It is with great sadness that we bid farewell to our friend and cycling legend Burry, who was tragically snatched away in the prime of his life while training in his home town of Kwazulu-Natal on January 3rd.
We have lost not only a friend, colleague and team-mate, but a true sportsman. He will long be remembered for his humility, his prowess and the gentle manner in which he conducted his life!
Our heartfelt sympathies, thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Cherise, his parents, family and all who were privileged to know this gentle giant.
Life is short, life is sweet but his legend will live on forever...
Sincere condolences to all.
Full name : Burry Willie Stander
Nickname : the dart
Age: just old enough to drink beer in the us
Weight: 65 kg (this morning after a coffee and a pit stop)
Favourite food: steak ,eggs and chips
Favourite drink: chocolate milk
Hometown: Umtentweni, KZN, South Africa
Coach: Garmin ,Powertap and myself...
Training hours: 10-12 hours in season,20-25 hrs leading up to epic
Strengths: anything short and punchy
Weaknesses: long drawn out boring dirt roads...nutella and ice cream
Bikes: Epic for marathon and XC, Tarmac S-Works for well tarmac, Transition for TT or when I like to go really fast.
Previous pro teams: Factory GT
Years pro: 2009 is my 4th
Race nutrition for marathon/long road races: Typically 2 fast fuel bars,4-6 gels,4 bottles of fast fuel race fuel/water.
Race nutrition for XC: 3-5 gels,around 2 bottles of race fuel/water mixed into smaller bottles depending on laps.
Party nutrition: generally not a lot of solids,mostly fluid
Hobbies off the bike: cars, watching tv, hitting the beach, hanging out with Cherise(girlfriend) and giving Bobby, Christoph and Wellsy a hard time.
Drives: 2007 Audi a3 2.0t with Rieger body kit, 19 inch wheels, custom paint. branch exhaust system and some pumping sound, 2008 BMW x5 3.0sd stock standard unfortunately.
Favourite tv show: Entourage
Favourite movie: Cool Runnings/Talledega Nights
Favourite music: hip-hop/rock
Favourite artist: lil Wayne
Typical day: kiss Cherise,hit the coffee machine.watch some mtv and then its off on a ride.shower,eat,nap,watch tv.more excercise,shower,eat,watch tv,sleep,,,now thats a good day.
Favourite saying: "..that just happened!"
Superstitions: None i can think of.
On being Specialized: A great opportunity to becoming the best I can be, and a bunch of good times with great people along the way!
I started riding mountain bikes with my dad and older brothers on a farm just outside of port Shepstone in KZN at the age of 10. I remember those first years as the most challenging of my career. I think the bikes I was on back then weighed more than me but it didn’t deter my enthusiasm. Instead I always wanted to ride further and faster by day and by night I was flipping through American mountain bike magazines dreaming of one day meeting my heroes that graced the pages. 10 years have gone by and my passion has stayed the same. The same things that drove me back then drive me today.For me its all about being the best that I can be,and if that gets me to the top id be very grateful. The sport has taken me on an awesome journey over the years, in 1999 I won my first Sa and African titles as a u/13 or sprog as the category is known. In 2005 I made a trip to the usa to compete against the best that country had to offer. I managed three wins out of four in their national series and with that I got a wonderful opportunity to race for the gt international mountain bike team in 2006. I steadily improved over my first two years as a pro with the team racing the world cup series all over the world and had a brake through year this year winning the u/23 world cup and placing 5th in the pro men. In 2008 I also had the awesome honour of representing South Africa at the Olympic games in Beijing where I finished in 15th place. I continue to race locally whenever the chance permits and I enjoy riding with friends and family whenever I get the chance.
Career highlights pre 2008
3 time U/19 sa xc and marathon champion
10th commonwealth games 2006
17th u/23 world championships 2006
SA pro xc champion 2006/2007
6th u/23 world championships 2007
African xc mtb champion 2007
Mazda drifter Barberton sa marathon series opener 1st
14th giro del capo road tour and 2nd u/26 rider
Cape Epic stage win and leader for three stages(dnf due to itb injury while leading)
South Africa cross country champion
3rd u/23 SA road championships
World cup round 1 Houffalize Belgium 58th
world cup round 2 Offenburg Germany 7th
World cup round 3 Madrid, Spain 13th
World cup round 4 Vallnord,Andorra 2nd
World cup round 5 Fort William Scotland 5th
World cup round 6 Mont St Anne, Canada 3rd
World cup round 7 Bromont Canada 24th
World cup round 8 Canberra Australia 6th
World cup round 9 Schladming Austria 10th
World cup overall standings 5th
World cup u/23 champion
U/23 World championships 2nd
Jeep Hill2Hill marathon champion
Olympic games Beijing 15th
2009 sponsors: Specialized bikes, mr price,Oakley, Fever publications-weekly mountainbike column, Fast fuel nutrition, Crank brothers pedals, Garmin, Songo.info-charity involved in building BMX tracks for disadvantaged communities.
wines2whalesNovember 16, 2010
another busy week in the books...after two days at home cherise and i headed down to cape town for the songo.info ride and dinner on wednesday nite. the event was a great success and thank you to all those who attended and showed their support.
on thursday i spent most of the day shooting in jonkershoek for the march issue of bicycling in which ill be the guest editor. gary flipper was behind the lens and did an awesome job as always. i also got to enjoy some singletrack which was in great shape. in the afternoon the songo.info group and i made our way to erinvale hotel in somerset west for the start of the wine2whales at lourensford. i was partnered up with johan roos and was looking forward to seeing the bunch from a different side. thanks to johan for putting up with me and supporting our cause.
the weekends riding was awesome and i got to enjoy all the cape epic routes without the pain. cherise and her usn team mate killed it in the womans section, winning overall.
on monday i met up with jeroen swart who put me through some paces. got some really clear and helpful feedback. im really looking forward to working on my form for the upcoming season, but i have one more busy week and then a holiday one before i get going.
after a quick visit to jhbOctober 18, 2010
after a quick visit to jhb on my way back of france i got back home on wednesday.ive been pretty busy lately with setting up a specialized concept store in kzn.it is all starting to materialize and concept cyclery powered by burry stander will open its doors on dec 1st.
this weekend saw the running of the annual amashova cycle challenge.it kzn's biggest road race festival and is always a must do.on friday night i headed to moses mahbida sccer stadium for an indoor criterium.the race was super fun as we did 70 laps of a 700m odd technical circuit under the stadium.the racing was hard as we had sprint primes every 5laps which counted for points and the race would was to be decided on points only.i had some good sprints and ended in 3rd behind christoff van heerden(mtn) and arran brown(medscheme).well dont to the organizers for hosting the awesome event.
on sunday it was road race time.as always the route follows the legendary comrades marathon between pmb and durban.the race got off to a slow start and the real racing only started ant inchanga.i got involved in a few moves but they were all in vain as we knew 35km of downhill waited towards the end.the race came down to a bunch sprint and i managed a 5th place.well done to medscheme for their one-two.
this week ill have more relaxing time at home so i hope the weather is better and allows me to do some riding.on the weekend is the mtb version of the amashova.its the asishova and takes place at midmar dam in pmb.
roc d'azurOctober 13, 2010
back to racing,even if it is considered holiday racing...after suffering badly in last years roc i wanted to realy prepare well for the event this year.unfortunately after world champs i just didnt have the time i needed.about a week ago i started doing some good rides and decided to focus on the event anyway.sometimes fresh legs go suprisingly well!
i got into nice on wednesday,met claire and lene and we were off to frejus.the town of frejus is alittle harbor town just about twenty km from st tropez.now ive lived on the coast my whole life and even so the beaches here are awesome.the weather unfortunately only played along for a few days before heavy winds came in and spoiled our party.
i did a few hard rides on the course to prepare and get used to my 29er again.the course was similar to last year,very rocky!i alos opted out of the marathon to save all my energy for the xc which is the main event on sunday.suz represented and got 2nd in a sprint.
it felt quite strange be nervous again on sunday morning.a serious field had turned up for the event and so did the spectators.the course was lined at the start and along most of the route aswell.speaking of starts,this course has my least favourite one of the year.we start on a 50m wide grass field for the first km and its absolute pain!!!the big wheels did make it somewhat easier over the bumpy tuffts tho
after just 10km we were a group of around 8 riders at the front and i managed to go with all the samll moves after that.it definitely wasnt a repeat of the suffer fest that was roc 2009.at around halfway we split into a group of five with marathon world champ alban lakata just howevering on and of the rear of the group.as we hit the beach florian vogel and i got a small gap on a chasing alban which wasnt long lived as the guy has imense power on the flat.it came down to a long power sprint in which alban got me by about half a wheel.with very little training over the last month i was stoked!!!
this week ill be back home and doing some road racing at the amashova crit and road race this weekend.
enjoying spring at homeOctober 13, 2010
man its been a long time since ive been home and had absolutely nothing to do!!!i was however carrying somke flu for most of this week wich was abit of a bummer.never the less i got to do all my favourite things.i drank huge loads of coffee,hung out friends,hit the beach,ran and even did some solid rides.
the coolest of these rides was on sunday.it was a pretty cool over cast day with minimal wind which made it perfect for some hard trail riding.i decided to ride the old hibiscus classic route which first took place in 1998 if i remember correctly.i was about 10 years old and it was our little clubs first attempt at putting on a race.on the morning of the inaugural event the rain came bucketing down and we figured it best to just cancel.little did we know that real mountainbikers dont cancel just because of alittle rain and the riders showed up in numbers at my parents farm.we had no choice but to forge ahead with myself and brother competing in the race aswell.it wasnt the norm for me to ride in wet conditions yet so i was suited to the max and even sported some tracksuit pants!
riding the route again after so many years ended up being such a cool experience and took me back to the days when the going in my opinion was realy hard!i couldnt think that a 10 year old could and would want to ride up and down some of those hills.the infamous "firebreak" section which was basically like a two wheeld version of russian roulette is now a sweet singletrack paradise due to some major quad bike excavating.i had loads of fun exploring those valleys and cant wait to spend more time out there in the summer!
tommorow(tuesday) i head out to my last event of the year.the roc d'azur festival in france.its a super cool race right on the beach,what more could i ask for?another higlight is the bmx supercross race race that takes place there aswell.acording to siphis nhlapos twitter its going to be the biggest supercross race ever.ill be in the stands cheering him on for sure!
also happening this weekend is the lake eland classic at oribi gorge.good luck to all the competitors.mind the elands!
bronzin it...September 7, 2010
it wasnt long ago that i stood next to the track in amzament staring at the pro riders flying by at the world champs.. .this years world championships has been a very exciting proposition for me ever since an after winning the u/23 world championships in canberra last year i set two optomistic goals for the 2010 season.i wanted to win a medal at both the marathon world championships and the xco world champs a month later.
last month i managed to achieve my first goal,however i knew i wasnt going to be as lucky at the xco champs with that sort of form. i went home, got re-focused and set about making it happen. after last weeks dissapointment in windham i knew i had some good shape and the motivation was sky high.
i have raced at mont st anne for a couple of years now and i think they did a great job of the course for this years worlds.the loop was shortened somewhat which meant we would do the two big climbs more often than before.the course also had the sweetest bridges ive ever ridden over. it was like a skatepark out there!
the specialized team did an awesome job again this week. our bikes had to be race ready not once, but twice this week as we had team really on wednesday. i had a pretty solid lap in some traffic as sa had a third row call up. the rest of our sa team did a good job and we just missed the top 10 and ended 11th.
for bike setup this week i went for a single ring in the front.a 34tooth rotor ring mounted to a specialized carbon road spider did the job perfectly. i was again aboard my 2010 stumpjumper 29er. i ran a new prototype mud tire on the front dubbed "winston" by the team. on the rear i ha my fast rolling renegade setup. sram hooked us up with some new xx world cup edition black box brake last week which rounds of the package superbly. the bike weighed in at 8.2kg and handled the rough and technical track like a dream.
