Monday, 31 December 2012

Closer to home... or at least it felt like it

In December my aunt & uncle came to visit, she treated me with these. They brought all  nine of us much joy over New Years on our cottage breakaway in Dorset. It made us miss the motherland a little bit less on the cold, wet miserable island.

Thank you for such amazing magazines. Thank you Rheta for using your baggage allowance on these.

#proudlysouthafrica #tread #bicycling #ride #sarie #rooirose

Albert, Gerhard van Niekerk, Christiaan, Zelda & Rochelle

Monday, 24 December 2012

2nd Roadbike exploration...

My ma se woorde sou wees, "My kind wat het jou besiel?"

Well that is what I felt like on my 2nd ride, I was a little bit to keen to quickly, but on Christmas eve sommer the day after my first roadride I went for another ride. There was nothing wrong with the ride, but I should've maybe discerned a little bit more with who I was going to ride with.

Jason & I met Dawie at Robin Hood Gate... Boy oh boy, these guys just wanted to go FAST, sadly for them I was on cruise control, so they had to slow down.

I had the privilage to sit in the diamond, thats what I'm told it is called UNTIL we went round a corner with a strong wind from the front... & I realised this is where the chaf is being seperated from the wheat and what a privilage it was to sit in that diamond. I begged them to just go & leave me so that I could go at my own pace, but they insisted to hang around...

Did I mention that roadriding is constant & consistent all the time... No time to play around or stop to even smell the roses.

We did a few laps of the park & went to Richmond Hill Bakery for coffee & awesome cake. #highly recommended.

If you know me well, I'm not known to sit still for to long or take afternoon naps, I was so exhausted from 2 days riding in a row that I HAD to just lie in my bed that afternoon before I headed out again.

Lessons learned from the day:

1. Choose your company wisely :-) (ride at your level of competance)
2. Always finish a lap... the start of overcoming some mental issues

Dawie, J & TC @ Richmond Hill Bakery

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Joining the "Darkside..."

Like my ouma said, never say never as never is a very long time.

On 23rd December 2012 I did my first ever roadride.

I don't really know why I decided to do it, but seeing that I've been rebelling for a long time, I've not been out riding for a long time & probably mostly because one after the other of my friends started to break the trust & joined the darkside, so I had to see for myself. Lets blame #FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)!

Lindie Gericke kindly borrowed her bike to me & with the help of Jason we put on some clip in pedals the night before.

It was with great fear that I embarked on this very first ride as the panic levels were high as I didn't know how to change the gears & couldn't reach the gears... PANIC!!!

Thankfully on the day of the ride I didn't have a handbag swinging around obstructing the front wheel.

I asked Christiaan along to be a witness of the spectacle & he agreed straight away. If only I knew earlier that it will take me on a roadbike to get him back on his bike. His suprize was big when he found out that we were planning to go to Windsor & back. :-)  Thankfully pride has its time & place & he went with us all the way. Cecilia also thought we were just going to Richmond Park so joined the spectacle to Hampton Bridge & back. Steph & Gerhard joined us from Hampton Bridge onwards.

Paula nearly fell over when she realised I was on a roadbike, I'm not sure whether it was the fact that I was on a roadbike or the fact that she now knew she will be running out of excuses to join us on our mountainbikes.

I've been asked how many times during the ride how is it? Are you enjoying it? I managed to avoid the question by pulling faces, but here is the honest answer.

1. It was definately not love at first sight
2. It was a good workout
3. It was great to to ride again - regardless of the discipline
4. It gets boring
5. It is not as sociable whilst you are riding
6. It is scary & fast - I don't like the cars
7. It is polite i.e. you have to handle the bike politely, no room for error :(

I'm grateful for:

1. The set-up tweaks (also known as phaffing) to the saddle by Gerhard and even wearing full gloves after the halfway mark helped as the frame of the bike is definately to big for me & my index fingers got sore. It was good to go through that as I was able to feel the diffence after each tweak especially as I didn't know how it should feel on a roadbike.
2. Lindi's commuter brakes on the handlebar, maybe not acceptable for proper roadies, but a blessing when you can't reach the brakes in the drops. :)

How was the pace for you?
Mmm, a few more rides & we would be able to keep up a bit better

What did I miss the most on the ride?
My camelbak

Will I do it again?
Yes, I will. Well technically I've been out again since that day.

