Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Leeuwenboschfontein

Leeuwenboschfontein
Dit is 15 Desember en ons vertrek teen 10:00 Leeuwenboschfontein toe vir 'n naweek van ontspanning en fietsry, weg van selfone af en in die wye vlaktes van die Karoo. My seun en sy gesin vergesel ons vir die naweek. Dit het ons ongeveer 3 uur geneem om die 220 km af te lê. Ons was aangenaam verras met ons aankoms daar. Alles was mooi skoon en ruim met 'n lieflike groot grasperk voor die huis en 'n dam. Die heuwels in die omtrek het dit duidelik gemaak dat die drie dae se ry 'n paar "klimme" gaan insluit. Registrasie is gedurende die middag afgehandel en aangesien ek voor 30 November ingeskryf het, het ek 'n persoonlike nommer gekry. Wegspringtyd is bevestig vir 07:00 om seker te maak dat ons nie te warm kry en probleme met die slange optel nie. Dit is duidelik gemaak dat dit 'n naweek is om te geniet en dat "wen" nie ter sprake is nie.

Dag 1
Vroeg opgestaan en gereed vir 70 km in die Karoo. Daar is ‘n redelike “byt” in die lug! Ons loop ook vir Sieg en Marlise Visser asook Rob Moffat van ons Double Century span daar raak. Ons word ingelig dat daar geen "sand" op die roete is nie. Die eerste 10 km is op 'n goeie distrik pad en ons gemiddelde spoed was in die hoë twintigs. Daarna is ons die veld in en ry op "minder gebruikte" veld paadjies en nie te lank nie of ons tref die sand. Die "Maan mannejies" het dit seker die vorige aand kom strooi! Alhoewel daar 'n hele paar sand kolle was, waar afklim en stoot die voorland was, was die lengtes nie ernstig nie. In sekere gevalle kon ons met goeie momentum deur kom en in ander gevalle het 'n "detour" deur die veld gehelp. Net voor die eerste waterpunt op 30 km was daar 'n redelike klim. Vanaf km 32 word ons verras met 10 km se geleidelike afdraand. Tydens hierdie 10 km handhaaf ons 'n gemiddelde spoed van in die dertigs. Dit word gevolg met 'n soortgelyke klim vir die volgende 6 km. Waterpunt twee volg en daarna is dit 'n redelike gemaklike klim vir die volgende 16 km. Die laaste 5 km het 'n paar ernstige klimme en afdraandes ingesluit en dit was voorwaar aangenaam om oor die laaste bult die eindpunt te sien. Na 69 km en 4 uur en 2 minute bereik ek die einde. Voorwaar 'n baie aangename rit met 'n bietjie van alles om dit interessant en genotvol te maak.
Die res van die dag ontspan ons lekker op die gras, roei op die dam en sluit af met 'n braai. Teen 22:00 slaap almal.

Dag 2
Weer vroeg aan die gang. My seun, Adre, se tweeling maak seker dat almal teen 06:00 wakker is! Ek het dit ook reg gekry om hom te oortuig om sy eerste bergfietswedren aan te durf en aangesien dit in die gene is, besluit hy hy om die lange te probeer! Die begin is redelik gaoties aangesien die hek by die eertse afdraai toe is en daar onsekerheid heers of ons moet afdraai of nie. Gelukkig word dit gou uitgesorteer en daar trek ons, deur die veld op ‘n redelike rowwe veld paadjie, terug oor die groot pad en deur die veld teen die berge uit. Op 11 km begin die klim. Ons kilm 400 meter in die volgende 8 km. Hierna volg ‘n 7 km redelike gelyk rit gevolg deur 12 km se afdraand, waar groot dele redelik “rof” is. Teen die tyd los ek vir Adre en vat die pad einde toe. Die laaste 10 km is lekker glad en eindig met 5 km op die distrikspad. Daar is egter ‘n “angel” in die einde. Die roete gaan verby die afdraai na Leeuwenboschfontein en draai ‘n entjie verder af na die kampterein. Nie ‘n probleem nie, maar dan kom die “verassing”. Na die kampterrein draai ons nie regs met die pad na die eindpunt nie, maar ons gaan reguit bult op! 30 meter se klim in 300 meter. Die afdraand eindpunt toe maak egter die klim die moeite werd! 47 km in 3 uur 6 minute. Adre kom so ‘n kwartier later in.
Saterdagaand is ons deel van ‘n heerlike samekoms van vriende rondom ‘n spit. Die word vooraf gegaan deur ‘n “lucky draw” waar almal wat teenwoordig is, iets kry. Die vleis was “voortreflik” gaar gemaak.

Dag 3
Nog ‘n voortreflike dag met fantastiese weer. Ongelukkig het Sue, my vrou, begin siek word en voel glad nie baie goed nie, met die gevolg dat sy nie veel geslaap het nie. Die dag se roete begin met ‘n rowwe “jeep track” agter die die plaas uit, oor die vliedtuig aanloopbaan terug na die grootpad, deur die kloof waar ons die eerste dag gery het en deur die eerste paar “sand stukkies”. Op 14 km draai ons gelukkig links en volg ‘n beter pad wat baie van dag 1 se sand,‘n paar bulte en daardie lekker afdraand uitsluit. Vanaf kilometer 14 to 30 klim ons 300 meter. Die volgende 18 km is redelik konstant met geleidelike op en af dele en terrain wat wissel van veld paadjies na ‘n deel op ‘n distrikspad. Dit eindig met die afdraai na Kopbeenkloof en die laaste waterpunt op 49 km. Die laaste 11 kilometer sluit ‘n paar “hairy downhills” met groot klippe en en heelwat draaie in. Tydens hierdie stukkie “jaag” ek en Theo mekaar. Ek is sterker teen die bulte, maar hy is ‘n doorn teen die afdraandes. Hy ry onder my uit oor die rowwe afdraandes en dan haal ek hom in teen die bulte. Ons ry saam oor die groot dam se wal en durf die laaste kilomtere kop-aan-kop aan. Dit blyk toe dat ek so ‘n bietjie meer “spoed” op die gelyk pad het en ek klop hom met so ‘n paar sekondes op die eindstreep. Niks ernstig nie, maar baie lekker en opwindend.

So eindig ‘n voortreflike naweek op Leuwenboschfontein. Ons het dit so baie geniet dat ons sommer onmiddelik die huis vir volgende jaar bespreek. Die naweek word afgesluit met ‘n goeie middagete by Die Ou Kombuis in Monatgu.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Double Century

Friday 25 November 12:00. Here I am ready for this year's Double Century. Danie Kotze and Mike Smit should be here by 12:45 and then we are off to Swellendam for tomorrow's big race. Joggie informed us yesterday that he would not make it, so we will only be 11 in our team. We left Cape Town just after 13:00 and arrives in Swellendam at 16:00. We were directed to the camping sites and selected two nice spots close to the river and, what we thought, a reasonable distance from the road. Daniel arrived shortly afterwards. Tents were erected and then we took a stroll to the Spar to buy some additional "goodies" for the race and some things for breakfast and coffee. We tried the local "take away" of lasagne for supper and made our own coffee. Clive and Suretha arrive between 18:00-19:00. Suretha got her tent up, but Clive decided to sleep in his Land Rover at the school, where he hoped it would be quieter. Theuns SMSed at 15:40 that he just finished in Stellenbosch. At 19:10 we got another SMS telling us that he only just left Stellenbosch and at 20:00 he was looking for our GPS co-ordinates! In the end he arrived at the campsite just before 23:00. By that time the rest of us were in dreamland or at least trying to get there! The local noise of people talking, disco music and traffic on the road ensured that our rest was not too piece full.

Movement started in the camping area at 04:05. When I got up at 04:25, I found a SMS on my phone asking me to phone my brother at 04:00, as they are not sure whether their alarm was working. I obliged at 04:25! Just as well, as their alarm did not go off! Everybody was ready by 05:00, ice was collected and the rest of the cooler boxes and supplements for the road, was taken to the backup vehicle. All of us were in our start shoot at 05:25, with the axception of Theuns. He was still at the campsite sorting various things including a car alarm that kept going off! He managed to join us just as we approached the starting line.


