Sunday, September 27, 2015

Realising how flat the East Rand is..

I was fortunate enough to be able to do the Eqstra Spring Classic MTB race last weekend with Sean and Rebecca. Wow what a tough race and it made me realise once again that all the training that I do on the flatlands of the East Rand is not enough because you get a big reality check when you hit a proper mountain bike route. I thought I was pretty fit after averaging 24km/h in the Nigel AutoAlpina MTB race last month, but that was a flat non technical route next to the mielie fields. The Eqstra race was loads of single track and plenty of hills, my average was under 15km/h for the 44km route. An hour slower then the Nigel route for the same distance!!!! It really was a great race though, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was special sharing the experience with Sean and Becky. 

The three of us after the race, all a bit tired. 
The 24th of September was a public holiday in South Africa - Heritage Day and what better way to celebrate then do a 100km MTB ride. The ride started out as being The Apricot Tree charity MTB outride but we had a lot of other riders join us also (we were 25 in all). We had a fantastic ride out to Heidelberg from Benoni and back, with a climb up to the Telkom radio mast. Awesome ride and a fantastic route with great people. It was great doing a new route, as this was different to our normal Heidelberg radio mast rides (different tower and way to get there). We were all pretty thirsty by the time we got back, as it was very hot and most of us had run out of water with there being no water/coffee stops on the way back. Unfortunately, this ride was a game changer for Sean as he had a mild heart attack on the ride and got his son to pick him up half way before going to the hospital in the afternoon. He had a stomach virus earlier in the week and on the long ride his heart took strain. Fortunately he was wise enough to call it quits when he was not feeling too well. He is ok now and just needs a month off the bike before reassessment by the cardiologist. Wishing you all the best Sean on your speedy recovery. 
The group at the start of the ride (taken by Sean) Becky and me in the front in our Apricot Tree colours...
Group photo on the top of the Telkom tower hill
Quick stop to wait for stragglers (Telkom tower in the distant background)
Yes we did the bridge again, Wayne showing us how it is done.
Becky finishing the climb up to the tower
This morning we did a great ride out to the cell tower, brickyard, Serengeti and back via Monument hill before stopping for coffee at Mug & Bean on Atlas road. I was feeling strong and really enjoyed the ride. It makes such a difference if all your cylinders are firing. Nice group consisting of Becky, Greg, Paul, Alistair, Juan, Wayne and Mark. I finished on 80km and managed to sneak in to share Greg's KOM with Paul on the Atlas drop off single track segment. 
Stop to admire the view 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Racing against time.......

There are 2 meanings to the heading of this post: Firstly I am running out of time before my Berg & Bush stage race next month (need to up the training intensity) and secondly I have been riding with a younger version of me (my son Caiden). It has been a very diffferent month of riding as I have managed to spark some interest in my 13 year old son to ride with me on the weekends. We would ride out to the Benoni plots and stop for a coffee and a muffin before returning home (28km round trip). Awesome bonding time to spend with my son (with having 4 children it is sometimes difficult to spend individual time with one sibling). He even did a couple of races - the first was a 15km race which he did with his friend - whilst I did the 44km race (I came 22nd out of 90 riders) and the second was a 20km race which we did together. The latter was an awesome experience, we did the Witpoort Primary School MTB race out in the miellie fields near Bapsfontein. Really awesome to share the great outdoor experience with my son. Also it was an interesting start as it had to be delayed by 10 minutes so a herd of cows could pass down the road (and we had to pass the herd twice in the race). 

Caiden on our coffee ride
Caiden and his mate at the finish of the 15km race. 

The herd of cows obstacle that we encountered in our 20km race
Tired young man but still smiling
The idea was to then do a 35km race with my son but unfortunately we had our first summer rains and the route was extremely muddy so I did the race alone - Transvaal Galvanisers MTB race. It was a great race despite the conditions and it even had a floating bridge. I managed a respectable 23rd out of 85 entrants for the 50km race which was shortened to 37km because some of the route was unrideable. Few more weeks until my stage race experience in the Berg so time to bite the bullet and do some longer, harder and more technical rides. 

So there was water as well as mud...