in the morning of the race it had rained quite heavily but it was drying out a little whilst the women were fighting it out on the course.we started at 2pm and the clouds were threatening. i had a great jump of the line and got through the first turn in the lead. i held onto the the front until the first climb where i settled into the lead group before dropping into the first single track. we did two start laps which comprised the half of the full lap with the most climbing. after the two laps i was in third trailing by around 10 sec.i had settled into my own pace on a track that offered very little drafting. with riders positions swapping for most of the race i just tried to stay relaxed as i knew it was going to be very tough at the end. by midway through the full laps of which we did 6 i hit the front of the race again. on my heels tho was jose hermida from spain and jaroslav kulhavy from check republic. it was indeed a tough battle at the end in which i had to settle for second bronze medal of the year! it was an incredible feeling to end the season by achieving the goal i wanted most!
marathon world championshipsAugust 10, 2010
marathon world championships,st wendel,germany
i was very nervous and excited going into my first marathon world championships this past weekend. there was a strong field lining up and i hadnt raced a 107km mtb race since the epic. my legs were good leading into the event and my stumpjumper 29er was super light at 8.4kg so i knew id have the speed.the course was really fast so there was a big group for most of the first lap of 52km before the many attacks that followed. the pace never really relaxed for the entire race.
on the second lap of two we starting really driving the pace hard. suzi attacked numerous times but to no avail. we headed into the last 10km with a 10 man group. alaban lakata had re joined the group and with 3km he attacked with huge momentum. i tried going across the move but cramped halfway across. didnt make it and decided to hang onto the now down to small 6 man group. i timed my sprint for the line a little late and didnt count on the unknown italian in the group being an ex road sprinter. i still got third and was very happy. after a mediocre middle part of my season this made up for it! thanks for all the support from my team and friends over the last few weeks,it realy does help the motivation.
im now on my way home for the last preperation before xc world cup finals and world championships. looking forward to some sunshine!
chamery wcJuly 27, 2010
on tuesday evening i rolled up to the jhb airport with an expired schengen visa, needless to
say i didnt make it to europe on wednesday. instead i was camped outside the swiss embassy on a freezing morning by 8am. i had a stack of papers and letters as i needed a visa...fast! luckily for me they do express visas but even this procedure takes 5 days.i only had one day!i managed to wangle it somehow and flew out on thursday night. the trip actualy turned out fine, i got to do some easy road rides with a few intervals and hang out with cherise a little longer. i got to zurich very early on friday and was met by the ever friendly benno willeit (manager) even though he had to get up at 4am and drive 3 hours to come and get me.
it rained most of the way to champery and when i wanted to take my new 2011 epic out for a burn it was bucketing down. i rode on the rollers for a few minutes until it subsided, fit a storm mud tire on the front and headed onto the most technical course we race all year. i worked my way around slowly but managed to ride most of the course. the specialized storm tire is incredible when the weather forces its use. the course didnt dry much on saturday and practice along with a few hundred other riders was pretty crazy. in the evening the organizers layed down some gravel as the course had become too unrideable.
perfect blue skies greeted us for our race on sunday. the course was still mucky but not nearly as bad as it had been. we were onto intermediate tires (fasttrack lk) and very excited to race. i had my best start of the year from the second row and along with florian vogel lead the first start lap. on the second lap we were joined by vogel's scott team mate nino schurter and julien absalon (orbea). after the first full lap the group satyed the same with riders just gapping off when making mistakes in the difficult conditions. on the second lap nino dropped off with just before the start finish. on the third lap i started lacking some consentration and had my first crash on the last downhill section. i got going pretty quick but the gap was a few seconds to the front. i chased back at the star of lap 4 but made some more mistakes shortly after and ended up crashing about 4 times! somehow i got it together over the last two laps and held on to finish in 6th place 1min 23 seconds down on winner florian vogel. it was a satisfying performance for me as my last two world cups havent gone my way at all.
this week we are racing in val de sol so yesterday was a long road trip. as if the drive wasnt long enough we extended our trip by getting rear-ended in suzi's ne multivan. after a lengthy visit to the carbinerri and a cheese and wine picnic outside, we made it to val di sol in one piece.
till next week...happy trails
sa championshipsJuly 19, 2010
shew what a week its been! cherise and i drove to pretoria on monday with a brief stop at usn's warehouse in durban to stock up for the coming weeks. we got to our destination pretty late and by then it was realy cold. it was a rather unwelcomed surprise after enjoyin the warmth at home for the last few weeks.
we checked out the course on tuesday after it warmed up to a reasonable temp which was only around mid day. the combined cold with the thin air made going tough for the first few practice sessions. the course was pretty standard for a fountains course with loads of tecnical sections and not a lot of ascent. i was on my 29er stumpy for most of the week and only tested the epic out once or twice. as the course was short, quite sandy with minimal climbing. the 29er felt good. it was a bit bumpy at the start of each lap but once in the wooded sand sections and tight turns the bike came alive. i was also on some beefier pedals this weekend. i usualy run with the eggbeater 11 pedal from crankbrothers but since they have an awesome new candy with loads of platform ive been swapping back and forth between training sessions. i finaly decided on the candy 11 as it has more power transfer and only a 40gr weight penalty over the eggbeaters.
on thursday we checked out "the big 5" at the barnyard theatre. it was a musical production featuring mj,rod stewardt, elton john, maddona and tina turner. it was a great show with a cool vibe. the singers played the roles perfectly so it was rather funny.
race day dawned pretty quick as the course was fun to ride and i was having a good time in pretoria. cherise had a good race on saturday morning ending up 3rd in u/23 and 5th overall in the womens race. our race started at 12 45 which suited me as i could use the hour ride to the track from cherises' house as a warm up without er... cooling down. the crownd that came out was the biggest ive seen at a sa xc for years. that got me psyced for sure.as the gun went phillip buys moved into the lead with his trademark kick off the line closely followed by matthys beaukes with me riding in third. after the first singletrack i moved past matthys as he slowed and i moved onto phillip's wheel. i stayed there as passing on this track was tough and settled in before making a move at the end of the first lap. i got a small gap and then set about keeping those big wheels turning. once i was off the front i could ride much smoother and limit the big accelerations which is realy the best way to ride a 29er. i felt strong all race and i sense that all the xc specific training paid off in the last laps as the course was very demanding on the upper body.
i took my 8th national title on the trot in front of many friends and family including my grandma who got to see me race for the first time ever. it was very special and i cant wait to rock the national jersey at next weekends world cup in switzerland
team mate todd wells did a stellar job in the us champs to win the xc title for the first time in his carreer which is about time as he is no spring chicken, ha!
conclusion to a great time at homeJuly 13, 2010
the past few weeks have been incredible on the south coast. the weather is magnificent even though its the middel of winter and the soccer world cup vibe that swallowed the whole of sa was so intense.
last week was a really hard week for me training wise, i had to start turning the screws to get my body in shape for the most important time of my season. i start of this weekend with the sa championships in pretoria and then i leave for europe to race two wolrd cups and the world marathon championships all on back to back weekends.
as a good leg opener i decided to race the toti 69'er road race in amanzimtoti. the club there does a great job at hosting the event and the route is a mostly coastal route that goes all the way down to pennington and back. i had some tired legs leading into the race but when the racing started felt pretty good and very excited. a group of 8 riders got away early with the house of paint pro team represented well with 4 riders. in the end it came down to a sprint which i managed to win ahead of dean edwards with some smart menouvring rather than all out power.
i write this as im already up in pta for the race this weekend. it is absolutely freezing. we definitely have it good on the coast! for all those close to pretoria on the weekend, stop in and check out the racing at the fountains nature reserve.
finishing up with some baseJune 28, 2010
the last few weeks have been awesome. ive managed a ton of hours on the bike in glorious sunshine, caught a race at home and had loads of people to train with. the last two weeks i also got to do some riding with the sa mr price-specilaized team. the juniors really impressed me on some long rides.
on saturday we all hit the group ride with the bundu bashers club. the route was very interesting in the "fast" group. a lot of the riding was barely rideable and tested all the skills. i fell a little short on a river bank and went for an untimed swim. nevertheless its always good to test the skills.
after some long weeks of training im taking a few days off and ventured up to underberg where we will be exploring lesotho a little and chasing snow. from next week itl be back to serious focus for the races coming up soon.
thats all for this week
sa xco finals mankele,nelspruitJune 15, 2010
i got back into some racing this weekend after a big week of training. mankele is one of my favourite courses in sa. i did a good weeks training on the course as i went early to prepare for the xc races to come.
off course we were all glued to the tv on friday afternoon to catch bafana open their world cup campaign. what a show. the guys did us proud.
on saturday we got down to racing at noon. i started the race off really well and my epic was working great. after two laps i managed to get a 3minute gap. just when i was about to start taking it a bit easier i flatted on a wooden bridge. i tried to plug the tire but to no avail. i rode on the rim up the 2km climb until the tech zone where i got a fresh wheel. by this time i was back in 7th almost 4min back. luckily for me we had a full 7 laps to do so i had time to do some catching up. i had a great race and with two laps to go i re-took the lead.
i took a lot of convidence from this race and look forward to preparing for the next international races. lets hope the weather holds out!
my garmin data for the race http://connect.garmin.com/activity/36945968
from bad to worseMay 25, 2010
i was really disappointed with how the houffalize race went and was really hoping to be in good form on sunday at the third round of the world cup in offenburg. its a venue that ive always doen well at and one that i really like.
the course in offenburg suits me well and it was there that i broke into the top 10 for the first time two years ago. i had focused on my form at home and felt confident.
everything was set for a great race on sunday.i was feeling good in the week leading up to the race and my bike was working great. the weather played along and there was a huge crowd of 25000 people lining the track. i got off to a great start and after the first lap i was sitting in 4th just 10 seconds behind the leaders. i lost a little more time to the leaders on the second lap but still came through in 4th at the end of the lap. on the third lap i really started to suffer. i couldnt find a comfortable rhythm and got caught by a big group at the end of the lap. by the 4th lap of 7 i was in deep trouble. i had nothing. it felt like my 28 tooth chainring was a 53! suzi had an awesome race and got on the box in 4th. his best of the season.
on monday we did some testing on the course with measuring tools on my bikes to measure all my rider input as well as movements going on with the bike. i was riding the 29er hardtail and my 26er epic back to back to see how both bikes performed on a well balanced world cup course. it will be a big help for me when making bike choices for the tracks in future.
im returning home now for a couple of weeks and will have a checkup done followed by a weeks rest before rebuilding myself for the second half of the season. im sure ill be able to turn things around then and with the two world championships and three world cups to come theres still a lot of racing to do!