Will I buy a roadbike?

Quote of the day
Talk less & pedal more - Jason Wentzel

We clocked 80k's and 2 coffee stops. Thank you for your patience guys & giving us some slip. See I even know some of the lingo. :)

Spot the Mountainbikers in their camouflage
FLTR: Paula, Jason, ?, Stephné, Gerhard & Christiaan
Photo taken by: Stranger in Great Park, Windsor

Big Ring Chicks
Hampton Court Café

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Can you guess which 7 of the top 10 Olympic Finishers will compete in the Absa Cape Epic 2013?

The top 10 Olympic finishers:

1. Jaroslav Kulhavy
2. Nino Schurter
3. Marco Fontana
4. Jose Hermida
5. Burry Stander
6. Carlos Coloma Nicolas
7. Manuel Fumic
8. Geoff Kabush
9. Alexander Gehbauer
10. Todd Wells

TC's Pick:

Burry Stander (5) with Christoph Sauser - Team Specialized
Jaroslav Kulhavy (1) with Todd Wells (10) - Team Specialized
Nino Schurter (2) with Florian Vogel
Jose Hermida (4)
Marco Fontana (3)
Manuel Fumic (7)

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Absa Cape Epic 2013

Next year I will have the great privilage to be part of the Cape Epic in the capacity as a volunteer.
I am so excited to be part of this top class event. Especially as most of you know how much I love mountainbiking & events organising, being part of the 10th edition is an added bonus plus the the race is so local to where I've spent my school & university years. It will be great to be back in SA in March after 9 years in the UK.

The route has been announced this morning & it looks stunning. Apparently from what I've heard in theory the climbing is more do-able, but I've also heard that it is not the distance of this race that matters, but rather the terrain.

New things that will add to the 10th anniversary celebrations.

- R1 million prize money
- A prize for the highest top team that stayed in the tented village during the race
- 2 new stage towns
- A complete new entry into Lourensford finish with no compulsary portage
- 7 of the top 10 Olympic XC Mens finishers will be racing

Personally I would love it if Raelf Naef (XCE World Champion) and Conrad Stoltz (4 x XTERRA World Champion) competes too. But also looking forward to see local heroes such as Burry Stander, Kevin Evans, David George & Max Knox & also international athletes like Burry's teammate Christoph Sauser & Karl Platt from Team Bulls. #bigcalveoverloadonitsway

As part of the volunteering scheme, you are guaranteed an entry to the next year's race. 

When I told my mom this, her reaction was:
Ma: "Aggeneeee! Tharina dis mos heavy."
TC:"Wat bedoel Ma met heavy?"
Ma: "Julle sê mos altyd heavy."
TC: "Ooo, bedoel ma hectic?"

Well heavy or hectic, they are both very descriptive of what one could expect of this race.

When I told Elisca, her reaction was:
Elisca: Gaan ons dit doen?
TC: As jy vir ons 'n sponsor kry?

Looking forward to work hard as a volunteer & contribute to the Absa Cape Epic 2013 from 16 March 2013 - 24 March 2013.

Team Bulls, Stefan Sahm & Karl Platt
Photo by Gary Perkin/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS Gary Perkin/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS
Hectic... Kuite
Photo by Sven Martin/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS Sven Martin/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS
Photo by Sven Martin/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS Sven Martin/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS

Photo by Sven Martin/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS Sven Martin/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS

Sunday, 12 August 2012

XC Mens Olympic MTB Race - 2012

12 August 2012

Optimising space - 18 of us squeezed in to watch the XC Mens Olympic Race.

We never gave up hope for Burry to chase Kulhavy & Nino down with the help of Jose.

What an amazing race it was especially with Fontana losing his saddle in the last +-1km to the finish line.

