Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Posted by Velouria Posted on 16:29 | No comments

Crazy Stupid

After the greasy burger and the short sharp hills of the previous day's racing, I decided to head out to Paarl and see just exactly what my legs were made of. It promised to be a great day for bike riding - it was going to be warm with a gentle breeze.

Once the league guys had started, and the tandems had departed it was our turn. Looking around the start chute I felt rather nervous as the PPA officials had decided that just 11 riders would be making up the first group. We did feel kind of special in that we had a lead car and a guy on a motorbike. Glad to see the race entry fees going somewhere.

As we got underway it became quite apparent that there were two types of riders in the bunch - those that were going to put some effort in, and those that were looking to loaf at the back. I'm all for loafing, but with the Epic coming up and time running out, this wasn't the time or the place, and several other riders shared my sentiments. With about 30 minutes of racing gone, I took a turn on the front and without realising it I split the bunch in 2. We were now 4 riders off the front with 7 guys half-heartedly chasing. Two riders were able to cross the gap but that was it. We were now 6 strong with about 95kms of racing to go. Daunting to say the least.

Everything went well with each rider taking his turn on the front, until we got to Botmaskop just outside Riebeek-Kasteel. We quickly lost 3 riders on the foothills of the climb and suddenly we were 3 riders with about 70kms to go. We made for quite a rag tag bunch - an old guy, a youngster, and me. I thought it was a suicide mission to attempt the rest of the ride with just two other riders, but rather than sit up and wait, we gave it a go.

We got organised quickly, each rider going through for 30 seconds and slowly but surely the kilometers started to tick by. The old guy - Peter Barber - turned out to be one of the strongest guys on a bike I have met. I had wondered earlier how on earth he had an A seeding, but I quickly figured it out - he can ride a bike. We caught and passed the ladies first, and then the juniors. Shortly after that we made a right turn onto an undulating road - straight into the wind. Almost immediately our pace dropped and the going got quite tough. I had started to believe that we might have a chance of staying away from the rest of our bunch, and the chasing D bunch, but that belief started to fade.

We persevered, but after 100kms of riding a brief look over my shoulder signaled the end of our little adventure - the bunch, now consisting of the leftovers of A-C and the charging D, were breathing down our necks. Our little 3 man adventure was over, and while I was a little disappointed at having been caught, I was only to glad for the company. I was out of juice, and my legs were taking strain. Hiding at the back of the bunch suddenly didn't seem like such a bad idea.

We coasted the final 24kms back into Paarl, letting the D riders have their moment and their attempt at a sprint. I'd answered a very important question - my legs were feeling strong, and suddenly the Epic wasn't as daunting.

Needless to say I didn't do too much for the rest of the day, and had a very good afternoon nap.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

It's that time of year for Somerset West's own little race, Die Wingered Breakfast Ride.This would also be my first road race in ages. While it is a short 62km route, it is always fast and furious up front. Just to spice it up a little, they take us over several little climbs. My memories of this race are always ones of burning legs and gasping lungs.

With the changes to the run into the finish including a rather horrible little climb, this year was going to be no different.Craig and Bonte had made the trek from the other side of the mountain, and brought some friends with them - a mini invasion of sorts.

The race got off to a rather manageable start, no one really prepared to dish out the pain too early. With the first couple of hills behind us, and the Lord Charles hill ahead of us, I was feeling a little relieved to have made it that far in the bunch. As we started climbing the lower slopes of the Lord Charles hill an attack came. Just one. And before we knew it, two riders were off the front and gone. There was no response. Everybody was looking around, hoping someone else would do the chasing. I wasn't complaining, and went along with the whole charade. From previous years, if such a move goes away and isn't closed down soon, it usually ends up being the winning move.

I had skipped some torturous training ride that my coach had dreamed up, choosing instead to do the race, and so didn't want to let her down. I went to the front and took several turns trying to get the pack into chase mode. The only other person helping out at the front was Craig - sometimes forgetting that he was in a race and just riding tempo on the front with two Maties guys fighting over his back wheel.

An acceleration came as we started climbing Polkadraai and Craif and I found ourselves shot straight out the back of the bunch. We teamed up, and slowly but surely inched our way back to the bunch, climbing at a solid tempo pace, and after a bit of hard work ande gear grinding, we both found ourselves back in the bunch, with about 20kms to go, and the uphill finish.The kilometers flew by, Craig and I doing the majority of the work on the front, and before I was ready for it, the hill loomed in front of us. This is one of those hills that I prefer to ride around, rather than riding over, and before we had even really started climbing it, I was out the back. Craig made better progress, and finished in 7th place. I made up some ground towards the end and crossed the line in 9th place. Another tough, fast Breakfast ride behind us.

The highlight of the ride came from the rivalry between the Greek and the Runner. Forget Armstrong vs Ullrich, Hinault vs LeMond, or Merckx vs Gimondi - this is the rivalry that will be talked about for years to come. And the root of the rivalry was a bet that if the Runner finished within 5 minutes of the Greek's time, the Greek would have to demote himself at the Fun Ride World Champs and have to ride in the Runner's group. It was always going to be close. With both athletes declaring a victory, it was down to the official results to decide a winner. Lies, counter lies and name calling filled the air, but once the dust had settled and the results were in, the Runner was declared the winner, managing to beat the 5 minute limit by a mere 16 seconds, and with that, relegating the Greek to his start group.

I am sure this fine sport of ours is only seeing the beginning of a feud that will polarise the cycling community. Stay tuned for the next chapter as the saga continues at the Fun Ride World Champs in 3 weeks time.

