Tuesday, 30 April 2013

What goes UP must go DOWN!

Last weekend four of us signed up to do the Wiggle Ups & Downs in our local playground, Dorking, Surrey Hills.

I have also done this race in 2010 so knew not to expect a lot of single track, but knew it would still be worth our while to ride it. Ray Hince, my friend from the Cape Epic usually volunteers for the Wiggle races and I thought maybe if I do the race I can convince Ray to do the race too. That was not hard to do, Ray was so keen to compete that he actually signed up before me.
Liezl & I set off with the boys, Zane & Jason. Zane fore warned us that he will be taking it easy. I knew what he said and actually meant was two different things. Jason left us early on, Zane was still hanging back, but Pokkeltjie & I was just not strong enough to go at his leisurely pace.

Pokkeltjie & I soon realised that we are actually picking up quite a few people along the way, that gave us a lot of confidence. We kept our pace, didn’t stop, just kept on pedalling. Unfortunately Liezl took a bit of a non-spectacular tumble when she looked back to see if I was still with her. She was left feeling bruised, but kept on going, not even stopping to look at her wounds.
It was great to be out, the route was well sign posted, better than 3 years ago. It was also great to ride some of our usual trails in the other direction.
The last third of the race was mainly on trails that I have not ridden before, so that was really great. It was at the top and back of the North Downs and Ranmore Common. It was just before the last water point where we started to slow down a little bit as we were not sure how far we still had to go, but we asked a guy with a Garmin how far we have gone. He said we had 37km on the clock. I knew it would take us roughly another hour to the finish as we were already riding for 2:30. The race finished with a very steep hill finish where it was almost impossible to ride. We attempted to ride it, but with lots of people pushing in front of us, we were glad to also push as this was hard going.
We cheered riders on that were riding up and made jokes with others who were also pushing just to lift our own and their spirits. We knew we would be home soon once the hill was out of the way as it was just downhill from there.
We rolled over the finish line after 3 hours 34 minutes. We were very chuffed with that. The boys smashed it and were already waiting for us at the Finish Line.
I met up with Ray afterwards and we kuier’ed up a storm. It felt like the good times we had at the Epic. I’m so pleased that he got to meet some of my friends. One of his first observations after meeting Liezl was, “She is just as nuts as you are.” J I am now also his self-appointed adopted 7th child. He-he.
Final Observations:
-          No man likes being overtaken by women
Favourite Quotes of the day:
-          Passing on your left
-          Let’s hit it – Zane Smith


Cape Epic Reunion with Ray Hince
Photo taken with TC's Nokia C5

Happy!!! Liezl, Jason, TC & Zane
Photo taken with Zane's Blackberry

Wednesday, 24 April 2013


I was a last minute replacement to go along to Liege-Bastogne-Liege even though Gerhard van Niekerk tried to persuade me to join for a very long time. 

Liege-Bastogne-Liege is the oldest classic and this year was the 99th edition.

We left London on Friday afternoon, 5 bikes on the roof of the car and an epic bag full of epic food.

I would recommend the Eurotunnel to anybody wanting to cross the channel. It is so easy to get on, they are flexible on letting you go on earlier trains and before you know it you are literally in France.

The guys were doing the long route of 160km and decided to start at 8am on Saturday. So Steph and I joined them to the start. We entered and off we went.

This was my 2nd road race, but my first on my road bike.

We started off going through some of the back roads of the city to the official start of the course. Mind you, we only found out afterwards where the official start was and funnily enough, I felt fine up to the official start. :-) From there on I was suffering to the end and very grateful to sit in Steph's slip. Steph & I are hoping to do the Epic in the future, so this was our 'first' step closer to the Epic. Gerhard is already on the look out for our perfect bikes, hopefully it will fit our not-so-perfect-budget.  

We got treated with some syrup waffles at the water point/feed zone, honey cake, sachets of honey etc. I didn't eat any of this, but put it in my back pocket as it looked really interesting. We were so cold at this point as we took some clothes off after the first climb and just had to carry on like that. I was however chuffed that they cut the bananas and oranges #epicstyle.

After the water point we reached the first 'official' climb of the day for which I was mentally prepared. La Redoute, it was steep and quite an accomplishment to get to the top.

