Thursday, September 26, 2013

Summer holiday

I was fortunate enough to spend 9 glorious days on the Northern Coast of KwaZulu Natal with my family. This holiday was a long time coming and it was really awesome to share this experience with my wonderful wife and kids. As per usual my trusty mountain bike was the first thing to be packed and I managed to go on a few incredible rides. It is really thrilling to go and explore new areas and find the best routes or places to ride. We stayed in a small resort/town called Tinley Manor and this secluded little village had loads of open sugarcane fields to explore when I got the opportunity to head out. I really enjoy exploring and venturing out into the great unknown, the terrain is very different from where I stay and there are loads of hills. The riding was really fantastic, below are some of the pictures of my adventures.
Early morning sunrises were fantastic
Riding back to Tinley Manor (in the background) this lagoon stopped my route

Sugarcane fields
I came round a corner and wiped out in the soft sand
Holla Trails - just north of Ballito there is some of the best riding one could experience. I was blown away by my first experience at Holla Trails, I was a bit nervous about going there by myself as I had now idea of what route to ride etc... Fortunately the guys I parked next to took me in an insisted that I ride with them. These guys (Allan, Pete and Ken) were amazing, veterans of Holla Trails and they showed me all the best bits. 
Besides sugarcane, there is plenty of single track, forests etc

Yours truly

Well deserved coffee afterwards
was great having Pete behind me warning me of all the sharp climbs
 More exploring the sugarcane fields near Tinley Manor....

My best photo, great riding and great views

Sunday, September 15, 2013

First summer ride

First ride in the last few months that the second layer of clothing is not required to keep frost bite off the exposed limbs. Lovely sunny weather, I am so chuffed summer is finally here. Today I had a great chilled ride out into the farmlands. I started off on my own and then met 2 guys (Ian and Warren) on route and asked to join them (safety in numbers etc...). I sort of took over their ride and achieved my goal of doing over 70km (I think they were not planning to go as far as they did but were chuffed with the routes I showed them). The pace was moderate as I was riding at their pace and it was good not gunning it all the time. 

What we saw on this ride: 
We saw a black backed jackal racing ahead of us when going down the service road next to the railway line and a mongoose chilling in the sun a few kms later. Plenty birds, horses, cows, sheep and yes a few other bikers. 

After splitting from Ian and Warren at Dunblane horse estate, I opened up for the chase home and managed to take a King of the Mountain (KOM) crown on one of the Strava segments - Pre Balls to the Wall.  Here are the details of my ride on Strava. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Enough now - get out of here winter

So just when I thought summer was on its way we have had some really crappy weather the past 2 weekends. Last Saturday I took part in the 66km Auto Alpina Springs Mountain Bike Challenge. The race took place just outside Springs and Nigel and we started in freezing and windy conditions. Besides the weather this was a great race, the route was fairly flat with a few hills that surprised me. 20 odd kms into the race, with the wind being really hectic, I made friends with 2 guys - Greg and Kev and we took turns riding in front shielding the other 2 from the wind (well some of the time). We passed Renier a couple of times as he had a few punctures but he quickly caught up and passed us again. The three of us stuck together for the rest of the race and the chirping/banter made the unpleasant conditions bearable.
Renier being 'safe' while riding
The only issue that I had with this race is that we had to use our 'road bike' timing chip (Champion Chip) and I saw some people did not ride with one (even though they told you at registration). This is unheard of in MTB races and normally you have number boards that either have chips in them or they scan them when you go over the finish line. Fortunately I brought mine with (after being alerted via Jacques on our MTB group) and ended up finishing in a time of 3:15. What shocked me was the results afterwards, I was recorded as finishing in 16th place overall and 3rd in my category. Not sure what to think, it is an awesome result (my best ever) but I keep wondering if there were any people ahead of me without Champion Chips.
Roy with Jacques eating his dust behind him :)
Yours truly gun-ing against the wind
Today the weather was even worse, with temperatures plummeting to lows of around 0 degrees. I went on a nice solo ride out into the farmlands. Sometimes it is nice to ride by yourself as you can explore and play around a bit. I managed to find a few new tracks that I had not ridden before and also when exploring into a farmers field I got chased by 2 very irritated dogs. I managed to do 60km in slightly cold and windy weather - well what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Come on summer I miss you so bad. Below is a lovely sunrise I took on one of my morning rides - nothing better then watching a great sunrise when others are sleeping boy I love cycling.