Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer is on its way...

Yes the winter solstice has come and gone and the nights will get shorter and the days longer (and hopefully warmer). Its been a challenge riding in the cold and dark - but a least I managed a few rides whilst others were sleeping. Last Sunday I entered the Olympic Footwear MTB Winter Challenge which started at Serengeti Golf Estate. It was really an awesome race, the best one I have done so far (finally broke into the top 100 and was in the top half of the race) - ok I must admit I did have a bit of a home ground advantage as these are the routes I have been riding for the past 3 odd years. 

It was really cold when we started (about 2 degrees) and luckily the 60km race was shortened to 53km due to rain the day before that made one part un-rideable, so we didn't have to suffer for too long. I felt sorry for a guy that wiped out into the water at a river crossing, in front of me, at about the 20km mark - he must have been really cold the rest of the way. I felt good and was flying the first 40km averaging 24km/h and then I hit a wall and slowed down for the remaining 13km finishing on a respectable time of 02:20. It was great to ride with mates like Clint and Jacques and share this experience with them, overall I was pretty chuffed, my fastest MTB race to-date....

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Winter blues

Does it count if you dream about riding in the cold winter months?
There is a direct correlation between 'the weather and time spent on the bike'. In the last week or so, I have managed just a few early morning rides. The dark and icy cold wind, takes some real muster to tackle in the mornings. My new found discovery of wearing disposable latex gloves under my riding gloves proved fallible last week when my hands were so frigging cold after returning from a early morning ride. It seriously took me 5 minutes just to take out my gate remote from my jacket and press the buttons to get into the house (and a further 10 minutes defrosting my hands in warm water to get some circulation back).  Nevertheless I will continue my battle against the elements and ensure that I ride a few times a week to be at least little fit when summer finally decides to pay us a welcome visit.   

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

After Sani...

So after what was possibly one of the most memorable weeks of my life at Sani2C with the best riding, one could ever imagine on a mountain bike, how you do proceed from here? It seems such a pity to take your foot off the accelerator (um sorry I mean pedal) after all those hectic months of training - yes there is an argument that your body needs a break, but I feel stronger then ever and need some extra motivation to keep on riding trough these cold winter months.

So I thought this could be pretty easy by entering a few races with my mates - say one a month. Unfortunately my Sani2C 'training group' has diminished in the last weeks to only one - me (Greg ITB injury, Mark's knees are shot, Adam - cut hand) so going out there alone can be pretty hard. 

But this ain't gonna keep me off my bike - by using a local biking website and Twitter, I have managed to hook up with some other people in the last week. Saturday I went out with Twitter comrade aka IronMan Clint and a few Dirt Roadies for a ride in the plots and then on  Sunday, I was fortunate enough to attend a group ride (organized by Barry aka Tumbleweed on thehub) into the Benoni Mine Dumps (photos below). The latter was a awesome ride, 30 odd mountain bikers tearing up the dirt and creating plenty dust on some beautiful tracks, led skillfully by Paul from Procyles. There were amazing drop offs, that I actually yearned for, instead of hesitating, like before and a few steep up and overs, what an amazing experience. I had a few falls in the thick sand  and also did a classic face plant that has left its mark with a few scabs on my nose and chin this week.

Lastly I hooked up with another group after being in contact with (another) Greg on theHub for a ride in the mornings before work. OK funny story on its way.........the group meets at the BP garage 04:45 which means I need to leave home at 04:30 (getting up at 04:15), eager and not wanting to be late I got up before my alarm went off, got dressed for winter riding and hit the road on my bike.
I switched on my Garmin to see the time and to my horror it was only 03:30 - I had gotten up a whole hour early uuurgh. Long story short = back home, cup of tea and then leaving at the right time......

Was great morning ride though - longer, faster and more hills then I am used too (we went from Benoni to Bedfordview and back  - 50km) but great to test the body with like minded souls for 2 odd hours, thanks Greg.

Here is to keeping the legs spinning for the next few months....

Barry and Ian before the mine dump ride...
Nice downhills

and small climbs
Lovely drop-offs, yes those are mountain bikers on that mine dump..
Fantastic photo...of a group MTB ride
Nice to ride with Pierre once again..
Paul waiting for the others to catch up before leading the way..