All the hills were very well sign posted with a start and finish sign. At the start they gave you the steepest gradient and the average gradient and the distance of the climb, so I just looked for the finish sign of each climb.

St Nicholas was the last hill, this one was a killer, it was never ending and continuing bend after bend.

I thought downhill to the finish line, but no they put in another long gradual climb before the routed us back to the Finish. Steph had a nearby accident when a car stopped right in front of her unexpectedly. I saw it happening, her back wheel was in the air and I thought she was going to fall in front of an oncoming vehicle, but thankfully she managed to stay on her bike and the driver continued driving off, both of them unscathed. Very grateful.

The Finish was quite an anti-climax, nobody cheering, getting there on our own. But we got a medal, TWO t-shirts and some squirt lube.

This is where my party started. We got a coke to put back some sugar, frites and a round of Leffe beer. I'm not a big beer fan, but I promise Belgium beer tastes like nectar on your tongue in Belgium. I had a lekker system going. Every time one of us finished, we sent them to get their t-shirts whilst we got another round of beers and frites with mayonaise.

Gerhard Bonthuys absolutely smashed the course and came in 20 minutes before we expected him, Simon followed him an hour later and Gerhard van Niekerk about 15 minutes later. He had lots of mechanicals, a broken freewheel and also a few punctures and did well to finish the race.

Gerhard Bonthuys, TC, Steph, Gerhard van Niekerk & Simon
On Sunday we found a patisserie where we bought an amazing tart, mango jam, tiny meringues filled with cream and fresh bread. We definitely amused the ladies in the bakery. We called onto Bonty to do all the translating for us as he is naturally gifted in that way. We also managed to find a supermarket where we stocked up on ham, cheese, Belgian chocolate and some of us on salami. :)

Steph worked out where we needed to drive to, to be able to watch the pros. We actually saw them en route as we drove over one of the big bridges. We ended up in Houffalize. I was very excited about this as they held a XC-World Cup in Houffalize last year. I got excited every time I saw a mountain bike.

We had an awesome picnic as we waited on the pros to come past us. We were even in time for the marketing caravan and managed to catch a few sweets and whistles.

Road paint - #graffiti

Go Andy!
Photo: Simon Osborne


The peloton, at this stage Movistar was on the front

Making it look like a walk in the part
We started our return journey to London after they went past us and when they had an hour of racing left we asked a random motorcyclist for directions to a pub. He gave us vague directions but we found de Vollepot and watched the last 40km on TV. It was a privilege as we knew where on the route they were and were able to remember the roads, the inclines and the downhills. Dan Martin from Garmin Sharp won the race after Rodriguez tried to attack on the final hill. Belgian favourite Philip Gilbert came 7th.


It was great being part of a different kind of event (road racing) on a different continent. Popping over to Europe from London is so easy and great, I just want to plan the next trip already. It was great being away with good friends for good cycling and enjoying good food and company.

1. Beer & Frites afterward our ride
2. Watching the cycling in Houffalize, the whole atmosphere and anticipation

Quotes of the weekend:

Wit koek maak nie vet nie. White cake does not make you fat

Does it look like a skip a meal?

Friday, 19 April 2013

Call Me Maybe???

On my return from South Africa and ABSA Cape Epic I've decided...

I want to marry a mountainbiker with:

 - his own bikeshop near some trails


I want to marry a mountainbiker with:

- a farm near some trails

I'll manage the coffee shop and organise Tango Cycling Mountain biking Trips

Call me Maybe if you fall into one of the above categories?! ;-) hie-hie

Thanks to Kristy Meyer for creating the video.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Putting Our Safety First!

On Monday night I went for a gentle ride just because the weather was so good and I didn't want to waste opportunity. I went on my own as I was to late to go with some of the others, see I don't always need people. :) #justmostofthetime

On my return, Julie, my lovely housemate & dear friend asked me if I went on my own, to which I replied, yes. Do you have a card with emergency contact details with you? No. Did you have your phone with you? Yes. She gave me a scary look and said she will ask me tomorrow if I made myself an ICE-card.

