Friday, 18 March 2016

Tango Cycling Weekends

All you need to know about a typical Tango Cycling weekend

Rough itinerary:

First night - Arrive in the evening (No evening meal please sort yourself out on your way there)

Second Day
- MTB, Road ride, Run & Chill
- Breakfast, After exercise food, Yazoo & Tango Crunchies, Evening meal included

Third Day
- MTB, Road ride, Run & Chill
- Included: Breakfast, After exercise food, Yazoo & Tango Crunchies, Evening meal

Last Day
- Breakfast

- Ride for those who want to fit another ride in
- Check-out before 10am

How it works: 

What does TC arrange?
All logistics, plan the menu, source meat locally at butchers, online food order, co-ordinate cooking & cleaning teams, provide all recipes & instructions for the menus, allocate rooms (single sex rooms & potentially a room for the couples if it works out like that), co-ordinate payments at the end of the weekend.

What is expected of me if I come along?
Ride your bike, Run, Chill and also help with preparing food and cleaning up and most importantly to have fun.

How do the meals work?
We will potentially eat breakfast together, lunch will be ready for whenever you are back from the trails, we will eat all evening meals together and have a daily catch-up of what happened out on the trails. If it is significant enough a prize will be awarded!

What is on a typical Tango Cycling weekend menu?
Breakfast - Oats/Toast with jam, peanut butter
After Ride food – Pasta, Yazoo & Tango Crunchies
Evening Meal – Welsh meat (Lamb or Steak) with paptert/potato salad/dish and a funky salad

Do I lead the rides or how does it work?
No, I don’t lead the rides. The routes are all well marked and everyone can pick a route that will suit his/her ability or the time that you would like to start your ride. Naturally mountain bikers don’t like missing out so we usually plan together and ride in groups that match our ability & fitness. There is a route to choose from for every ability, from beginners to advance riders, so don’t worry there will be something for you!

What is not included?
Evening dinner on the first night, snacks & drinks


Based on minimum 10 people booking - £300 which will include, 3 nights’ accommodation, shared petrol costs, 7 meals and an administration fee

Note on petrol costs: I calculate the cost for petrol by allowing an amount per mile for the number of miles driven and a minimum of 2 passengers and 2 bikes per car, so the chances are that the cost will be less than quoted above

Based on maximum 20 people booking - £240 which will include, 3 nights’ accommodation, shared petrol costs, 7 meals and an administration fee

The trip will only go ahead with a minimum of 15 people booked on and the maximum cost is quoted. I hate paying more than I expected and therefore promise to stay under budget and true to my tagline, More Fun For Less!

After the event I will send out final costs of the weekend to each individual.

The T & C’s:

  1. Your booking will be confirmed once I have received your deposit
  2. If you need to cancel your booking, you need to do so in writing to me as soon as you know that you will not be able to make the trip
  3. I will refund you your deposit minus a £10 administration fee if your place can be filled
  4. First come, first serve - 20 is the maximum number
  5. This trip will only go ahead once a minimum of 10 people have booked

What to do now:

  1. Hit reply now if you would like to join
  2. Please tell me if you have any dietary requirements and if you would be willing & able to provide lifts to others and their bikes
  3. Transfer £100 deposit to my account 

Team Work - Cape Epic 2016

The Epic is all about team work. This year you can see it more than ever! 

There are so many things that have to go right in order to complete the Cape Epic and one of the things that I think people could easily underestimate is team work! 

Communication & Trust

Karl Platt says they don't talk on a stage, he looks at Urs' body language to know what he is thinking or how he is doing, he sees it as a sign of weakness to talk during the stage. 

I think others would say that if you talk too much, you are not riding hard enough. :-) 

The better you know your partner the more trust you are going to have riding in front or behind them. 

I mean to be in total sync in a berm like this speaks for it self!
Couldn't see who the photo credit should go to, but what an awesome photo! 


This year's Epic is full of examples on how more experienced riders are willing to sacrifice and ride with amateurs. Christoph Sauser & Sipho Madola, Sharon Laws & Dalene van der Leek, Hannele Steyn & her partner who she also coaches, Anneke Viljoen. 

Personally I find this so encouraging that people who were used to earn their bread & butter from racing are now prepared to do this; the same as people who were prepared to ride with me when I was inexperienced and much slower than them. 

Christoph mentioned that one of the things he taught Sipho was to be, "Calm, Efficient & Fast through the waterpoints. I personally witnessed Sauser putting a whole muffin in his mouth at the waterpoint. With calmness he opened his mouth wide enough in order to be efficient to fit in the muffin in one go and fast through the waterpoint... :-) 

Photo: Ewald Sadie

Stronger vs Weaker - Weaker vs Stronger.

