Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The happiness factor.. :)

So the past week and a bit I've been privileged enough to get some longer rides in during the week in addition to my normal routine which has lit absolutely every light within me and just breathed new life to the relationship between me and my bike.
The reminder of the freedom that exists on the bike.. the ability to be in your own space and just be absolutely engulfed by the moment.. when you push harder, when you cruise and any bit of single track that wakes the child in you..

Winter can be difficult with waking to train outdoors, so you spend lots of time on the indoor trainer in the mornings … it can get a bit mundane.. along with this has been a weird fatigue towards the end of the week.. Tyron reckons it could be my iron levels that I need to get checked.. makes sense cause I’m not the greatest meat or supplements fan but I want strong intervals and great rest days so this needs to be addressed soonest!

In other news - in addition to all the happiness, was the Bestmed Jock Cycle Challenge the past weekend on  the road bike in Nelspruit – grueling,  growing and I’m a climber now J, but the Jock got me craving my mountain bike badly, so Sunday morning I woke to Heia Safari for a nice technical session, playing on the bike, a fall or 2, many climbs, some awesome drops, awesome rocks, awesome switchbacks.. Heaven.. I love my mountain bike!!


I’ve attached pics from my missions, learning to #selfie, work Instagram and share my passion more J












Xx

Monday, 21 July 2014

The Bestmed Jock Cycle - Vasbyt and Vasbyt


The Bestmed Jock Cycle Challenge – Vasbyt.. and Vasbyt

So the day finally arrived, The Jock… the nerves I have when I think about this race...
I do however think to win this race is such an honour.. a prestigious title to hold.. it means you out climbed everyone else.. be it an overall win, a category win, your individual win on your goal for the race.. you name it, this race stands above many road races, tests soo much in you.. The ability to persevere.. Yes.
We arrived in Sabie the Friday evening, lovely dinner and before we knew it, it was morning and go time.

The general layout of the 151Km race is as follows,  

Stage 1: 43Km, Nelspruit (Mbombela Stadium) to White River Rob Ferreira School) – 3 hours allocated

Stage 2: 45Km, White River to Sabie (Sabie Primary School) via Spitskop – 3h30 hours allocated

Stage 3: 63Km, Sabie to Nelspruit via Long Tom Pass. – cut off time 17h30 

This being my second Jock, I’d hoped it would go better as I know how hard this race is and and and .. The wind picked up early, the 1st stage already had a bit of wind, the long and the short is I suffered in the ‘easiest stage’ of the 3, there could be many reasons for why this was, I’d probably say this was my worst stage.. legs just weren’t cooperating, an eternity was spent in Stage 1, with some serious man size potholes, the finish was greatly appreciated.
Eat, rest, re-coup and off we were – stage 2, headed to Sabie, what makes this stage special is the famous Spitskop 7km climb.. the wind was heavy from the first big climb.. my inability to bunch ride, especially on climbs meant bearing out the wind like a soldier, top of the first climb, and after a few more km’s, I see the start of Spitskop.. hmm.. it had already been a tough day but perhaps the greatest mind game here is the fact that from the bottom of the climb, you see it twist and as you get to the top you see the next road curve – up to where you are headed.. dear Lord.. the wind was gutsy and letting itself be known, I definitely reckon the hardest stage of the Jock has to be this one, I swear at one point I wasn’t moving between the wind and my legs complaining must have been magic I stayed upright still, few more mind tricks and games in getting myself to the top was the actual top of the climb.. Happiness had new meaning as the day blossomed!!! The way back to Sabie from the was quick and soo much fun, the big ring was back in action and my legs were ready to put in  good effort, the wind was going crazy threatening to push you off the road.. it was here that I realized that most cyclist are in short, flying on these downhills on carbon sticks - expensive carbon sticks, but carbon sticks non the less.. Skill and faith could well be everything.. not dwelling to long on this scary thought, upper body caved in, head on handle bars, I enjoyed the descend home.. life had taken on new meaning as I knew the stage that follows is not only my favourite, but we head home... this warmed the heart.
Eat, recoup, talk nonsense, drink lots of water, High 5 bar has to have been the highlight of my stops as Chrisel from the Bestmed Ladies Team handed me one, it fuelled... better than I’d fuelled over both stages. This was good. My only prayer was for Long Tom Pass to not be as windy as it has been the year before.. we had just dealt serious wind on Spitskop- my only prayer, and it was answered, yes a bit of wind, but not crazy wind as I paced myself up the climb knowing that after the climb, there’s a little downhill, a water point, and the fun begins.. and boy did it just.. I guess that’s just how life is, you gotta stick out the icky in order to enjoy the fruit of your labour and it was all there.. all of that Long Tom pass.. all of that Spitskop came to a beautiful melody as we descended and descended.. crazy downhills! It was interesting to see as I thought back to the fall I’d had at Panorama Tour and how the fear was no longer there, as the fear left the confidence returned, and the downhills were.. glorious.. what a treat, the last bit of undulating roads were not only beautiful, but a melody.. I love this stage!

