Stage 7 Absa Cape Epic 2015

Posted: March 25, 2015 in Cycling

Goosebumps still cover my whole body when I think about the surreal feeling that surrounded camp on sunday morning.

Bewildered campers packing bags for the last stage the stage that everyone looks forward to but doesn’t want to end, people walking around with a giddy smile on their face because they had made it.

WELL not yet, the giddy smiles all came to an abrupt halt as we hit the first hill of the day, temperatures that were mindblowingly scorching with treacherously steep gradients that had many of us walking up the majority of the climb and many wounded soldiers wishing that they were still in the cool comforts of the race village with that feeling of euphoria having the last stage at their feet.

I have never sweated that much on my bike in my life, the sweat was pouring out of every pore in my body while the wind had all of a sudden disappeared and we found ourselves actually passing people, not one or two but many, many teams from start batches as far up as C batch. Warren was going very well but I was flying absolutely flying, there was no pain anywhere in my body and when I slotted into a harder gear my legs lungs and body were up for it.

One time warren even asked me for a tow. He also told me to back off in case I popped again like earlier in the epic, except I knew that this time was different there wasn’t any slowing me down my legs and lungs were in their element actually cruising waiting for it to become even more difficult.

AND then it did, the wind came up there was some loose sand and then we entered the back end of meerendal wine estate straight into the quarry that we came down in last years prologue which is so steep going down that you have to check your positioning so you don’t get thrown off over your bars. This time however we were cruising uphill, with it being so steep people in front of us were walking so this gave us the opportunity to rest our legs for the ever present descent into the finish. As we crested the hill I looked over my right shoulder and there it was, the finish of the 2015 Absa Cape Epic BUT we still had the stairway to heaven to navigate downhill, what an absolute treat it was fast, flowing and every bit as fun as promised except that we had a few nervous riders in front of us, we unfortunately couldn’t go full gas into the finish like I had hoped but we both had our moments of absolute joy whooping and jumping the jumps and railing the berms side by side like two kids on their BMX bikes.

We rounded the bend into the finish straight and that feeling of euphoria came swirling back, smiling like a kid in a candy store with a few hundred bucks in my pocket. We had done it, I had done it. I had finished epic on no more than 8 hours of track specific training a week for the last year and very little mountain biking.

Our stats for the week are as follows:

Kilometers Ridden: 749

Metres Climbed: over 16000

Mechanical failures: 3

Punctures: 1

Crashes: 2

Kilometres walked: too many

Tires worn out from excessive braking behind slower riders: 1

Smiles: Countless

Tears: very few of pain, countless in joy!

This brings an end to an amazing week of so many amazing moments and a few very special individuals made it possible for me to ride epic for the second time.

Firstly our sponsor: Esor Construction Thank you for the support to make Our dreams a reality

Secondly my race partner: Warren you fought hard this week despite adversity and there were times where we both thought to hang up our wheels but we didn’t and we finished super strong Congrats buddy! next up AMABUBEZI!!!

Thirdly: Ciara, 7 weeks ago you gave me the reminder that i needed to actually start training, and me being my usual self I didn’t listen I promise that this is the last time I do not train for epic!

Fourthly: Charlotte, WOW your constant support is valued immensely and thank you for everything!

and lastly to the individuals I met on the way, old and new friends in no particular order if i forgot someone please forgive me: Gugz, Letshego and a half, David, Tshepo, Lawrence, Diteboho, Thabo, Trev, Alex, Greg, Slugger, John Smit, Butch, Shane, Alistair, Debra, Randall, Jeff and Melissa you guys definitely made sure to keep me on my toes and keep me smiling the days were rough but I knew that we would all have some amazing stories to tell after this for years to come!

To finish this off I have to leave you with a Quote from a motivation presentation I gave the day before I left for Epic it rings true in every aspect of life for me and I think it will definitely support you in your everyday life.

You can fail doing what you don’t Love so you might as well take a chance at doing what you love, Jim Carrey

Stage 6 Absa Cape Epic 2015

Posted: March 21, 2015 in Cycling

Such mixed emotions sitting in bed tonight.

Let’s start with the day’s riding, mind blowing, breathtaking, amazing, brilliant, in fact think of a positive word and insert here ->

One of the best days I have had on the bike in a long time and what a time for my legs to arrive, effortless doesn’t even describe today for me because I just floated! I know why these trails are hailed as the best in the western cape but now to be able to ride them at another time during the year will be the real test!

