Posts tagged MTB
I wish I could upload the full HD version but unfortunately its 1.7GB!! Sorry the quality is a little low – had to shrink the file size somehow!
Sadly, as we rolled into Cape Town on Monday, we couldn’t help but feel the anti climatic emotions one always gets at the culmination of an epic adventure. It’s impossible to bring readers truly into the world we lived in for our 10 days but hopefully with the aid of pictures (and video once I’ve done some editing) I’ll be able to give everyone an idea of our journey.
After James Cunnama, Collin Allin and myself had flown into Cape Town, we regrouped with Guy Veysey, Raoul De Jongh and Matt Blake, loaded our bikes and kit, and immediately hit the road to George with a quick detour to drop some things off at the De Jongh family’s farm. Hours later, we arrived at the Rockpedal Classic registration to pick up our race numbers and then continued on to our accommodation on one of Retief Goosen’s farms. Our twitter tagged: #epicunsupportedtour was about to begin!
5am and we were up. Since we were staying near the finish, we had to make an early start as we still needed to drive the 40 minutes back down to the start in George. Despite being a ‘race’, we weren’t in any rush and just stuck together throughout the 2 days of the event. Day one took us out of George through some forestry roads and some single track before hitting the big climb up the Montague pass. From there some pretty simple riding through to the finish. We then headed back to our accommodation which was a few km’s away. The R1300 worth of food that we had bought the day before was then demolished as we fed ourselves up knowing food in the next few days wouldn’t be so abundant. Super athlete’s James and Raoul then went off for a run after some serious power-napping and due to their steamy bodies scored our group 4 bottles of wine compliments of one of the local ladies. Needless to say we made sure they went running almost everyday to see what else they could get for us. Just after they got back from their run, mother nature put on quite a spectacular show for us in the form of a double rainbow (bringing up memories of a hilarious YouTube video: watch here) The world champs pool tournament then kicked off with me catching a hiding from everyone not winning a single game – eish!..but I totally blame it on my race number – 13! Another big feed and we were off to bed..
The second day of the event was pretty straight forward following basically the same route back to George but in reverse. Climbing the pass the day before suddenly seemed all worth it. By the time we got to the pass I found myself on my own having tucked myself nicely in the front of one of the front bunches. Realising the others were behind I decided I better wait for the others and completely by coincidence ended up chatting to the only 2 good looking girls in about a 10km radius! Once the boys had regrouped and after a few minutes thanking the girls for looking after me, we made our way down the pass catching some pretty cool footage on my GoPro camera as I chased Raoul down the pass on his new Morewood Kwela (29er). Once the ride was done, we had to restock on our food then we headed back for some more Pool champs (this time I won all 9 games I played..boom!) Matt then headed off with Guy’s car which we packed with all the kit we didn’t wanna carry on our backs and we were officially on our own from there!
The first two days had been pretty easy going with only about 120-130km combined. Day 3 and beyond was about the same distance but on a daily basis…and the riding didn’t get easier! Our first task of the day was to ride ourselves to breakfast in Oudtshoorn about 80km away. Trusting Guy and his pre-mapped Garmin Edge 705 we successfully made it there missing only one turn, adding about 12km to our day. Some monster Ostrich burgers were the order of the day with James (aka the human locust) opting for 2 omlettes meals. We then made our way in the rising heat past Cango Caves, up the Swartberg Pass and all the way down the other side into Prince Albert. The decent down towards Prince Albert showing off some spectacular views (see pictures attached). Unfortunately however, we all knew that the 20min decent was our first challenge of the next day.
Having ridden down the pass the day before, we knew that this was going to be a big day for us…especially considering that that pass was one of many and wasn’t going to be our toughest challenge of the day. The 20min decent took us about 90min to ride back up to the half way mark where our turn off lay waiting. Enter Die Hell! We were welcomed by a sign that said:
Dangerous Road for 48km! Use at own risk!