It is not a nice thought that something could happen to you, but in reality it can happen at any time. Our good friend Zane had an accident last year and thankfully he had his phone with him and there were loads of other people riding in Richmond Park last year. He was very fortunate and his helmet saved his life.

I’ve taken it seriously and made myself and a few friends ICE-cards.

Info to put on your ICE-card if you want to make yourself one.




ICE #1:

ICE #2:

I would recommend that you choose someone that will answer their phone most of the time… Some of us don’t have a good track record with that.

Be careful & Stay safe!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Schwalbe Mountainbike Marathon Builth Wells

Croeso - Wales welcomes you!

This has officially been my 9th trip to Wales in the past 9 years I've spent in the UK. I love Wales! I love the people and I love their lamb chops. It really felt like I went to my 2nd UK home.

We did this race in 2010 as a group, some of the group used it as a training ride for the TransAlps . The route was challenging, lots of climbing and the weather was PERFECT! It was so warm that we even went for a swim in the river afterwards.

This year however I entered because I knew that I was going to be homesick when I come back from home in South Africa and I needed a bit of a carrot in front of my nose to keep me training.

On my return to the UK I battled with a stupid cold so I wasn't sure if I should risk doing it, but I still went along.

We arrived on Saturday and the weather was not great, we spend the afternoon watching rugby and making ourselves very much at home in the same hotel as where we watched the rugby 3 years ago, The Greyhound Hotel. Welsh hospitality was at its best, we basically had a whole function room to ourselves and they even served the most amazing lasagne that we ordered upstairs for us.

Later the evening we went to the race village and met Rory who is a distributor of Pivot bikes in the UK. We spent a fair bit of time with him and learnt quite a lot about the British mountain biking scene from him. http://www.upgradebikes.co.uk/

Camping was provided on the Royal Welsh Showgrounds as part of your entry fee. Real toilets and showers was a bonus.

On Sunday morning our tents were almost flattened by the wind and it is a miracle that none of our tent poles snapped. I really tried to get out of riding the race, but sadly got no sympathy and had to do it.

I opted to do the shorter distance of 30km rather than nothing at all. I was signed up for the 75km originally.

The weather was appalling... I've NEVER EVER cycled in weather like that. WIND and RAIN FROM THE SIDE, WIND FROM THE FRONT and not ONCE a tailwind. Going through the mud was tough going. The wind was so strong that it pushed you off your line all the time and made you glide all over the place. It was bizarre, all I could hear all the time was the wind ringing in my ears. The race also felt as if it was just going up ALL the time, there were NO rewarding downhills, the only one that was there, was so muddy that I had to lower my saddle and scoot down with one foot unclipped. Everything was soaking wet. Despite of me having a cold and the strong wind I was quite surprised at how strong I felt on the climbs. The race was not very technical and it felt good riding up where men were pushing their bikes. ;)

Jason completed the marathon distance in a very good time. He was absolutely shattered though from battling against the elements. His feedback was that it was very very tough and that the layer of water on the grass sapped so much energy that it was hard to enjoy the race. The route was very exposed so being on a ridge all the time with the wind blowing from all directions added a twist to the whole experience. We both thought that more singletrack would've been nice.

Please see the link below for more races in this series this year.

First time I used my Epic bag - it proved to be an #epicbag :-)
So practical - I love it!

Friday, 12 April 2013

My favourite post ABSA Cape Epic links

Nino Schurter - Tailwhip at high speed

This article is in German, but very cool photos. The reason I like it is because you can see the variety of terrain they crossed. I have this curiosity into knowing what the terrain is like because I'm trying to figure out JUST how hard this race is and obviously trying to figure out if I would be able to do it.


Montana & Fumic at PRO press conference pre-epic

Catherine Williamson

Friday, 5 April 2013

Epic Tunes (playlist)

Reducing post Epic Holiday Blues by listening to the Epic songs!

Kesha - Die Young
Avicii vs Nicky Romero - I Could Be The One
Bruno Mars - Locked Out Of Heaven
Calvin Harris ft. Florence Welch- Sweet Nothing
Swedish House Mafia - Don't You Worry Child feat. John Martin
Rihanna - Diamonds
Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris - We Found Love
Chris Brown - Don't Wake Me Up