Tomorrow we finish this race and this once done will make me a two time finisher of the epic, this one has been tougher for me than the first one but looking around it is the same for everyone here, if you have done it once or ten times it still feels the same!

I am so excited about finishing tomorrow but in the same breath I don’t want it to finish at all, I have met some amazing people I can now call friends even though some of them I only know due to our race numbers on our backs also having our names on them, I have also grown closer to a few friends who have been riding along with me and around me. The epic journey sure is mind blowing!

Thank you all for making this journey absolutely amazing!

We all got the announcement in the dinner hall tonight that Christoff Sauser will line up for his last professional race tomorrow morning and there is nothing more amazing than seeing how humble he is. When asked about his fondest memory at epic, he chose to speak about someone else other than himself.

I know I will miss watching Mr Sauser at the sharp end of any race but in the same way that all good things come to an end, I believe better ones follow and even though he isn’t going to be racing I know we won’t be seeing the last of him!

Tomorrow we hit some amazing trails and finish off at Meerendal wine estate the FINISH of the ABSA CAPE EPIC 2015 look out for my smile on live streaming it’s going to be a big one!

Stage 5 Absa Cape Epic 2015

Posted: March 20, 2015 in Cycling

Today marked the day where my legs eventually caught up with team Esor construction and boy does it feel great!!!

I took the first 50km nice and easy making sure I saved my knee which has started to play up a bit. This turned out to be a life saver because we hit the infamous Bainskloof pass shortly after the second water point.

For us in SA Bainskloof is one of those climbs that the old Giro del Capo used to go over, it’s not very steep but it’s one of those climbs that never seems to end. Today I knew I had to keep gas in the tank for bains and beyond because beyond bains I honestly didn’t know what these epic guys had in store.

Turns out my suspicions were correct. The last 20km were absolutely crazy! In the picturesque mountains above Wellington we were lucky enough to be able to ride every uphill that a mountain bike had ever gone up and then just when we thought it was all downhill till home we had to navigate our way through people with less that confident descending skills. This caused a few sense of humor failures with both Warren and I.

Other than that we made it quite comfortably inside the cut off but others weren’t so lucky.

What an emotional end to the day, we had our friend Thabo make cut off by the skin of his teeth with his partner unfortunately coming in 15minutes behind cut off, this means that Thabo with just over 6 weeks of training is going to finish the Epic. What an amazing accomplishment!

This race brings out the softness in every bodies hearts and knowing what it feels like to chase cut offs I can honestly say that it is such an uncomfortable experience that I do not wish it on anybody!

Tomorrow is one of the shortest stages but that means that there will be more climbing. The saying usually goes: what goes up must come down.

except at epic I have coined it as: what goes down definitely goes up more.

After a great day in the saddle I am off to sleep. Till tomorrow’s update see you next time!

Stage 4 Absa Cape Epic 2015

Posted: March 19, 2015 in Cycling

Today was amazing! I had a really good nights sleep last night which definitely helped matters.

After yesterday’s stage I had some amazing friends tell me that I must focus in getting myself and my partner across the line come Sunday, and that’s exactly what I did. Today was all about self preservation and getting through the 111km.

I felt better from the word go and even though my legs are a different kind of sore all of a sudden they feel lighter and almost fluid again.

My bike in the other hand is not shaping up so well, turns out that I have spent more money on my bike in the last 4 days than I have spent on it since I originally put it together. Even with that said I can’t afford to skimp on parts here as I will be punished if I do.

My mechanics Justin and Dave are having a good chuckle every evening when my bike comes in but at least I know that it’s in good hands.

I have taken the time today to look around the race village and have noticed that given the opportunity everyone can and does sustain themselves. So next time we have load shedding at home I am just going to remember that there are more options than we realize to make things work and sometimes the easiest way to make something work is to use the elements, they were there long before electricity so I know they are definitely reliable.

Till tomorrow evening good night and sleep tight

Stage 3 Absa Cape Epic 2015

Posted: March 18, 2015 in Cycling

Sitting here in my tent with the wind howling around us is heavenly right now.

I say this because today I hit the proverbial wall. It wasn’t some 6foot precast wall that you would find around your house either, it was a wall that was 30km long made out of drop forged steel and I felt like a marshmallow being pushed up against it quite firmly.