FLTR: Janet, Elisca, Cecilia, Jason, Nicole, Hermien, Dave, Gerhard Bonthuys, Andy, Louis, Simon, Julie, Gerhard van Niekerk, Zane, Me, Liezl & Stu
Photo: Christiaan Botha

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Women's XC MTB Olympics 2012

Arriving at Hadleigh Farm
Photo: Christiaan Botha

Welcome World
Photo: Christiaan Botha
With pure luck & only after being prompted by a Facebook status update I managed to get 2 tickets to the Women's Olympic mountainbiking. I could not belief it. It is funny though how your view over time changed about the Olympics, when we first applied for tickets we didn't want to settle for anything that was not of our interest & then once the Olympics arrived and we realised how hard it was to get any tickets, we were just happy to get any tickets.

Christiaan & I set off early from Raynes Park to get to Leigh-on-Sea. I broke my non-caffeine spell en-route. Nothing like a bit of caffeine to kickstart a good day.

I think the organisers did an amazing job by making the course so spectator friendly. It is a natural amphitheatre as people have reported. 

The volunteers was amazing, so non-Britishly-friendly. :-)

The day was full of excitement starting off with a fall by Gunn-Rita Dahle at the first technical descents. She was my race favourite & later pulled out.

My other favourite, current UCI World Cup Leader Catherine Pendrel got so much abuse from the commentator saying time & time again that consistency doens't bring you a gold medal. Although that might be a true, I was not impressed at all.

Christiaan & I made ourselves comfortable at Dean's Drop & stayed there for most of the laps before we moved over to the Rock Garden on the last lap & then walked to the Finish to watch the Medal Ceremony. As I said it was easy to choose a different spectating point after every lap.

What a privilage to experience an Olympic Event from Start to Finish, but not just any Olympic Event, the OLYMPIC MOUNTAINBIKING.

What a day?!

Annie Last from Tean GB took the lead on the 1st Lap
Photo: Christiaan Botha

Julie Bresset - France leading Lap 2
Photo: Christiaan Botha

Australia on the Olympic Ring berm, I loved her bike...
Photo: Christiaan Botha

 Our Proudly South African, Candice Neethling!
Photo: Christiaan Botha
View onto Snakehill from Dean's Drop
Photo: Christiaan Botha
Catherine Pendrel (UCI World Cup Winner) in the Rock Garden
Photo: Christiaan Botha
Medal Ceremony:
Georgie Gould USA (Bronze)
Julie Bresset France (Gold)
Sabine Spitz Germany (Silver)
Photo: Christiaan Botha
A friendly send-off after an amazing day

Monday, 16 July 2012

Olympics Excitement!!!

Last year I applied for tickets & as a joke chose Men's Volleyball, completely forgetting that there are two categories of volleyball. Needless to say out of all the tickets I applied for, I got Men's Volleyball. Correct NOT Beach Volleyball.

In May I was prompted by a Facebook status from one of my friends that LOCOG released more tickets. After loads of phaffing to try & get onto the Olympic website I miraculously managed to get my hands on two of these. I couldn't belief my luck & are very excited about it!

On 11 August, I'll be watching the World's XC Elite Women Mountainbikers racing for gold including South Africa's own Candice Neethling.

Friday, 6 July 2012

My MTB tunes ♪♪♪

These are my favourites. Lots of them have been inspired by Redbull TV or Mountainbike videos on youtube or whatever was on the charts that we listened to on a weekend away.... Enjoy!

Pump up the music on your ride.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Black Mountains 3 Day Stage Race

The decision:
It was November last year when the first seed was sown to do my first MTB Stage race. I've always said that I don't want to do anything that could possibly put me off mountainbiking for the rest of my life, therefore I'm always reluctant to commit to something bigger than our normal social ride on a weekend.
Well that all said... I thought Wales...I've cycled in some of those parts before & was capable to cope then, so 3 days are at least not 8 days, I don't have to pay an arm & a leg, I don't have to get a visa to go across to Europe, the green mamba can get me to Wales, so why not.

