Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Posted by Velouria Posted on 18:44 | 3 comments

New Shoes

I have a thing for shoes, and particularly cycling shoes. While my new shoes aren't quite as classy as the Italian made Sidi's I have had for the last 4 years, they are not far off. The fit is certainly better. I think Italians all have narrow skinny feet!

Here they are - my new road shoes - Specialized's BG Pro Road Shoe

I'll wait until after the Epic before riding with them - don't want to risk anything that might give me knee reason to act up. For now - I'll just wear them around the house ;)

Friday, 23 January 2009

Posted by Velouria Posted on 16:13 | 3 comments

24hrs of Wiesenhof

This year's Dirtopia 24hrs of Wiesenhof had attracted a couple of really good riders, all keen on winning the event.

I was a little more nervous than in previous years - I didn't have great form, and my knee was still giving me the occasional niggle.

The pre-race preparations mainly consisted of checking out the competition, and having them check me out. There were mind games a-plenty.

The racing got off to it's usual fast paced madness, with several riders putting in some blisteringly quick laps in the beginning. I preferred the more sedate approach of riding to a constant tempo, trying not to overdo anything, and slowly but surely I was moving up the field.
After 3 hours of racing I was lying in 6th spot, about 10 minutes behind the leader, on seven laps. Everything was going according to plan - my legs felt great and I had settled into a good rhythm. Yolanda was doing a great job of keeping me supplied with snacks and drinks, and updates on the other riders.

At about 5 in the afternoon, after 5 hours of racing, I was starting to take a little strain. It felt like my neck was constricting, and my glands where starting to ache. And I had a headache. But my legs were fine! I persevered for a couple more laps, and then took a break. I was lying 4th overall, so things were going well.

Meanwhile, Mike had made his 24hr debut with a rag tag bunch of guys, and it looked like they were having a great time. While not in overall contention, they were racing for 3rd, and doing a rather good job of it.

Back to my race - I had rested for a bit, Yolanda had massaged my legs, and my ego, and I had had something to eat. It was time for the night racing, and I had put my new fancy light on my helmet - I was ready to go. The first lap went fine, but after that, the neck issues returned, and by now my mind really wasn't in the race. I was looking for any excuse to stop, and when my knee showed the slightest signs of acting up, I decided to throw in the towel. I had done about 4 or 5 laps in the dark, and was still in 4th place on 19 laps at 11:30pm when I decided to have a shower and take a nap.

The irony is that we don't bring any bedding or sleep stuff to the 24hr, as we fully expect me to be able to ride through the night, so before we could take a nap, we had to beg, borrow and steal some bedding. I awoke at about 5, and was going to have another shower before settling down to watch the rest of the race. As I wandered past the scored board, I saw that Julian (my Epic partner from 2007) was in 5th place, and going well 3 laps ahead of me (I had slipped down to 10th or 12th). If he could be out there and still going, I should at least give it one more lap before giving up. I got into my kit and hopped onto the bike, and for the next 7 hours had a great ride.

I ended up in 5th place on 31 laps, salvaging some sense of pride, and Julian rode brilliantly with a 3rd place on 32 laps. This time I can say that I will be back next year.

The results for 2009

Friday, 9 January 2009

Posted by Velouria Posted on 16:40 | No comments

Velotales word cloud

From www.wordle.net

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.

Makes for some interesting reading!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Posted by Velouria Posted on 15:03 | No comments

My last Maverick race

The final race of the year, and my first proper mountain bike race since TransBaviaans, saw us heading off to George for the Rock Pedal Classic. By all accounts this was supposed to be an easy end of year race, focusing on the social side more than the racing. The profile even had us believing that we were in for a cruise...

The nice thing about the ride was that there were two distances, both ending up at the same point where we would spend the night, before heading back the next day along the same route, just in reverse.

There was a reasonable turnout, with a good mixture of people doing the 50km and the 80km.
We would all head up the Montague pass, before the 80km route would take us on a detour through some tough undulating terrain for about 20kms, before we would rejoin the 50km route. Later, we would do another 10km loop with some nasty hills before rejoining the route for the final 5kms.

