It’s been a really good month following Paul’s return from the UK where he took on the rider manager role supporting Adrien at the Olympic test event in London.
He returned with a renewed sense of the technical skills real XC MTB courses require and we have since been spending a lot more time on the Volcans working on our efficiency and handling. As you would have seen in an earlier post he even got me to ride the GIGANTIC (ok slight exaggeration but that’s how it felt to me the first time!) gap jump at the MTN bike park, a momentous step forward for me. After the shaking subsided from my first successful attempt it suddenly became easy and made me realise even more how much of a head game these things are! I must say though that being able to ride over obstacles greatly improved my technical skills in that I’m able to see and take different lines riding a lot smoother at the same time..... Very grateful to Paul for helping me to overcome my initial fear!
Besides a bit of a set-back last week caused by a seasonal bug and a short course of antibiotics to rid it from my system my training has been going a lot better the last 3 weeks, I’ve felt a nice improvement in my endurance and strength and I’m finally able to join Paul for some of his longer rides albeit that I’m sitting wheel for the majority especially with the very windy conditions we have been experiencing the last few weeks! #freeridemuchappreciated!
These two factors mean that I'm starting to feel like a cyclist and more importantly a Mountain biker again and I was looking forward to travelling down to the Cape for MTN Gravel Travel, my first marathon race back.
|Some handy work|
In addition to the training and focus on race preparation Paul and I have been keeping up with our goal to complete some long term home improvements the latest project being the installation of 4 beautiful Oregon pine doors Paul had made into our passage way.
I “started” the project by dragging out the frames from the garage and dusting off the numerous cobwebs whilst Paul was away but it took a further 2 weeks to complete the project which involved; having the doors installed, applying Woodoc, taking the doors off and outside to prevent further Woodoc fume intoxication, sanding 1st layer, removing splinters from hands and fingers, applying 2nd coat of Woodoc whilst Paul expertly installed the locks and handles (tough and intricate work as they had to be fitted from scratch through the solid Oregon frame), reinstalling the doors and finally getting sandblasted glass cut and securing it into the frames.
Tough but satisfying work! Add to our passage 2 box canvas pictures I had printed and voila our passage had its long awaited face lift!
|concocting big plans!|
Back to the racing...
We left with the team from Epic Sports in the VW crafter on Thursday morning from Epic Sports for an Epic and painful (sit bone wise) 1 day journey to the Cape.
We arrived late that evening, awoke to steady rainfall which served well to make the race course surface optimal and started Friday slowly getting in as much recovery time as possible. I prepared for the next day’s racing with a good roller spin and later short ride to the race venue with PC to double check the Volcan’s were race ready.
|Final touches for a faultless ride!|
With not much intensity training and no racing in my legs I lined up at the start with no idea of how the race would pan out for me.
Queen of the Mountain was at 7.5km into the race and with a uphill start the pace was pretty intense. Sticking with the leading group of 3 ladies proved a bit too much for me and my legs forced me to drop back and recover. I found my rhythm, started feeling strong on the climbs, with my X-King, Race-King tire combination flowed smoothly through the single-track and started working my way through the ladies field.
An hour and a half into the race I caught Ischen and after a bit of cat and mouse we could see Leana who was leading at that stage up the road. We were all together for a short stretch until I got a gap up one of the short, steep climbs. I stretched my lead to just over 2 minutes by tech point one but lacking the intensity of racing in my legs started to fade with around 15kms to go. Ischen caught me and pulled ahead on the next long drag, I kept a steady pace but could not respond.
|Great pics from the heli - Z Conje!|
I finished in 2nd happy with my result and form at this stage of my recovery. I feel with a another month of good focused training and some quality MTB technical practice I’ll be getting back on track to my former self this time with 2 legs, happy days!!
Congrats to Ischen for a strong ride and deserved win and to my @TeamMTNQhubeka team mates for their fantastic results in the Ultra!
Thanks to all my sponsors @TeamMTNQhubeka, Andre- @EpicCycleShop for the great support and to Advendurance for a super MTB course and event!
Next week we race the Nissan Cornwall Hill marathon
Hope you enjoyed the post
Take care, Yolande
thanks Zoon Cronje for the pics
thanks Zoon Cronje for the pics