The training:
Photo: Stephne van Niekerk
Before I knew it we were training for BM3D in the Brecon Beacons. It started off in winter with some spinning in the week & one weekend ride. Suddenly driving down to Dorking & doing a 25km loop became taking the train down to Dorking & do an out & back including a bit of singletrack fun. We recently cut out the train & our usual 60k ride turned out to be 80k or even 120k. The week before the race I couldn't help but ask myself, since when is it normal for me to cycle 80k on a weekend & feel fine afterwards or act as if I've always been doing it???
A lot of our training was riding through mud, in retrospect, it was good preparation. The more mud, the more fun. :)

Day 1 - 10.4km Prologue/Time trail  

Our plan was to set off at 11'ish wish I anticipated correctly would be 12'ish. Simon was blessed with the company of 3 divas & we kept ourselves & the rest of the "MTB Planning" whatsapp group entertained all the way to Wales. I was more excited to see the rest of our group (about 16 of us) at our arrival than the actual riding - I'm not a lap rider & I don't like the race atmosphere or the build-up to the start of a race.

The divas kind of stayed together during the Prologue. Liezl bombed down the hills, Cecilia & I caught up with her on the hills again. I saw a spectacular crash just after one of the guys sped passed me. The course was short enough not to have broken our spirits for what lied ahead on Saturday.
In the queue for the bikewash
Photo: Jason Wentzel
A quick bike wash and last tweaks to my gears by The Bikedoctor (Jason) was made.
We had dinner, met Dave, the Bearded Man & enjoyed the prizes of the day. And then we had our race briefing. It was thorough & left me thinking, "What am I doing here, what have I signed myself up for?" Liezl & I were left looking at each other big eyed & shaking our heads.

The Bearded Man - David Warren
Photo: Charlotte Knee Photography
Day 2 - 67km

Saturday morning started with a police lead out & a few drops of rain. Once we were on some singletrack it started to feel like a mountainbike race to me. One brainfailure incident, gearing up instead of down resulted in being left behind by my partners. At the bottom of an enormous hill that was completely unrideable I caught up with Liezl & Simon again. I was so glad to see familiar faces. Cecilia was also just behind us. The divas stayed closed together. Liezl was taking the lead in the downhills the same as in the Prologue & this was a regular occurance for the rest of the weekend.

Soon we saw the sign 5km to the feeding station. There was other ladies with us & I wanted to stay with them, but somehow I lost confidence & got to impatient going downhill on all the mud & started slipping & sliding all over the place, so much so that I fell 20 meters in front of the photographer, pressure. :)

Cecilia & I caught up with Liezl @ the feeding station where we also saw Si & Louis. The next minute I saw Stu sitting in a little bundle. He went into a tree on the last steep downhill before the feeding station & was in enormous pain. I ate my homemade sandwiches & we tried to get some of the 7 kinds of mud from our bikes by dipping it into the river & giving it an organic wash. This was a nice break & it was tempting to just stay there.

Photo taken by Charlotte Knee Photography

Shortly we were under way & back onto the steady climb to I think the highest point of the day. We passed a few people as we made our way to the top where we were met with Jamie another one of the friendly marshalls. The descent was rocky, but cool, got a kick out of it for doing it as it was technical. I recognised part of the route as we were descending from a previous race I did here in 2010, it was a bit off camber. My concentration started going from trying to stay on the thin line... So I stopped to camp out on the slope for a bit, but as soon as I hit the ground, I started cramping in my right thigh. So it was quite a scene when Cecilia arrived, by then I was just laughing & it was over. A few emergency sips from my High 5 Zero neutral flavour & we were back on the road. Another rocky descent and onto a steepish climb & some flat grassland... This is suppose to be quick riding, but with all the rain, this turned out to be quite a slog. I've made peace with it quite early on that I might have to push my bike more than I wanted to. There was no point to try & stay on if it was going to cost more energy & time to stop & start all the time & by then I was also quite fed-up of falling so wanted to avoid that as I knew I was getting tired & didn't want to injure myself. Finally we were rewarded by a fast descent along the wall & down to the next danger point. We soon realised that the danger points were more rideable than what we initially expected, so we rode them, but took caution. :)

