I saw an unusual  sight - slay dogs pulling carts on wheels. I stopped and chatted to the first cart (she had 8 dogs pulling her cart) and she gave me the run down of the sport (and told me she was getting used to her new disc brakes etc.). Unfortunately when I passed the second cart the lead dog decided to sink his teeth into my calve (twice). It all happened in slow motion and I couldn't actually comprehend that the dog wanted to tear my leg off my body.

I eventually caught Greg and Andrew (they are not as social as me and don't stop to talk to strangers) and they were pretty shocked. Ok, to tell a long story short - we had another 20km to go to home before I headed to the emergency room (on my wife's insistence) and they cleaned and dressed the wounds - they apparently don't stitch dog bites (pic below).

3 nice puncture wounds

I also had my headcam on and made a short video of the ride (including the bite) - excuse the swearing it was pretty painful...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mitsubishi Valentines MTB Dirt Ride

At 04:30 on Saturday the 12th of Feb 2011 the alarm buzzed and I sprang into action ready for my next challenge - the 67km Mitsubishi Valentines MTB Dirt Ride. Greg and me were joined by Gerry to experience this race in a game reserve outside Pretoria.   We met at my place at 05:00 and Gerry followed Greg and me to the Blue Moonlight Lodge 30 clicks outside of Pretoria. Greg and me were doing the 67km (our longest MTB race yet) and Gerry the 30km.

Greg and Gerry before the race

The race itself was pretty neat, not too hilly, plenty of jeep track with a sprinkle of mud and water thrown in. I had a few falls - once after hitting a hole in a water crossing (complete dunk and messing up yet another BlackBerry) and other times after tredging through muddy patches and not being able to uncleat in time.  There was a nasty little hill right at the end (about 150m in altitude) that punished the legs (I was fortunate to see the profile n the Hub before the race and was prepared for it).  Greg kicked my arse again and was relaxing in a camping chair under a tree when I trundled in (#competitive).
After returning back to the start/finish we found that (Dr) Gerry had already left (we thought because he was doing the shorter distance and had to leave to go back to the hospital etc as he is an Intensive Care Specialist). I only found out later in the day that he had actually had a very bad fall and had broken his scapula and fractured 2 ribs - so his visit to hospital was as a patient this time. He had managed to push his bike to the nearest help and then after seeing the medics, to push his shoulder back in place, he got in his car and drove home - my phone was now water logged so he could not contact me. Gerry we have a new respect for you and wish you all the best in your recovery. 
Cleaner version of yours truly before the layer of mud was applied in the race

Bikes have seen cleaner days....

Monday, February 7, 2011

Weekend rides

Saturday 05-02-2011
Greg and me joined the Procycles bunch on Saturday morning 05:30. Paul or Ian did not make it today so the 9 of us were at the mercy of Cliff to take through the mine dumps. I must admit it was not one of my best rides, there was plenty of fine mine dump sand which was pretty hard getting through and I had loads of falls (5), resulting in a few bruises and cuts. Ok I won't be mocking Greg again for his fall in the last week as karma came back and gave me a fat smack.
Horror - my saddle also fell off at the end of the ride and had to zipped tied back onto the seat post. The ride home was pretty interesting as the zip ties came undone and I had to ride without a saddle for awhile #roughride.
Sunday 06-02-2011
Having done the Emperor Palace MTB race once before you realise that is better to do the route without the 1000 or so people competing for the single track. The day after in fact is ideal as the grass has been cut and the route is pristine. Greg and me had a great time doing the route next to the airport (which is an easy 10km ride from home). There was a bit of mud in places but otherwise the single track and forest ride were awesome.  Below is Greg riding through the septic factory water before going through the tunnel going under the road.

I had my head camera on and made a short video of our ride below:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Greg takes a dunk

Its not often that I have the glee of blogging about another person falling off their mountain bike as I am usually the main culprit. My riding partner Greg had a real cracker this morning - we were riding up the side of the road as it was flooded and all of a sudden this branch attacked Greg and made him fall a good metre into the water below (submersing him and his bike).

Thanks Greg for trying to make me feel better after all my falls this last year....
Greg standing next to his bike after emerging from the water