Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Life Changing Experiences Part 2

Since Part 1 I have become the proudest Father EVER! My wife gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on 2 December 2010. Wow it's been 19 days already!!

He has been brilliant, even the sleepless nights, projectile pooping and making sure his sprinkler system works, repeatedly over everything within a 4 foot radius!

Tracy is also doing very well and we have both taken to parenting very well, if I do say so myself! She is still in pain from her C section but all other vitals are looking very good - she is already an amazing mother!

I keep threatening to go for a 5AM ride after that feed but it's tough when he only goes down at 11 and is up again at 2 and again at 5! I will get it right! I am determined, especially when I'm on paternity leave for the first week in January 2011 - Cannot wait!

I cannot describe the feeling of becoming a parent for the first time. Tracy and I were lying in bed this morning after his feed and just staring at him, watching him sleep, thinking how surreal this all still feels!

I'm learning all sorts of things from breast feeding to bathing the little guy...

Maybe I should change the title of this blog to "Bewildered Fatherhood"!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Life Changing Experiences

I'm going to be a dad soon! 
Tracy is under the impression that since we'll be awake from 5AM onwards from then on, it's a perfect time for me to go ride! I'm not complaining but I'm not sure that it will work out that way...

I'm really excited about the prospect of fatherhood! I'd liken it to the feeling you get as you are about to bungee jump for the first time... you know you are going to be fine, but it doesn't help your heart pounding, a cold sweat developing all over your body and that fear "what if the rope breaks"!

We sit on the couch at night and watch this thing that looks like a python in bag writhing and moving around. It looks freaky but is such an amazing experience, I cannot explain the feeling but those with kids who have been through this will know exactly what I mean!

I rode on my own again on Friday morning (check out the route here) after missing Jean and Charl at the gate. I know, I know, but what a ZEN moment when you're in the "Fairy Garden" on your own! I left with 20 minutes to get me the 7 Kms from my garage to the gate at the Tokai Arboretum but after setting out found that I was running on flat! It must be the 7kgs I've picked up in my support eating for my pregnant wife! Well that's my excuse!

So 2 Kms in and feeling flat and fat I realised I was not going to make the rest of the ride if I pushed to meet the guys at the gate so backed off a bit. Good thing I did as I barely made the rest of the ride anyway! If I had managed to catch Charl and Jean on their easy ride before the DC I think I would have left the previous nights dinner somewhere on the mountain. Those two are machines! They got there at 5:45 AM and rode up and 3/4s of the way down in the time it took me to get 1/4 way up. Mad men!

I'll be attempting to kick my ass out of bed early again tomorrow as I think I'm drinking too much and definitely eating WAY too much! I need to burn off this muffin top! Yes I said it - I have a muffin top! Rude I know but, holy crap, where the hell did that come from, I swear it wasn't there yesterday! It's just krept up on me and then, WHAM, attached itself to my rippling six pack hiding it forever! Or until I tame the food and drink and spend more time on my bike than sipping beer!

Hopefully I'll have a positive update tomorrow regarding successfully being able to get out of bed!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Busy, VERY BUSY!!!!

Tracy and I are expecting our first child very soon!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Sadly I don't have R80K to spend on a bicycle right now so I'm hoping brands will catch-up to the likes of Niner and Giant and Specialised and introduce "reasonably" priced softies. These will set you back anything from about R35K to R95K depending on how you choose to trick them out...

I think we can wait at least 2 years before dual suspension 29ers become reasonably priced and we will still be able to get the R90K+ versions. The R&D costs need to be recooperated and we are talking about specs, engineering and the materials used in these machines, those costs can be imense I'm sure!

I guess one of the questions I need to answer is whether the 29er hard-tail behaves at all like a 26 soft-tail, Obviously the soft tail will have the tyre plus the 80mm odd shock travel where the 29er would only have the tyre travel but I would expect a little more flex in the 29er...

I'm very much an average rider, so the additional comfort for me is a welcome luxury (at a price). I'd be looking at an aliminium full susser and i'm hoping that, like the Merida Mission 3000D back in '08 when I bought mine, it won't break the bank (relatively speaking to the full carbon) and give a really great ride. Whether that will ever happen, who knows.

So far the manufacturers that have seemed to be in the front in terms of full suspension XC 29ers are the following:
Niner Jet 9 - frame alone is R18,600
Giant Anthem X 29er - no idea on cost
Kona Hei Hei 2-9  - no idea on cost
Specialized Epic  - no idea on cost
Trek - Gary Fisher  - no idea on cost but depending on the spec anything from R44,700
Pivot Mach 429  - no idea on cost
Santacruz Tallboy  - no idea on cost
Titus Rockstar  - no idea on cost

I have not listed these on price at all as you see and most come in different component options so I have really just gone for an estimation and on the bikes I like.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I finally managed to wake up at 5 AM this morning to get on my bike, ride to Tokai and have a great ride on as much single track as possible including on the foot paths next to the main roads to get to Tokai. It's about  7KMs to Tokai's gate and then managed about 8KMs in Tokai before I had to head home to do the S.S.S for work.

I was a bit taken a back at how difficult the first 15Kms were but then I started to feel a bit better as i hit the down hill home!

It became crystal clear to me how important that base training is! It doesn't matter what one does on one's bike as long as one is on one's bike for 10 hours a week at least and that's before one starts any training! So, what that means is I need to do it tomorrow and the day after and twice on the weekend for the next 10 weeks or so and I should start to feel better about my cycling again and from there I can start some serious training regime. First I have to get that base layer up and that means lots of early mornings, early evenings and discipline. All of these things I have been seriously lacking the last few months!

The plan for November is to ride at least 10 hours a week!

Can I do it? Who knows but I'm going to try get as much riding in now before the baby comes a long and I need to do midnight feeds etc etc...