John, our favourite marshall
Photo: Charlotte Knee Photography 
One of the guys in the same 'time zone' as us somehow when we were riding up all the hills, were pushing up all the hills, BUT would bomb passed us on the downhills again. It was after this last dangerous descent that I said to Liezl, this is not going to happen again. We caught up with him again, just to be overtaken by him again on the "stick walk." We attempted to ride the top part & last part of this ridiculous part of the course, but as soon as I mounted my bike at the bottom part I went right over the handlebars, but manage to land fairly soft & also managed that my bike did not land on top of me. I gave up & pushed to the bottom. I fell behind Liezl & this other guy, so I was gunning down the tar road to try & catch up with them. I wasn't even sure if I was following the right route as there was no blue ribbons in sight, but also no pink ribbons to indicate that I went off course & then there they were on the last ascent at the gate. We went passed the guy & I said to Liezl, he is not going to catch us again. We were like horses who smelled home, so even though we were tired & our legs was complaining, we kept climbing this climb that felt like it was never going to end. We crossed the finish line together (well Liezl was so keen to wash her bike that she didn't even see the finishing banner & I had to call her back over) as if we were the first riders to be back. Our time 7:05:15.

Day 2 - Done!

Photo: Zane Smith
Back at camp, I've opted out of the bikewash queue & made my way over to the showers. I managed to convince the boys to make us proper coffee & Stu high on his painkillers happily obliged. He also washed my bike for me later on, so I scored big time. Thanks Stu.

Photo: Charlotte Knee 
As this was my first stage race, I have nothing to compare it with, but it was so much fun as everybody was a 'winner'. Our table managed to pick up a few Gore Windstopper Jackets & some other prizes. I think the highlight of the evening was when the guy from Singular invited the tallest men that did not own a 29er frame to enter a competition. 4 guys stepped up to the challenge. 2 of them were the exact same height, which lead to an off the cuff arm wrestle. Everybody was on there feet & cheering Mike & Jason on, it was tight & Jason held out as long as possible, but eventually Mike had the upper hand. What a cool way for anyone to win a 29er frame!
Photo: Charlotte Knee

The arm wrestle
Photo: Charlotte Knee 
Day 3 - 77km

In the briefing Dave promised us that day 3 would be faster & less muddy. It would've been hard to belief that anything can get more muddy than they day before.
I'd like to quote The Bearded Man before I start with the rest: "If you see a gate & there is no ribbon, don't make your own trail."
Riders had the option to start 15 minutes earlier. As I mentioned, I don't like the race pressure & all the hardcore people upfront makes me nervous. I was happy to start @ the original 9am start.
We were relieved to hear that the weather overnight was pretty bad & that we were not going back into the timetrail area. Bad weather does have it's blessings. :-)

So we took some tar roads out to get to the first climb of the day, The Tramline. This was so enjoyable, the gradient was nice & once you were in a good rhythm you were just able to keep on pedalling. From here followed a nice rocki-ish descent & then the hill Dave said he measured his fitness on every year. I'm grateful that I don't have past experience of that hill & therefore I don't have to measure my fitness on that hill. :)

From there it was a long fire road climb. I was cycling with another South African from Winchester as we went up that hill. He asked me, "Am I going mad or can I hear noises?" On which I replied, "No, you are not mad, a farmer was working with his sheep & you could hear the sheep go crazy for as long as we were in the valley." To me it sounded as if it was a crowd of people (in Wales the sheep might as well be people) cheering us on from a distance. I picked up a nice pace & wanted to catch Liezl, so I went off & enjoyed the long descent.

At the bottom of this descent, was if I think back in retrospect, possibly the only time where I could've potentially had some SOH (sense of humour) failure. Seriously the longest & steepest roadclimb, it was completely unnecessary. Somehow I found some guts & determination & didn't unclip to push my bike although I considered it a few times, but by setting small goals of I'll unclip once I've made it up to that point & then I get there & somehow my legs just kept on going. I was chuffed to get to the top, I didn't dare to look behind me so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw Cecilia was right behind me.
From here it was 5k's down to the feeding station. Possibly the longest 5ks of the day & also the muddiest part of the course. Somehow as soon as you know the distance to a feed station you naturally want to go faster, but that is exactly the time when things starts going wrong, as you get impatient & start making mistakes. We were rewarded with a HUGE BOG OF MUD just before the feeding station. It was all over the path & the only way to get through was to hit the middle. I stayed calm & in my low gears & just kept on pedalling, my front wheel almost disappeared completely. I was so chuffed to get through it without falling over. It reminded me off the Hellrunner Bog of Doom that I did a few years ago.
There was more hills & some frustrating 'wettish/slippery' singletrack that made me impatient, because I wanted to get to the Gap climb. I've done it before so I knew what to expect. Another long fireroad climb, I was able to see Liezl & she thankfully waited for me at the start of the Gap climb. It was great to roll up the Gap at a nice pace & then we were getting ready for the rather bumpy descent.

