It’s been a productive 3 weeks since my last update after the Nissan Down and Dirty MTB race;
With the spring finally settling in Paul and I determined to resurrect our patchy lawn decided to get stuck into the garden; this involved a few days of serious upper body workouts! Paul came home with 36 20kg bags of lawn dressing and compost, we scattered fertilizer, sprayed broad leaf poison, sowed grass seeds, spread lawn dressing and compost, visited the nursery returning with a load of new plants, dug holes (a mean feat in our rock infested hard soil), planted and watered. Still a lot of work to be done but already a huge improvement!
For the love of the game
The weekend after Nissan Paul and I met up with the MTN MTB Club 100 members for a group ride out South. The club organisers arrange a once monthly long ride that is always held at a different venue, a great initiative to keep things exciting and this ride was no exception!
Wendel; owner of Cycle Hub lead the ride which showcased the amazing MTB single and jeep track as well as the XC specific routes in Rietvlei Zoo Farm and on the nearby Thaba Trails.
Definitely worth heading out there if you are keen for some real Mountain biking!
Paul and I always strive to be approachable to our fellow MTBikers and really enjoyed the opportunity to ride and chat to the Club 100 members. Thanks to Angie and Sean for the super organisation and ride!
The following weekend was Paul’s first full weekend with Kaitlyn his excitement was palpable and I was privileged to share it with him! With her Birthday being the Thursday before we organised a BIG party for on her Sunday pulling out all the stops with a jumping castle, lots of friends and Tangled birthday cake. A fun but admittedly tiring weekend!
From strength to strength
My training has gone from strength to strength in the last few weeks and I’m finally starting to see a few decent numbers on my SRM VII even managing to spit out a relatively good (for this stage in my recovery) threshold test for Activeworx.
Paul and I have for the last 4 weeks returned to our weekly deep tissue massage with Lynda Stanton an admittedly painful 30 minute session highly beneficial to our recovery.
After learning that core strength is a vital component to MTBiking efficiency and skill I have been attending a group pilates class for the last 3-4 years. My instructor Debbi specialises in cyclists having a keen interest in the sport herself. I have definitely felt the benefits and enjoy the weekly “torture” to my core and stabilizer muscles ;). It’s not always serious though as we sometimes have fun and games playing catch whilst trying to balance on balls. Not sure if I get more of a workout for those few minutes from the exercise or laughter!!
MTN Dirt Fest MTB marathon - Hilton
After our Volcans had had the Epic Sports Cycle shop star treatment and were deemed race ready they were loaded into Larry (our team van) and together with the full MTN-Qhubeka MTB team we headed for Hilton on Thursday morning.
A long trip later... thanks Nicole for the good driving we arrived at our accommodation.
Paul and I went for a quick tour of the neighbourhood on our bikes to loosen our travel weary legs. That combined with a good home cooked meal and night’s sleep and I was starting to feel like a cyclist again.
After breakfast we left for a team pre-race warm up ride heading to Cascades to do a couple laps of the WC XC course. Not having raced it this year and hearing it was an awesome technical route I was keen to check it out. WOW, I was not disappointed its great fun with some real tricky rock gardens. I believe it is a “rib-breaker” in the wet!!! (sorry Multigirl)
We rode 2 laps and by the end were all feeling a lot more confident on our technical skills. I must say being able to ride gap jumps has made me a lot more confident over the technical drops and jumps.
Needing some refuelling we stopped in at the famous CoffeeBerrys for a good coffee and then headed home to put our feet up.
Doug being in KZN for meetings with MTN and Wildlands (some awesome environmental projects in the pipeline) joined us for dinner and we enjoyed an entertaining evening with a good team vibe.
I woke with that uneasy race morning feeling and as Kevin Evans would say ‘had oats with nails!’
Arriving at the race venue Wouter - Epic Sports cycle shop gave our bikes a final check, I had a pre-race interview and was presented with the pink leaders jersey which I would be wearing for the first time this year.
I must say it felt pretty heavy especially since I don't have much racing in my legs and with Ischen and I so close on points I knew this was going to be a tough battle today.
The start was downhill and fast, I rode in front and was able to keep pulling a small gap through each of the technical sections. Ischen, Candice (both Bizhub) and I took the lead keeping a hard Tempo-pace. About 15km into the race Ischen lost some time with a small crash after losing her front wheel in a sandy turn in a technical forest singletrack, Candice and I getting a slight lead.
I passed Candice on the next jeep track and after a few kilometres pulled a slight lead.
Making sure I fuelled well with my PVM supplements I kept a steady pace making the most of the numerous technical sections to keep ahead of Ischen who I knew was hot on my heels.
At the bottom of the last long climb for the day Ischen was only 200m back, I put my head down and pushed hard digging deep to get everything from my still returning to form legs. I managed to hang on to my lead by the skin of my teeth crossing the finish line about 10 seconds ahead of Ischen happy to keep the pink jersey for Team MTN-Qhubeka and Candice finishing in 3rd.
|Holding onto pink|
Thanks Doug for the support at the race, great to have the boss there ;)
Thanks too to my fellow MTN-Qhubeka team mates, Nicole and Wouter – Epic Sports for the great support and team vibe over the weekend!
And one last thanks to Advendurance and MTBseries for another great course and event!
Next up Crater Cruise which will be a whole different ball game...
Till then take care,