Mr price karkloof classicMay 10, 2010
a super fun week at home enjoying some great wheather lead to a big weekends racing. the mr pice karkloof festival has turned into south africa's own version of the roc'd zur or seaotter classic festivals.
i signed up for two races over the weekend. the red sprint shootout and the marathon. the shootout comprised qualifying and then 10 laps of a 400m man-made track consisting of big scaffolding jumps, corners and even a trip through an 18 wheeler truck. i managed to qualify 2nd on my flying lap behind young mr price/specialized team mate arno viljoen who bested me by a second! in the race i got off to a descent start with some riders jumping the gun just a little. i sat in 5th for the first two laps and waited until the accelerations took their toll on the guys ahead of me. on the third lap i moved up and got into the lead a lap later. i kept the big wheels on my specialized 29er pinned which really seemed to roll over the scaffolding super fast. i held on to win and took home the R10 000 on offer. thanks mr price!
i had an early wake up call on sunday to hit the start of the marathon at 8am. the trails were groomed to perfection and is undoubtably the best marathon course in south africa. i was again on my 29er hardtail which absolutely tore the single track up. i was however missing the plush suspension of my epic just a little towards the end. but in racing the only thing that counts is how was the bike is and on this relatively smooth track the big wheeler was king! early on in the race i got away with phillip buys (garmin) and craig paul (jeep).after the 10km start loop kevin evans (mtn) joined me at the front whilst phillip and craig dropped back. i kept the pace pretty high and we managed to open up a big gap on third place. i could sense kevin wasnt quite as comfortable towards the end and at around 15km to go i put my head down. it was the exact same climb i got away from kevin on last years race as well. after a long single track section i had a comfortable lead and with only 7km of mostly flat fast dirt road with a tailwind it was easy to keep the pace high.i managed to win with good margin and a big cheque again provided bu mr price.
this week i have a solid block of training but no racing. im also hoping to spend some quality time with the family before heading to germany for the next world cup.
till next week...
world cup round 2May 3, 2010
world cup round 2, houffalize, belgium
traveling to the world cup this week seemed way easier, maybe thats because it was about two days shorter. houffalize accommodated us well with awesome weather all week. we managed some good training and got to have fun on the new course. the organisers shortened the lap considerably and made it a lot hillier.
i felt good all week and my epic is feeling faster than ever. out new renegade tyres are just awesome. on race day however the weather turned bad and the course got soaked. i did my usual warm up and felt pretty good altough i got rained on pretty hard. this meant that whilst waiting in the start boxes i was absolutely frozen. the start goes up a 4min incline which takes 100percent effort from the gun. i was suffering bad as my legs felt like blocks. i still managed to enter the first single track in around 20th. after the start loop i was up to 14th and feeling a lot better. as soon as i found my rythm i made a judgement error on a drop, going over the bars and ripped the tyre clean off the rim. i ran to the bottom of the descent before realizing that i could remount the tyre and just inflate it. it worked like a bomb ,but i was down to around 40th by then. i had also damaged the front shifter and could only use my small chainring. good thing it was so muddy and slow.
with three laps to go i felt better again and my moral started lifting. i passed a few guys before the finish and got some points in 17th. not at all what i was hoping for but the world cup is still very close. it was a whole new mix of riders that got up there this weekend.
for now its back to sunny sa...
world cup round 1,dalby forrest,ukApril 27, 2010
as my report from last weeks sea otter classic didnt seem to get through to anyone ill do a brief summary of the racing there.
after a solid week of r&d at the specialized offices we were off to the weekends racing. i was super excited to try my new 29er in the heat of racing. the guys at the specialized suspension shop did an awesome job at customizing the 90mm fork.
in the short track i had a slow start with team mate todd wells riding away at the front. the race is only about 25min long so it is a full gas effort and every second counts. i managed to work through the group and get up to wellsy before i crashed in a mud hole along the course. from there on we rolled in for a specialized 29er 1-2. suzie also came in 4th on his first ride on the ht in 10 years.
in the xc todd and i got off the front with only geoff kabush joining us halfway through the race. we tried attacking him all the way to the finish but to no avail. it came down to a sprint so all my road racing this summer in sa paid off went i took my first uci xc win of the year. todd came in third and suzie 4th.
so now on to dalby for the world cup
first off, what a travel! after a 12hour flight from san Francisco we got to frankfurt and checked the flight boards. all the flights were still canceled. it took us 5 hours off planning to finally roll out of there with two rentals. we caught the ferry in calais, france at around midnight and after 15hours of driving through the night we made it to england. i just collapsed for the rest of what was wednesday.
on thursday we had to do some good training and surprisingly i felt pretty good. i was testing my epic and 29er on the track back to back and decided to run the 29er at the first world cup. there was a lot of pebble like bumps which the 29er just rolls over so fast.
on sunday 180 of us took the course at 2 30pm. the weather was great all week and after some evening showers just a little damp. i got a solid start and after riding around the first tow laps in around 10th to conserve energy i decided to go ride at the front as i figure it would be easier. it was for sure and i could really get the big wheels turning.at the end of the 4th lap i only had nino schurter and julien absalon. we fought it out for the last two laps and with half a lap to go i made two big mistakes which gave those guys a 10 second gap. i could close it and they settled the race in a sprint. nino won with julien in 2nd. i came in 14 seconds back to take 3rd. i was pretty happy as i felt so good all day. hopefully i can learn from the mistakes i made as we head into this weekends 2nd round in houffalize.
living it up in us and aApril 13, 2010
after some more training solid training last week i was on the plane to the usa. after a 36hour travel i finally made it to san fransisco. i was pretty spent so i was happy that the weekend was taken pretty easy. on monday we headed off to the specialized hq for some meetings. i always feel like a little kid in a toy store when im there.
after a wet ride with suzie on my brand new 29er, i had a specialized bg fit done. it was a super cool experience and i figured out a few things that will be valuable in future. for the rest of this week we have some more r&d to do before we head of to sea otter for some good racing.
getting my legs back...April 6, 2010
since i finished the epic last sunday ive only done 11 hours on the bike. that's in like 10 days! most of those hours were also spent doodling along at a very easy pace. with sea otter and the world cups upon us it is super important to recover and this week i was just trying to get my legs back.
i spent some much needed time at home doing only fun stuff. i hit the beach a couple of times which our new dog, aston was psyched about. over the easter weekend we hit the ride with the local bundu bashers club which was awesome. the weather this time of the year is the best. ts not too hot and doesnt rain too much. i could get used to this.
on monday i did my first hard ride since epic.some hill sprints in oribi gorge and motorpacing. i hit pretty good heart rates so i reckon ill be getting my speed back soon.
on friday i leave for sea otter. i get to ride/race my new 29er there so im super excited!
till next week...
absa cape epicMarch 29, 2010
what a rollercoaster week...the 8 day race had loads of up and downs for myself and christoph racing in the songo.info colours. i had some stomach trouble in the first few days and after making a recovery we had a great few stages ,just for christoph to be hit with similar illness in the last two stages. here is a brief recap of all the stages.
the first stage is always super fast and exciting and this year it was ven more so. everyone wanted to fight for that first yellow leaders jersey! i felt pretty good early on in the stage and always kept myself near the front of the lead group. at around the halfway mark we hit the biggest climb of the day and it is here where mtn/quebeka realy drove the pace hard. we were soon only two teams at the front and going full gas. on one of the descents kevin evans from mtb flatted and we opened a small gap but it wasnt long after that i started losing pressure in the rear. christoph and i quickly repaired the flat and rode the next 5km to the tech zone where i could swap the wheel. here some teams joined us and we were around 4 teams going into the last 25km. bulls, trek wr,mtn and ourselves. i didnt feel that great anymore. i could seem to eat or drink anything and i could feel trouble lurking.as we approached the last 10km we hit a railway line section for 7km. my legs finally seized up and we had to let mtn go. at the end we were 2nd around 3min behind.
this stage was our funeral.i had developed a seripous stomach illness after the first days stage and could eat or drink anything and keep it down.i managed to hold the lead group for 45km but then i also rode myself to pieces!we ended up in 15th around 15min down on the leaders.
were back! i managed to start eating normally overnight and felt a little better at the start. i kept on fueling my body in the race and by the end felt pretty good. it was a long hard day with some big climbing. going into the last 20km we were with trek wr, bulls and trek-bretjens. with 15km to go suzie had a slow flat which we re inflated and gave chase. just before catching the group, they took a wrong turn. we shouted to them and they lost 30 seconds by the time they got back on route. we put the hammer down and in the end won our first stage by almost 5min!
this was so far the shortest stage but oh boy was it hard! loads of rough, short, but very steep climbing and my partner was on a mission. we attacked all day before eventually getting away 15km from the finish. we opened up a solid 1min 20 sec by the time we hit the line for our second win.
stage 5 tt,27km,worcester-worcester
my best day at the epic. my legs were super in the tt. suzi and i killed it of the line and kept catching the teams that started before us.the route was very fun and technical. similar to an xc race. we won in a time of 1hr 5min 10 sec with a gap of 1min 20 seconds to the mtn team.
stage 6,120km,worcester-oak valley
this was the final big stage in the epic. it was very important for us to make up time here as were now only 9min off the leading team after clawing our way back from a 20min deficit.
we were very aggressive early on and managed to split the group. with around 40km to go we were 5 teams waiting for the days big climb, groenlandberg. with 5km to go to the foot of the climb christoph got a small cut in his tyre. we repaired it real fast and set off after the other teams who had taken the opportunity to attack on the front. when we got to the climb we were 40 seconds down. trek wr attacked off the front whilst we closed in on the bulls team. we soon past the mtn/qubeka team and halfway up the climb made contact with the bulls. we couldnt shake them from here and ended the day in 2nd with only 10 sec gained to the leaders(bulls).
stage 7,100km,oak valley-oak valley
on this stage christoph got to experience a mild case of the stomach bug and it made life tough. we made the lead group after the first nasty climbs and at 40km we were a group of 5. soon after we took a wrong turn and lst 5min before we got back to the route. mtn/qubeka lucked out here as they now had a 1min lead after being 2min down. the front teams really gassed it on the big climb around halfway and christoph had to let go. we kept the gap steady to the leaders and rode with the mtn team for awhile before pushing on. we almost caught the front group at one stage but ran out of steam by the end. we finished 4th.3min 30 down.
stage 8,oak valley to lourensford,66km
on the final stage there was way more action then on preious years.the pace was furious from the gun and all the contenders were right in the mix. at 25km we started a huge climb, i definitely wasnt expecting it to be so hard. christoph rode steady up here and we had to let the leaders go. after we crested the top we caught a few teams before the bottom. on the run in to the finish we held of a charge from the bulls tam to finish the last stage in 3rd place. we also secured our second place overall.
the race had many challenges for us this year but the result is satisfying.we wanted to win but it just wasnt to be. thanks to all for supporting us out on route and to our support crew claire and benno, you guys are the best. also thanks to my mother mandie and cherise for always taking care of those little needs!
i now have some good off time and will be off to the usa in a few weeks for the sea otter classic.
giro del capo and argusMarch 16, 2010
after a sweet ride at the sani2c mtb stage race i didnt have much time to relax before starting the giro del capo on tuesday morning. it's south africa's biggest road stage race and made up of 4 stages. 110km, 143km, 173km and a 5.5km hill climb time trial make up the event.we entered a specialized team made up of myself, suzi, ben-melt swanepoel, craig paul, sean nick bester and dan hugo. we were a great bunch from very different cycling backgrounds. the vibe was good all week and we really had a good time.
on the first stage we rode a loop starting and finishing in the town of wellington. the stage is known for strong crosswinds and thus bunch positioning was critical. at around 40km the split came. i found myself in the front and joined 18 other rides in the break.everyone worked well together and all the major teams were present including german team kuota-indeland who were driving it hard on the flats. as we neared the finish line we rode over the baines kloof pass. it wasnt enough to decide a winner but the group did shrink to around 10 riders. a fast descent into the finish followed and i snuck in a third place finish behind strong sprinters in rene hasselbacher (safindit invitation) and malcolm lange (medscheme).
stage two saw us do three laps of the infamous vissershok circuit. with a very condensed 1500m of climbing it would suit the stronger climbers on the day and it was a stage our team really wanted to win.on the first lap the bunch split on the vissershok climb and 21 riders were now driving at the front. i had suzi along side me for company and the legs felt great on the rolling terrain. suzi was a great domestic and on the last climb he made the tempo really hard. the other climbers kevin evans and david george were very eager and attacked over the top. i followed tiaan kannemeyer (house of paint) onto their wheels and on the run in to the finish the cat and mouse began. a small group rejoined and ian mcleod was the first to attack. as i brought him back it was mtn team mate kevin evans who attacked with just over a km to go. again i just nalied him back with about 300m to go and got a brief breather before going for the line. i had a good sprint left and won my first ever road race, i was pretty stoked.i was also in the leaders jersey as both lange and hasselbacher failed to stick over the climbs.