Team Dulux reunited - all smiles before the start

Team Dulux taking a breather going up the pass

Both Craig and Marius looked to be in goods shape - Craig doing the quitely confident thing, and Marius promising to ride with me (he did - for about 3 and a half minutes!).

The great thing about this ride was not really the ride at all. That was tough, testing and the 37C didn't help. The organisers had gone to the effort to make the small things count - there were plenty of water points, and each point was stocked with the usual coke and water, AND biscuits. Nothing beats a biscuit as a snack when your lungs are burning and your legs are cramping! The course was well marked, the finish area was cleverly thought out, the spectators and other non-cyclists where catered for.

Snack time

We spent the day lazing around the pool, eating (LOTS) and chatting/snoozing and. For once - the bike race itself wasn't the most important thing - the whole outing was. The Betts backup crew did a great job of making sandwiches and other snacks - even if they were a little late to see Craig finish.

Craig had a good ride - coming 4th, with Marius a little bit behind in 8th. I was a little further down in 14th place, but a massive 22 minutes behind Craig. Yolanda had a good ride, coming 21st in the ladies for the 50km, with Bonte coming 53rd in the men's 50km, beating her dad by 15 minutes.

Food and naps - what more do you need!
We spent the rest of the afternoon preparing for the net day's racing, having the supplied supper (of tasty chops and wors), and watching some of the photos of the day's action. We missed Yolanda's mud puddle wallowing action. When I find some photos I will post them!!

Craig powering up the pass on day 2 - just behind the leaders

Day two saw a slight change to the long route - a nasty rocky section was taken out, and as a result we only had 70km to look forward to. My legs seemed to be ok, and I quite enjoyed the first 2 hours of the ride - towing Marius to the bottom of the pass. We passed the remaining members of Team Dulux as they waved at cows and seemed to be having a very social ride.

The ladies posing under the railway bridge on the downhill side of the pass

Yo and Bonte's competition

Yo playing nasty and pointing the tortoise in the wrong direction
All in all a great weekend - and we will definitely be back - this was a fantastic event.

Here are the overall results

Marius descending the pass

Monday, 8 December 2008

Posted by Velouria Posted on 14:02 | 2 comments

The Burger 2008

 The Elites looking nervous

This being my second road race since the Argus, I was rather nervous about staying with the bunch, especially over Helshoogte, which was a mere 2km from the start. I really didn't need to be so worried, and eventually got to the top in the first quarter of the bunch, surprising myself completely. The next 60kms or so were a bit of a procession, with no one really willing to up the pace. Tim even found himself and his fancy new bike on the front - which is a rare occurrence indeed!

 Some of the guys at the back

 Is there anywhere better in SA to ride?

The weather was perfect for bike riding, not too hot, not too breezy - just perfect. The racing eventually picked up a little somewhere near Wellington, although I don't think we were going hard enough to drop anyone.

 The second tandem, showing true commitment when puncturing just before the finish

After 2 hour or so I started to fade - I just don't have the racing in my legs. Thankfully, it seemed like the whole bunch felt the same way, and I was able to get over the rolling hills on the R44 safely tucked away towards the back of the bunch.

 The first Elite home

The finish was after a slight incline, and suddenly, there were people who had been lurking at the back of the bunch making a move for the line. My fear of sprinting had me at the back, watching the sprint unfold.

 Reward for a hard day's racing

I was a little too careless and Tim managed to cross the line ahead of me. Now I won't hear the end of it for the next 3 years. The good news is that the SubVets beat the A bunch, so Craig was once again relegated to 3D Loser!

 A tandem, towing a bike, towing a trailer. Dad, two daughters, and the teddy bear
Crair subsequently made up for his poor Burger performance by winning another Overstrand MTB race. He is now the holder of all 3 Overstrand titles. I think he needs to stop winning races, and practice pulling a weaker partner along...

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Posted by Velouria Posted on 14:50 | No comments

DC in photos