Thursday, 13 March 2008

Posted by Velouria Posted on 12:53 | 4 comments

Another year, another Argus.

It is amazing how every year the Argus sneaks up on us. It really shouldn't though - there are enough warning signs out there warning us of its imminent approach.

1. The larger Summer League participation. In the Spring League I was finishing in the top 10 of each race, and feeling quite unstoppable. Come the Summer League, and I don't think I finished in the top 25 once.

2. Colleagues riding to work. Apart from the sky-rocketing petrol price, the only other reason people ride to work is to get some much needed Argus training.

3. Bike shops with no stock. If you need a special thingy dooh dah from the bike shop in the months of January and February, you can be sure that you will be clean out of luck. Almost everything is sold out.

4. Radio DJs going on about cyclists. It seems to be very trendy these days to be very anti-cyclist, and I think this reaches its highest point around Argus time.

5. Congested cycling routes. Your normal route that you take, where you seldom see another cyclist in 2 hours suddenly resembles a mass participation event - cyclists everywhere, in various shapes and sizes.

6. Bike mags reusing their "How to do your best Argus ever" articles. Never mind the fact that certain 24hr events only get one photo and a small blurb - pages and pages are dedicated to providing the definitive advice on how to do that elusive sub [3/4/5/6] hour ride.

This year was no different. Before I knew it I was waking up at 4:45 to get ready for yet another Argus. We had spent the night at the Betts' flat in Sea Point, where we gorged ourselves on tasty pasta and rice pudding.

I thought I wasn't nervous - but when you wake up at 3 in the morning and can't sleep anymore, perhaps the nerves are showing. A quick breakfast and cycling to the start, and the Argus was about to begin.

As usual, the A bunch (with far too many people taking this cycling thing far too seriously) set off at breakneck speed. I have perfected my bunch riding skills, and now sit right at the back, out of trouble from crashes and testosterone fueled agro Gautengers. And just before the hills I move forward in the bunch. Quite simple really. And if all goes to plan, you finish in a time of 2:42 (I was a little annoyed at losing the front of A, but I did have rubbish legs).

Craig had a good ride too, although because he was chatting so much, he road through some glass, and ended up having to deal with 3 punctures. Well done to all the Hermanus riders who didn't stop to help/offer a tube - I am now going to feel the brunt of Craig's wrath as we go about setting the record straight.

The real stars of this year's Argus (sorry Robbie, after winning a TDF stage the Argus pails in comparison) were Bonte and Yolanda. Starting WAY down in T, the time trialled most of the way to a well deserved 3:30 (or so we are led to believe - we have no photographic evidence of them actually out on the course).

Craig and I did another lap, starting about 10 minutes after the last group went off. We had a rather leisurely ride, helping out back markers, waving at spectators, and helping ourselves to Coca-Cola that we had missed out on the first lap. We stopped in Glenn Cairn for a beer, and finally caught Steph and Kannas just before Chappies.

And then it was time to retire to the Dulux tent - for the last time. I don't think the Argus is ever going to be the same without it :(

Monday, 3 March 2008

Posted by Velouria Posted on 15:15 | No comments

Fun in the Sun

Saturday saw Craig and I doing our last long ride before the Epic. We needed one last tough weekend, and the next day's Argus MTB ride would give us a good indicator of how the training had gone. To add to matters - we were going to be riding with some of the other teams from Hermanus, and it was safe to say that each rider would be sussing the next one out.

The result of the ride is that we have sowed fear and panic amongst the competition. We rode every single one of them off of our wheels, and at the same time still felt comfortable.

Bonte decided to impart some of her stretching knowledge on us - the dogs we not too amused that we were using their cushions.


If anything, I had been more nervous about the long ride on Saturday, than I had been for the race. Yolanda, on the other hand, was very nervous. All her other cycling buddies had instead decided to do the 35k, leaving her to do the 55km on her own.


The weather had been perfect - for going to the beach. It was hot and windless, and the conditions proved quite testing. Yolanda finishing the race - in much better spirits that last year.


The dirtier you are, the more fun you had. Looks like Yolanda had a lot of fun :)


Very proud of her medal. She even wanted to go to bed with it. I had to draw the line at that!