We started promptly at 05:42. We had our first puncture within the first 5 kilometers! Theuns and myself helped Clive repair his flat while the rest carried on. We managed to catch up with then just before the Suurbraak turn off. From there the ride was plain sailing. We had the normal split when we hit Tradouw Pass, but we "consolidated" again on the final hill just before Barrydale.
Nico van Zyl found himself in the middle of a bunch and did not see us with the result that he carried on ahead of us. Fortunately he saw our back vehicle at the foot of Op De Tradouw and waited for us there.


Nadat almal weer hulle voorrade aangevul het en van hulle oortollige water ontslae geraak het, het ons Op De Tradouw aangepak. Suretha het beluit om hierdie stop 'n "mis" te gee en aangery. Die was 'n "goeie roep" want toe ons haar in haal was sy al driekwart teen Op De Tradouw uit. Ek het haar toe die laaste entjie gehelp en bo het ons weer by die Coke-tafel gegroepeer. Na 'n hele rukkie se wag was daar egter geen teken van Theuns en Nico nie. Ons skakel hulle toe en word ingelig dat Nico se pedaal gebreek het en hulle probeer om Adre se fiets aan te pas sodat hy daarop kan ry. Ek gaan toe maar 'n entjie terug om vir hulle te wag. By verdere navraag hoor ek dat hulle nog sukkel. Ek skakel toe vir Sieg en laat weet dat hulle moet aan ry. Ons sal hulle by Montagu kry. Toe ek weer vir Theuns skakel laat weet hy dat hulle nie Nico se skoene kon kry om op Adre se fiets te pas nie en dat hy alleen oppad is. Hy sluit toe 'n rukkie later by my aan en ons trap saam verder. Net na die volgende afdraand val my ketting af. Dit het al van te vore gebeur, soos vroeer die oggend ook, en soos gewoonlik werk ek die ketting terug met die ratwissellaars. Skiellik besef ek iets groots is fout en hou stil. Dit blyk toe dat iets verkeerd gegaan het, die voorste klein rat het gebreek, horisontaal gebuig, die ketting gespan wat veroorsaak het dat die agterste deurallier afgebreek het. Ek skakel onmiddelik die opvolg voertuig en laat weet dat ek Adre se fiets nodig het om verder te ry. Hulle daag gou op, ons stel die saal 'n bietjie laer en is weer oppad. Halfpad teen die volgende bult af raak my voorwiel pap! Hou stil, spring af, buiteband af, binneband uit, nuwe bineband in, buiteband op, maak styf met "bommetjie", sit alles terug en daar gaan ons weer. Na 'n rukkie kom daar 'n "vinnige" span verby en Theuns "haak" hulle. Vir die volgende 37 kilometer handhaaf ons 'n gemiddelde spoed van 40 k.p.u. Toe ons in Montugu in kom sien ons hoe die res van die span by die opvolg voertuig stil hou!
Voorrade word weer aangevul en ons val gou weer in die pad. Van Montagu to by die ysterbrug net voor Bonnievale is redelik gelyk en 'n area waar 'n goeie gemiddelde spoed gehandhaaf kan word. Ons voltooi die 58 kilometer tot in Bonnievale in 2 uur 1 minuut, en dit sluit die reg maak van 'n papwiel in! Nie sleg nie.

At Bonnievale we stock up again. Now it is "crunch" time. The last 37 kilometers with a number of "nasty" hills before we finish. Every goes fine up to the last "water point" at Drew. We grab some refreshments, shed water at the portable toilets and get going again. Kobus wants us to carry on and not wait for him. We convince him to stay with us. We say together up to the Swellendam turn off. Now for the last three hills. At the top of the first hill Theuns complain about ITB. Suretha, who is biogeneticus, jump into action and treats his leg. We all agree and can see that the pain that Theuns experience under her thumbs is enough for him not to agree for second treatment! Kobus arrives just as she completes her treatment. Now there are two more hills. We get over both hills with a fair share of "pushing" and "pulling". There is 7 kilometers left and most of it is either downhill or flat. We start "motoring". Kobus loose contact and Rob start cramping and we loose Theuns. Sieg has gone ahead. We keep the pace up, ensuring that Suretha is not left behind. Just before the end we catch up with Sieg, who is waiting for us. Seven of us hit the final hill. I tell Suretha to hang onto my tail and pull her up the last hill. The 7 of us cross the line after 7 hours 38 minutes riding time and a total of 8 hours 45 minutes in the saddle. We waited for Rob, Theuns and Kobus to join us. Rob and Theuns arrive shortly after us. Kobus only rejoins us at the show grounds.

A wonderful experience and a good team effort. Thanks to everybody for the effort and to Leonico and Rina who ably managed the back vehicle for us and who always was at the right place at the right time. Until next year!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

SCAS 24 marathon

On Sunday 13 November (may be the 13 was an omen!!) Theuns Pauw, one on our Double Century team members, posted a message to me asking if our DC team would be interested in entering the SCAS 24 hour marathon on spinning bikes at the Neelsie in Stellenbosch, starting on Friday 18 November at 14:00. I decided that it sounded like an interesting challenge and if enough members were interested, we could go for it. One of the conditions was that one of the team members had to be a lady. So the first hurdle was to get the lady on the team. As we have one lady on the team, I gave the guys the option that we will enter if she agrees and secondly provided we get enough interest.

First to come back with a positive answer, was Suretha, the lady on our DC team. Next for a yes was Joggie Prinsloo. I was game and I was sure we could count Theuns in. That gave us 4! Minimum was 6. Later Clive and Kobus also indicated that they would participate, so we had a team. Joggie then came up with two "mates" who would join us, but Theuns decided that he would opt out. That left us with 7 team members. Two had "conditions". Suretha was only available until 09:30 on Saturday morning and Kobus was only available during the night. Well, I felt we can work around those problems and our entry was confirmed!

I was a "bit" disappointed when I herd that there were only 4 teams entered. This disappointment became even bigger when I realised who the competition was! I was hoping for at least 8 teams with "some" reasonable competion, but come as it may, we were now in for it and had to make the best of it.

I got to Stellenbosch at 13:15 and found the "setup" in quite a state of flux. Jan Scannel was still busy setting up the bikes! Clive and Suretha arrived in good time, and the "competition" got underway at 14:30. Our "competition consisted of a SCAS team and 2 teams of "Developement Riders" from Jonkershoek, a senior and a very junior team.

Suretha got us going and we did 18 km in the first 30 minutes. Clive was next up and did 19 km. I followed that up with 20 km. Joggie then also did 20 km. One of his "mates" was next and did a 16 km. This "mate" turned out to be Ferdinand Rabie, the winner of SA's first Big Brother series. His other "mate" (Bjorn) arrived shortly afterwards and did 20 km. Thereafter most people settled on 19-21 km per 30 minute session. That was until hit the saddle again and surprised all of us with a 24 km stint. Even Ferdinand managed 20 km during all his subsequent stunts. During my second shift I really "went" for it, only to be disappointed in only posting a 21 km! I felt that the extra effort would at least have given me 24. I then decided that there is not much point in going harder, because your extra distance is not proportionate the effort!

Teen hierdie tyd het ek begin om 'n tydskedule vir die res van die maraton saam te stel. Hiervoor moes ek in agneem dat niemand meer as 2 uur voor 'n ander spanlid met tyd op die fiets mag wees nie en dat sekere mense na 'n sekere tyd nie meer aanwesig sal wees nie, dat kobus net tussen 24:00 en 08:00 beskikbaar sou wees en dat Ferdinand nie later as 22:00 beskikbaar sou wees nie! Die skedule is saamgestel met Joggie, Suretha en kobus wat die meeste van die trapwerk tussen 22:00 en 09:30 sou doen. Clive, Bjorn en ek sou die laaste 5 uur 30 minute saam deel.