on stage 3 we had two cat 1 climbs on the 173km circuit starting and finishing in paarl. a small group broke away before the first pass and team mates craig paul and ben melt had to do a lot of pacing to keep me in the leaders jersey. on the last climb suzi went hard and we were a group of twenty heading for the line. i launched my sprint a bit early on the day and hanco kacheloffer got me right on the line. it was super close. i managed to score a few more seconds and would go into the hill climb tt with a 14second advantage.
the hill climb tt was a tough day.david george lives in the area and traines there everyday. right behind him was the sa tt champ in kevin evans and i knew both would fly up the hill. i set a target time of 12min 10sec to ride as i rode 13min 13sec just two years ago. i managed to ride 12min 13 sec which i thaught was good enough but george came in with 11min 47 sec and evans with 11min 57 sec.both broke the old record so the going was good. i ended up third overall and very satisfied.
on sunday we lined up against lance armstrong for the cape argus cycle tour. the 109km race is seen by many as the unofficial fun ride world champs as more than 40 000 riders take part. it was very windy and it was soon clear that we would be in the gutter somewhere along the route. with around 36km to go it happened and a group of 12 went of the front. team medschem were doing all the work for their mand malcolm lange and had a lot of numbers. armstrong and darryl impey from radioshack were also up there and looking good. i knew we were going to sprint and was hoping id have a good run. with around a km to go lance asked how far we had to go and as i said "a k or so" , he launched an attack. my natural instinct was to follow even though i knew it was too far from the line in such a strong headwind.the sprinter latched on and with 300m to go they opened up.i held on for fourth behind lange,van heerden and impey.the race was realy spectacular as the course was lined with armstrong fans.the guy definitely draws a big crowd.
this week its all eyes on the epic. suzi and i are ready and cant wait!
cape argus file-http://connect.garmin.com/player/27051949
till next week
sani2c 3-day stage raceMarch 15, 2010
its not often i get to finish a race a mere 60 kilometers from home, for this reason im always really excited to take part in the stage race that runs from underberg to scottburgh over the course of three very demanding stages.
after being in the highveld for almost 2 months training, racing and preparing for the season ahead i was super happy to be home. naturally i had a lot to do before the weekends racing. after a good few days at home we made the trip up to underberg on wednesday. cherise and my dad were also riding so the vibe was good. i was racing along side specialized-mr price team-mate ben-melt swanepoel. it was our first team race together so it was going to be interesting.
it rained a lot on the days leading up to the event and it didnt quit for the start early thursday morning. we started the 82km stage off on some rolling district roads which were perfect for a warm-up. i felt really good after some solid resting before the event as my heart rate showed. after around 15km we entered the first technical section and the racing was immediately on. it wasn't long before we were only three teams left at the front.team mtn with albal lakata as a guest rider was leading the charge and behind the were dcm. we soon got scheled on a tough climb with melt backing off and into a more constant pace. the course got really tough towards the end and melt had a big off on a descent with a few km's to go. we ended up a comfortable third around 7min off the winners,team mtn.
on friday we tackled the 98km queen stage of the event and with the rain still unrelentless we were in for another dirty day. the first 20km again were fast flowing roads and with a big bunch sticking together in very bad visibilty, it was rather sketchy. we hit some big climbs soon enough and again we were in the same select group as the day before.we stuck quite a bit longer and manged to oly lose 6min to mtn on the day. i had a lot of fun on day 2 and our bikes were working great thanks to the specialized service crew.
the final day is known as the fast run down to the beach. the organisers however slowed it up with some more climbing and load of fun single-track. on day three we finished our usual third around 1min down on the dcm chrome team after the 76km stage. after the stage i rode home in some great conditions. i had a strong tailwind and glorious sunshine to bask in.
this week is another busy one with the giro del capo stage race starting on tuesday. im psyched to get down to ct to join christoph as we do our final prep for the cape epic and world cup season coming up.
sani2c 3-day stage raceMarch 8, 2010
its not often i get to finish a race a mere 60 kilometers from home, for this reason im always really excited to take part in the strage race thats runs from underberg to scottburgh over the course of three very demanding stages.
after being in the highveld for almost 2 months training, racing and preparing for the season ahead i was super happy to be home. naturally i had alot to do before the weekends racing. after a good few days at home we made the trip up to underberg on wednesday. cherise and my dad were also riding so the vibe was good. i was racing along side specialized-mr price team-mate ben-melt swanepoel. it was our first team race together so it was going to be interesting.
it rained alot on the days leading up to the event and it didnt quit for the start early thursday morning. we started the 82km stage off on some rolling district roads which were perfect for a warm-up. i felt realy good after some solid resting before the event as my heart rate showed. after around 15km we entered the first technical section and the racing was immediatel on. it wasn't long before we were only three teams left at the front. team mtn with albal lakata as a guest rider was leading the charge and behind the were dcm. we soon got scheled on a tough climb with melt backing off and into a more constant pace. the course got realy tough towards the end and melt had a big off on a descent with a few km's to go. we ended up a comfortable third around 7min off the winners, team mtn.
on friday we tackled the 98km queen stage of the event and with the rain still unrelentless we were in for another dirty day. the first 20km again were fast flowing roads and with a big bunch sticking together in very bad visibilty, it was rather schetchy.we hit some big climbs soon enough and again we were in the same select group as the day before. we stuck quite a bit longer and manged to oly lose 6min to mtn on the day. i had alot of fun on day 2 and our bikes were working great thanks to the specialized service crew.
the final day is known as the fast run down to the beach. the organisers however slowed it up with some more climbing and load of fun single-track. on day three we finished our usual third around 1min down on the dcm chrome team after the 76km stage. after the stage i rode home in some great conditions. had a strong tailwind and glorious sunshine to bask in.
this week is another busy one with the giro del capo stage race starting on tuesday. im psyched to get down to ct to join christoph as we do our final prep for the cape epic and world cup season coming up.
sa marathon championships-sabieMarch 1, 2010
sabie played host to sa's marathon national champs and what better place then the unofficial home of mountain-biking in sa to play host. i have fond memories of racing in the small town from as far back as 1998!
i won the marathon title last year so it was up to me to defend.after a tough couple of weeks training i pushed the recovery hard in the week leading up to the race hping that my body would bounce back into race sharpness.
the course was super hard with the first climb after just 2km of racing ascending 900m in just 12km's! kevin evans and i put the hammer down here and it soon turned into a two-horse duel for the title. kevin was in greater form on the day and i knew i would have to bring all my magic to win the race. however its a bit early in my season to expect that from my body. nevertheless i had solid legs on the day and took advantage of the few technical sections to put kevin under pressure.
with 30km to go we hit the last 6km climb where i was no longer able to match kevins climbing pace and he pulled a good margin on me by the top. i knew i had a chance of getting him back on the downhill back to the finish so i pushed hard but it was not to be. kevin crossed the line about two minutes ahead of me to win the title after a grueling 110km race. im pretty happy with how the race went.im starting to get that winning hunger and the legs are getting better with each race.also my epic is working great out there.
this week i have more racing at the sani 2 c and then its off to the cape for the giro del capo road stage race. im hoping all these miles will pay of later on in the year.
my data for the race-http://connect.garmin.com/activity/25841241
sa xc cup round 1,rietvlei johannesburgFebruary 8, 2010
after a hard race at the bareton marathon i took it a bit more mellow this week, i did one big training day on tuesday and the rest was pretty chill. on wednesday cherise and i did a photoshoot on top of klapperkop in pretoria for our new nutritional sponsor, usn.
on thursday afternoon i drove to rietvlei farm which is just outside of alberton in jhb. on friday i got to do some laps which was needed as i havent been on an xc course in awhile and this one was pretty technical. there wasnt much climbing but it had continuous steep climbs which were super rocky. it did feel good however to be on some light xc specialized xc tires and this made the going easier. i also got my new garmin 500 on friday. its very similar to the edge 705,it also has temperature now and i way smaller and lighter.
the race went very well for me. phillip buys (garmin-addidas) rode away on the first lap and i managed to go solo on the second. i dont know what the gap was at the end but it seems my form is really coming around now.after the race i was off to doping control. something i feel is very healthy for our sport.
on sunday i was back racing on the road in the emperors palace classic.the race was very fast and flat. eventually it came down to a bunch sprint , but luckily for me there was a long uphill drag just before the line.i managed a 4th on my tarmac sl2 which im feeling rely good on with sa road champs coming up in less than 2 weeks...
my garmin data from saturdays xc http://goo.gl/TNFL
cheers till next week
barberton sa marathon series round 2.February 1, 2010
after my first week at altitude and some solid training i hit the road down to barberton on thursday afternoon. barberton is probablt the classic race in the series and i first road there in 2001! we had a 126km course with a huge load of climbing coming up so i had my first day or two of rest in awhile.
the race kicked off as it did last year.with team dcm putting the hurt into everybody. we were soon down to a group of just 7 and over the top of the climb renay groustra of gt flatted to leave us at 6. after the long 15km climb we had some wet and muddy downhills to contend with (dejavu of my crash last year was in the back of my mind.) dcm's brandon stewrdt kept the pace high for the rest of the downhills until we headed into the last 30km of the first loop. this section was through a nature reserve and very,very rocky. i was happy i opted for some heavier tread as 2 of the 3 dcm guys flatted on some lightweights through this section. as we hit the feedzone with 40km to go i was feeling pretty good or so i thought until max knox drooped around three gears and rode way like kevin and i were standing still. kevin tried to follow but i decided to ride at my own tempo as there is still alot to come this year. in the last 30km i reeled kevin back in and we really flew through the game reserve one last time. with around a km to go i got switched by one of the backmarkers on the 45km race and crashed into a pavement. kevin showed awesome sportmanship and waited for me before we raced to the line. the sprint was a very exciting way to end the 5hour race and i just managed to slip into second. amazingly though,max rode 7min into us over the last 30km, i really havent ever seen speed like that at the end of any race ive ever competed in...
this week i have some good intensity coming up with the first sa xc series race on saturday. can't wait!
back to the highveldJanuary 25, 2010
after making the trip back to kzn on monday evening i managed some solid training in between packing and getting ready for a month up country. cherise and i drove up on friday and man did we get some rain, ive never driven in a storm like that. we even saw some guy fly by us just to drive right into the back of an 18 wheeler. it was pretty scary.
on sunday we took part in the first big sa road race of the year aptly named the star fast one. the race was super wet. if you want a simulation, ride on the stationary trainer and have someone hose you down with a garden hose for two hours. none the less it was fun. i tried to go for the line a long way out and miss out on any drama in the sprint. for a brief moment i thought i would make it but with 50m to go riders started to pass. i managed still managed a 4th so not a bad day.
this week i have a bit more off time which im looking foward to and then i head to barberton for the next marathon which will be 120km long and should take around 5hours to finish...
specialized training camp...January 21, 2010
the week in stellenbosch was awesome.as always,spending time with the team was good fun and it was good to catch up with everyone since we stopped racing last season.on wednesday tood and i did our last filming session in jonkershoek and man was it hot out there,it was like 42c and we spent like 4hours in the sun.
on thursday i hired a car and drove to oudtshoorn for the first round of the sa marathon series. dylan had pimped my bike and i was eager to see how my form was at this time of the season. the race was 137km long and i knew endurance was going to be the key. we started of pretty mellow and it took around 40km before things split apart. i managed to get off the front with kevin evans and david george until we hit the kom climb at around 70k. from here it was only kevin and i left at the front. the terrain was super rocky and i was feeling a little nervous on my superlight s-works tires, on this type of terrain you definitely need something out of the armidillo tyre range! nevertheless, it seemed as though they were holding up but as we neared the last fire road section of 45km i sliced the back tire open on some really jagged rocks. i tried repairing it a few times but to no avail.my race came to a premature end and i learnt a valuable lesson. i have never raced this marathon and ill be better prepared next time.on the other hand the form seems to be good and im even more inspired to work hard before the real season starts.
on sunday todd, meg and i drove around the cape and did the tourist thing. we saw penguins, baboons and hit the cable kart up table mountain. t was my first time and all i can say is, woah!