At one stage I found a tree which turned out to be the only tree for the next 10km that was giving any sort of shade so I sat under this tree and asked myself all of the questions I usually do when I am suffering in a race.

Why do I do this to myself?
Who am I proving what to?
What happens next?
What if I just stop?
What does this prove?
And who am I doing this for?

I didn’t even get to answering the first one because I saw the ever bubbly Gugu Zulu and decided that I am not going sit here feeling sorry for myself I am going to get on with business.

I did that and for the next 30km I found myself puttering along as hard as I could but only managing a very slow pace. To make matters worse is today was our longest stage and knowing how warren has been suffering with his back I knew we had to get things over and done with to maximize our recovery time. This wasn’t to be however because shortly after I recovered warren’s good feeling in his legs disappeared.
At about the same time as this we caught up to an all ladies team who had started in A batch who were having a very bad day. They were worried about cut off and the one half of the team was in a bad way, I coached her as best I could and warren and I ended up pushing and shielding them from the wind for a good part of 15km till about 7km to go, we then left them as they had enough support around about we pushed for home.

This was an experience that I don’t intend on having anytime soon again, mainly because I never want to be hugging my handlebars barely going anywhere ever again.

Tomorrow we will carry on with heavy legs but knowing that we have done half of this race and nothing is stopping us from merendaal on Sunday!

Till tomorrow, feet up and enjoy the sunshine!

Stage 2 Absa Cape Epic 2015

Posted: March 17, 2015 in Cycling

Today was the “FUN” day at the epic…

Ok wait scrap that. It was one of the most difficult days on the bike I have ever had! The rain subsided overnight and we were left with gale force winds out on course today which turned what we call free miles into rough hard working brutal riding.

We started climbing as soon as we had rolled out of the grounds and straight off the bat I was hurting, there was simply no power when I was pedaling. I looked back about 2km after the start and saw warren go down in a crash which turned out to be nothing more than a minor inconvenience.

His back is still giving hectic trouble and we stopped many times today to stretch and just take a breather. He is getting himself strapped and we are looking forward to tomorrow’s transition stage.

I also had the mishap of a crash, I decided that it would be a good time to learn how to fly while exiting a corner. Turns out I have not mastered that art YET! Will let you know when I have that sorted!

I came down on my left elbow and while it is sore and a bit bloodied there isn’t anything to worry about. My back was in agony for the massage which could be a combination of the lack of sleep last night the heavy miles yesterday and today as well as the crash but With that said I have just been to my amazing Chiro friend who has done some releasing on my back and I feel fantastic going into my sleep tonight.

Tomorrow is the longest stage of this years epic but it is relatively flat compared to today and yesterday.

We will be leaving oak valley tomorrow morning and heading to the town of Worcester which I am looking forward to because the views are amazing on the way through.

I leave with a quote tonight which rings true for me and why we are doing epic.

When you are feeling down and out that is the best time to support someone in need, it might open a door to a whole world that you never knew was there.

Till tomorrow Cheers!

Stage 1 Absa Cape Epic 2015

Posted: March 16, 2015 in Cycling

Wow today had so many up’s.

up hills
Famous people calling out my name
And famous people talking to me!

The hills were crazy today. Super steep and rocky with a. It of sand thrown in.

Warren rode like a champ today and we had a very consistent race although we did move up 130 or so places. It felt like we were just going along.

We are both struggling with lower back issues, warren more because of his saddle post dropping, me because of riding a hard tail, maybe I will think about a dual Susser for next year…

A huge shout out to my friend in Hong Kong Derek Chung he made my day super awesome because he sent in a message of support and it just so happened that the famous downhill comentator Rob Warner said my name on live tv! Even though it was while going uphill I will take a mention from Rob any day! Thank you so much Derek!

All in all I am very happy with how we went today and I am looking forward to tomorrow’s fun stage!

A little bit of a bummer is that with the consistent rain we have had all afternoon my mattress pillow and sleeping bag all hot wet, thank goodness that the mattress is covered in plastic though. I have made sure I am layered up well and will be sleeping without much cover tonight but I am sure I will be alright!

Till tomorrow evening see you then!

Epic 2015 prologue

Posted: March 15, 2015 in Cycling

Today we rolled off the start ramp at 9:58:35

And that is how the timing went.

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Not an ideal start to our ride…

Today’s stage was a climbers dream,with 600m of climbing over 20km and the climbing literally started 250m after the start ramp.