Op hierdie stadium het Bjorn besluit dat hy sterk genoeg voel om 'n dubbel skof te doen en te kyk hoeveel km hy in 60 minute op die meter sit. Ongelukkig het die "paw-paw die fan gestrike" na 50 minute toe hy skielik begin sleg voel het en moes tou opgooi. Om sake te vereger het hy so sleg gevoel dat hy glad nie kans gesien het om enigsins langer te trap nie. Die tydskedule moes gou hersien word, maar die grootse bekommernis was dat Clive en ek die laaste deel alleen sou moes doen!

At this stage we were about 12 km in front of the Jonkershoek "Young Guns". Everybody was keeping to about 20 km per shift. When Kobus arrived, he informed us that he would prefer to do 60 minute shifts. Once again the time schedule had to be adjusted! Not a train smash and things kept rolling on. The atmosphere that prevailed was quite jovial and everybody was having a good time. The Young Guns were checking out our distance on a regular basis and was definitely concerned about the fact that we were ahead. Unbeknown to us, they had a plan and were determined to beat us.

Joggie did his last shift at 06:30, Kobus at 08:00 and Suretha at 09:00. From there on it Clive and myself. We were quite concerned about this would do to our energy levels and when fatigue would start taking its toll! To our surprise, we coped very well and maintain 20 km per 30 minute shift right to the end. While doing my stints I saw that the legs of the Young Guns seemed to be going much faster than mine. I did realise that there is not much I can do about it and just had to keep going, ticking off 20 km at a time.

Teen 10:00 kom ek egter agter dat ons nie meer voor is nie, maar 9 km agter die Young Guns, is! Op navraag bevestig een van die Young Guns dat hy gedurende die laat oggend ure 'n "maraton" sessie van 60 minute ingesit het, waar tydens hulle ons verby gesteek het.

Clive and myself kept the rhythm going and continued through to the end. We were rewarded for our efforts with the knowledge that we kept going and were ready for next Saturday's Double Century.

It was a good team building exercise for myself, Clive, Suretha, Joggie and Kobus. The rest of the team did join us at some or other time during the previous two months for some training rides down the Cape Peninsula and as a team I feel we are ready for enjoyable DC 2011!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Eselfontein

Saturday 22 October and time for the Eselfontein MTB in Ceres. The course was part of the 2010 Absa Cape Epic and as a number of people have commented about the superb single tracks at this venue, it was a race I really was looking forward to. I left Cape Town at 06:00 to ensure that I arrive in good time for the registration, which opened at 07:30. It took me 1 hour 40 minutes to cover the 160 km via Malmesbury. I arrived with Kootjie Viljoen, my son-in-law's brother, who also had Corne Krige and his family in their Merecdes Vito bus. Corne was fortune enough to "test ride" a new trek full suspension 29er! Registration went without a hitch and I had about an hour to kill! I used this time to "explore" the farms facilities. There are 6 Echo Huts in a planation about 3 km away from the farmstead, as well as a self catering house about 1 km away. The race got away promptly at 09:00. Initially the going was fairly easy with some moderate climbs. Most of the tracks were purpose built single tracks with lots of turns, a little bit of soft sand, a number of rocky areas and some stream crossings. After 15 km we entered a local blue gum planation with the most awesum single tracks. It felt as though this went on for hours, but it was only about 2 km. I must say the switch backs, ups and downs and the odd tree around which we had to go made the going very enjoyable, the consentrating intence and quite tiring! After this we had a short flat section before the first serious climb of the day started. The next 5 km was a steady climb of 270m vertical ascend. That was followed by some awesum and quite scary descents. After 4 km, during which our elevation reduced from 800m to 570m, we started the real big climb of the day. With the exception of 1.3 km, it was all uphill until we reached the 35 km mark at 1,035 meters. This was followed by a 2 km downhill section on a district road where lost 90 meters and then a 1 km section of single track where we gained another 70 meters. There after came a 5 km section where we lost another 500m. This once again included some scary sections over rocks and loose stones. Fortunately I was "up to the challenge" and managed to negotiate all of them with some resulting in quite an adrenaline rush! The last 15 km consisted of some of the intial route, in reverse. I was quite pleased that the final distance was 10 km short of the advertised 70 km. Total distance was 60.49 km, which took me 4:46:39 and include 1,348 meters of climbing.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Here we go again

Planning to tackle the Freedom Challenge again in 2013, is in progress. A number of crutial training rides are scheduled before the final decision can be made. This includes a "recci" of the route from Rhodes to Kleinpoort and possibly the Rhodes Mountain Bike Extreme in September 2012, to test the effect to height above sea level.

The ongoing program will include some important other training rides and races like the Eselfontein 70 km on 22 October in Ceres. Looking forward to that!

I am quite exited about the Rhodes/Kleinpoort ride. At this stage we will be three who will be doing the ride over about 10 days, with a backup vehicle which will meet up with us at all the overnight points. This is schedule to happen from 26 April to 7 May 2012.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Gravel Travel

Saturday 27 August 2011 - Gravel Travel Ultra Marathon at Diemersfontein in Wellington. What an awesome race! 103.4 km; 8:13:04 with 2,906 meters of climbing. The start was at the Diemersfontein Wine Estate just outside Wellington. The race started a bit late at 07:58 due to the helicopter, which was covering the race. My aim was to enjoy the ride, which I thought I should complete in 7:00 to 7:30! I very quickly found myself cycling at a fair pace at the back of the field, but I was not last! The "race snakes" from the 75 km Marathon, came racing past after about 12 km. By this time I was averaging only 12 kph and have climbed 399m! During the next three hours my tempo increased a little and I managed to average between 14 and 15 kph. My average speed has increased to 14 kph by now. The terrain was also getting a little easier, but we encountered hills with regularity. By this time we were riding around the western side of Groenberg. I was now riding with the rear guard of the 75 km riders. It was interesting how we passed and repassed one another, especially around the water points. The first cut-off point was at 13:30 at the 69 km mark. At this point I still had 30 minutes in hand, so I was confidant of making the 16:00 cut-off at the end. Unfortunately, the "real" climbing only started from here. From km 69 to 78, we climbed 540 meters. That is 60 meters for every one-kilometer traveled. Now that I call serious climbing! Fortunately the gradient was fairly constant and I managed to main a steady pace, not once having to stop and push, although the thought crossed my mind a number of times. I was quite impressed when I reached, what I was sure the last water point, and still found it manned. The guys even asked me how many guys were behind me. I informed them that I was pretty sure I was the last competitor. At about 89 km I still found a lady marshal showing me where I had to turn right. I was quite thankful for this, because if she were not there I would have taken the wrong route! When I reached the 95 km mark, a scrambler came past, telling that there is one hill of 200-300 meters left and from then it is down hill to the end. I enjoyed the last couple of kilometers and was very pleased to see the guy manning the entrance gate to Diemersfontein. I crossed the finish line at 16:11 after riding for 8 hours and 13 minutes. I was a bit disappointed that the timekeepers have packed up at that point, but we were informed that the final cut-off would be at 16:00 and not 9 hours after the start as per the regulations. I also felt that they could have extended the cut-off by the 13 minutes we started late. If that were done, I would have just made it! It was a thoroughly enjoyable event and I never felt that I could not go on, even though my pace was a bit on the slow side. Sometimes it is just nice to go along for the ride!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Philip RASA 2011 :: Champion Page | BackaBuddy

Philip RASA 2011 :: Champion Page | BackaBuddy

Well, I managed to raise R18,215 of my target of R30,000! Thanks to everybody who contributed. At the Maria Zell Mission there are some fortunate students who will benefit from this effort.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Die Burger MTB Challenge in Stellenbosch

After the disappointment of not completing the Freedom Challenge, I set about getting back into shape. This took longer than I anticipated. After I receovered from the kindney infection, I picked up a stomach bug, which took 10 days to clear. I therefore only got into cycling on 7 July, only three weeks before Die Burger. As I have done the Attakwas and the Saronberg MTB, I received an invitation to ride in the 75 km race. Being the succer that I am, I could not resist the challenge and accepted.

