Saturday, 30 July 2011

The Storm before the Race by pc

The last two days has seen the opening of the 2012 London Olympic XC course and Adrien and I have been a couple of the privileged riders  to ride a few laps! Now this course may morph somewhat before the big day in 1years time but we at least have gotten a good idea of what the challenge will look like when the Olympics storms onto Hadliegh farm.

I must say firstly from a spectator point of view it is going to be fantastic! You can see so much of the course from any one of the hills on which the route is inter-laced. So if you are a cycling enthusiast and plan on being in London this time next year get your name into the lottery because you don't want to miss this one!

Start loop

Then for the riders the layout is superb. It is so easy to get around and they have pretty much thought of everything from the rider's perspective. The course is very open allowing for a lot of passing. It also gives good variation that will benefit the all-round athlete. There is no climb longer than about a minute but there are dozens a little less! They have also scattered several man made rock challenges every so often which all offer multiple lines for the brave to the not-so-brave.

Switch-back climb

All very well planned

There are a few steep drops as well as a few loose tricky ups. As we got a few more laps in we could feel our confidence rising and were able to carry more speed through many of the sections. Two feed zones which is expected back to back in perfect places and each country allocated a specific zone of their own.  There is also a 0.5km 8m wide start loop to get everyone going which is great to get the field fighting for position before the first climb and series of technical challenges.

Multiple lines on the rock gardens

So for the remainder of the day today I worked on the equipment, got everything ready for tomorrow and went to the managers meeting. Adrien thankfully got a bit of foot up time and is now rounding off his last interviews for the big movie, going to be great!

Tomorrow I'll be rushing around like a mad thing but I'll get some tweets in about the race starting from 15:00 SA time (14:00 local)! Adrien starts in 25th line 4 which is a great spot to be! So fingers crossed all goes well!

Catch you later!

Friday, 29 July 2011

London 2012 with 1 year 2 go! by PC

Sorry for the delay but here we go!

It is easy to be inspired and give feedback or write a story on something when it is truly inspirational. It is even better when it is not about yourself but luckily I have had the privilege of being a part of a very special story - and getting to see it firsthand has been amazing!

Now the past few days I've been in England in Basildon in support of my team mate Adrien Niyonshuti preparing for the Olympics in 2012. He is here to scout the course, see the terrain, make some equipment decisions and get acquainted with his surroundings. Daily routine has been nothing special, he and I get up, get some breakfast, gear up, do some riding, check out the gear, eat some more and sleep.

Big Ben

However what is truly amazing in the path Adrien has taken to get here and this was driven home on Monday when we met up with an American film crew who has been following this story from the beginning. The first evening we got an exclusive preview of the movie so far, and what a movie it is! I don't want to tell too much but what I can say is that this is not your normal documentary but is more a story of a multitude of individuals with all their own challenges as well that of a nation! If you have a second go check out the preview at

Great location for a film shoot!

Not included in our everyday routine we headed off to the race course the first evening to see if we could scout out the course on foot

Unfortunately we were not allowed in as they were still doing some final prep work on the course with a 300 strong work force and they were making sure no one would get hurt. Something I can say however is that they are putting on one big show this weekend but will only get to show and tell you more after tomorrow. However with the course closed we were treated by chance to the very scenic Hadliegh Castle ruins which was perfect for another great photo shoot!

Doing some modeling

The next day after training we headed into London via a 45min train trip and as we rolled into Puddingmill Lane we were left in awe of the massive Olympic stadium and its huge flame tower along side. One could sense that Adrien was starting to understand what journey he was embarking in. This was just the start as from the stadium we slipped into London to take part in the Olympic 1 year to go ceremony. This event really struck home as the enormity of the stage engulfing Trafalgar Square with thousands of people standing and cheering on 2012 you could sense that for Adrien this is now real!

1 Year to go ceremony

Thursday was a planned rest day so other than a run and short ride (??) I promised to take Adrien for a tour of London on a red bus. So with our very entertaining TV crew friends we learned about London via the second story of a double decker. We could not have asked for a nicer day as the sun was out and despite the massive amount of people we were able to see and film at some of the greatest land marks of the island and probably of the world.

No better way to see London

Olympic stadium and torch

Tomorrow it is routine as usual and we will get to be one of the first cyclists on the Olympic course of 2012. Cannot wait to see Adrien racing around there in 1 years time as I'm sure thousands of his supporters will all be cheering on the Rwandan cyclist that has raised from the ashes.

Chat again after the race, will let you all know how it goes!