A bunch came past, in my happy place, I joined the bunch, the wind picked up quite heavily as we all battled to stay in the bunch even on downhills..  the risk of staying in this bunch for me was a difficult call to make as I knew if I stayed I’d make up time, but at the same time.. ‘the what could happen’ factor was scary.. I held on a bit longer and eventually fell off the bunch not too far from the finish, around the circle, a climb, a descend.. and there was the finish.. I’d finished.. the vasbyt, the sweat, the heavy heart, the happiness all contributed to this moment… sweet. 

It was a grueling race, my own battles, the man size climbs, the wind as it held its own in the race along with the heat but I wouldn’t have taken away any part of that race, and the last stage.. dear Heaven that last stage rejuvenated everything in me.. thanks to the ASG for an awesome event, Bestmed for sponsoring such an amazing race and Team Bestmed ASG for getting me there as I learn the ropes**!

Monday, 16 June 2014

MTN National MTB Series... 6th Leg... Van Gaalens

So I haven’t written in a while after a race... Probably because my mind hasn’t been in the right head space.. Rooiberg National Series (75.5Km, 1509m Ascent) was beyond horrid for me... I felt the gruelling hard race factor had been taken just a little too far - with that in mind I decided the next race would be about me and #PrincessPinarello having fun, finding our love and remembering why it was that I’d been insanely in love with this crazy sport.. and there it was.. found in Cullinan, the 1st leg of the Nissan Trailseeker Series. Perhaps I’d become soft but.. Twas a little laugh.. then a grin.. and as the route went through climbs and river crossings… was the most unexpected surprise as they took us through a place I would have assumed to be a part of Mamelodi.. Kids playing in the street and cheering us on, the complete change in scenery… in the middle of this all was the most gracious I’d felt in a while as we rode through the dirt roads parting the houses.. I fell in love.. The finish.. And a passion re-ignited!

Van Gaalens (76km, 1426m)
.. The car read 0.5 degrees at 8am... we were in for a very cold start, saw Fritz, the event organizer, and asked what today had in store for us, he said ‘Zandi I won’t lie, it’s a tough day’.. he always says ‘no you’ll be fine’ .. this had me in a panic of sorts!

… I loved this day.. I felt the best I’ve felt in a while, with every climb, with every gruelling descent was a reminder of the reward factor.. we climbed for what felt like forever, but the descents were so crazy, I’m almost certain I wore out my brakes.. I haven’t ridden downhills like I used to since my fall at Panorama Tour this year.. the realization and the reality of what could happen had shaken my inner.. but this day had me more playful.. I touched the surface of my no fear zone.. the rocks excited me.. I may not have ridden all but heaven it’s all I needed to spike the incessant greed that grows and grows.. the more gnarly.. the bigger the grin as my heart raced in nervousness and excitement and the little wins that had me saying ‘nice one Zans’ .. the joy was not only in the downhills but little wins in my climbing too.. comparing how much I’d grown in the last 2 years.. The Oom Piet climb section however left very little to be desired! The finish was sublime.. I’d forgotten how beautiful Van Gaalens is as the race started at the ‘5Km to go’ mark.. We’re a funny bunch, but even more, suckers for amazing single track and there it was .. yes..

 The Advendurance team has raised their game to a new level, I remember thinking Rooiberg reminded me a little of 1 of the stages at Bridge Cape Pioneer.. and Van Gaalens did too.. we don’t have much in Joburg to train for stage races that require constant hectic give from us, we simply don’t, and the last 2 national series were for me, a good measure of where you’re going if aiming for stage races, well done for an awesome event Advendurance!


The half marathon was tough as usual with a repeat of Oom Piet climb causing a second death.. The sight of the Powasol bike wash on Sunday was a reminder that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel ;)