The three weeks training went well with a couple of outings to Hillcrest and the rest around the Koeberg Nature Reserve. Not much hill training. I decided that I will go out and enjoy the race and ride at my own pace.

My friend Mike Smit entered for the 60 km race and we went through to Stellenbosch on Saturday morning 30 July at 06:00, as he still had to register.

The race started at 08:10 in good weather conditions. I maintained my leasurely pace and by the time I hit the beginning of Botmaskop, the front guys from the 60 km race were screaming past me. Our route was the same up to the 35 km point, where we went right towards Kanonkop. I therefore had lots of "company" up to that point. From there on it was quite a lonely ride. The ride up the "koppie" behind Warwick and Delvera farms was quite challenging, but very nice. There were about five of six of us that kept on passing and repassing one another. In the end the 75 km took me 5:26 and I finished 113 out of 122 finishers. I never felt exausted during the ride and really enjoyed it.

Now I am looking forward to the Garvel Travel on 27 August. A challenging 110 km ride around the hills of Wellington. now that is going to be a tough one!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The end and the final chapter

Spend Sunday in Umhlanga. Woke at about 07:30, had breakfast, went down to chemist to get something for the eye and the dry skin and relax. Met my cousin and his wife for coffee at 14:00 and had a pleasant afternoon. Went for pizza and popped into Grace Family Church on my way home. Got to bed by 21:30. Had a very restless night with lots of sweeting and waking up. Ended up taking a sleeping pill, which put me away for four hours.

Booked out after breakfast, got collected by my cousin and dropped at the airport and caught plane home at 13:10. Everything went fine. Bike arrived in Cape Town in good condition even though it was not wrapped at all. Got home at 16:45 and went to doctor at 17:15. After check over he confirmed kidney infection and some slime on the lungs. Put onto antibiotics. Heart seems OK and should be able to get going again soon.

With this I am signing off from the 2011 Freedom Challenge Race Across South Africa. The time I managed to participate was very tough, but fantastic. This definately is not for sissies. The weather conditions through the Karoo also seems to make it a tuffer that usual with tick mad being experianced by the competitors. Is was great to be part of it!

Philip

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day seven


Day seven
When I woke up I found a message on my phone that my transport, Dave and Dawn, will be picking me up at 08:00. I immediately proceeded to pack and get ready to leave. I quickly phoned Dawn to inform them that I probably will not be ready by then. That was fine with them and they duly arrived at 07:35. Dave started loading my stuff, while I went for breakfast, which consisted of Matabela and coffee. ( I just love Matabela). we got going at 07:50 and headed for Matatiele. On the road I received a message from George that he also pulled out and that they bring him through to Matatiele. It was decided that I will wait for George at a coffe shop and that we will make further arrangements. When we got to the Guest House, I was informed that George received a lift to Rhodes and that he will. Be going home from there. I started making arrangements to get home. Avis on Kokstad, which was 75 km away was not open, was not up to a journey to Durban in a taxi, so the only other option was to phone my friends at CABS and get them to fetch me. That was agreed, but it was a four journey so it was unlikely that they would get to Matatiele before 16:00. They arrived at 15:45. In meantime I started looking for a flight home. Nothing was available on Saturday and the Sunday flight was priced at R2,529. O made some sums and quickly realised that it would be cheaper to spend two days in Durban and fly home on Monday. I then proceeded to look for a guest house close to King Shaka airport. I managed to get a booking at the Umbrella Guest House in Umhlanga, paying with my cheque card, which the system accepted as a credit card. Now it was time for the flight. The best one was leaving at 13:10 and the cost was R929. I continued with the booking and again used my card. Unfortunately Kulula's system would not accept my cheque card as a credit card, so I went for the EFT option. That went fine until we got to the payment confirmation. After hanging on for about 15 minutes, I had no other option bit to cancel the transaction. When I

Day six

Day six
Got up at three, had breakfast and was ready to go by 03:45. We finally got going by 04:12. When I got to the gate I realised that I have forgotten my water bottle. Dropped bike, ran to living, look on table, no bottle, ran to room, look next to bed, no bottle, ran back to living room, look around, found it on another table in corner, ran back to bike, close gate, chase after other guys. Fortunately they were waiting, so the panic was over. Meanwhile the wind was blowing at between 50 and 60 kph. The retain also was such that we had to push, but it would have been difficult to stay on a bike in that wind. The first two hours of navigation was through grassland with the odd stream to cross. The only "riding" which we did was when we crossed a stream that was about five meters wide and the only way the get across was to ride! It was not deep, but wet shoes on that wind would have been very unpleasant. We got to the Ongeluksnek gate after two and half hours of walking. There we found shelter from the wind behind the gate house and took a bit of a breather. The weather forecast said that the wind would stop at 12:00, the locals said 07:00. After a rest, we started pushing our bikes up Ongeluksnek. Over the nek we managed to get on and do some riding for a change. After a ride of about an hour, we had to turn off and follow some tracks to get the Taba Chitja peak. By this time the wind had died down. We were now starting the climb to Black Fountain. It was a reasonable climb and most of it could be ridden.


Just past Black Fountain, which consisted of some abandunt buildings, we had a rest stop. Keith Scott looked at me and took my pulse. He did not find anything irregular, but suggest that I stop immediately. We discussed this with some of the other guys, who confirm that most if the rest is downhill. I therefore decided to continue at my own pace. It was about 13 km to Tinana Mission. This should normally take about two hours. It took me 6 hours to complete the journey! I got to a point, which I was sure was the "koppie". When I finally found my way around the right way, according to the narrative, I realised that the end was still some way off. When I finally found the right "koppie" I descended to quickly. I could work out the route to Tinana Mission from there and proceeded at my leasurely pace. I also found some people along the way who understood enough English to confirm that I was heading in the right directio. I came upon, what was described as a "good track", and followed that around the base of Ntabayikoniwa. A bakkie came down this "good track" and was only travelling at about 10 kph, due to the condition of the road! In some places it deteriorated to a single track in the grass. During my journey down from Black Fountain, I made peace with the rralisation that I must pull out and informed Race Office accordingly. I finally reached Tinana Mission at 16:30. I was offered a hot chocolate, which was greatfully accepted. Due the time it took me to get down the mountain, it was decided that I will sleep in Tinana Mission. Somebody would take me through to Matatiele in the morning. I was accomodated at Mrs Zibi, who provided a hot meal, a nice bed, some plastic bowls and hot water to wash with and a longdrop toilet which was 100 meters away from the home and so small that my knees touched the door! The bed was wonderful with enough blankets to keep me warm. I went to


sleep at 21:40 and slept like a baby. Breakfast was scheduled for 07:45, so I set my alarm for 07:00. Arrangements were made for me to be picked up at 09:00 at the mission.

