Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pommie Madness - off season XC running

The brits are crazy.

"You head out of the training grounds [military site] through a short forest section and after a couple of kays, you will come across some ice. Don't worry - its only an inch thick and the water is waist deep. We broke through it yesterday with pics and shovels so you will be able to get through. Then you head up ..." Warmly wrapped in his Barbour jacket and wellies, this race organizer didn't seem too concerned that it was 0.5 degrees and snowing!

"Whatever", I thought - typical race organizer trying to hype the event up. Sure enough after 2km, we came across a muddy puddle of ice / sludge. Some fancy footwork around the edges, grasp at a few trees - all good, my shoes are still dry. Nice one! Getting into my stride again, we came around the next bend to this :

"B-loot-e Elle" I thought... but before even having time to chicken out the race leader charged into the Ice Lake promptly falling over and grasping for the only thing which offered a slight bit of traction... the plastic barrier tape ! EPIC.

The race continued in and out of another 3 ice lakes and finally went through some seriously undulating (ie so steep not even "the caveman" would run up them) and then over and over and over and over the "Iraq Desert" sand dunes.

Respect to British Trail running - this was hands down (literally) the best running I have ever done. Great fun! The race organizers certainly lived up to their description of "muddy, gritty and downright knackering." Well done Cat, Ang and Grant on organizing and conquering this broodal run with me - respect! All this snow talk is making me thirsty ... time for a pint of British Tea !

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sani2C 2010

Mud and Guts

A star studded field appeared in Underberg for the what was to be one of the most challenging Sani2C yet...

Alban Lakata (ex World Marathon Champ) teamed up with Kevin Evans to form a formiddable team - they set a high tempo from the start leaving no doubt that they were here to do business!

Its now a week later and looking back, the conditions were probably on a par with the 2006 event - it rained heavily on the days preceding the event and the riders on the "Sani2C Adventure" event (which took place the day before the RACE event)churned up the ground to form a challenging course. It certainly tested all of us.

The race is as hard as the competition... and there was loads of that - many of the top teams are on form, especially at this time of year. Its just a few weeks until the Cape Epic so all of the Pro's are peaking. Max Knox and Brandon Stewart made a speedy return to form after being really off colour at SA marathon champs, they made life difficult for the Lakata/Evans duo but couldn't match the class of the champs.

Themba put the hurt into me on a couple of stages... actually on every stage! Our Zula's performed faultlessly - its great having a reliable machine that you just spray the mud off of. After a hard days racing, its great to relax knowing that your bike is robust and reliable... and not have to spend the day servicing a multitude of pivots or looking for cracks in the creaking carbon frame! :-)

Our reception at Scottburgh was awesome - Andre and Rich from Morewood were at the finish line with Cath, Caycee and Themba's dad Ken Leiman. I definitely raced a little harder than the previous stages in attempt to impress my loyal fans! We finished 9th overall.

JT had a really solid race and continued to impress everyone with his skills, muscling the "Kwela" (Morewood hardtail) through a tough course. Nice one JT !

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

KZN Cup #2 - Mountain View


Hot hot hot. We have been having some crazy weather lately - racing in this kind of heat takes some skill to keep dehydration and heat stroke at bay yet still ride at a respectable pace!

The DCM boys were flying this weekend - Brandon and Rourke put in a solid attack on lap 1 (of 9) to stay ahead the entire race.

Andrew Warr (Spider), Andrew Hill (Mountain Man), Carl Calverly and myself had a lekker ding dong. It was lekker throwing the bike around with the okes - KZN racing is fun. We are really lucky to have our own "Swiss Power Cup" here in Natal! The juniors were crushing it too... great to see such a deep local talent pool emerging. A little birdie told me that we may have the World Cup back in PMB in 2011 !? :-)

Brandon won the Elites, myself second and Carl 3rd.

Teammate Jeremy Thompson (JT) won the vets by a convincing 3 min - good job JT !
Julian Jessop - team Thule - came 2nd in the Sub Juniors
Thomas Jessop - team Thule - won the Sprogs

A great weekend by the Thule-Morewood team. Well done guys!

Photo credits to Darren Goddard of Force12Photography

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Barberton 75km

Well Done DAVE!!

Winner of the 75km Barberton Classic.... respect.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

KZN Cup #1 Stainbank

Stainbank Nature reserve was an awesome setting for the first leg of provincial XC racing... I managed to bag my first win for 2010. Andrew Warr rode in his typical attacking style but couldn't hold on - he went off the front with Themba on the 3rd lap and i had to chase hard to reel them in.

Well done to JT for kicking some butt and coming in 2nd in his debut XC race (Veteran category). Respect.

Themba (Dave Leiman) is riding like a madman to come in 3rd. We are going to have a great Sani2C this year, sky is the limit man! :-)

Photo credit: Grant Dekker

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cape Pioneer Trek

When I saw the images of the route on the CPT website , it was too much to resist. Sure, according to traditional periodisation and old school training regimen, you should be resting at this time of year... but this year has been a bit different for me. And sometimes you just have to follow your heart ! Besides - we do it for the love of biking man ! Who can resist riding in such splendour !??

I rode with Donovan "Powerhouse" Jackson. If you were born anytime in the 70's or earlier, you will recall a clothing brand with a Gym addict, musclebound Bulldog cartoon character as its logo. The brand was "Powerhouse", and that's clearly the image that comes to mind when you see his riding style. He just doesn't let go. Vasbyt, tenacity... call it what you will - this guy just has it in abundance!

The stages were typically 100km long with 2000m of climbing. It was incredible terrain - really rough in parts but totally worth the effort it takes to get up into those fold mountains. "Dankie Katot!"

We had a good battle with the "Memory Foundation" team of Pro's Johnny Kritzinger and Erik Kleynhans... they took the first couple of stages but we managed to counter them with 2 stage wins (after many hard attacks).

Christoph Sauser and Bobby Behan of Specialized added some real colour and humour to the event - they sure know how to party too!

I hope to be back next year... any mtber who has travelled through the spectacular Cape mountain ranges and gone "I wonder if there are any trails up there... ?" has to do this race. Katot Meyer is clearly a sadist, but he took us into some untouched majestic country that few people have ever been privileged to enjoy (!?). Make no mistake, this race was physically very demanding and we took 28.5hours to complete the event's 6 stages but this is an event that will really blow your mind!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Africa Continental Champs (Mankele)

Mankele certainly raised the bar for XC courses in South Africa - the guys there are doing an awesome job of making permanent trails. The course changed a bit since our National earlier in the year becoming slightly shorter and more technical.

Last time I raced on my Morewood prototype hardtail and this time on the new Full-Sus. Jislaaik what a difference! The bike is so supple, it just eats the bumps up - you can drive the corners hard and brake late - there is just no way you could flow like that on a hard tail... it just wouldn't be possible.

My form has been down a bit and I managed a 6th place. So why was I slower than earler in the season?? Definitely NOT the bike! Here are the excuses... maybe you can use them one day too !!! Hehehe! The season started in January and racing was intense all the way up to the European World Cups in May. Its just not possible to hold form all year (unless you are superhuman :-) ... being pro would also help a bit !) So I think its a good idea to take a bit of a break mid season, build up again and hit the end of the year firing on all 2 cranks (!??) - well, thats the plan anyway!

After the racing, they announced the National Squad for World Champs in Canberra, Australia - I cracked the nod - super stoked - its gonna be a blast!