The combination of Sauser and Sipho reminds me off the Scott boys, Nino Schurter & Phil Buys from 2014. 

I've been on the receiving end of both of these situations. It is so important for both riders to be on the same page and know that you are going to give your all. 

As a stronger rider it is sometimes harder to ride slower, personally I prefer to just get the pain out of the way. For the slower rider it is hard to always feel like you are holding someone up or motivate yourself mentally and the faster rider needs to be aware of the mind games going on in your head. 

I always tell myself when I'm dangling off the back that I am doing the best to my ability and that seems to get me over the hills. Hannele Steyn is the only women who have completed all 12 Epics so far, she has also won a few stages in the past. She was saying how hard it was to make that switch that she is riding slow for her ability, but that the speed they were travelling at was the fastest her partner could go. Her partner has only started mountain biking one year ago! 

The pressure that the likes of Sipho and Phil would've put on themselves would play such a big role in their performance. I can imagine them feeling honored to race with the world's best and wanting to perform well. 

The dangers of combinations like this, is that the weaker rider would ride out of their comfort zone too quickly or their body might boikot their plans which leads them to crashing & burning; which brings about dealing with the disappointment and trying to get confidence back. 

Sabine Spitz, multiple World Champion and 3 x Olympic medalist said it well earlier this week, "When you do something that makes you weak, it makes you stronger afterwards."

We saw this in Phil Buys' case and can also see how Sipho is excelling towards the end of this Epic! Finishing 29th today on Stage 5 and currently sitting 50th on the GC! 


Sally is always looking over her shoulder making sure she knows where Adel is. It is key to choose a pace that both riders can maintain and to look out for each other before, during and after the stage. Caring for your partner is so important as it is the little things that count; a small act of kindness in these situations when you are so tired can mean the world to them and will strengthen your team unit. :-) 

Adel left it all out there on Stage 3
Good luck everybody you have made it this far, hang in there for the next two days! 

Read & watch more on the Cape Epic by following this link.

Ps. There is still so much to say on this topic, but these are the things that stood out for me today! 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

The Women's Race at the Cape Epic 2016!

It is with great excitement that I've been following the Epic this week. 

At first I was frustrated with the organisation, but today they redeemed themselves. The Cape Epic is one of only a few sports that offers the same prize money for both the men's and women's divisions and also introduced a start batch for the women from this year. The legendary Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa and Sally Bigham campaigned for a women's batch last year. It is just fair to give the women their own start batch especially when you consider that they women do earn the same prize money. 

This year the ladies are also not allowed to draft in the slipstreams of any of the Men's teams as they might get penalised. 

The first two stages were really frustrating to watch as the Cape Epic interviewed the men's winners in the final kilometres before the finish of the women. The result was that we missed both deciding moves that determined the outcome of Stage 1 & 2.  The fact that the men's race were broadcasted live via the 360 view, Project Zebra made it more disappointing. Project Zebra, a 360 live view from the field was made possible by Team Bulls. Stefan Sahm an ex-pro rider for Team Bulls is riding an e-bike and following riders around on each stage. 

Stage 3 however made up for the lack of live feed from Stage 1 & 2. We had a helicopter following the ladies for the last 7 km of the 104km long stage from Tulbach to Wellington. We were able to see how Team Spur made their final move, Team Topeak Ergon were giving it their all and we saw how the elastic started to snap for Jennie Stenerhag. 

The women's race is heating up! Annika Langvad & Ariane Kleinhans didn't have an easy ride to get in the lead, the competition is tough this year and the change in race format has definitely made this category a more even playing field and a whole lot more fun to watch. The change in format has brought in the game of cat & mouse playing a bit and getting athletes to push their boundaries. 

Today they interviewed, Sabine Spitz, multiple World and Olympic champion. She is in her 40's and still racing at the top end of the field with the hope of qualifying for her 4th Olympics in the Summer. She is racing with the 23 year old Yana Balamoyna from the Ukraine who rides for Bart Brentjes' team. They are using the Epic as training for their World Cup season. 

Jennie Stenerhag collapsed after the Finish Line and had to abondon the race. This is such sad news as the team won both the Prologue and Stage 1 of this year's Epic and they were  in the best shape of their careers. 

British Cross country champion, Sally Bigham is hungry for a victory with Adelheid Morath and rode their hearts out today, but was 39 seconds off the pace. Watch this pair over the next 4 days as they are for sure going to try and shake things up for Team Spur. 

I would like to end this post with a quote from Sabine Spitz during her interview today, "If something makes you weak, it makes you stronger afterwards."