Day five

What a pleasure to "lie in" a bit when you are on such a hectic schedule. We got up just before for breakfast together with Justin and Mike Woolnaugh who were taking the kit of the Riders to Rhodes though to Vuvu. After they left we were just taking it easy. Outside there was quite a cold wind blowing, so we remained inside most of the day. After lunch we washed our bikes and I fitted the spare chain I brought along. During previous evening Mike and Justin "took me on" on the weight of my pack. The result was that I "dumped" some excess clothing and some equipment as well as fitting the chain. In total I must have managed to shed about 2-3 kgs.
The first riders of the next group arrived at 16:20. Among them was a doctor and I queried him about my inability to get my heartbeat up. He checked the regularity of my pulse and found nothing wrong. He did mention that I may have light influenza, even though I do not have a cough. The test of the days group clocked in between 18:00 and 20:00. They were affectionately know a "the fat farmers". Most of them were farmers from the Natal Midlands and they carry some excess weight. There were four ladies in this group to.
As the stretch from Malekonyane to Vuvu is very long, the decision was to get up at three and start riding at four. Outside the wind was picking up speed!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 4

Day four



Due to the fact that we only got into bed at 01:00, we decided that we will start later and got going at 07:48. Once again navigation was not that difficult and we were making good time. I was having difficulty with energy levels being short of breath. Where I often get my heart rate up to 150, I was now running out of breath at 120! we had to cross some flood planes but it was mostly rideable or walkable. We missed Queens Mercy shop, but was lucky enough to foknd the Mpharane Supermarket! We bought a Coke to share and George had a tin of baked beans. I had the sandwich which I made for lunch. We then had to go up a hill where we had to carry our bicycles due to steepness. Once at the top, we were rewarded with the most breath taking views. Finding our way down was quite tricky. There was a Freedom Challenge marker, but the track seemed go to a dead end. We continued a bit further and found our way down to the Gladstone farm house. We once again pocked on an incorrect road, but saw from the map that it would get us to our destination. We arrived at 19:00 after 11:11 for 63 km and they say this is supposed to be an easy day! Due to our level of exhaustion, we decided to take the next day off, rest properly and continue again on Friday.

Day three

Day three


We left Ntsikeni at 06:10. The going was though, like usual. Initially we could not fine the track in the dark. After bashing through some long grass, we finally picked up the track. From there it went quite well. Justin, the guardian for the guys going to Rhodes, waited for us at the entrance to the Donnybrook forest. At this stage we were still all together. In the forest the faster men got going and George and myself carried at our pace. Navigztion was not to difficult and we were making good time. Towards the end we took a wrong turn, but we were at Centacow by 11:30. Justin met us there with some Coke and eats. We were going at a reasonable pace and found our way down to the first river crossing. Here the "fast guys" who got a bit lost in the Donnybrook forest, caught up with us. We tagged along with them for a while and they dropped us again. Once again the navigation was not that difficult and we were going along at a good pace. We still had about 20km to go when darkness fell. Finding cattle tracks on the dark is not easy! We found our way onto the foot of a hill where we had to pick up a two old farmhouses and a cattle track. In the darkness we could find neither. We had cellphone reception and tried to get some help. Everybody agreed that we were very close to the track but no luck. There also was abig donga directly in our way in an Easterly direction. After a while we decided to spend the night in bush and continue in the morning. We were also informed that one of the faster guys, Ugene Nel was due by 12:00. So we put our bikes on a high spot so that he can notice us. I decided to try one last time to look for the track. Walking in a SEdirection, I managed to get around the dongs and after while picked the track and the houses. I went back to where I left George and my bicycle and said "lets go"! At this stage George have already made himself comfortable under a bush. It did not look at though he was going to change his mind, so I left on my own. Three quarters of the way through the kloof is saw some lights up front. This was Justin who came looking for us. What an amazing guy! On my way home I still missed two turns in the dark, but found my way home and clocked in after 18 hrs 53 min! In the meantime found George and convinced him to ride home with him. So we got in at about the same tome. 96.21 km in 19 hours. What a day!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dag 4

Na 'n baie laat nag gister 14 Junie, het Philip vanoggend 8 uur vertrek, en 7 uur vanaand by Maskala aangekom. Beplan om more rusdag te neem. Hoop hy sal julle opdatum hou met die afgelope 2 dae se reis. Sue

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dag 3

So pas met Philip gepraat; hy en George kry nie hul blyplek nie, en gaan vanaand sommer in 'n bos slaap; sonder aandete en kombers! Ai!! Ai!!

Dag 2

Day two
What a day! 103 km in 15 hours 20 minutes! Climbed over 2,300 meters. Due to the severity of the climbs, a fair amount of time was spent pushing. Fatigue probably also had something to with it. I remember from my childhood, when I spent five years in Natal, that this place is very "up and down" with one hill followed by another. The problem also is that most of the hills have a number of "false" tops. You think you are at the top, but then there are still a number of tops before you get to the end. I do not know if I ever have been so "knackered" as today! This race really is though. Most definitely not for sissies! We will have to dig deep and push on! And I fell about ten times. Fornufately all at less than 5kph

Dag 2

Day one
We got up at 04:20, had breakfast at 04:45 and left for the city hall at 05:30. At the stick of 06:00 we were off. Any thoughts I had of pushing through to Centacow disappeared in the first 500 meters as the Woolnaugh brothers set a blistering pace and disappeared into the distance. That was another blessing in disguise. The rest of us set about riding at a reasonable pace. A couple of groups started forming with myself in the third group. This became the forth group with me on my own when we hit a long climb and the RTR guys with their lighter packed surged ahead. At the Bynesfield turnoff I stopped for some pictures and George joined me. We then road together for the next 60 km.
The route was all I expected. It really is amazing scenery. We rode on some district roads and forestry tracks but also some road where very few cars ever come. This took us trough some villages onto a jeep track that turned into a concrete road do to the steepness. Fortunately it was downhill. Mostly at between 25-20%, but I think I once saw 33%! When we reached the end and I let go of my front brakes, I heard a "funny". When I tried to break again, there was no front brakes. Fortunately they came back within the next couple of kilometers. When then had to go down to the Umkmaas river and find our way along the river bank. We also had to scramble over some rocks, but the narrative was quiet clear and we found the route. Then we hit Hela Hela! What a hill. We must have climbed 800 meter in 8 km and whenever you think you are at the top, there is another hill. Arrived at Allendale at 17:05. 107km in 11 hrs 5 min with over 2,000 m of climbing and 6,872 calories burnt.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 1

We got up at 4.20, had breakfast at 4.45 and left for the city hall at 5.30. At stick of 6 we were off. Any thoughts I had of pushing to Centacow dissapeared in the 1st 500 meters as the Woolnaugh brothers set a blistering pace and disapperard into the distance. That was another blessing in disguise. The rest of us set about riding at a reasonable pace. A couple of groups forming with myself in the 3rd group. This became the 4th group with me on my own when we hit a long climb and the RTR guys with their lighter packed surged ahead. At the Bynesfiel turnoff I stopped for some pictures and Georgejoind me. We then road together for the next 60 km. The route was all I expected, it reall is amazing scenery. We rode on some district roads and forestry tracks but also some road where cars ever come. This took us through soem villages onto a jeep track that turned into a concrete road do to steepness. Fortunately it was downhill. Mostly at between 25-20% but I think I once saw 33%. When we reached the end and let go of my breakes, a heard a funny noice. When I tried to break again, there was no front brakes. Fortnately they came back within the next couple of kilometers. Whe then had to go down to the Umkaas river and find our way along the river bank. We also had to scramble over some rocks, but the narritive was quit clear and when we hit Hela Hela!! What a hill! We must have climed 800 m in 8 km and whenever you thnk you are at the top, there is another hill. Arrived at Allendale at 17.05, 107 km in 11h 5 min over 2,000m of climbing and 6,872 calories burnt.

Friday, June 10, 2011

On my way!

Yesterday was the last practice opportunity. Last bike and luggage was packed. Now I am ready to go!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Laaste Saterdag

Die laaste Saterdag vir oefening voor die begin van die Freedom Challenge. Lekker rustige rit vanaf Blouberg oor Hillcrest en terug. Het 'n bietjie reën langs die pad gekry maar gelukkig niks ernstig nie so ek het darem nie te nat geword nie. Hillcrest was 'n bietjie modderrig en ek dus maar besluit om die Groen roete oor die eerste deel te doen aangesien die Rooi pad se bult te glad sou wees. Rit was baie rustig en aangesien ek eers 08:36 by die huis weggekom het, het ek besluit om totale rit tot onder vier uur te beperk. Op die einde van die dag het dit my toe net drie uur vyftien minute geneem. My fiets was egter goed bemodder en ek wou ook nie die nuwe ketting nou al blootstel aan te veel verwering as gevolg van die modder nie. My agterrem is ook nie "lekker" nie en daar sal, voor ek begin, daarna gekyk moet word. Nog net twee moontlike oefen ritte voor die grote begin!