Raoul, Guy and Colin who had done this route last year knew what we were heading for, James and I, had no idea at all! We had however been told about their experience from last year and much like a tale from an Indiana Jones story, warned of possible impending death due to cobra’s, dehydration, fatigue or fall off cliffs to our doom. Well they weren’t far off! The heat started to pick up leaving no question as to why the area was called The Hell, riding huge passes with little place to fill water bottles. On the second last big descent into the Kamgaskloof, Guy did the perfect thing for any camera man and had himself a spectacular crash whilst I was riding behind him. Not the most graceful dismount – ‘superman’ing onto the dirt road but the whole thing was caught on camera and will definitely be featuring on our YouTube Special Documentary once it’s completed! Not long after Guy’s sudden introduction to the deck, it was feeding time once again. The little restaurant we found in the middle of nowhere wasn’t exactly the most accommodating place as Guy found out (asking only to use some napkins) but we did smash 3 loaves of bread making cheese stacked sandwiches. About an hour of riding later and another big pass we found ourselves lying flat on our backs under a small thatched hut try to hide from the heat of the Karoo desert. Our last big effort for the day was to hike our way up Die Leer and we weren’t too keen on hiking up during the hottest time of the day. By the time we decided we could start the 2km hike, which climbed almost 1km in elevation, we had cable tied our wheels to our bikes to shrink the width of our bikes. So with backpacks and bikes we marched our way up step by step taking just short of an hour to reach the top. I won’t lie, that hike was something else and we were all glad to get back on our bikes at the top! Another hour or so and we arrived at our next stop having been out for almost 10 hours. At this moment, super hero James went running with his shirt off again and lo and behold, next thing we knew we had 30 cans of soft drink plus some beers and piles of food in our previously bare kitchen. I think every time somebody came into the kitchen and opened the ice filled coolbox a tear came to their eye.Why? During the day much of our river sourced water was made drinkable with water purification tablets…Note: Use 1 tablet for about 2L of water, not 2 tablets for a 750ml water bottle, unless you really enjoy drinking what tasted like over chlorined pool water!
Our third day on our own couldn’t have started off much better. We were treated to a huge breakfast with oatmeal, egg, bacon, sausages, juice, coffee, rolls, tomatoe’s, mushrooms and much more. Needless to say we almost ate our hosts out of house and home. Our next stop was our most remote stop in the middle of the Anysberg reserve where there were no shops (not even en-route) and there wasn’t even any electricity. Pre-organised by Guy, our host had got together some supplies for us to take with us in our backpacks which was rice, pea’s, tuna and some oats for breakfast…Yummy! (or not). Having seen James topless our host even offered to drive to our next stop with food, but we figured her husband would not have been too thrilled of the thought of his wife joining 5 young athletes in the middle of nowhere..so we declined and were on our way. There’s not too much to speak of in terms of Day 5′s route. Lots of super remote riding through reserves and farms. What did happen though is we yet again scored some extra chow after Colin managed to sweet talk a lady into eventually giving us some wors.
Oats (desperately flavoured with a chocolate GU) was our fuel for the morning. We all seemed to be feeling a little stronger after lots of sleep during the afternoon before. I’d managed to keep a few Rehydrat’s and so having smashed those down I was feeling MUCH stronger and ready for the day. After what seemed like an eternity riding in super remote area, we finally started seeing some civilisation not too long after the Ouberg Pass. With only about 15km left of the ride to the De Jongh family’s farm, we made a quick stop in Montagu for an early lunch. Mobilising our full bellies we limped our way up to the Klein Hoek Kloof farm, marking the end of Guy and Colin’s riding (both needing to get to Cape Town early).
Arriving at the farm we were very warmly greeted by Raoul’s extended family who had all gathered for Xmas. 16 people under one roof can only work during Xmas time and this certainly was not exception. The 24th and 25th was filled with much food, wine, beer, laughs, The Big Bang Theory (Colin and I watched about 15 Episodes), a short 50km ride and a shorter 5km run. A merry Xmas indeed!
With only Raoul, James and I left (aka ‘Team Morewood’ – all riding white Morewoods..2 Zula‘s and 1 Kwela), we hit the road nice and early to enjoy the cooler morning knowing this was our longest day (distance-wise anyway). We had originally planned to stop by Dan Hugo’s family farm near Stellenbosch but our progress was a bit faster than expected passing their farm about an hour and a half before Dan would be there so we just kept on going. We only had one major climb that day – up the Bains Kloof Pass. We didn’t mind thought as the total for the day ended up being 167km which took us only 5 and a half our of ride time to complete…not bad on MTB’s with all our kit on our backs! Before we made our way down the Cape Town side of the Pass to Gary’s farm (our last overnight stop), we made our way down some pretty awesome single track taking us into Wellington. Unfortunately though, a lapses of concentration resulted in Raoul and myself biting the dust not far from each other. Neither doing too much damage, other than my elbow taking a direct hit to the bone which made it swell up a bit (still slightly swollen).
The last day definitely wasn’t the most spectacular 100km of riding, spending most of it on tar and dirt roads but we did however get an amazing section of single track though Contermanskloof. Nice smooth swinging track with table mountain in the background…pity about my tender elbow which was slowing me down a lot but still enjoyable riding a bit off the back. All we had left at the end was the final drag on tar roads into Cape Town. The wind was a little out of hand making progress a little slow and challenging towards to end but we eventually rolled into Sea Point and into Guy and Raoul’s driveway marking our finish line.