It was on this descend that I just prayed & said, "Thank you Lord for shocks." It is amazing, how you can just roll over the rocks. I stayed on the lines of how the water flowed & was just amazed at how nature shows you the best way. At one point I tried to change gears, but there was just nothing my left thumb (with a past injury) didn't want to move... it was one of that moments where you try about 3 times & then realise to give up & make peace with the gear that you are in. Halfway down I looked ahead & I just saw a blackspot! Liezl fell & was lieing fairly still. I wanted to rush over, but obviously I didn't want to fall in my rush getting to her. Thankfully by the time I got there she was back up & on her bike.
As we reached the bottom I thought, yay we must be close to home now. John was waiting for us & warned us about the next section, starting with a little drop & about a kilometre of boulders through a very narrow overgrown trail. I'd like to change Dave's qoute reference this piece of track, "Make your own trail!" This piece of trail was enough to push you over into the Sense of Humour failure terrain, but thankfully we were not going there today.

We reached the field with the young bulls that Dave warned us about . Another lady who we passed during the day & then she passed us again, was waiting for us at the gate, she was so glad to see us. To of the bulls were giving her trouble & wouldn't let her passed. Together we crossed the fields & the bulls didn't disturb us. Me being a farmgirl didn't have much sympathy with her to be honest & thought she made it up. I mean you can't be dominated by a young bull, just ride fast & with confidence - you have to show them who is boss.
We cycled with her for a bit, until she pulled away when we reached the Canal.
I can not tell you how relieved & grateful I was when we cycled passed the gate towards the last climb of Day 1, realising that The Bearded Man was kind enough to not punish us with that climb on the last day.
The last 5k's was definately the hardest. My legs started feeling tired, all I kept repeating to myself was, Dig Deep & Hou net aan met trap (Keep on pedalling.)

Rolling into the finish filled me with a great sense of accomplishment & excitement.

It's over, what next? :-)

My aim was to finish under 7 hours & we did. :-)

It was great to be congratulated by our friends who waited at the Finish or came to the Finish - Thank you!

Quotes from the weekend:

Andy: "This is the last time I'm going to be this clean."
Liezl: "Ek kan stoot." "I can push"
TC: "My next set of wheels is a scooter"
Stuart: "The hospital gave me good drugs."
Is Andy still phaffing?

Will I do it again?
YES & YES & YES!!!
From the first time I got the e-mail invite & link from Myburgh the content of the website was so welcoming & the event came across well organised & that really contributed to me saying yes to this. And that is exactly what it was all the way through, the build-up, the information that we needed was provided at the right time & the whole weekend was a great success. Thank you Dave!

One week after the race, my Gore Windstopper arrived as promised. What a bonus?! Thank you! 
My lovely prize!
Thank you Gore Bikeware

Andy's love for mud shows

Injured Stu

Die Van Niekerks

The Famous Darren & Amanda, our Tandem couple

The Johnson Brothers, Grant & Bryan

Zane, The Machine

Monday, 7 May 2012

10 Riders, 9 Bikes?!

What better way to spend Bank Holiday Monday in the beloved Dorking...

3 of us hit out on the 8:43 train to Dorking, meeting us at the station is Darren & Amanda on a tandem mountain bike. This was the first time in my life that I've actually come so close to a tandem bike let alone ride one.

We (Cecilia, myself & Stephhe) met Amanda a few weeks prior at the start of Yoghurt Pots & she said that she would like to ride with us.

We took the Chalk Way down to the farm & connected with the 22, went down to Abinger, took the farm road down to the Volunteer & up to the car park at the bottom of the Telegraph. From there we took the bottom road with the 3 steep-short climbs over to BKB... Thankfully Zane came with & were able to keep up with this very capable duo, Liezl & I were catching up on some quality time & I was glad for her company as I was vrot from the previous day's ride through all the mud this mud island had to offer!