im back home this week and have a rough training week coming...
totalsports challengeJanuary 15, 2010
the past week was a busy one. i did my first intensity workouts on the road bike in oribi george and also some miles on the transition tt bike in preperation for the totalsports challenge. on friday morning we were up early and left for cape town. i got to do a good warm up ride with suzi, bundi and cherise ahead of the relay challenge on saturday. the wind was pumping as i arrived in gordons bay on sat morning and this caused the first two legs to be cancelled. so with the surfski and ocean swim cancelled the road leg would become a bunch start. it meant that i would have to try and lose the riders with me before settling into tt mode. my equipment worked awesome on the day and i was feeling very good onto the strong headwind. the course also contained some good climbing and at the 20km mark i managed to get away from team medschemes waylon woolcock. another 25k later i rode into kleinmond and handed the baton over to olympic triathlon champion,jan frodeno, who was doing our road run. i managed to get a solid 3min 10sec lead and our team did an awesome job along the rest of the diciplines to secure victory.
on sunday we did the four passes loop from stellenbosch. if ever you are in stellenbosch and keen for a road ride, this one is a must do.on monday we started with the specialized team training camp and kicked off with a group road ride in the wellington area. the first two hours were steady but then the racing started back to stellenbosch. phillip graves is a new triathelete on the team and put us all in the hurt locker onboard his specialized shiv. he really is a name to look out for in future.the watts he can generate is really something!
today we did a mtb ride in the jonkershoek forests with some filming along the way. the weather was great and the trails are in great shape. cant think of anything better.till next week...
a fresh new start....January 4, 2010
firstly let me wish everyone a prosperous 2010... with the festive season coming to a close its time for me to prepare for the season ahead. my new equipment is starting to arrive and my program planning is underway. training over the december period has gone very well. i think the best ever actualy. id like to thank all the road users for being curtious and patient towards us cyclists on the road during the holidays.
the bundu basher rides have been going incredibly well and the groups have been growing steadily. thanks to everyone involved in organising these.
this week i head to cape town for the totalsports challenge in which i will be doing a 50km road bike leg on my time trial bike. as i have done very little intensity training over the last 2 months im sure its going to be a good kick in the behind.
lastly id like to thank usn for coming onboard as my nutrition supplier for 2010. they have a brand new endurance range which ive been testing and the stuff works great.
slowing down...November 2, 2009
after a hectic few days last week cherise and i left to bloemfontein for the ofm classic. we got to the freestate on friday just in time for me to register for the following day's mtb race over 50km.
the race was fairly quick with an average speed of around 31km/h. the route was great for a starting mtb race and i think the field had a blast. arno du toit and i rode away from the field early on and the youngster was riding awesome. he currenly rides for my development mr price team which from 2010 will be aboard specialized bikes as well. over the last few kms he took some strain and gave me a chance to take the win.
on sunday it was up early in order to make the 6 15 am start. an early break went away and got 3min before team medscheme went to the front to close it down. we caught the leaders with 20km to go and as we did i moved up to the front to avoid the guttering that would soon be dealt. a group of around 10 broke free and we managed to stay clear to the finish. i sprinted my sl2 across the line in 7th palce and had a great day on the bike.
i havent been training much the last couple of weeks and ive been enjoying the races. im already itching to put in the big work for next year and i havent even taken my break proper yet. i think thats a good sign...
finding my bearings...October 27, 2009
the last week has been pretty crazy. definitely more tiring than any training week but still a lot of fun. i flew out to spain on tuesday evening and had a wonderful reception by specialized spain. i did some photos and interviews on wednesday before heading off to the champions league football match between real madrid and ac milan. miguel rojo of specialized got us some awesome tickets and the game was incredible. it was both mine and andy's first live match. andy and i were in spain to race each other up the nevetherada mountain just outside of madrid. we headed out there on thursday morning and got set up. first run up saw me going up the 9km mountain trail whilst andy was on the 12,5km road route. we started and finished at the same place. after a 36 od minute climb i crossed the line some 40 seconds behind andy and next up it would be me going up on the road bike and andy would tackle the trail on an s-works epic. i managed to edge a good gap which i was chuffed about as andy finished 2nd in this years tour de france and needs no introduction.
i flew back to sa on thursday afternoon and on saturday i met up with the crew from mr price to do a ride on all the new karkloof trails. im now back in jhb and attended the launch of the new specialized bikes for 2010. the stuff looks real good.
this week will be way more chill. heading off to bloemfontein for the ofm classic this weekend...
amashova weekendOctober 20, 2009
so i made it back from europe once again and just in time for the amashova cycle weekend. first up was the somewhat muddy 70km mtb race which saw me completing the distance in 3hr 30min, it was seriously tough and slow going out there. i managed to notch the win with ben-melt swanepoel (specialized sa) in 2nd spot.
on sunday we made the trip down from pietermaritzburg to durban along the comrades route by bike. all the sa domestic pro teams were present. team medscheme and mtn made the racing hard up front and as we neared the finish line of the 106km race the bunch was down to only 30 riders or so. i had a solid sprint by my standards and ended up 9th. i also managed to miss the huge bunch crash at the line which was caused by the timing mates lifting of the ground!
as im writing this im on my way back to europe. this time its spain and it's to race andy schleck... were racing up a climb. i will be on the shorter mtb trail and he will take the road.it should be a fun experience .more on this next week...
roc d'azurOctober 14, 2009
so my first experience of the southern coast of france has come and gone over this past weekend. i was expecting it to be pleasant but nearly as good as it turned out to be. the festival takes place in the small town of port frejus which neighbors st tropez and cannes.
our hotel was right next to the small craft harbour so i brushed up on my small vessel knowlegde throughout the week. most of the boats there are like mini houses on the water complete with kitchens, bathrooms and some even jacuzzi's on the back, now that's baller.
as for the racing i had some difficulty. i have started to wind down my season and it seems my form has wound down even more. in the marathon i rode at my own pace on some of the best terrain i've ever ridden and ended up in 7th place. in the xc start i really suffered. going into the first singletrack i was down in 100th place and my legs were on fire. i did manage to find a somewhat comfortable pace and ended up moving through the field and finishing around 15th.
i was happy when the racing had come to an end and i could fully focus on catching a tan on the beach and hang out with susi. we had a good team dinner in the evening and then on monday i hung out solo until my flight at 8 40pm. i now have a little over a week at home including amashova weekend. Then its back to spain for a promotional event, something to do with racing andy schleck over a mountain. of course he would take the longer road route and i will be on a trail going straight over. should be interesting...
road world championships...September 29, 2009
after the closing of the mtb season in austria i was on my way to switzerland for the following weeks road world championships.the rsa team this year had a dialed setup and the week was very enjoyable.my specialized sl2 got a fine tuning by sandy the previous week and the roads around our hotel got me prepared for my first european road race...
the course suited me very well.the 13.8km circuit featured 2 hard ascents namely aqua fresca and novazzano.in between the climbs was a stepp descent with loads of sharp bends.
the race had a realy good vibe even tough the riders were all super tense before the start even tho the start was abit more relaxed then i am used to.on the first few laps riders were trying their luck at early breakaways whilst i was trying to save as much energy as possible while still being near the front of the main group.the climbs made it easy to move up and i just followed the wheels on the descent.as i was settling into this rythm rather nicely on the 5th lap of the 179km race ,two riders infont of me collided and went down all over my intended path.i hit the deck and my head took most of the impact.my s-works helmet did an awesome job and i bounced up like a bouncing ball.i got going again but i noticed that my bike was alittle offset.upon closer inspection i noticed the rear end flexing.the seatstay had fractured and thus the wheel was hitting the frame.not surprising as we were going like 60kmh when i crashed!
the rest of the race was spent spectating with susi who had ridden his new enduro tho the race.i flew back home on sunday evening and ill do some training for the upcoming roc d'zur festival next week.i cant end the season on a dnf...
world cup finals schladming,austriaSeptember 21, 2009
i had my best start of the year at this weekends world cup ,leading the bunch for the first few hundred meters and then as we rolled into the first ascent my legs had nothing.i did however dig and hung onto the lead group for a lap and a bit.
the course was a real climbers course and there was nowhere to hide.great when you have the legs but real bad when your having a slightly bad day.i have been to schladming three times now and i realy enjoy the little village.the riding is good,people are friendly and this year the weather was great!we even had a slip and slide that started inside the hotel,ventured outside for a bit and then re-entered the hotel for the big splash in the pool.now i didnt hit it ,but it was nice to know that i could.
okay but back to the race...on the 2nd lapi started slipping and by the end of the 5th lap i was down in the high 20's and my legs found something from somewhere.i started to make up som ground on riders and i finished the race in 15th...
it wasn't what i was hoping for .but i have had my best season ever and ended up third in the world cup series.this weekend im racing back in switzerland at the road world championships before im on vacation...
first world cup"w"September 15, 2009
a little over a week after the world championship race we were back at it in champery, switzerland for the penultimate round of the world cup. the team was split up in canberra as susi, lene and i did our own flight plans while todd and the mechanics did theirs. i got to go home on sunday and spent 3 days at home enjoying the world championship. on wednesday evening i flew to europe and after a few delays checked into the hotel on thursday afternoon.
the little mountain village of champery is awesome. the mountains around there are huge and i was itching to do more riding leading up to the wc but held back. susi and i planned on doing a long road ride through the alps on monday so i was psyched for that.
it rained quite heavily on saturday and on race day the course was slippery and we chose some intermediate tires over the dry weather s-works slk tires. lene had a good race finishing up 3rd and after watching their race on freecaster todd, susi and i were eager to get out there.
the start loop took us up a 2km tar road climb before dropping into the final tricky descent on the normal lap.the lap consisted of a flattish, tecnical first loop with some steep drop offs and tight bends and then on the second loop we headed out onto a steep (23-33% gradient) climb of around 1km. the run up to the finish from here was mostly downhill covered in wet roots and rocks.
i had a steady start and dropped into the trail in 11th spot. as we headed out on the first full lap i bridged to the group in front and only alexis vuilermoz was further up the road. by the second lap absalon made his move and bridged to alexis with me chasing in 3rd. on the climb i managed to reel in vuilermoz while absalon was slowly growing his lead. i towed alexis around for a few laps as i needed to stay ahead of the riders i was fighting with in the series rankings and it seemed like absalon was going to be just out of reach. with two laps to go i could see ralph naf coming up from behind and i had to dig deep, to my surprise i brought 20seconds back on julien and i was feeling good. as we hit the last climb he still had a 25sec lead and i thought it was too late, however he was blown and when that happens on a steep climb like that , you go nowhere. i took full advantage and started sprinting up the climb. i managed to pass absalon and drop into the last downhill ahead of the olympic champion. i took big chances and experienced incredible adrenaline over the last few hundred meters before the line. i had won my first world cup! i never thought it would happen so soon...i still get goosebumps thinking about that moment when i crossed the line.
on monday susi and i rode to his house. it's a 150km ride over some big mountains in the swiss alps. after 5hours we hit the climb leading up to his house and near the top i hit a serious sugar low. we had to make a emergency stop. big thanks to mama sauser for an awesome meal after. we are now driving towards schladming austria for the final world cup this weekend. im hoping to keep the good form going...
world championships 2009September 8, 2009
id have to say the world champs went pretty good for me. i had a good week leading up to the race with no mistakes or mechanicals and then the race went pretty good also. i had been very nervous for the start as it i knew it was going to be a tactical start as well as very physical. i managed to sneak into the singletrack in second right behind a swiss rider. we went away early and after the first lap i could feel he was just hanging on.
as we neared the steepest climb on the course aptly named the cardiac climb i turned the cranks just a little bit harder and snapped the elastic. i spent the rest of the race on my own and piloted my s-works epic to a maiden world title! the feeling was just amazing. it was my biggest goal of the season and ive been working really hard towards it. for everything to come together so well for me on the day was amazing...