What an incredible time! Big thanks has to go to Guy and Raoul for all their organising, Matt for help driving Guy’s car back, the incredible accommodating people we met along the way and to all involved in the riding of the epic adventure. What a way to tap out some base miles!
So last weekend was the HP Urban Rage 2010 and I tell you what, that was an incredible event! Sadly, I missed the previous 2 years as I was training in Lesotho, but his year I was able to make it. The hype before was immense, the pictures, videos’ and stories after even better!! In my previous post I put in what the event schedule looked like so I won’t go into that, instead I’m going to quickly tell you which events I did and how they went.
On Saturday, I entered the 4 man team event with fellow Team Jeep SA athletes Brendan Davids, Ryan Ellis and Evan van der Spuy. Our initial intent was to simply use the event to get to know the course for the main individual event on Sunday…but that quickly changed. We found ourselves leading the 4 man race so we picked up the pace slightly and rode through for the win. As stoked as we were, we all were wondering whether we had spoilt our chances for the next day.
Sunday arrived and the 1st heat was off. Racing in heats of 2 people, I was paired with one of SA’s top mountain bikers, David Leiman (who had won the 2man team event with Matt Goetsch the day before). Not wanting to get into each others way (which would only slow us both down), I said to him to take the front and I’ll chase as hard as I could. Instead, he warned me that he was feeling the effects of Saturday (having ridden twice as much..and probably harder than I) and said that if I’m in front I must just keep going. Up on the 6m BMX styled starting ramp I had the inside line into the first bend so I took the lead and never looked back finishing with a 1st heat time of 5min 51sec. As a multisport athlete and not a pure breed biker I wasn’t too sure what to expect out of the event but after heat 1 I suddenly found myself in 6th place. The final which consisted of the top 10 athletes after the heats suddenly looked possible. Heat 2 was going to have to be fast. In previous years the guys were going almost a minute faster than their first heat times, although in previous years there was no enduro the day before to practice the course.
Before the second heat however, I had entered into the 2 man relay team with up and coming Jeep Multisport School star Craig Jarret. Instead of racing this event, we had decided that we would use it for more practice for our second heats and so we just rode through taking our time to try new lines and new ways of using the bikes lockout.
2pm and it was time for the second heat. Using the times from the first heat we were then sent off in seeded starts. Having placed 6th in the first heat I was up against 5th placed seeding and Jeep Team mate Ryan Ellis (who I teamed with for Joberg2C earlier this year). Ryan having had the faster seeding time (by 10sec) was given the inside line but I was ready to chase him hard and hope that by chasing him down I could jump my time up closer to his. The gate flung open and Ryan was off like a shot, quickly putting me in his dust. Having chased him for a couple hundred km in Joberg2C it was a familiar position and I wasn’t going to let him just get away. Pushing out as much power as I could (and even giving out a frustrated roar under the bridge) I could close the initial 5m gap he opened on me in the start but I did finish only 2sec behind him, improving my time by 16sec!! As it turns out, after the second heat we had held our 5th and 6th positions and we had qualified for the final!!
Now what made the final so exciting was that the course was to be extended and that meant the 10 top males and 5 top females would be racing the final through the aquarium at uShaka Marine World! A quick walk of the course (and no chance to practice it) the final began. 10th placed Brendan Davids was off first followed by 9th, 8th and so on. Now I can’t say much about what everyone else did as we were sent off 2min apart, but Luke Roberts did a fine job putting himself in the lead and nobody seemed to be able to beat his time. The last to go was 2 time winner, Philip Buys who had been dominating all weekend. Word from radio’s on the course however had given us reason to believe he may be beaten for the first time when we were told that he was having mechanical issues slowing him down. Into the last few corners he still looked pretty on target to take the lead though and then down he went. The light rain had begun to fall a little harder than when the rest of us were on course and in these more slippery conditions he lost his wheel and hit the deck. He charged in over the line though and to everyone’s amazement he had won by less than a second!! This meant the top 3 males had come over the line spaced by less that 2 seconds having raced on a course which took the winner 8min 16sec to complete! It really couldn’t have been much more exciting than that! And that pretty much sums up this amazing event! The amount of hype about this event, even now four days after has been amazing and I know that everyone who was there this year will be back next year! To Max Cluer and his incredible team, we salute you!
If you missed out…check out this awesome YouTube video of this years event too: