Monday, 25 August 2008

Posted by Velouria Posted on 02:19 | 5 comments

Stanford MTB 2008

A free advert for a great little race (as the current champion, I might be a little biased!)

 
Join us on Saturday, 20 September 2008, for the annual Stanford Mountain bike race.
This year the race is on Paardenberg Farm, next to Salmonsdam Reserve.
There are 3 races, 5 km, 22 km & 50 km.  They all cover scenic routes, with great views, through the local dairy
and wine farms and over the fynbos mountains.  Sections cover the same route as the 2008 Cape Epic.
Bring the whole family and join us for the day or make a weekend of Stanford’s hospitality.
The start/finish is in the picturesque "akkerbos" on the farm.
Lots to keep you busy - donkey cart rides, tractor rides, local wine, beer for sale.
Bring a picnic or support the local food stalls. (Proceeds support local schools)


Entries on morning of race.
Race times & Entry Fees
50km – starts 9.15 - R60/cyclist
22km – starts 9.30 - R60/cyclist
  5km – starts 9.45 - R20/cyclist
Directions from Stanford:
Take R326 towards Caledon
Drive 5 km to Elim/Papiesvlei turn off
Turn right, drive for 7.2 km to Salmonsdam turnoff. 
Turn left
Drive 3.5 km to Oak Trees

ENQUIRIES CONTACT
mark – 082 683 6313
kevin – 082 809 3585
mandy – 082 213 0512

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Posted by Velouria Posted on 11:58 | 4 comments

Trans Baviaans #5

The fifth edition of the Trans Baviaans mountain bike race saw the revival of the Soggy Bottom Boys, much to the disgust of John, my partner from last year. Craig had managed to stay injury free for a whole year, and was finally able to join us in the 230km trip from Willowmore to Jeffry's Bay.

The weather reports had been messing with us all week, alternating from torrential downpours to sub-tropical bliss. As it turned out, we got something in between.

We made it to registration in Willowmore with minutes to spare, having had to wait for a very sub-standard meal in Oudtshoorn. With registration out of the way, we headed off across the road to the hostel where we were spending the night. The really serious cyclists had already gone to bed by the time we got there, and we received some dirty looks for the noise we made. The serious cyclists would have their revenge the next morning when they awoke before 6, and proceeded to make more than enough noise to ensure everybody was awake.

We did our usual pre-race thing - filling juice bottles, checking bikes, packing snacks etc, but Team Soggy Bottom Boys seemed quite relaxed (unlike the serious cyclists). A cold wind had started blowing, and after much consideration, we decided that arm warmers might be a good idea.



I love the tight top on John!


The race started at 10am, and we had 24 hours to get to the finish in Jeffry's Bay. Right away, we were greeted with an icy headwind on the long wide open rolling roads leading towards the Baviaans Kloof. I was in my element, as was Craig, and we quickly settled into a comfortable pace, towing John along as we caught and passed several bunches up the road. Eventually we were just five riders - the three Soggy Bottom Boys, and a chap with SA colours on his sleeve and his partner.

Much to John's disgust, it turned out that the guy in the SA colours is quite well known, and often appears in magazines, but is better known for his IronMan exploits. We were towing Raynard Tissink along, and doing some really serious damage to John's legs. Craig did ask for Raynard's autograph, but at John's insistence we had to let them go on ahead of us


We were making good time, considering the head wind, our lack of training, and total inability of the other riders to share the pacing. I had learned a valuable lesson last year about the consequences of not eating and keeping the energy supplies up. It was a lesson I did not want to repeat, and so I had been practicing my eating on the bike. And it worked a charm. A marmite sarmy every couple of hours kept me going. I wasn't going to repeat the mistakes of last year and have to walk up the big climb.



We got to the top of the Mother of All Climbs, and took about 20 minutes to sort ourselves out. John was tired of having a soggy bottom, and so changed all his kit. Craig and I just changed into some dry socks. We had some warm soup and some bread, put on our lights and were ready to race down the other side of the Mother of All Climbs (some quite a bit faster than others). On the descent, we got a pleasant surprise as around one corner two cars suddenly appeared, and the drivers seemed a little annoyed at having to move over for the cyclists.


The backup crew were hypnotised by a peacock


Back on the valley floor, with the sun slowly setting, and a beautiful full moon slowly rising we continued on our way to Kondomo - a campsite just outside Patensie, and our next check point. We were greeted by the bright luminous yellow figure of Yolanda screaming and cheering at the top of her voice. There had been a bet amongst some of the other seconders as to when their riders would arrive, and Yolanda won. We were happy to help out.

With John starting to look a little worse for wear, we quickly got some snacks, checked the bikes, and had a cup of hot chocolate. Bonte's mothering nature surfaced again, as she proceeded to force feed John oranges (bought in Patensie for the bargain price of R5 a pocket) whenever his mouth was empty. We all expected to see those oranges to make a reappearance later, but somehow John managed to keep them under control.

The next 7kms were on a flat bit of tar before we started the Never Ender. I was in my element. And to make things worse for John, I could see some flashy lights up ahead. In a straight line we quickly covered the 7km to the turn off to Humansdorp, and the start of the climb. John's biggest wish had been to ride the climb alone, with no flashy lights ahead of us. Unfortunately for him, his wish didn't come true, and there were plenty of targets up ahead for us to aim at. With John turning himself inside out, and getting the odd push from Craig we quickly caught and passed some of the flashy lights, and before we knew it, we were at the top of the NeverEnder, and almost at the next check point.

The lights of Jeffry's Bay were just visible over the horizon as we quickly crammed some food into John and set out to do the last 17kms. We now found ourselves in a 3 way race - the other teams had the advantage on the climbs, but on the flats and downs we would close the gap. With about 5 kms to go we were all neck and neck, with one last uphill ahead of us. Amazingly, John rode the those 5kms like a man possessed, and we managed to come in 2nd of our race within a race, in a time of 12:01 - and in 19th place.




The customary post race analysis


We were more than happy with our result - we had ridden far better than I ever thought we would. We had a nice warm shower, and sat down to have some real food and watch some of the other teams come in. Our backup team had done another superb job of looking after us, pitching the tents, taking awesome photos and encouraging us.


Bonte propping John up while letting his wife know that is made it - just



The next day Craig and I felt quite good, not too stiff or sore. John, on the other hand (Darren), was broken, and was ready to sell all his cycling stuff and take up crocheting.


As a parting gift, John did get his own back, and gave us all flu, although he claims it was the dodgy food at the world's worst restaurant in Oudtshoorn.

Will the Soggy Bottom Boys be back - I think so (but perhaps under a new name).

Monday, 21 July 2008

Posted by Velouria Posted on 02:16 | No comments

Time off

Here is the cause for my 6kg weight increase:



Two and a half weeks in Madagascar

Friday, 11 July 2008

Posted by Velouria Posted on 16:15 | 3 comments

Riding with Sarah - Epic Stage 3


What a coincidence - these are Sarah's photos - and we are lurking in the background...
This was our bad day - and now we have photographic evidence.
(sorry for ruining the photos)

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Posted by Velouria Posted on 15:34 | No comments

World MTB Champs


Italy is hosting its third UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships - this time in Val Di Sole. Go check out the website and cheer for the South Africans taking part:

XC Mens Elite
Johan Van Zyl
Justice Makhale
Ben Melt Swanepoel
Downhill men elite
Greg Minnar
Andrew Neethling (Somerset West local)
Jonty Neethling (Somerset West local)
Greg Saharin
4X Elite men
Greg Minaar
XC Women elite
Sara Muhl
Yolanda Speedy (I was at school with her)
XC U23 men
Renay Groustra
Burry Stander
Junior men XC
Rourke Croeser
Adriaan Louw
Junior Men DH
Hayden Brown
Luke Davis
Pierre Van Der Merwe
Junior Women XC
Caitlin De Wet
Mariske Strauss


We stand a good chance of getting some medals this year, which shows just how SA cycling is improving

Some pictures:




Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Posted by Velouria Posted on 10:36 | 2 comments

WP Downhill photos

Before I begin, just let me state how crazy these chaps are. It is certainly impressive to watch, but I have no desire to do what they do. Utter madness (I know people think that what we do is mad, but this just takes the cake).

Before the downhill, we did a bit of a ride in Grabouw - nothing hard, just searching for singletrack, and having fun. It was good to be back on the bike, and surprisingly I didn't feel that unfit.
The dam at the Grabouw Country Club

Anyway, here are some photos from the WP Downhill Champs

A drop off about 1,5m high



The big jump, with big air, and big crashes!

Friday, 6 June 2008

Posted by Velouria Posted on 15:08 | 2 comments

Gutter Road

My personal photographer (Bonte) took these pictures of my most favourite piece of road in the whole world. If you have already forgotten, read all about our daring move on Stage 5 of the Epic.

I think I want to have my ashes scattered alongside this road.

What a thing of beauty!

Now why couldn't the whole Epic be on roads like this?