Sunday, 11 March 2018

Epic World Cup - Stellenbosch

What an awesome race was put on by the Cape Epic organisers. 

The course was challenging, the scenery was beautifully created by God. The races thrilling with sprint finishes making it so exciting to watch right to the end, unlike a lone break away rider where it is a done deal on who will win unless they were to get a mechanical. 

In the womens race Annika Langvad and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot were neck in neck and even tussled to get into a steep singletrack climb first, Annika got in there first just to come to a complete halt to watch Pauline ride away from her. She certainly didn’t have a faultless race, but showed that she is so well prepared and that even with the few mistakes she made she was able to claw back to Pauline, over take her and make it to the finish line on her own. 

Anne Tauber from The Netherlands had the ride of her life. Coming from a flat country with no hills and a long winter she does ice skating as preparation for mountain biking, sometimes doing a 200km race with ice skates. She rode on her own, kept her composure and took a well deserved third place. 

Jolanda Neff made a speedy recovery after breaking her colloarbone 6 weeks ago during a cyclo-cross race in a crash with Pauline Ferrand-Prevot. In my opinion I thought she was mad taking on this course at this pace so soon and thought the risk of hurting her shoulder again was very high. She started out fast like she normally does and had to fall back, but made a recovery. She looked like she was going to take a definite 4th place, but her team mate and dark horse Helen Grobert came back just before the end. This was the most exciting 3 way sprint for the line. Helen Grobert came from a long way back and out sprinted both of the Kross riders taking 4th, Jolanda gave up before the line and missed out on a podium finish. In a tweet after the race she mentioned the first thing in her training would be to learn how to sprint. 

The men’s race was so exciting! We have all been wishing for a strong enough rider to give some competition to Nino for the past year. Nino was surrounded by 3 young guns and the ever consistent Maxine Marrott. Anton Cooper, cyclo cross specialist Mathieu van der Poel and Sam Gaze gave Nino a run for his money. 

Samuel Gaze ended up riding neck and neck with Nino for the whole race. In the last lap they both attacked each other but managed to stay together. This was thrilling to watch as no contender has been able to stay with Nino in the past, or very few of them. I noticed Sam got out and forward to his handlebars through the start/finish area on the last lap and suspected that he was cramping, but he managed to ride through that and go with Nino’s attacks. In the last dual section, Gaze managed to get in on the singletrack before Nino. Maxine managed to catch up with them as Gaze tactically just cruised down, getting a bit of breath back through the switchbacks. 

As they came onto the grass and onto the bridge, Gaze used the momentum on the bridge to start his sprint, around the final sharp corner down to the finish line. Nino followed him and was close, but his foot slipped out of his pedal leaving him to watch how his undefeated streak got broken. 

It was nail biting stuff and my toes are curling even as I’m typing this and reliving it. A new contender arrived, it is finally Scott vs Specialized again. How did we feel about that? We were kind of quiet, surprised and almost disappointed. It is so strange as we want someone to beat Nino, but we also don’t want someone to beat Nino. It’s like Federer playing anyone, we want it to be a good match to watch, but we still want him to win. I’ve been trying to think why is that? Is Nino such a great character and down to earth sportsman with an incredible talent and work horse ethic that we just don’t want our hero not to win or are we just scared of change? I’m still not sure what it is, but I’m so excited for the rest of the season. 

Happy watching!


Women's Podium
Photo: Christiaan Botha

Watching Women's Race with my Cape Epic blanket as company

Nino & Sam battling it out!
Photo: Stephne van Niekerk

Watching mountain biking together is the new watching rugby together!
Photo: Tharina Cronje

Thursday, 8 March 2018

International Womens Day 2018

What do I think about it? 

In my naivety I don’t even know why we need a special day, why has the world thought there is a need to create a day for it? 

Positive me think that someone admitted that there is a problem, now the first step to a solution is admitting that we have a problem. 

How this problem started I’m not sure. How we are going to fix it is a case of treating all humans despite their gender, race or social status fairly. 

I’ve seen a push for women in leadership and yes I agree there is a place for it. My question though is, do I as women want to receive a promotion and become a leader because of my gender. Will our gender just help our employers to tick a box in the diversity section or will that be the right career move for us? Isn’t this the same thing as in South Africa where affirmative action is the order of the day? Where you get offered a job depending on the colour of your skin and gender first? 

The same goes for women in cycling, I ride my bike to the best of my ability and I love it. I’m a women cyclist because of my gender, but by definition I’m a cyclist regardless of my gender and I’m expected to be treated fairly the same as in the workplace. I do my work to the best of my ability and use skills I’ve been gifted with to complete them, so I expect fair treatment on that basis. 

Perhaps by the time I retire we won’t have the need to celebrate a special day for women.

Happy International Women’s Day! 

We ride together most of the time, we push ourselves take on challenges that we don't think we can do - my TangoTwin, Liezl van Zyl. 

Some of my best friends, we know each other so well, we encourage each other and forgive each others short comings.
FLTR: Dolla, Cherese, Pokkeltjie, J9tjie, Lindizwe & Daleentjie

Our work friendship trio, we move together constantly! 