Friday, June 3, 2011

10 days to go

Ten days to my starting date for the Freedom Challenge RASA. Went for leisurely ride to Koeberg Nature Reserve this morning. It was a perfect day and the view if Table Mountain from Koeberg was stunning, although there was quite a think band of smog.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Getting ready

Time is getting short. Just delivered 2 liter boxes to Newlands after loading them with some "nice goodies" and the relevant narratives and maps. Nou is daar "min dae". Body feeling good and mentally I am ready. Trust I will still feel like this in two weeks time after two and a half days of racing!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dirtopia 100 miler

Saturday 20 May 2011 was the day for the Dirtopia 100 miler in the Malmesbury district. The last event in preparation for the Freedom Challenge RASA. Picked up number at Dirtopia on Friday afternoon. On Saturday morning I got up at 04:25 to ensure that I get all my ducks in a row before picking up my cycling buddy, Mike Smit at 06:00 to ensure we get to the start at Swartland Cellars in good time.
Arrived there at 06:45, in good time for the 07:20 start. We got going at 07:21 just as the sun was rising over the mountains east of Wellington. The pace was quite brisk and the route had a number of twists and turns as well as a sprinkling of reasonable hills and descents, but nothing too serious. We were onto some district roads as well as minor farm roads. The weather was just about perfect with a hint of chill in the air, but that would disappear quite quickly. We were traveling in a southerly direction but north of Paardeberg. After about an hour and a half's riding we turned left on the tar road linking Paardeberg with the Wellington/Malmesbury road. We went straight across this road and onto a gravel road linking this road with the Riebeeckkasteel/Hermon road. After some ups and downs, we took a left turn towards the first major climbs of the day. At the foot of this was the "breakfast stop" where we got some muffins and bananas. Here I took my warm jacket and gloves off as the day was already heating up and with a major climb coming up, the body would soon heat up. This climb lasted for approximately 5 km and included a number of serious down hills, where we were reaching speeds of close to 60 k.p.h. This led us back to the district road and to the Riebeeckkasteel/Hermon tar road. Once across this we were back onto some minor road which was relatively flat, but with lots of corrugations. This took us through to another water point, which even had some peanuts! After that we continued along some more minor roads to the lunch stop where we were treated to some noodle salad and more muffins. With only one more water point to go, we could start thinking about the end. After a short stretch on the Riebeeckkasteel/Moorresburg road, we turned left back onto some nice district gravel roads. This stretch was very undulating and the hills just would not stop. As soon as one thinks this is the end, there was another downhill followed by another uphill. At the 130 km mark the last water point was reached. Here I treated myself to mini Red Bull and some Wine Gums, ready for the last challenge which included some major climbs. The view from the top was breath taking, but the thought of a good time ensured that I kept pedaling rather than stop to take a photo. The air was also a bit murky, so it would not have come out as good. Unfortunately a photo cannot always portray the actual beauty as seen by the eye! Once I was over the last hill, it was mostly downhill to the end with quite a bit on corrugations which made it very difficult to build up a good momentum. After 7 hours 51 minutes I completed the 162 km, a minute longer than last year. A thoroughly enjoyable ride, although some of the corrugations made life difficult. The route had a good selection of climbs and gravel roads, quite similar to what the Freedom Challenge is like once we get past Rhodes.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Saronberg MTN National MTB

Saturday 14 May was the day for the next race in MTN National MTB series. I entered for the ultra marathon over 105 km. Good preparation for the FC RASA. The alarm woke me at 04:30 to ensure that I have sufficient time to do what I want to do and get to Tulbagh in time for registration and the start, which was scheduled for 07:45. Arrived at Saronberg at 07:15. Registration went off without a hitch. The race got going at 7:55. Initially the pace was quite reasonable and the first 10 km was fairly even. Then we went through the most beautiful autumn scene.
It was one of those scenes one normally only see in pictures! Thereafter the first lot of climbing started. This lasted until the 18.5 km mark. Now we were in the hills and cycled on the edge of the hill, among some fruit trees on a very undulating jeep track. Lots of loose stones and some very steep short ups and downs. What goes up must come down, so this was followed by some steep downhills. After racing for approximately 25 km, sanity returned and we were back on some fairly easy district and farm roads, with some rocky sections every here and there. At 45 km we went through the Technical assistance and feed zone. I thought that this would be a place where I could stock up on some nutrition, but there was none. Had to use my own. Passed the halfway mark with the good news that the Stormers were lead 20-3 at half time. At 56km disaster struck. My chain broke! Fortunately I had a master link and set about repairing my chain. To my dismay I noticed that there was something seriously wrong with my front derailleur guide. It was broken and bent. The only option was bend it out of the way and complete the race without the use of a front derailleu
r. This worked fine but I had to stop and do a manual change whenever I needed a different gear on the front chainring. By now a number of the 75 km riders were passing me on a regular basis. As the 75 km mark came closer, I started looking out for signs were the 105 km route would deviate from from the 75 km route. When 80 km appeared and I still had not seen a sign I started wondering if I missed a turn. Well shortly thereafter I saw the finishing area. Low and behold, my race finished at 83 km. On checking out the route map, I noticed that the 105 km included a second loop of the first section. Where I missed it, I do not know but as I was more interested in the ride than the result, it did not really matter. I really enjoyed the ride, had a good outing and I felt quite fresh at the end of the day. 83 km; 5h 39m; 1855 meters of climbing.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Nog 'n lang dag


Maandag 2 Mei was 'n vakansiedag en dus weer 'n geleentheid om 'n goeie dag so oeffening vir die Freedom Challenge in te kry. Pak sak die vorige aand om die effek van die volle gewig te ervaar. Klaar gepakte sak weeg 11kg! Ek spring 07:06 weg met die doel om so tussen 11 en 12 ure in die saal te spandeer, ongeveer 150 km te ry met voldoende klimme in. Roete begin by my huis in Bloubergstrand. Oor die Weskuspad en Noord van Parklands deur die bosse na die N7. Dan op met Hillcrest en af na Contermanskloof. Halfpad teen Contermanskloof af kom ek agter my waterbottel is leeg. Gelukkig het ek darem water in my rugsak gehad. Besluit om by Contermanskloof winkel 'n Coke te koop om bottlel vol te maak. Daar aangekom vind ek egter dat hulle besluit het om nie op die vakansiedag oop te maak nie. Gelukkig is daar 'n kraan en kan ek my bottel met water vul. Halfpad teen Contermanskloof se bult uit kry ek 'n kortpad na die Vissershokpad en van daar na Malanshoogte, verby Fair Cape Melkery, Adderleyweg, Klipheuwel en verby die drie windkragopwekkers. Neem afdraai na Leeuwendans en met grondpaaie na die agter Paarl pad en dan na die Eenzaamheidpad, waar ek weer water kry, deur na Klapmuts. Net voor Klapmuts draai ek regs en ry al langs die N1 op 'n goeie grondpad tot by die Stellenbosch/Klipheuwel aansluiting. Van daar na Joostenbergvlakte waar ek my voorrade aanvul met 'n Coke en 'n Lunchbar. Nou deur na Fisantekraal, oor die Spes Bona pad na D'banvale en die Vissershokpad. Dan volg ek die "groen roete" van Meerendal na Contermanskloof, verby die Telkom mas en met Hillcrest se rooi roete af na die Tiekiedraaipad. Nou is dit afdraand huistoe. By die Killarney Hotel bars 'n rëenstorm los. Gelukkig is my reënbaatjie naby en ek hou gou stil om dit aan te trek. Nou rëen dit honde en katte. Gelukkig is dit gou verby en die res van die rit huis toe is rustig. Arriveer 17:34 na 11:28 ure in die saal met 155.36km en 1954m se klim teen 'n gemiddeld van 12.5m/km, ongeveer dieselfde as die Freedom Challenge se gemiddeld. Goeie dag en ek het nooit gedaan gevoel en 'n redelik goeie gemiddelde hartklop gehandhaaf. Die volgende twee uitdagings is MTN se Saronberg wedren by Tulbagh oor twee weke en dan Dirtopia se 100 miler by Malmesbury. Daarna sal ek dit redelik rustig vat tot 12 Junie wanneer ek wegspring.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Voorbereiding vir RASA 2011