Craig and I both rode well, and had good legs, and once again beat all the Hermanus guys. We both rode new personal best times, and finished together, which bodes well for the Epic.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Posted by Velouria Posted on 15:14 | No comments

Another winner

Having finally moved away form the terrible southern suburb races, the Spring League headed out towards Paarl, for a relatively flat and fast tour of the platteland (and of course Helshoogte). Bonte and Yolanda won't necessarily agree with that route description, and will tell you it was a hilly course with plenty of undulation. It seems to be a matter of perspective.

Anway, enough bickering about the route. I had had a tough training ride the day before, and so had Craig, and we were both quite content to chill in the bunch until Helshoogte. Yet again, I got stuck in between the main bunch and the chase bunch, but was still quite happy with how I climbed. The race came back together with about 15km to, and I decided to stay out of trouble at the back, and let the fearless guys fight it out in the sprint. With about 5kms to go MC went down hard, which made me drop even further off the back - I will save the pain and suffering for the Epic. After a very argy bargy sprint finish, I caught up with Christian, my old team mate, who mumbled to me something about the fact that he thinks he won the race.

To put this race into perspective - for the last 4 years, him and I have studied the run up to the finish line, and marked exactly where one should make their move for the sprint. Christian has always believed that he could win this ride. And he did. Well done.

Have a look at that smile:

Posted by Velouria Posted on 14:59 | 1 comment

Lighthouse Cottage

After all these years, cycling is starting to pay off. We recently enjoyed the spoils of the race I won last year, and spent a weekend away just outside the Salman's Dam nature reserve. While it was supposed to a romantic weekend away (just before Valentine's Day), it made for a welcome change of cycling scenary, and also allowed Craig and I to check out some of the Epic route.

Some pictures:

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Posted by Velouria Posted on 16:20 | No comments

Wiesenhof 2007

I was surfing the net and found this - quite a cool pic.

Thanks to Louis Roussouw.
Posted by Velouria Posted on 15:04 | No comments

Test your skills

And if anyone can get past level 8 with the boxes - please let me know.
Posted by Velouria Posted on 14:59 | No comments

Pain and Suffering!

Well, the downside of doing a 24hr is the total lack of ability on the bike for the next month or so. And this year was no exception.

I chose to skip the first league ride of the year, and instead rode with Yolanda and Bonte in the SWIFT (Sporty Women in Full Training) league. The race was the Cape Cobra, and consisted of going over every hill on the Cape peninsula at least once. Three of the 4 ladies entered into the SWIFT league turned up, so a podium was guaranteed - they just had to fight it out for the order. To make matters worse, it was probably one of the windiest days I have ever experienced - this was not going to be a pleasant ride.

It might have looked like Tim, Craig and I were helping the ladies out, but in truth, I think Tim and I were just trying our best to hang on. My legs were nowhere, and my body still ached.

Four hours later, we prevailed, Bonte got second place, with Yolanda third. We had all survived.

The next week saw the local Breakfast ride on the Saturday, and the aptly named Roller Coaster on the Sunday. I was looking forward to the Breakfast ride - I wanted a good hard ride to see where my legs were. I got dropped immediately from the start, and had to work quite hard to get back on to the bunch, only to face the rather daunting task of trying to hang on to the bunch up the Lord Charles hill. Somehow I managed it, and slowly things started to feel better. I worked extremely hard for the rest of the race, and my legs felt good. It is a good thing the ride was only 60kms long, because I don't think there was much left in my legs after the finish. I spent another hour and a half looking after/pushing Steph in 40C+ temperatures. I was buggered afterwards, and spent the rest of the day on the couch!

The Roller Coaster was going to be another ride of survival - I didn't expect much - there are far to many nasty hills in that race for me. I got dropped 5 times from the bunch, and was able to ride back on 4 times. The fifth time I self destructed, and limped the last 20kms home pretty much on my own.

The next weekend saw an old favourite - the Medallion - a ride around Stellenbosch and Paarl. I had set myself two simple goals - to finish in the bunch, and to try to climb with the front group. I succeeded at the first - finishing 28th, in the bunch. Unfortunately, I was unable to climb with the front bunch, but did find myself caught between the front bunch and the chase bunch with none other than my Epic partner. Which was quite encouraging - we seem to be at the same level of fitness.

The rest of the ride was rather uneventful, and the final dash for the line got some people quite worked up, like the guy just in front of me who decided to take a tumble, forcing me off the road.

Anyway - I am a little sick at the moment, so the riding is taking a bit of a back seat.