BFF, 27 years of friendship, she is an amazing mother!

My nieces, they have amazing futures ahead in life, why should they be treated unfairly? Press for Progress.

My mother, the most hard working women I know, capable of so much, why should she think she is inferior to anyone with all she has achieved. Her entrepreneurial spirit and work ethic of honesty and delivering on her promises is why everything she takes on is such a huge success.

Competent cyclists who know how to ride and handle their bikes!

Let's all press for progress and fight unconscious bias for a fair and equal work environment despite your gender. 

Friday, 1 December 2017

My 2017 Cycling Achievements

Achievements 2017:

1. Climbing Mt Ventoux (at walking speed but nevertheless) 

I reached the top by myself, emotion wanted to overcome me, but I kept it together, enjoying the moment. I mentally prepared myself before descending my first long descend on my roadbike

2. Bikepacking on Easter Weekend 
(sleeping in a bivvy bag for the 1st time in a grass field (thankfully I didn't have to eat dry camping food Carl threatened me with)

My first night sleeping out in the open without a tent in sight, the highlight was waking up with the view and seeing the sunrise

3. Cycling to Paris for the 4th time, this time a few times in the fast group

Mmm, what were we thinking? Not just a bit out of comfort zone, but so rewarding and exhilarating to ride at such a high speed that there were no time to talk, shout for potholes or complain. It was all about shut up and pedal, but so super cool! 

4. Replacing inner frame routing of cable housing and gear cable! What a faff?! But so chuffed! October 2017

My not so fine moments:
  1. Tightening the bolt on my brake lever so tight that I snapped the bracket and had to replace the brake lever set completely
  2. Pushing my bike down a steep drop, slipping and hurting my knee badly!

Goals for 2018: 

1. To become a better climber for my ability and weight ratio (ok maybe I'll add in to lose a few kgs too)

2. Do a track cycling session at Lee Valley Velodrome

3. Be in the fast group for the full 4 days from London to Paris in September

Sunday, 12 November 2017

How mountain biking can prepare you for your career in the corporate world?

Mountain biking is a challenging and fun sport. I've started mountain biking 9 years ago with some friends from church.

Two weeks ago I was riding with friends around Brookwood and as we were winding our way along the canal over tree roots and fallen leaves the idea sprung that mountain biking can indeed prepare you for the corporate world. 

Observing is important, the terrain constantly changes so you have to look ahead, strategically plan where to brake, which line to choose and where to put your body weight to correct your balance. 

The same as in a corporate environment you need to look ahead into the future plan how you are going to respond with agility to the demands of your workload and adapt the correct behaviours and attitude to keep going. 

Sometimes a drop off might just be too much to handle; it is fine to stop and assess before attempting it again or to find a chicken run. 

At work we can feel overwhelmed with the amount of work we have to do or even feel that we don't have the skills for the task at hand. Stop and assess, decide whether to say no, just get on with it or seek help and expertise to complete the task at hand. 

Mountain biking has a more relaxed approach, so we take breaks at the top of hills; we consider our achievements and admire the view before enjoying the blissfulness of going downhill. 

It's important to reflect on your achievements in the business world, acknowledge the challenges you had to take overcome to succeed and celebrate those successes. 

With anything in life there are always risks involved, crashing is one of them. The quicker you get up, assess the damage you can carry on. My motto is what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. 

At work we are always scared of failing but like my manager always say if you don't try, you can't succeed or fail. Our failings make us more resilient for what might happen in the future and gives us the opportunity to improve a next time. 

Mountain biking allows you to become friends with people from all ages and backgrounds. Riding with people expose you to how they will react in certain situations; whether it is being the first person on the scene of a crash, people with a different ability, those who lack endurance or those who didn’t fuel themselves correctly and reached an energy low. Riding with people from different countries teaches you the importance of being clear when you communicate, they need to know what to expect on the ride and where we are going. 

All of these scenarios prepare us for similar situations in our diverse places of work. You need to apply emotional intelligence to each situation whether it is talking with the person who might not be prepared to follow the longer but correct way to the solution or the person who panic when things don’t go their way. You will have to motivate your colleagues when they are losing their momentum and exercise patience with new starters when they are still trying to find their feet. Often colleagues are from different backgrounds and might not share the same language, we need to be clear when we communicate by trying to simplify the explanation of their roles and responsibilities clearly.

Mountain biking is all about having fun, there is nothing like the thrill of riding your bike fast over swooping and technical trails. The adrenaline rush gives you the energy to climb back up to the top of the next steep hill. 

In your corporate life it is just as important to keep things fun, use the energy and momentum you gain from the things you really enjoy and are good at to take on the challenges that are unfamiliar and out of your comfort zone! 

6 things MTB teach us to keep going in the corporate world:
  1. Observe 
  2. Plan
  3. Analyse risk
  4. Adapt quickly
  5. Communicate
  6. Have fun
Keep going and you will succeed! 