on saturday it was my team mates turn. first up was lene byberg and after she lead the race up until 2km to go she settled for the silver medal. todd had a career best ride at worlds in 8th and susi followed closely in tenth. i commentated on the elite race for some tv stations so i got to follow the entire mens race...
ive already made the trip back to sa where ill relax and get on the time zone before heading to the last world cups on wednesday...
thanks for all the support
brushing up for world champsAugust 25, 2009
over the last week ive been trying to balance some good rest with a bunch of super high intensity workouts which im hoping will get me into the perfect shape for next weeks upcoming world championships down in australia .the weather hasn't been perfect and on some of the windy days its been more of a mental challenge than a physical one. also a good part of training i suppose.
over the weekend i did some hard rides in oribi gorge with my dad motorpacing me between the big climbs.i always die when my dad is at the wheel ,but i managed to hit some good levels in heart rate and power. afterwards we had lunch at a coffee shop up at lake eland and then faced the the wind on my way home.
i leave for aus on friday so the next few days its all about taking it easy and having fun...
fighting the august winds...August 17, 2009
in the past week it hasnt been a question of whether the wind was going to blow ,it was how hard. after taking a few days pretty moderate after last weeks marathon and the traveling/racing before that,i started gettin the miles in toward the weekend.
on sunday i drove up to pietermaritzburg to participate in the cowan house classic. the event has been running for around ten years now and i think ive been there for more than half. the route is typically fast,flowing and with loads of forest single-track and this year was no different. the race kicked of realy fast with the dcm-chrome team and some junior riders eager to break it up early.i warmed up well over the first five km and then joined in on the racing up front. soon it was only myself and max knox out front and i set a comfortable pace up until the 20k mark. i felt pretty strong here so i decided to dislodge max, with a great effort i managed to get around 40 seconds at the k.o.m point, but soon after there was a forest section with some confusing trails and it was hard for me to stay on the correct path. max knowing the course took advantage of this and after i over shot a corner and burped my tire was right back with me. i decided to just follow him down the mountain as it was easier and way safer. the finish came down to a sprint and i managed to edge max out with some luck at the end to take the win.
after the race i rode the amashova road race route back to cato ridge and then it was off to the airport to pick up cherise. she is really on the up and even got a 4th on sunday in a national level road race. this after only a week or so of training.
south african marathon mtb championshipsAugust 10, 2009
this weekend i was off to harrismith to compete in the sa marathon champs.it's the first time in 4 years that i have been home to do so.the week leading up went pretty good.i did a solid ride on wednesday after some serious traveling as i returned from canada.on thursday i had a sore throat which was pretty normal after the long flights but by friday i was feeling alot better and after a nice spin along the coast i drove up north for saturdays race.
cherise had some business in johannesburg to attend to so she drove down from there and met my parents and i in harrismith on friday afternoon.i made sure my equipment was prepped for sat and then we enjoyed a buffet meal in the hotel.
at 8 30 am the race kicked off in some great winter sunshine.it was alittle cold but alot drier than canada!the first few km's were neutral which was great to warm the legs up,unlike the world cups where you go straight to the pain zone as soon as the gun fires.
after the first few k's we turned off the fire road and hit some rough jeep track.the course was pretty flat with some small bumps until we started the climb up to the k.o.m. hotspot.the rough jeep track section was great on the specialized epic and i could tell the other guys in the lead group had been suffering even before we got to the climb.i uped the tempo on the climb and managed to pull a gap of just under a minute as i neared the top.i knew that if i could get out of sight early and setle into my own rythm on the very bumpy route the gap would grow rapidly.and so it did,the bike was just incredible.i just focussed on keeping a high cadence over the first 3hours and the bike did the rest.by the time i got to the 75km tech and feed zone i had a five minute gap and i was still feeling relatively fresh.
the last 40km was partly the same loop as we started on and this meant climbing the k.o.m climb again.as i reached the climb i could definitely feel the legs tiring and it was very clear when i had to ride the climb two gears easier than on the first time around.lucily for me we only had one more climb up to the 107km point before heading back down to harrismith for the finish.after a hard 4hr 17min in the saddle i claimed my first national marathon title and i was extremely stoked!in second place was sa specialized rider ben-melt swanepoel making it a 1-2 for the specialized epic!
on sunday i cherise and i had a sweet recovery ride before checking out some drag-racing at the margate airport.nothing is free though,in return i sat through 3 hours of the harry potter film in the evening.it did turn out to be quite entertaining...
till next week...
World Cup Round 6, Bromont, CanadaAugust 3, 2009
after a good trip from mont st anne to bromont we were treated to some warm weather for the first half of the week.however when it came time to race it was yet again a very wet affair.on the start line it was absolutely bucketing down.
this week everyone was on a mud tire of some sort and i personally opted for a 2.0 specialized sauserwind upfront and a 1.8 sauserwind in the rear.the tire seems to grip just aswell as it rolls on the hardpack gravel.the course began with a steep 2.5km ascent which wound its way up the mountain with a few technical transitions over roots,rocks and bridges.after the climb we hit an old 4 x section and then it was into predominantly downhill singeltrack from there to the finish.the course was super technicall in the dry and the wet conditions realy made it tricky...
i had a okay start after there was some confusion with a whistle before the gun went of and most of the front riders jumped early. i made up some good ground on the climb and by the top slipped into around 7th spot. i would stay there as we crossed the line and headed out on the second lap. up front it was naef setting the tempo along with vogel and absalon. kabush and nino were just up the road from hermida and myslef. i was feeling realy good on the second lap and moved past hermida at the top of the climb. on the 3rd lap it remained much the same until absalon broke a chain and had to run to the tech zone. o had a few moments on lap 3 and the mud was getting really sticky as it had stopped raining briefly. towards the end of the race i was riding my own pace and having a blast out there. last year i had a terrible race at bromont in the mud i can definitely feel i am improving in the mud.
after the 6 lap race i hit the line in 7th place ,3min 42 down on eventual winner Geoff Kabush. Todd had a good one this week ending up 9th with Susi keeping it tidy in 12th. i have now slipped just a little behind Hermida in the overall and with two more world cups remaining id like to reverse that, but for now all my focus is on the world championships in australia...
follow me now on twitter at www.twitter.com/africanmtbkid.
Mount Sainte Anne....July 27, 2009
the world cup circuit came together for the year's second triple in canada this weekend. mont-st-anne has been on the calender since i turned pro 4 years ago and its always been a good venue to me.
after changing my flight to go from sa through paris instead of atlanta and 1200 usd later i managed to get on route to canada. there is a new law with visas to the us requiring a transit visa even if you are only going to stay in transit. as my us visa was stolen a little while back i had to re-route.
i arrived at around 4pm on tuesday and met up with the rest of the team. we packed the cars and headed off to qubec. it was a long 4 hour drive after all that flying! the first few mornings when i arrive in canada i always wake up super early. its kinda cool, the days seem endless...
on thursday susi and i did some good training on the course followed by some motor pacing. the weather was awesome. by friday it started raining a little and on saturday it was threatening all day. i was sure it would remain dryish for the race and stuck to a dry weather tire set-up.
on sunday morning we woke up to dark skies once again and by the time the women kicked off at 11 15am it was bucketing down. tire choice was running through my head for most of the morning and by race time i had a cut fast track lk on the back and the sauserwind up front for some confidence. the race start was fast as we had no start loop and everyone was charging for the single track. i had a solid start and i was around 5th until someone crashed as we were going up the first climb. i dropped back down to just outside the top 10 but manged to keep it upright. we entered the first single track all tapped out and then it slowed a little as everyone found there rythm on the muddy track. for most of the first lap i was sitting around tenth and i was struggling a little in the mud. (my last mud race was almost a year ago). on the second lap wells was up there with me and half way round the lap he also surged ahead. i was also feeling more comfortable and started to move upon the riders ahead. on the third lap i was riding almost everything including the steepest rock section on the track. by the end of the fouth lap i had moved up into fifth and feeling good. i kept it steady but forth place was too far up the road to close down. i ended up in fifth with absolan winning the race 5min and 42 seconds earlier. a solid performance but id defintely like to pick it up before the season ends. i am now in second overall in the world cup series and leading the u/23 section. this weekend we will race round 6 in bromont and i bet it will be another physical encounter...
The Second Half of the Season is Coming...July 21, 2009
on monday cherise and i were again visiting a doctor to have her health problems acurately assesed. she has been struggling with throat infections for the last couple of months and it seems the the first diagnosis of her tonsils needing to be removed was correct and she has been scheduled for an op next week. pretty bad timing as i wont be home for the next two weeks ,but at least we got a new ps 3 to keep her occupied. after the visit we drove from johannesburg down to the coast where i was hoping to take it easy and prepare for the upcoming world cups.
the week went as planned and with a couple of long rides,intervals in oribi gorge,rest days and motorpacing cramed in the legs feel like they are coming around rather nicely. its crazy how nice it is to ride on the road along the coast now. big thanks for the municipality for using the super smooth tar instead of the big stoney kind.
i am now sitting on the plane on my way to canada and i still have a long trip ahead. my first shipment of the rotor components arrived just as i was leaving so that was exciting. the stuff looks really good. i cant wait to get it out there. i also spoke to todd as i was leaving and he said its supposed to rain all week in canada, i hope he is wrong...
The week kicked off with a long travel......July 13, 2009
The week kicked off with a long travel from knysna up to pretoria. i think the route follows some of the straightest roads in the country! after 12hours straight we arrived at cherise's house. on tuesday i did a nice 3 hour ride at recovery pace. it was exciting in all the traffic though. on wednesday i did another easy ride around the union buldings. the last time i rode it was when i raced sa road champs as a junior. the goverment is building some new offices along the lap which might just be the biggest building ive seen sa...
on thursday we left to mankele for the 2009 african continental championship. the venue is a favourite of mine and i was eager to compete despite the head cold i had obtained throughout the week.
in 2007 when i won the african title the elite and u/23 raced together and i won the combined race on that occasion. this time around the u/23 section started 5min behind the elites and we would race for one less lap.this gave me a cool challenge as to see how far i could get up the elite field. i got off to a shaky start with some serious wheelspinning and then my foot slipping out of the pedal. i got off the line dead last but as the firsty 500m was all on open dirt road i was soon using the group ahead's slipstream to get by. i entered the first singletrack in 2nd spot and moved into the lead on the first climb. i was ridding good but struggling to feel comfortable. on the second lap i had a good lead but kept pushing to find my rythm. i started catching the back markers of the elite field and one off the kenyan riders got stuck and fell right onto my front wheel forcing me to jump over the bars. i remounted a little frazzeld and in the next technical section my approach was way too slow and i slid out on an off-camber bank, hit a tree and again went flying over the handlebars. from here i relaxed for the rest of the lap and got things back together. i had got almost halfway up the elite field and my lap times were improving. as i finished my 5 lap race the leader in the elites was 30 seconds up the road so i decided to do an extra lap and make some exciting racing. marc bassingthwaite was riding well and it took some serious digging for me to catch him by the end of the lap...
well done to mark and the guys from the mankele bike park for an awesome event. the course was great as usual.
this week ill return home for some last prep and rest before leaving to canada next week.
road trippin...July 7, 2009
aftter a good training weekend in graskop last weekend i was back training cross-country on monday with the mr price junior squad. i havent ridden on the track that starts on my parents small holding in ages...it's the track i grew up on as a youngster and where i probably honed most of my skills. needless to say it was good fun...
on monday evening after the ride i got struck down by some food poisening. the night was not fun and i was bed ridden for most of tuesday. on wednesday i was up and riding again but barely moving. on wednesday i packed up the van for my first road trip in awhile. cherise and i set off to knysna early on thursday morning for the knysna oyster festival. the racing consisted of a 85km mtb marathon on saturday and a 100km road race on sunday.
on saturday the race got off to an easy start until we got to the first road climb. i felt rather terrible and along the easy flat sections my heart rate was already at 160bpm where it would normally be beating at under 120. i kept hangin in there and we were soon down to 6 riders at the front. i knew if i could just hang in until the last 15km the adrenaline would kick in. and so it did. we were down to 4 as we hit this mark. i was feeling better and shook things up on the climbs a little. we soon dropped david george. it was now down to jaco venter, kevin evans and myself. knowing jaco's sprinting prowess i was not happy taking him to the line. the only real technical section came with 5km to go and i opened up a gap between myself and the others. kevin managed to come back at me on the tar and we both rolled to the finished where i managed to take the win in a thrilling sprint finish.
on sunday it was back on the s-works tarmac for some high paced road training.a rather big bunch set off on the route that heads past plettenberg bay on the N 2. at first the pace was brisk and the group was down to around 40 by the 10km mark. after this it was flatter and the groups rejoined us at the front. with 30km to go the racing started again and we whittled the group down to around 20 with house of paint driving hard at the front. in the sprint to the line i had a few moments with some road cones but managed to finish safely in 9th place.
on monday i was again in the comfort of the x5 on the long road up to pretoria. on the weekend i will be heading down to nelspruit for the african mtb champs. im hoping not to lose any weight this week...