Oor 7 weke is ek teen hierdie al twee dae oppad. As alles volgens plan verloop slaap ek dan op Ntsikeni. Ek sien die Woolnoughs is in dieselfde groep as ek. Dit behoort te help met die navigasie! Die oefening verloop heel goed. Ek het die afgelope 14 dae 391 km gedoen met gemiddeld 15 meter per km se klim. RASA se gemiddeld is 16. Beplan om volgende week weer een la-a-ang dag in te kry en dan is dit die Saronberg MTN op 14 Mei en Dirtopia se 100 miler op 21 Mei. Daarna sal ek dit "rustiger" vat tot en met 12 Junie, wanneer die groot uitdaging begin.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

21 Argusse




Ek het toe op 13 Maart my 21ste Argus, met dieselfde fiets, voltooi. Die prestasie om 21 Argusse op een fiets te voltooi was baie bevredigdnd, maar my "werkverrigting" op die dag was glad nie na wense nie. Die bene wou net nie teen die pas werk wat ek verlang het nie. Die gevolg was dat ek die swakste posisie ooit en my tweede swakste tyd, ooit behaal het. Ek het sommer teen Oostelike Boulevard al besef fat dit nie my dag vir 'n goeie tyd was nie en dit toe maar rustig gevat. Het die rit baie geniet en geen ander probleme ondervind nie. Nou kan ek darem volgende jaar daarna mik op 'n wesenlike verbeterring op vanjaar se 4,506 en 3:27 te maak

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Grape Escape day 3


We slept over at Samburu, about 5 km from Boschendal. I was up early and left at 06:15 to be in time for the 07:00 start. Once again it was a mad rush as soon as the gun went off. Fortunately we first did some fairly flat roads, which gave us ample time to "warm up", but that lasted for only about 2 km, then we encountered the first hill. Once again nothing too serious and the pace remained high. The first "big hill" came at 7 km. 550 meters of climbing in less than 3 km. Then followed a nice, mostly downhiil section of 9 km. Thereafter the climb of the day. 500 meters in 3 km with a final climb of 130 meters during the last 180 meters. The rest of the course was quite senic with some minor ups and downs and some nice single tracks and a couple of wet river crossings. Total time 3 hrs 35 min; 59.09 km; 1108 meters climbing and 2361 kalories burnt. I finished 171 out of 404. Overall I finished 126 out of 400. All in all a wonderful event and another milestone in my preparation for the Freedom Challenge. Next challenge will be the Karoo 1 24 hour race on 9/10 April.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Grape Escape day 2


I slept over at Kabous' place on Friday because he lives very near to Nelson's Creek. We therefore cycled to the start at 06:45 and got there at 07:00, well in time for the 07:30 start. All the "big guns" were there again, but as it was racing from the gun, I did not see much of them. The route took us through the vineyards and district roads north of Nelsons Creek via some twists and turns, across the Berg River and up to the railway line going north. We then went some distance along the railway and crossed the Wellington/Hermon road heading into the farms on the slope of Groenberg. I thought we would do some of Welvanpass' single tracks, but we did not go there. We did use some of the tracks used for the Wilde and Gravel Travel MTB races. The "cherry" was the road past Beulah and up to the forest just below the old Du Toitskloof Pass. 348 meters of climbing over a distance of 5.35 km. That was quite a challenge! The views were breathtaking. From there it was mostly downhill to the Paarl/Franschoek road. The interesting fact was that there were a number of "unridable" sections on this stretch. Fortunately none were much longer than 10 meters or so. Once we crossed the tar road the route was fairly flat with a nice "cool" crossing of the Berg River were it was flowing over a low water bridge. When we crossed the Simondium road and my trip meter was showing 73 km of the supposed 74 km race distance, I was looking forward to finishing. One of the marshals showed 4 fingers as I passed her, which I thought ment 400 meters. I very quickly realized that that was 4 km, especially when the route took us on a detour around Boschendal. My joy was great when we finally reach the end with a nice little "jump" to finish off the race. 78 km; 4 hrs 43 min; 1367 meter climbing and 3113 calories burnt. I finished 171 out of 505. Although my behind was getting a little tender, I enjoyed the day, especially the fact that I overhauled a number of people, whom dropped me at the beginning, at some of the bigger hills and towards the end. Now I am looking forward to the final day, which includes some "monster" climbs. Fortunately we are starting at 07:00 so the heat should not be that bad.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Grape Escape dag 1


Vrydag 4 Maart 2011. Die Grape Escape begin vanoggend 09:00 op my voorstoep. Ons spring vanaf Eden on the Bay weg. Kabous Marra arriveer 07:30. 'n Werkskrisis duik op en ons kom eers 08:25 weg. Dit is egter so naby dat ons 08:30 by die wegspring is. Ek is in Groep A, saam met al die "Groot manne". Gelukkig is die eers 8 km "nutraal" as gevolg van verkeer, dus kan ek darem so 'n rukkie saam met hulle ry. Een groot bondel ry saam tot by die Caltex Garage in Gieweg. Dan begin die wedren in alle erns. Ons volg paadjies aan die Noorde kant van Du Noon tot by die N7 wat ons onderdeur met 'n stormwater bruggie kruis. Dan op na Contermanskloof. Klim redelik baie tot by begin van Kliprug en dan af na die plaas. Kabous, wat in die groep na my begin het, vang my by die eerste waterpunt. Daar verby, op teerpad en met Malanshoogte oor na Adderleyweg. Regs met Occultdale en dan verby die windkragopwekkers. Gelukkig is die kwaai klimme vir die dag verby. Draai regs na Leenwendans en dan terug in die rigting van die Boland Landbou Skool. Laaste waterpunt so 18 km van einde. Kabous sê ek moet aan ry, hy voel 'n bietjie op. Ons volg grond en plaaspaaie deur tot by Nelsons Creek. 87 km, 4 uur 20 min, 3291 kalorië verbrand en 993 meter geklim. Kabous kom so 10 min na my in. Lekker dag. Stert 'n bietjie seer maar bene voel redelik. Sien uit na dag twee wat 07:30 by Nelson's Creek begin. Eindig 144ste uit 595 beginners.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

24 hours of Oak Valley












The next step in my preparation for the Freedom Challenge, was the 24 hours of Oak Valley presented by Dirtopia at Oak Valley Farm, Elgin on 29/30 January 2011. We aim was to get some extended time in the saddle and also to see what I feel like after such a long ride. I may just find that I have to spend some extended time in the saddle during the Freedom Challenge and then I will at least be able to call on this experience. I asked my brother to second for me. We left Bloubergstrand at 08:45 and arrived at Oak Valley at 09:45, giving me ample time to register and giving my brother the opportunity the set himself up for the time that we will be spending there. We found quite a nice spot, which was not too far out of the way of the actual course. I could thus quite easily pop into our "refreshment station".

The race got off promptly at 12:00 with a Le Mans start. We had to run the length of a rugby field to get to our bicycles! I got away towards the back, but once again it did not bother me too much. I was here to enjoy the experience and not to race. The race was open for Solo riders and teams. ??? solo riders entered and ?? teams. Teams had five categories of 4 riders per team and a fun category with 5-8 riders per team.