Oh yes - why is it called the breakfast ride? Well, apart from tasting your breakfast in the back of your throat as you gasp for air up the hills, they give you a greasy egg burger upon completion of the race. I took this rather seriously, and consider it part of my Epic training. After all - our team is Team Burger Kings.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Posted by Velouria Posted on 21:57 | 2 comments

Rest week

After a crazy week of work, training and studying, I am heading off to Australia for some work stuff. In other news, Mike had to unfortunately withdraw from Team Burger Kings. But the team lives on in name (and hopefully dedication to bankrupt the Epic by all the burgers we are going to eat). Russell, the sun burnt englishman, will be Mike's replacement. We should be in for a great time!

Monday, 25 January 2010

Posted by Velouria Posted on 10:38 | No comments

Lebanon MTB Trail - Red Route

Following our long ride around Grabouw, Craig and I did some hard riding on the Lebanon Red route. We managed two laps in just over 3 hours. This has got to be one of the best places to ride! The MTB fairy has been visiting me in my sleep, as my technical skills are much improved, and I was able to pretty much stick on Craig's wheel as we flew down the singletrack. It's also good to see that the training is working as my legs felt quite good. Should be on track for the Epic.

View Lebanon - Red Route in a larger map
Posted by Velouria Posted on 09:27 | No comments


Craig and I did a nice long ride in Grabouw, and I brought along my GPS. Check out the route below:

View Grabouw - All Trails - 23/01/2010 in a larger map

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Posted by Velouria Posted on 14:31 | 1 comment

Omni-Motion 24 hour

What a hectic weekend - the flight out of Cape Town was delayed on Friday because of thunder storms up in Jhb (should have taken the hint), with us only eventually getting to bed at about 2:30 on Saturday morning. Got up early to buy the last of the snacks and supplies before heading across to Alberton. After sitting in the traffic for about 2 hours (and almost heading off to Durban) we made it the venue 20 minutes before the start.

The course

Lucky number 13? I think not

And then they gave me my race number - 13. (I really should have taken the hint)

I hastily got some kit on, put on some sunblock, applied some bum cream, gave Anton the pre-race evil eye and the next thing I knew we were racing. I had put my bike back together earlier that morning, but I hadn't taken it for a test ride, so that first lap was spent trying fine tune the gears, sort the shock out and generally try to find a rhythm on the bike, which at the pace we set off was quite difficult.
And we're off

The Specialized guys showing off their skills.
Lap one done.
Where did you Jhb guys hide all the air? I always thought that people used the "thin" air as an excuse, but after experiencing that for the first time I now understand. And the heat - I got a max of 36C. I have a new respect for Jhb MTBers and cyclists in general.

The course was good, a little bit of everything for everyone - I was only too glad when they took that horrible section in the beginning out after the rain - it felt like I was riding aimlessly around a field looking for 10c piece...

The atmosphere in and about the camp was great - it is really cool seeing so many people making a weekend out of an event like this.
Me, with some of the support crew

First lap out after the rain, and covered in mud!
A dirty looking Svalbaard - check out the algae on the spokes from where I dunked the bike in a dam!
And then the rain came. I hadn't packed any rain gear (after all, it's summer and that means no rain in Cape Town!). That first lap after the rain took me about an hour - I fell 3 times, had to dunk my bike in the dam to free up the back wheel, and completely soaked my second (of two) sets of kit. The next lap wasn't much better, and after falling quite hard I decided to call it a night.

More mud!
Trying to get some sleep in the back of the Polo
The only problem being that we didn't bring a tent or any sleeping stuff. We managed to borrow some stuff from the Specialized crowd, and spent the next 4 hours crammed into the back of our hired Polo.

Back on the bike
Just before sunrise, we got up, I put the wet and mud soaked shorts and shoes and a clean shirt on, and got back on the bike. Amazingly, my legs felt a lot better (I think I got out before the Jhb guys hid the air again), and put in some good laps. Any real chance of doing well was long gone, and being able to ride for fun was great. Anton had pretty much sewn up the race with some great laps early on, and then perservering through the night.

Feeling much better

Finishing off the last lap

Tired, and glad to be finished
To the organisers - a great event (and good improvising given the rainy circumstances), the riders - well done for surviving an interesting 24 hours of bike riding: from the winners right down to the guys riding in takkies and PT shorts - well done, the supporters: thank you - without you us riders wouldn't last 3 laps, and to the people that broke the showers - damn you!! I had to fly down to Cape Town looking (and smelling) like something the cat brought in! Thankfully we weren't delayed this time and eventually got to bed at 10pm after a long long weekend...

The Specialized supporters
Someone asked me at the finish if I would be back, and I was rather non-committal, but a day later and I can say that I definitely will be back.

The official race photos

Posted by Velouria Posted on 14:00 | No comments

Double Century 2009

The Double Century was a bit of a disaster for me this year - the team was very strong, and I had ridden the Makadas the previous weekend. I managed to last about an hour with the team, until we got to the bottom of the Tradouw climb, before I popped off. The only reassuring fact was that I wasn't the first to get dropped.

The rest of the ride was spent wheel sucking other teams, or battling into the head wind on my own, in temperatures in excess of 36C. My slowest DC yet - 6:56.

Enjoy the pictures.


Team Rockets heading out of town

One straight stripe

Look - I'm still in the bunch!

Some famous cyclist in her SA colours.

Bonnievale, in the midday heat.