Hitting BKB I was trying to stay close enough to the tandem so I can see what happens when the 2 of them takes on the 2nd drop of BKB... Well I was in time to see how there heads disappear and off they went only for me to see them at the bottom again. Zane was saying how he was going flat out & they caught him right at the end.

Going into Peaslake, we met the  5 other riders that were joining us for our social ride. Lindie Gericke, Damian, Lee-Animal, Katy & Barry. An early teastop was in order & we sommer treated ourselves with an early cheese straw from Peaslake Village Store.

Amanda & Darren took us down some trails, some familiar, some not. It was at Yoghurt Potts that Darren asked me, "Do you want to have a go?" At first I wasn't sure what he was talking about & said yes before I knew what I said yes to. The next minute I was on the back of the tandem listening to his instructions as he briefed me.

Now if you have been cycling with me before you will know that Yoghurt Pots is my ultimate favourite trail... In all the years of mtb'ing, riding Yoghurt Pots after being away for a while, is like that welcome home feeling.

I have NEVER been down Yoghurt Potts so quickly. Sitting on the back of the tandem, not picking your own lines or steering your bike, listening (submitting) to instructions & following them was out of character for me, BUT with Darren clearly knowing what he WAS doing & giving such clear instructions (tree on your right - don't look at it, bump coming up, power & bail-bail-bail) , it was a ride of a lifetime. I LOVED it!

Zane & Liezl both also got a chance to have what we all thought in the beginning would be a piggyback ride at the back, we soon knew, that the backseat driver works as hard as the driver.

We went down to Peaslake for celebratory cakes & tea. Darren & Amanda took us back in to the station with a shortcut in the pouring rain.

Darren & Amanda is in a league of their own. They are lovely, humble, supportive, helpful & fun to be around with. They had so much time & patience for us & it was great to spend the day with them. Thank you so much for a memorable day.

From left to right: Leanne, Me, Zane, Liezl (Pokkeltjie), Darren, Katy, Amanda, Barry, Damian & Lindizwe

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Brechfa #2 - Priceless!

What makes Brechfa a great mountainbike base & why have we come back?
  1. There are 4 trails with blue, green, red & black grades, this is perfect as everybody can ride a trail that they are comfortable with at their own pace & convenience.
  2. It has amazing trails & are really good for training. A good combination between some long climbs & technical, but fun descents.

From: Tharina Cronje
Sent: 10 April 2012 10:38
To: Albert France-Brotherton; cecilia de villiers; Cherese Binedell; Christiaan Botha; Dave Rice; Gerhard van Niekerk; Jason Wentzel; Lee-Anne Dippenaar; Liezl-Mari Anderson; Louis van der Walt; Myburgh; Richard Hemmings; Ricky Anderson; Roald Wallis; Simon Osborne; Stephne van Niekerk; Wynand Binedell; Zelda France-Brotherton
Subject: Priceless?!
24 people
20 bikes
10 cars
4 cottages
7kg steak
7kg pasta
48 lambchops
5kg potatoes
3kg mince
One massive paptert
1. Take good company
2. Mix it with good food
3. Add awesome mtb trails
4. Bake it in Wales
5. For 4 days
Hi Guys
Thank you for a great weekend away. I was so tired last night, but still reminiscing on the weekend before I finally fell a sleep.
I've worked out most of the finances and decided to send it to you in groups who owe the same amount as in some cases the final amount differ due to adhoc costs & petrol. So you can expect the final bill soon. :-) (I was going to send you a copy of the Guinness world record of the longest Tesco receipt you've ever seen in your life, but it doesn't fit in on the photocopier - this photo is a better representation)
Thank you so much for jumping in & helping out with the cooking, cleaning & everything else.
Two of my favourite quotes of the weekend:
1. There is something about sheep I really like... Wynand Binedell
2. If only I had a chance for seconds... Dawie Rice
Have a lekker week!

Managing Director
Tango Cycles - Making cycling much more fun for less

Shopping for 24 people... thankfully we had some "Spiertiere" to carry it all
Making use of the offer to help ie art of delegating, thanks Ricky. Those oondkoeke was devine.

Cox with the kiddy handing out easter eggs after the church service in Carmarthen