Graskop hillclimb champsJune 29, 2009
this weekend i did a small road tour up in mpumalanga. it was a great weekend of training and some fun racing. on saturday morning we did a 22km loop that comprised the infamous gods window pass. we kicked off at 8am and had to complete 5 laps. with only two major teams present and around 2000m of total ascent it was a very open race. by the end of the first lap i made a group of 9 riders that slipped off the front off the peleton. we worked well together and quickly grew the gap to a solid margin. on the third lap of 5 team mtn started to shake things up with ian mcleod and jay thompson attacking repeatedly. on the last section of the climb it was myslef and jay who got away from the rest of the group. the gap quickly grew and with two other mtn riders chasing, jay was not allowed to work with me under team orders. the last lap and a half i just found a steady tempo and held it there. the gap to the chasers grew to over two minutes and i managed to finish second,around 15 seconds behind thompson after he attacked me in the last few kilometers.
in the afternoon we raced up the kowyns pass in a 8.5km hillclimb time trial. i was off second last and soon managed to catch the two riders that started off in front of me. i could feel the effort from the morning stage still in my legs but found a comfortable rythm. the pass climbs up 600m vertically so it was always going to hurt. by halfway i had pulled 7 seconds on thompson but in the last few kilometers with no one to chase ahead of me i lost focus and slwed somewhat. in the end i ended up losing by two seconds in a time of 21min 52 seconds.
on sunday it was a shorter stage at only 70km but with the last 36km being almost entirely uphill it was going tpo be tough. the first half went real quick as was expected and i had to fend off a few attacks by the mtn team. at the bottom of long tom pass they drove a steady tempo and as we sprinted for the king prime at 34km only 6 riders remained at the
front. as the grade got slightly steeper i jumped multiple times to see if the remaining riders would crack. on the last few kilometers of the climb we were down to four and i was suffering a litte into the block headwind with my slightly undergeared 23 rear cassette. the stage ended in a 3 way sprint with me again ending up second in a mtn sandwich.
the race was perfect prep for the upcoming races and buld up to the next world cup at the end of july. this week ill be doing a training camp with my dad's junior team before heading to knysna oyster festival.
Back at altitudeJune 23, 2009
after the sardine classic last weekend i took it quite easy this week, doing mostly cross-training and focusing on my core.this usually means less time but more aching muscles then just riding my bike.
cherise and i traveled to johannesburg on friday so she could do filming for gilette world sport. i will also take the opportunity to do some good altitude training and race in the graskop hillclimb tour next weekend. i just have to make my specialized tarmac heavier so it meats the uci weight limit...
but for now its back to more training and fighting the traffic...
once again it is almost time....June 15, 2009
once again it is almost time for us to witness the coming of thousands of little silver fish along the southern coast of south africa. with this we also have the annual running of the sardine mtb challenge in port edward. after having been on a racing hiatus i decided to go and have fun and support a local race. the turn out was superb with almost 700 bikers taking part in the various distances. the 45km race i took part in was a really awesome track with loads of singletrack and almost no fire roads. it was also a rather good workout after taking it easy the last couple of weeks. i think i was on the rivet for at least an hour or more.
this week also marked the arrival of my moms new specialized era expert. thanks a ton to the guys at le peleton for making it happen. this week my training will come down in hours but way up in intensity which in turn means harder but i think i prefer it. 5 hours at the same old pace on a tar road will just never be my cup of tea...
Routine....June 2, 2009
The last week ive been going about setting a good routine to follow as i prepare for the second half of my season. first up i took 4 days off and only started riding again on friday. i ran around doing some errands and getting my bikes ready for the training to come. i got some good rest in too. on friday i was back on the road and pretty much spent my whole weekend in the saddle. it felt great seeing as the last time i did solid mileage was the cape epic which was like a month or two ago. i could also ride at a steady pace and didnt have to chase some euros along a 5km loop over an over.
its also great to be back on the tarmac after a long break. the bike is so pleasant to ride. i did have a slow puncture on sat but managed to ride it home.
ive also been watching mad chuck in my recovery time. i always seem to get addicted to a series even though i was a skeptic at first on this one. on thursday i got to put a new front loader in the audi and now have it hooked up to my ipod.
this week will be another big training week. hope the weather stays the same.
World Cup 4, Madrid, SpainMay 26, 2009
This weekend we were back in action in the sunny city of madrid. i had a smooth trip over on wednesday night, todd and i were even on the course training by thursday afternoon. we also got called up for random testing as we got to the track. after 12hours plus flying time passing a urine sample is no easy task....
on friday christoph and lene had joined us and the boys hit the course by mid day. we had a great lunch prepared by claire and then it was back to the hotel for massage and some rest. saturday was my first experience with rain in all the years i have raced in madrid. the course however handled it well and the loose dry sand was just a little more clumpy but not too slick.
for race day the skies had cleared and the only mud we experienced was the puddles we had to stand in on the start line. i was not happy as i had brand new white and blue s works road shoes on! i had my best start ever in madrid and spent most of the first lap trying to hold onto ralph naefs wheel as he layed down some serious speed.at the start of the second lap it was absolons turn and by midway round the lap i had lost 10 seconds. joining me in the second group was hermida, paulissen and nino schurter. by the third lap i was pretty spent from trying to nail the gap down to the front and i let the others roll through. the gap quickly grew to the leaders and another group caught us from behind. i wasnt having a great day and decided to ride smart. i followed wheels for most of the race and managed to sprint myself into 7th place at the end. i held onto 3rd place in the overall and grew my lead in the u/23 standings. im hoping to get back onto the box in canada in a few weeks. the courses are way more suited to my strengths and with the new epic we will have a huge advantage on the rough stuff.
im already home as i write this as i had a flight at 1 30 am on monday morning. im getting used to this traveling. my new compact hp notebook in my backpack makes it even easier.
its great being home...May 11, 2009
after a smooth evening flight i arrived at o.r. tambo at around 9 on tuesday night. cherise was there as always to make being home even better. i took a few days easy in pretoria and tried to do a lot of sleeping and get rid of whatever bug was plaguing the team the previous weekend. on thursday cherise and i did a really pleasant 4hr ride on the road. it felt so weird being back on the skinny wheels!
on friday i packed up again and flew a little closer to my real home to compete in the mr price karkloof classic over the weekend. mr price have been my longest personal sponsor so it was great to be back after a few years of absence from what is an incredible weekend of events. on saturday i raced the sprint shoot out which turned out to be more of an obstacle course than a short track. there was loads of scaffolding,jumps and bridges. we even passed through a truck. at first i was quite nervous as things could easily go bad when you ride on thin tracks and then when you add 9 more riders all racing for R10 000 in a 6 minute race it could easily turn into a dog show. nevertheless i qualified tied first with my good friend craig paul and the confidence was up a little. in the final race i got off to a descent start and worked my way to the front over the first half of the race and then built up a comfortable margin at the end.
on sunday it was off on a sweet 75km marathon loop. usually 75km doesnt seem that long but after only racing for two hours the last few weeks i thought it would feel like forever. however the organization built a 3hr long xc course it seems and i had a huge grin on my face the whole way through. the single track was so much fun i almost forgot it was a race. i felt good on the day and after the first 10km i had only kevin evans along for company. at around 15km to go kevin showed some weakness and i forced a little gap. i have raced the karkloof classic since i was 10 years old and ive never won here. i was very happy then on sunday when i came home solo.
the weeknd was just about perfect until on sunday night i had some burglars help themselves to the stuff inside my car. i woke up to a glass filled seat at 4 am in the morning as i had to take cherise to the airport. the night before i had also packed the car so my backpack with everything was gone. when i say everything i mean it all... laptop, garmin, ipod, shoes, passport, helmet etc.after a few trips to the police station i got it all sorted. the saps at south port were very helpful and by the end afternoon i was enjoying a quiet sundowner ride with my mom at my side...its great to be home!
world cup xc round 3 houffalize ,belgiumMay 4, 2009
The xc circuit return to probably the most classic destination on the world cup race programme .Houffalize has already hosted the world cup a record 15 times in the 17 year world cup history. For this reason the event is alo one of the biggest of the year. Team Specialized traveled to the event on monday after an easy ride in Offenburg. The weather was very cold for the first couple of days and Todd fell victim to our hectic schedule with a cold. Suzi and i did some quality training on wednesday and i could feel i wasnt recovering quite as normal between efforts. The track this year was harder than before with some really tricky uphill sections. i was however loving the full-suspension on the notorious breaking bump sections.
On friday i felt even more exhausted and when i woke up on saturday it felt like i had swallowed a thousand razor blades through the night. luckily my body felt fine so i just rode easy on the road to loosen the legs up before race day. on Saturday i didnt feel any better but luckily not worse and after taking my temperature i got my mind set on a good race.
The start was again the hardest effort you can possibly think off. 2 min of absolutely killing yourself up a 20% grade! Suzi and i both seemed stuck up the start climb and slipped back to around the 40s going into the single track. Fortunately the course allowed for loads of passing and by the time we went through the start finish i had moved up to 22nd. On the first full lap i continued to move up but my head was feeling very heavy. i found a group fighting for the 9th position and decided to hang onto the back of it for a couple of laps and see how the legs held out. As we started the penultimate lap i decided that it was time to put the suffering to good use and used my full suspension to get a gap through the technical climbing sections. Soon i was on my own and ticking off the riders who were now fading at the front. On the last lap i got up into 4th and even closed 40 seconds to the leader.
All in all it has been a rewarding trip for me with a 3rd place ranking in the world cup as well as a nice lead in the u/23 series.It sure will be nice to have a breather now before we head to the next round in madrid.
World Cup round 2 Offenburg, GermanyApril 28, 2009
The second round of the uci world cup took place in the friendly town of Offenburg. After a pretty smooth travel from the usa we got checked in by early tuesday afternoon and even went for a little bike ride.The road riding around thee town is great with quiet roads and beautiful scenery.
The whole team rode to the track on wednesday morning to check it out and i made a little video of the course that should be on the specialized site soon. The track was the same as in the past which made us choose the fastest new tires in our stable for race day.
We kicked of at 2 30pm on sunday in front of a huge crowd. I think the numbers neared 20,000.the whole team got off to a great start with myself, todd and susi sitting comfortably in the lead group. on the last descent of the first lap i went down a drop too fast and burped the rear wheel completely. luckily for me it was a couple of meters away from the tech zone so i pulled right in. Problem was,that my mechanic Dylan,could not get from the one tech zone to the one i was in because since we passed through the other one there hadn't been a break in the flow of riders so needless to say it was a long wheel change. I got going again and started charging. I put in a huge effort to get back to the lead group as soon as i could and by the end of the second lap i was back there. On the third lap Julien Absalon made his move and was sitting too far back in the group and also on the limit at that stage. On the next lap Suzie got away and after passing the rest of the group i made my way up to join him. We rode together for the next lap before a bad crash took him out of the race. More bad luck struck when Todd who was in the group right behind me flatted out as well. I rode on in second ,but started to feel the toll the hard start had taken and slid back into 4th place on the 6th lap. On the 7th i made up some ground again but i still finished 8 seconds down on third place. Im happy to have gotten a good result again this week after my bad race at sea otter. It feels like im back on track...