MTB TC vs Corporate TC

Monday, 18 September 2017

The Ex of Exmoor

10 Things about The Ex (not my ex) 

  1. Really cool and friendly people,  including whipper snapper cross country guys and hardcore downhill type racing guys, neither of these groups had any chips on their shoulders 
  2. Equality, not one of the guys made me feel like what are you doing here, we were treated as anyone should be; like we knew how to ride our bikes and guys even asked us about our bikes, they didn't assume we didn't know what we were riding
  3. Tracey Molseley is super cool and a true role model, an example that successful sports personalities are people like you and I who ultimately love riding their bikes
  4. The scenery was breathtaking and trails very varied. It surely wasn't a walk in the park, massive, steep and long climbs, followed by even steeper, technical, wet and rooty singletrack. 
  5. Uplifts were a faff in my opinion, lots of standing around (I am from a XC background though) as you had to take your front wheel off, queue up for the first uplift, get to the top, put your wheel back in. This was my first enduro style event, maybe others didn't mind it.
  6. Toilets should never be very close to where you are eating. It is a basic need, people will walk a mile if they have to. 
  7. Communication during the event could've been better, breakfast, uplift and dinner times should've been announced when we were all together 
  8. 80 riders = 80 chairs for dinner? 
  9. A vintage tea stop, wow! That was awesome and such a highlight of the race
  10. I had the privilege of having my bike washed by Carl from Squirtlube every day - thank you so much! 

People who made the race memorable for me: 

  1. Carl & Terri from Squirtlube for washing my bike and their great company 
  2. Liezl for being my riding partner 
  3. Paul Mansfield who also did the Black Mountains 3 day stage race
  4. Nicky the marshall
  5. Winners of the Mens Open and Hardtail category ; Jono and Fin for being so down to earth, interested and smiley
  6. Paul the photographer for being an all around lovely and encouraging guy
  7. Rory Hitchens for showing subtle care by saying put a jacket on you are going to get cold; you don't want to hang around for too long & then just straightening my saddle when he noticed it was skew. He also chipped in with the organisation and offered his van as another uplift service. 
Quote of the day: 

TC: “I was hoping my knee would be too sore to ride my bike.” About the only time I would rather go to work than ride my bike. 

Tango Twins ready to take on our first Enduro style race

I love the photo, beautiful Exmoor

Enduro style to the top of Dunkery Beacon

Vintage Tea Stop
The Spread
Best tea ever! 
The view towards the bay of Porlock

Cocktails served by a World Champion, Tracy Molseley

Fin the winner of the Hardtail category

It was a privilege to ride with Tracy Molseley, she is a legend!

WATCH a video from the event that Tracy made here!

Support from Terri & Carl from Squirt Cycling Products UK

Styling it out in our all time favourite shirts, Black Mountains 3 Day Stage race with Paul Mansfield. XC whipper snapper and all round lovely guy.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Ride London Classique

On Saturday I decided to brave the rain and watch the women race @RideLondon. It was very tempting to stay at home, but I thought no I will support as I had the opportunity to at The Womens Tour, but didn't quite know about it. 

In all fairness we were not best placed to know what was going on tactically in the race and we completely misjudged the route we took to watch the sprint finish and didn't see it at all, but heard the commentators at least. The organisers made you walk a mile around all the way down to Buckingham Palace, ok they had the layout planned to serve a purpose for the Freecycle and Ride London the next day, but it was very disappointing as I would've loved to see the finish. 

Being able to watch the race on BBC I-Player though I was able to see the perfectly planned attack by @corynrivera that led to victory for her. She planned that perfectly, using the wheels of her teammates then her rival before going all out, keeping her head down,  knowing she had a clear line to the finish line, staying low until she knew she crossed the Finish line in first! 

In the picture is @ashleighcycling our South African star! Listen to the @voxwomencycling podcast for an in depth interview with her and her thoughts on LaCourse and where women cycling currently is. 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Throwback to Tour de France 2011

Throwback to the year, 2011 when I got to understand the @letourdefrance for the first time ever after Kerryn gave me a crash course! I've never looked back since. 

This day I did not know what to expect AT ALL! 

We parked further down the mountain than we thought. Someone said its just in the valley. There were literally 2 down hills in the first 5kms, I was on a mountain bike and were literally towed up by @simonozzy and Christiaan. @zanning99 gave me a helpful push later on. 

Getting a tow is great, but also incredibly hard; you have to adjust your cadence to match the power, then you have to maintain it when you are already tired, when you let go you can feel how you literally go backwards, so mentally it is a really tough battle. 

I've never been so happy to climb off my bike. I had the most uncomfortable mens saddle and couldn't speak up about it. Boy was I happy to reach the top. 

I also had a hand injury so even going down was terrifying with thousands of other cyclists. I could hear crashes happening everywhere, it was something I have never experienced before. Wow just writing this has made me realise what a long way I have come as a cyclist especially after climbing up Mt Ventoux my first real mountain climb on a roadbike this year! I ❤️ cycling! 

#TDF #LeTour #Cycling #France 📷 Zane