Regards, PC

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Teak Place and London Olympics 2012 by pc

Last week I headed to Teak Place with my MTN/Qhubeka Team mates for round 2 of the Nissan marathon series. There was an amazing turn out as well as some of the best racers in the country so the scene was set for a great days racing.
Right from the start we wanted to be sure that the pace was hard and we were successful in stringing out the front of the race within the first few km's! This race was fantastic with a great mix of single track, jeep track, rough and manacured bike trails. The racing was fast and there was a lot of changing positions but just after a very fast 35km the race came to an unfortunate end. The group came to a standstill a couple km from the end realising that we had missed out a big section of trails before the kom.

Positions were finally given on the standings as we crossed kom which   is not really a comprehensive result but there was not really an alternative given the situation. This was a dissapointing ending for what had the makings of a great day of racing but am looking forward to round 3!

The next day Adrien and I packed up, collected our Volcans and headed for the UK. The reason for this was so we could recce out the 2012 London Olympic mountain bike course which Adrien had qualified to race in at the begining of the year. Our flight was good andMonday mid-morning we arrived in Basildon in Essex which is close to the Olympic venue which is at Haldliegh farm bike park. These first couple days we have only been training in Basildon as the course is closed until friday. We will go walk the course this pm to see what we are in for. What is exciting is that last night  we got to see a new movie that is coming out showing the story of Team Rwanda and staring our own Adrien. They will also be filming the final chapter of the movie this week which is really special for me. This is an amazing story and I have no doubt this is going to explode onto the world of cycling within the next few months. I don't want to say too much but go check out: - this will touch harts!

All for now, will keep twitter updates from the race on the weekend!

Until then, safe trails!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

On the road to recovery! by yolande

It’s been a long road to recovery since being re-diagnosed with cyclists iliac artery syndrome in October last year but after having surgery in April, a long 8 weeks off the bike and slow months build up back into normal training which included a number of near drowning experiences finding my swimming legs which formed part of my rehabilitation (Hats off to swimmers and Triathletes!) I'm finally back on my Mountain bike :). Small steps at the moment but I'm sure I'll find my racing legs again soon! 

This set back unfortunately put a giant spanner in my racing season and Team MTN/Qhubeka's goal to race the World XC Cup series however the time off has only increased my motivation and I'm looking forward to returning to racing stronger both physically and mentally

Thanks Doug Ryder, Team MTN Qhubeka, Activeworx, @Pcordesracing and all my sponsors for your understanding and support through this time!

Legend Gorge MTB Race Weekend

After my long break it was great to start getting back into the MTBiking vibe this weekend joining the MTN/Qhubeka MTB team for the Legend Gorge MTB race.

I did not race but rode the 30km half-marathon route helping some of the riders that had fallen prey to technical problems and giving out some advice on bike-handling through thick sand.
It was a good feeling to spend time on my Volcan again and sharpen up my rusty technical skills a little on the sandy rocky course. It also served to intensify my hunger to start racing again!

Congrats to my teammates for their great results in the 70km marathon event; Adrien 2nd, Paul 3rd and Charles 5th!

Volcans at Legend
Thanks @Advendurance for the invite and Legend Gorge Golf Estate and Lodge for a fantastic event and weekend!

Legend Gorge, bike safety and Qhubeka by pc

Legend Gorge July 2011

We just got back home from a great weekend away with some of our MTN/Qhubeka team-mates but before I give you a race update here is a quick filler from the past week:
Awareness Ride Centurion @ Epic Sports

Firstly the Cycle Safety Awareness Ride took place from our shop at Doringkloof Mall on Saturday and was a huge success. This ride was to help create awareness about bicycle safety especially due to all the bike hijackings; accidents etc that have been taking place in recent times. This is such a good initiative and it was amazing to see how many mountain bikers turned out (around the 200 mark I believe).  Thanks to Epic Sports Cycle Shop club member Mr John Williams for all of his efforts with the press as well as Anton Bosman for spearheading this initiative. The idea of these rides is to say that we are taking back our cycling areas and show the mountain bikers how to cycle in groups for safety, things to look for and warning signs as well as to show the public that mountain biking is here to stay. Another big thanks is to the Helivac Marshals (also one of our sponsors of MTN/Qhubeka) who marshaled the event and kept the road and railway crossings safe for all. You can follow Helivac Marshals and Cycling Safety on both facebook as well as twitter. Very exciting!
Another fantastic initiative that has just been launched is that of Qhubeka. The best way I can describe this is for you to go check out their website: (there is a link on our page as well). In brief there is a few ways you can get involved with this but the gist of it is: kids grow trees and earn themselves and their communities bikes mobilizing them both and giving themselves a more productive lifestyle! How does this affect you? Well if you migrate/buy a Qhubeka contract you contribute to this initiate as well as receive other benefits like specials on BlackBerry packages – win/win!! Go take a peak.