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To be honest with you I was more nervous lining up for today’s prologue than I have ever been for a bike race, main reason for this is my lack of mtb miles this year, as I rolled down the start ramp that feeling disappeared from my mind, my stomach however was a different story.

Warren had the unfortunate luck of a mechanical very early on which made his heart rate shoot through the roof very early on and for that we never really recovered to do our planned time.

I however felt great and my bike was good, so tomorrow we aim to go and catch a few teams ahead of us!

Everyone I have spoken to about this race has told me about how the butterflies never go away and to be honest I am still testing that theory. I am sitting right now at the “chill” zone and I can see how everyone around me has some sort of nervous energy surrounding them, some are quiet, some are laughing a bit too loud and some are just very talkative. Be it as it is the look in everyone’s eyes is very similar a worried almost anxious look which looks a bit like fear.

Fear of what? Fear of the mammoth task that is ahead of us. 7 more days and none of them even close to today’s distance, in fact all of them are well over 4 times as long. Tomorrows stage is over 100km and with plenty of climbing ahead of us we are taking advantage of the bean bags in the chill zone to sit and maybe even catch a nap before dinner.

Our timing today sets us up at the back end of the race however we will aim to be moving up places constantly as well as making sure that we do not push ourselves too hard.

If you would like to follow our progress via live tracking our race number is 259 our team name Esor construction and the website is: http://www.cape-epic.com

Till tomorrow have a great evening.

Leading by guidance not arrogance.

Posted: February 27, 2015 in Cycling

All too often we find ourselves in a situation that we could show the way forward for someone but instead of doing that we feel the need to show off instead and by demonstrating how good you are at something the person receiving the arrogance is scared away or just doesn’t trust you. 

How does this happen you might be wondering? 

Well many people don’t see themselves as leaders and do not see that they are somehow supporting others with questions that they might have, and by doing this they could possibly be giving up on the possibilities of being a leader. It could be due to a fear and it could also be due to something they have been told before. 

For example: you don’t know what you are doing so why do you even try? 

On the other hand some teachers feel the need to float thier own boat by making sure that they show off their skills at every opportunity possible, this causes a large rift in what potentially could be learned in these type of situations. 

For example: I demonstrate at every hockey training with my group how to hit a hockey ball. Sometimes I find myself missing the ball and this immediately shifts into a mode of “I am only human” I am allowed to miss the ball sometimes. What I have realized is every time I miss the ball it is actually life’s way of telling me not to show off. 

Without showing off I know that things come naturally and because I have trained to hit the ball and I have practiced how to play the game I do not have to show off.

There is always a time where all the training and practice will be forgotten because in the end I am only human but that’s not an excuse to show off it is just a good enough reason to work harder and remain humble with the gifts and lessons I have received along the way! 

In closing this is a very good lesson for me to pay attention to so that I do not find myself losing the respect of my students but it’s also a good lesson because I am not always aware of when I might be supporting someone with their own lessons. 

To be humble in defeat is more of an achievement than to be arrogant when you win! 

FOMO

Posted: February 4, 2015 in Cycling

the rock

Why Fomo? (Fear of Missing Out)

Simply put it’s a feeling of emptiness, not being invited for a ride with your mates or for a beer with your work colleagues can all add up to that alone feeling where nothing you do or so it seems can change the situation you find yourself in.

You start questioning yourself and why you are in that position and why you aren’t good enough.

I also ask myself; Why was i good enough before but not now?

Was it something I said or did the last time or since?

The absolute worst part of this feeling is seeing a picture on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram about that amazing event that you weren’t at just makes you even more angry.

The questions I strive to ask myself the next time something along these lines happens to me are the following:

Am I supposed to be doing something more important?

Why am I letting what other people do affect how I feel?

Can I make myself available for events like these in the future?

Have I made a person feel comfortable when involving them in my plans?

So instead of complaining and wondering why I am left out, I intend to invite people for my events, make sure that people feel like they are a part of my life and also make definite arrangements instead of “ya lets do that” and then nothing…

Today is an amazing day filled with loads of opportunities to be great why not make it great for someone else, Smile at a stranger, help someone across the road, give way in the traffic and slow yourself down.

Forget about FOMO and give yourself the opportunity to participate because in the end it is only up to you.

and as in the Picture above:

Success isn’t always about greatness; it’s about consistency.

Consistent hard work gains success, Greatness will come!