The course was approximately 9 km long with 105 meters of climbing per lap. Most of the climbing happened in the first 3 km of the lap. There also was a very nice down hill and some interesting "fence crossings" as well as three sections of single track among some trees. There also was a "nasty" downhill section of approximately 50 meters, which was getting slipperier as the race progress, due to some water seepage. A lap took between 25 and 35 minutes to complete. My time varied between 28:55 and 37:36 for riding time. I did drop in for some "extended rests" at my "support station" after dark, with the result that some lap times extended to 50-60 minutes.

I decided to "push on" for as long as I felt reasonably OK. Before dark, I did notice that a guy with a Hammer Nutrition cycling top passed me at least three times. Fatigue did not really set in and I felt so good after some of the extended rests that I decided to keep going. I was quite surprised in the early morning hours, when I was informed that I have taken "the lead". I was not quite sure what was ment with this comment, but at that stage my closest rival was Hanneli Booysen, who was sleeping. I therefore decided to keep going for as long as possible. By nine o'clock, my brother was informed that I was so far ahead in the Solo category, that I can go and have a sleep until 11:45 as nobody would overtake me. I did not really believed this and just kept going. Everything was working fine. My bike was 100% reliable and I had no mechanical problems. I only oiled the change three times, as the course was becoming very dusty. My back side was getting quite tender and I picked up a "chafe mark" on my right hand. My left knee was giving some minor problems, but regular extensions and the extended rests, cured that. My legs were "OK" but could feel I have been in the saddle for awhile. The muscles at the back of the neck also tend to start hurting. I managed to turn out regular laps of 35 minutes and felt quite confident that if I managed to keep this up, I may just win the race!

The rules stipulated that all laps started before 12:00 on Sunday will be counted, but must be completed. By 10:00 I felt confident that I would be able to complete 4 and start a 5th lap before 12:00. I duly started my second last lap at 11:02 and therefore quite easily managed a final lap, which I completed at 12:20. 39 laps, 343 km and the surprise winner of the Solo Mens category. The guy from Hammer Nutrition finished second. He picked up major problems with cramps after 14 laps and that is why I managed to beat him. So I picked a Princeton cycling light and a cash prize of R1,000 for the weekend's effort. Not a bad return for a wonderful event, which was well organised at a good venue. Even the weather was kind. Although Saturday afternoon was hot, it cooled down during the evening and Sunday morning turned out overcast. The clouds did disappear by about 10:30, but by that time there was only 1 hour 30 minutes to go.








Sunday, January 23, 2011

FC Scholarship Fund

Commitments for the Scholaship Fund tied to my Freedom Challenge ride in June, is standing at R14,040. The latest people to give me commitments are Trevor Pascoe and Danie Maritz Racing. Thanks you guys. May you be richly blessed.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Attakwas 2011

Saterdag 15 Januarie 2011 en die Attakwas is hier. Hulle het vanjaar besluit om die wegspring in groepe op te deel. Aangesien ek 'n Grand Master is, spring ons toe laaste weg, 15 minute na die Elite manne. Ek en Kabous Marra het met die wegspring lekker gesels en toe ons ons kom kry is ons heel agter! Dit het my egter nie te veel bekommer nie, aangesien ek geweet het dat die groep gou uitgestrek sou raak. Die feit dat ons apart weggespring het, sou darem ook help om die aanvanklike "verkeer" beter te maak. Dit was toe ook so en alhoewel die begin pas 'n rustige 15 k.m.u., oor 'n redelike gelyk area was, kon ek redelik gou teen 'n pas ry wat vir my gemaklik was. Die weer was heel aangemaan met 'n redelike temperatuur. Ek het vemoed dat dit later in die dag redelik warm sou word. Met die ry het dit heel goed verloop. Ek kon voor die eerste waterpunt agter kom waar hulle vanjaar se roete, wat 14 km korter was, verander het. Gelukkig het hulle 'n baie klipperige stuk uitgesny. Soos verlede jaar was die eerste waterpunt aan die voet van 'n 75 meter klim oor 'n afstand van 900 meter. Die eerste stuk kan gery word, maar dan raak die klippe so erg dat jy verplig is om af te klim en te stoot. Iets wat nogal heelwat op die Attakwas gebeur. Ek en Kobous het nie spesefiek saam gery nie, maar elke nou en dan sien die een die ander is daar en dan gesels ons weer 'n stukkie. Volgende was die Outenikwa Natuur Reservaat aand die beurt. In hierdie stuk het Kobous onder my uit gery en ek het hom nie weer gesien nie. Die hele roete is baie op-en-af. Na die Outenikwa kruis ons die R328 en dan volg die Attakwas. Op hierdie stadium was my gemiddeld 15.5 k.p.u. en ek was oppad na 'n tyd van net onder 8 uur. Hier klim jy 460 meter oor 'n afstand van ongeveer 18 km en verloor in totaal 550 meter, so dit is alles of op of af! Baie min gelyk pad. Op een van die klimme het my Garmin 26% aangetoon (Dit was terwyl ek gestoot het)! Daar is ook 'n paar gedeeltes waar die terryn te rof is om te ry en dit geld vir op sowel as af! Net na die Attakwas gaan die roete deur Bonniedale, waar die derde waterpunt is. Hier kry jy onder andere 'n Spur Burger en dit is lekker koel in die skaduwee onder die bome. Die afdraand na Bonniedale is egter baie rof en die ouens wat daar afry is defenitief in die minderheid. Ek het wel een of twee gesien wat dit maak, maar die meeste van ons loop maar. Daar was twee jaar gelde self 'n foto van Kevin Evans wat sy fiets daar afgestoot het! Op hierdie stadium het my gemiddelde spoed geval na 14.5 k.p.u. Na Bonniedale verander die roete van "jeep tracks" na grondpad. Ongelukkig is dit nog altyd "op en af". Daar is veral een bult net voor die laaste waterpunt wat teen 'n helling van 21% styg! Na die waterpunt is daar 10 km oor met 'n finale klim wat op 42 meter begin en op 188 meter eindig oor 3 km. Die laaste twee kilometer is gelukkig afdraand en dit is 'n groot verligting om by die einde aan te kom. 'n Paar vergelykings tussen vanjaar en verlede jaar: Afstand 12 km korter (volgens my meter); tyd 37 minute korter; gemiddeld spoed is af van 15.4 na 15.2 maar meters geklim per 1 kilometer is op vanaf 21.92 verlede jaar na 22.41 vanjaar. Finale uitslag 205de uit 815 inskrywings waarvan 644 begin het en 563 klaar gemaak het. 4de in ouderdoms groep. Die wenner se tyd was 42 minute vinniger as verlede jaar! Gemeet aan hulle tyd van 5:01:50, sou my soort gelykke tyd ongeveer 60 minute vinniger gewees het. Ek kon dus beter gedoen het. Kliek op die aangehegde GarminConnect link vir my detail van die Attakwas. Die Attakwas bly 'n baie aangename en moeilike uitdaging en ek sien uit daarna om dit weer in 2012 aan te pak. Attakwas by philipler at Garmin Connect - Details

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Die volgende uitdaging

Nog net 'n week oor na die volgende uitdaging - die Contego Attakwas Extreme Mountain Bike 121km Challenge vanaf Chandelier Game Farm buite Oudtshoorn na Groot Brakrivier tussen Mosselbaai en George. Aangesien ek verlede jaar eerste in my ouderdomsgroep gekom het, sal ek moet probeer om vanjaar die prestasie te herhaal. Die voorbereiding vir die 2011 RASA vorder heel goed. Ek handhaaf tans so 12 ure se oefen per week. Die oogmerk is om dit gedurende die volgende drie maande op te skuif na 15 ure per week en dan 20 ure per week vir die laaste twee maande. Meeste oefening geskied tans in die Hillcrest, Kliprug, Contermanskloof, Meerendal omgewing. Ek wil volgende week al die paadjies wat daar is, te same met Majik Forest met een poging ry. Hopelik sal dit meer as 100km oplewer, wat goeie finale voorbereiding vir die Attakwas te wees. Die huidige hitte in die Kaap sal dit nie 'n maklike dag maak nie!