Anyway, back to me (-;. Last couple of weeks training has gone really well and it feels like I am going to make it through winter for a change in good shape and ready for the second half of the year! Last Friday we loaded up the Team and headed north to the Legend Gorge classic! We were lucky enough to get a special invite from Advendurance and Legend Gorge Lodge and got thoroughly spoilt! We were treated to fantastic meals as well as 5star accommodation shadowed by the magnificent Waterberg Mountains! Well the mountain looked stunning right up to the point where the race markers directed us up the gorge its self! The 15km or so before that was rather rapid where some of the big wheels set a hot pace through the sand and rocks but when the trail turned upwards all playing came to an end! Now I was asked in my post race interview how to describe this climb and honestly this is not easy to do. The fact of it is that it is close to a 3km climb at a gradient of around 45deg! This basically meant that besides the usual lactic acid and straining for breath that I was in my utmost granny gear, DT Swiss fork dropped and locked out, standing over the bars so that the front wheel wouldn’t lift , could hear the moaning of my Conti’s biting into the cement and still all of my dashboard warning lights were flashing!!

Now this race is straight through big 5 territory (mid pack was stopped for around 50min due to elephants) but at kilo 2 up this climb I was starting to think that getting mauled by a heard of buffalo would actually help ease some of the pain. Anyway I made it up the whole climb without having to test my duathlon skills but a little behind Max Knox and team mate Adrien Niyonshuti. Once on top of the escarpment I found good rhythm and was careful not to make any mistakes on some very rocky and tricky sections through the reserve. Now what goes up must come down and we got to go down the same gorge and I’m quite sure a lot of riders could smell their brakes melting! Once back at the bottom we had a sandy loop around the amazing golf course which includes an extreme 19th hole. This hole you tee of at the top of the mountain (get there via helicopter) to the green down at the bottom which is shaped like Africa. Having a quick peak up at this I know that if I ever hit anything off there no one would ever find it again! Anyway I kept up good speed all the way to the finish and was thankful that my legs are starting to feel quite good. I finished up 3rd 21sec behind Adrien with Max taking another classy win.
This was a great weekend away and I’m sure it will grow to be a premier event within the next few years. Well done to all the organizers as well as Advendurance for another good event. Next year we will definitely keep Legend Gorge on the program!
Next week we will be racing the Nissan series Teak Place then Adrien and I will be off to London for a week to give him some fine pre-Olympic course training. 

Remember if anyone is keen on mtb group rides please contact the shop as we cater for all levels of rider and would love to have you with!
Till next time, rubber side down! PC

Friday, 1 July 2011

Our week in skills, mechanics and the Tour De France - by PC

As the weekend approaches and the start of the biggest cycling race in the world is about to kick off in France it also brings hand-in-hand my annual TDF betting pool! The numbers have been climbing, lots of behind the scenes research has been going on to see which will be the best way to bring in the pot as well as exclusive bragging rights for the next year! This always a great way to get Epic Sport patrons, mtb enthusiasts, team-mates and friends who normally don’t follow this type of cycling discipline to get into this event, create some interest and ultimately lose some of their hard earned money to my bet! But inevitably time will tell!
Another event for Yolande and me this week was the Centurion Hoerskool skills and tech clinic which was held on Wednesday. This is the first time the school has ever had a cycling club and is such a great initiative to give kids a chance to gain exposure to the sport as normal school extra mural activities never really allow for this. 20 kids showed up at Fountains which was fantastic! They were split into two groups where I would take one group through a set of activities to help give them a few pointers of how not to crash on face as well as to be faster and more efficient mtb riders and Andre (Epic Sports Cycle Shop and MTN/Qhubeka Pro mtb mechanic) showed the other group a few basics on bike love.
The parents also put on a great show and supplied wors rolls and support to their kids as well as revealing a new kit and sponsor for their school team! MTN/Qhubeka provided everyone with an Elite Team water bottle as well as some PVM nutritional supplements which they could try out on their ride. The event was good fun and hopefully everyone learnt something. It was also nice to see some of the talent that could possibly be fueling our sport in the years to come so hats off to Centurion Hoerskool for such a great initiative!
Another great initiative is the Epic Sports charity box which has been overflowing with fantastic product in aid of the Jacaranda Charity. Thanks to everyone who has supported this project and please keep those unused cycling products coming as here they will never go to waste!
Well, no racing this weekend for us but instead we will be able to put in a few quality rides! I am happy that I’m recovering well from last weekend and have decided that crashing is not really for me.  I am also pleased to announce that Yolande has now finished her first week back on the bike and is looking good. This will be a challenging road for her but more determination you have not seen so what else to say…..maybe just watch out ladies, comeback 3.0 is underway!
Good luck to all racing in Knysna this weekend all the best to the Tour De France pool, this will be an interesting year!
Till next time,