This is from this morning's ride:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mountain Biking on the farm

I haven't said very much about riding on the farm so I thought now's the time.

The farm is near Molteno (whereverthatmaybe) in the Stormberg Mountains. It gets extremely cold here in winter and never really warms up to any decent early 30 degree days in summer. The Freedom Challenge comes right by the farm on their journey. Never heard of it? Well, in short it is a MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE of 2,350 kilometres on Southern Africa's Freedom Trail as a non-stop, unsupported race from Pietermaritzburg to Paarl outside Cape Town. That is lunacy! Have a look at some of the pics of these poor souls riding through snow and minus temperatures in that area!

I'm not brave enough to go to the farm in winter let alone go riding there in winter - still people do.
The ride I usually do is a 45km odd circular route around the P.I.L's and neighbours farm. The rules to avoid getting lost are simple, at the siding turn left and take every left thereafter and you'll eventually get back to the siding (44.5kms later). Got to love farms - that's the block!

I missed a left turn ONCE (I'll never do that again by accident!) and landed up going straight at the third left and almost landed up in Burgersdorp. The usual 45km turned into an endless "wherethefuckamI". I had paced myself well to make a record time on the 45km. So when I hit 40km and realised I am nowhere near where I should be, I realised I was lost. I had no water left and no food! It was hot that day and I was getting sun branded! I suck to the "turn left" rule so at the one point I should have turned right, I turned left!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I think that route wold have been about 90kms. I did about 75kms before getting picked up by the search party that was deployed when I was 4 hours later than I should have been!

Now I know exactly where the turns are, and even if it looks like a driveway, take it anyway! I have also invested in a 3 litre camel back so that I can stay hydrated! This is the route.

The last ride on the farm was great! I felt really buggered after the Karoo2Coast and it literally took me all week to recover! I went out for a ride on the Saturday after the race and managed a very respectable time, if not my fastest time to date. Must be the altitude or something?

I'm still threatening to wake up early and go for that ride so if you're keen, let me know!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The Karoo to Coast was on the 19th of September! It has been exactly a month but fortunately I was on the bike almost a week after the race but not since.

I'm really battling with motivation to getting back on the bike. Especially when it comes to waking up early and getting out on the bike.

"JUST DO IT" comes to mind and "you'll only battle for the first 2 weeks", after that it's good to go!

With all that said I have set the alarm clock for 5AM which should get me into Tokai and back before 7:30!

I'll let you know how that goes...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's been 11 days...

I have a confession to make...
It has been 11 days since my last bicycle ride (road/mtb).

I really need to get back into the riding again - the weather is great and the company is superb. Anyone keen for night ride?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Feeling Demotivated and Tired

I know most of you feel like this, but man, it's tough to pull yourself out of bed in the morning when all you want to do is lie in bed and enjoy the warmth. It's a self fulfilling prophecy - if you don't do it, you won't improve! Afraid of failing? That's easy, don't try! I've gained another waist size and feel weaker than ever before. My muscles are stiff after sanding a cot for f&%@ sake!

WTF am I on a bout! Get off your ass and get out there. What's the worst that can happen? You actually enjoy it and find that the 10 hours you need to do a week to build a decent base is actually not that bad, even enjoyable, and what's more, easily achievable!

So what do you do? Here are a list of excuses, all true but none really matter because they are just excuses:
  • My car is in for a service so I can't transport the bike.
  • My MTB needs a service desperately
  • My wife won't let me go ride at 4:30 in the morning
  • I can't get out of bed
The reality of the list above is that I live in the Southern Suburbs, have a road bike and lights, an alarm and spare room to get dressed in unnoticed and quietly.

It really all boils down to the fact that I'm lazy AND if I don't try, I won't fail!

Quite frankly, that's not good enough! If you are like me let me know - we can start a support group!

At this point I would just like to thank the "Smooth Knobblies Cycle Club" who have welcomed me and my above mentioned baggage and try very hard to get me on the road from town, which in truth is an issue for the car being in hospital with breathing difficulties... I would also like to thank my wife for letting me wake her up at 4:30AM (GMT+2) at least twice a week and miss dinner on Wednesdays for the night rides.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Humbling/off pissing

I started mountain biking in April 2006 on my Dads mountain bike. I enjoyed it so much that I eventually bought the bike from him for R1 (thanks again Dad) and was hooked. the bike was a steel steed with shocking front suspension. I loved that bike and rode every weekend giving me the weeks in between to recover from the regular falls and lactic acid build up. I eventually upgraded the pedals to clipless, saw my a$$ more than once but got used to them and started riding better. I did the Argus Mountain bike Challenge back in 2007 as my first long race and really suffered!

I decided to make the investment and buy a faster, lighter, more bling, full suspension Merida Mission 3000D. Love this bike! I bought lights so I can ride in the dark and try to go for evening or morning rides at least twice a week.

Why am I telling you this? Well I was riding the Burger Mountain Bike Challenge over the weekend (31 July 2010) and am struggling through this race, dying on the uphills and managing to not fall off with exhaustion on the downhills. I knew I hadn't prepared myself enough and hadn't done enough training for this race but the one person I was focused on beating was a women in her early twenties on the same bike as my first bike and riding circles around me!


So what am I going to do about it?

I have no idea! Train more? Eat less? Use race nutrition better? Buy a better more expensive bike? definitely not! I had energy bars, Goo, enerjellys and a banana before I started.

Bottom line is it's not the bike or the nutrition or the gel or the goo or the gear. It all seems to come down the preparation you have or have not done. So you might be thinking "about time you realised that!" but to tell you the truth I ride quite often but I'm not riding right. I need to get a training regime and stick to it like a religious nut!

This is going to be my diary, my where, my why, my results check and I had better start improving else this is all for nothing!