Sea Otter Classic 2009April 22, 2009
After a good start to the season at the pietermaritzburg the whole specialized team left for california on sunday. after two dubbel digit length flights and lots of layover time we arrived at san francisco airport. We got to our hotel pretty fast and even got alittle ride in before nightfall. On tuesday morning it was off to specialized hq for a tour and personel meeting. It was great to meet a bunch of people who i've only known as names before. At noon we joined in on the company's lunch time ride. As we rolled out on the road ride with our mtbs and fat lk knobies i knew we were in for a tough one. The people here take their riding seriously. I also got to see just about all that the road bike range has to offer from tarmac sl2's to transitions. So the pace was easy and then after about 5 minutes it was like the gun fired. The whole bunch was strung out in a long line and i started fighting my way to the front. I got to todds wheel and then we worked our way up to the lead group. At one point we hit 67km/h along a flat road with a tailwind. My heartrate was nearing lactate threshold as i tried to turn my 40x11 gear over as fast as possible. The pace basicaly kept going for the entire hour ride before the mtb team along with ben(global marketing)turned off on another loop to make the ride 2hrs. We rode steady for the remainder of the ride and enjoyed the morgan hill country side. After the ride we hit the showers which were realy impressive. I have to say my favourite bit of the company was the graphics department. I have always been a sucker for funky colours and smooth lines. In the afternoon we left to monterey for the 2009 sea otter bike festival.
On wednesday specialized launched the new 29'er epic and stumpjumper hardtails. The bikes look awesome and altough i havent riden one it seems that wellsy loves his 20 pound big wheeled machine. Thereafter lene and i rode a windy xc course and we took the afternoon pretty easy. The rest of the week was very relaxing as we prepared for another hard weekends racing. First up was the short track on saturday. The event comprises 20minutes plus 3 laps of racing around a 900 meter dirt track. Its very much like an mtb crit. Team specialized dominated from the gun as todd,suzie and i rode off the front after only a couple of laps. Unfortunately christoph rolled his tire halfway through the race and had to stop. Todd and i kept going with todd riding realy strong at the end to take the win.i took second a couple seconds later.
Sunday it was the 29 mile xc race that took place in some very hot conditions. I had been feeling a head cold coming on the whole week and on sunday it finaly caught up with me. From the gun i felt below par and decided to set the pace for the team early on. It wasnt long before the group splintered and we were down to 6 riders on the relatively flat course with loads of drafting. After around 15 miles of racing i was feeling terrible and after a long pull i dropped off the group. Shortly after christoph made his winning move leaving the rest of the group in his dust.todd soon attacked the group aswell and rode himself comfortably into second before a puncture relagated him to 5th on the day which was enough for him to win the xc omnium.
I am now sitting on the plane on my way to offenburg, germany for the second round of the mtb world cup. I feel way better already and feel super motivated for a good weekend.
Cape EpicMarch 31, 2009
What a start!after practicing the prologue course only once prior to the race. Christoph and i surprisingly won the stage ahead of mtn who blatantly made it known that they knew the course like the back of their hands and were going to win for sure.
stage 1.gordons bay-villiersdorp.112km
The songo.info campaign was of to a great start and in the early hours of Sunday morning we set out of Gordon's Bay for the first long stage clad in yellow as early leaders of the epic. the pace was steady as we climbed up the first road climb past a pump station. as we hit the dirt for the first time the race exploded. the trek-bretjens team firmly set the hammer down and only sauser and i could follow. after a few km's we had opened a solid gap on the chasing pack and still holding on to trek-bretjens. as we neared the halfway mark in the 112km stage the real climbing started. Susi set the pace and i held on. as we neared the top of the highest peak we were almost 5minutes ahead of a now slowing trek team. as we got into the outskirts of villiersdorp and close to the finish i slashed the sidewall on my front tire in a rocky section. we set about fixing it calmly and efficiently and still finished the stage over 2min clear. our overall lead was now up to over 4minutes
the stage started off fast and soon it was trek-bretjens off the front again. susi decided we would remain in the chasing pack as to conserve our energy for later on. at around 30km i had a slow leak in the front tire and again we stopped to seal the tire. it wasnt long before we got back to the pack and at the halfway point we started up the big climb of the day. the terrain here was super rocky and steep, a perfect spot for us to make a move. at first bulls came with us but then on the descent we managed to open up a small gap as we closed in on trek-bretjens. at the 80km mark we got onto a wide open dirt road and the bulls came back to us. we were sitting confident as we had a lot left for the last long climb at just 15km to go. as we turned into the dual track which went up the climb we immediately started to open the gap. by the time we hit the finish we were again over 2minutes ahead. our lead was now just over 6minutes.
stage 3 involved alot of walking/running. i mean like over an hours worth. after we neared the top off the walking section Christoph and i found ourselves in a lead group with trek-bretjens and the trek wc team. on the descent however it was susi who got a small leak in the rear tire. again we went through our now perfected routine and we were soon on our way in persuit of the leaders. bulls had also caught up to us which made the pacing earlier. with 20km to go we all caught up to the leaders and we were now four teams out front. the last 8km contained a lot of steep climbs and single trail so we again managed to break away before the line. we won our 4th straight stage and our lead was up to just under 8 minutes.
stage 4 is were songo.info would lose the cape epic. early on susi got a puncture on the first district road and we were left chasing for well over half an hour as team mtb was driving hard at the front of the lead pack. we eventually got back just to have the plug we repaired susi's wheel with come out. we fixed it again and started chasing. dcm chrome had witnessed our distress and helped us pace back. on a sandy bit i tried to take a drink from my bottle and as i took one hand off the bar my handlebar caught a small branch which swung the front wheel side ways sending me flying. as i got up it was clear that my wheel was totaled and we needed to make some sort of plan to carry on with the race. max knox from dcm offered me his bike to ride to the next water point where we had spare wheels. he decided to run to the spectator point 500m up the road and borrow a wheel. he also subsequently put my bike on a following motorbike to be lifted to the same spectator point. he borrowed a wheel,fixed my bike and rode to the water point. we swapped bikes back and fixed them before setting off to chase now a total of 24minutes back. we spent the whole day chasing with the pair from dcm-chrome destroying themselves for the hope that a south african could stand on top off the podium once again. we managed to finish the stage just 11min behind the leaders which meant we were only a very attainable 4min down on the overall time board. however the commesaires of the race at first decide we would get a 15minute penalty for swapping bikes. we were down to 5th but eager to chase the next few days.
stage 5.greyton to oakvalley.111km
stage 5 we made ammends. we attacked on the first big climb of thee long stage at 20km. we got a small gap but as about 60km of districk and fast jeep track followed a small lead group soon got together. with 40km to go at one off the feed zones trek-bretjens made their move. we set chase however only songo.info and occasionly multivan merida would set the pace at the front. the other teams seemed content to let the trek team just ride away,but we wanted the win bad. so with 25km to go we attacked on the last big climb. we soon hunted down the trek team who were at one point 4minutes ahead. we kept hammering to the end and eventually won the stage 1min 30 sec ahead of trek and over 5minutes ahead of the bulls. this meant that was it not for the 15min penalty we would be back in the lead.we were however still 14minutes down in 3rd. that would however changes drastically as other teams kept pushing for our penalty to be increased to one hour. this happened eventually with the uci's excuse being that they had witnessed different evidence concerning our mishap on the tv coverage off that stage. after that stage however the coverage was available to the uci and they did not want to speak to us, the riders as they said they had witnesses. this also meant our hunt in the gc was over.
stage 6.oak valley to oak valley.86km
stage six was the most technical stage for sure. early on the field split and out front it was trek-bretjens, bulls, felt factory racing and songo.info. i didnt have great legs on this stage and we were content to just sit in and wait for the finish. in the last few km's trek-bretjens lead the charge with us on their wheel. right at the end i made a mistake in a turn and a 10sec gap opened which we could not close before the line and we settled for second. in third was felt with the bulls again loosing 1min 30sec down in 4th.
stage 7.oak valley-lourensford estate.60km
on the final stage i attacked early but the leading teams would not let us go. about an hour in some different teams down on gc including the south-african duo of dcm chrome got off the front. the front pack decided to call it quits and rode steadily to the finish. it was a great feeling to cross the line after a long race, but i did have the "what might have been feeling" as well...
my focus for the next two weeks is to recover well and build up to the world cup season opener in pmb,south africa.thanks to everyone for the upport in the epic and please check out www.songo.info
a cross-country,road and tt championships...March 18, 2009
after a fourteen hour drive on over last weekend i arrived in oudtshoorn on sunday evening for the south-african road and tt championships. oudtshoorn is in a valley that gets deadly hot.i didnt know this before but i do now.on tuesday our 195km race kicked off at around noon.the csa(cycling south-africa)ruled that only teams with four or more riders were allowed a following vehicle which realy unleveled the playing field in the 48C temperatures that were experienced.after 120km i was already heavily dehydrated and over heating badly so i pulled the plug and turned my focus to the tt and xc race later in the week.
for the tt i had the most awesome gear.fully pimped s-works transition tt bike,tt2 helmet,skinsuit,garmin 705 and the very cool new oakley jawbones.it was a very flat tt route so i knew i had to put in everything to secure a result.i was hopin to maybe get my first tt medal at sa championships and knew it would be a tall order.i started hard over the first climb and settled into a more comfortable rythm soon after.i also started drinking early which would prove wise over the hot 40km course.at the halfway turn io was 1min 30sec up on the split i had set the day before and i was still feeling realy good.i kept closing down on the riders in front of me and focused on turning my rotor rings rapidly.the last 5km was the hardest of the course as it was up a 2% drag,it was here that the garmin was very useful as i could fight to keep the speed up.i eventualy hit the line in 51min 35 seconds to claim the silver medal in the u/23 section and 4th overall.aggod transition for a non-timetrialist i think...
after the tt we packed up and headed for george.this was to compete at the xc championships on saturday.it was also cheris' first xc race so it was very exciting.i headed to the venue early on saturday to support cherise and my development team under the mr price banner.the pro elites kicked off at 12 and after a slow start that saw me into the singletrack around 5th i made my way to the front after a few k's.as i got there we hit the bumpiest climb on the route and i managed to accelarate my epic away from the field.from here on it was head down and having fun onbourd the full susser over the rough stuff.i crossed the line with a sweet gap.pulling the sa champs jersey over my back is always an awesome feeling and one that makes me feel like i can head to the world cups with confidence...
this week im down in stellenbosch preparing for the epic with the team.check out songo.info to find out what our race there is all about.
thanks for the support
Calm Before the StormMarch 9, 2009
calm before the storm...
this week i got the chance to chill at home after an adventurous sani 2 c. it was the first week ive been home since the middle of jan and it sure was good to sleep in my own bed, drive the audi and watch some big screen tv! i did however have quite a lot on my plate as i have the sa road, tt and xc mtb champs coming up this week. my tt bike and a new large mtb frame arrived and had to be built and ridden asap to make sure i was comfortable to race them. as the tt bike didnt come with a manual and has some freaky cable and brake assemblies it took me quite a while although i do have the mechanics of the epic dialed, this could be handy come cape epic time. i did manage to fit in some descent training and rode with the kids from the bundu bashers on thursday.
on tuesday i am looking to kick off my busy racing schedule over the next few weeks. first up is a 180km u/23 road race and then on Thursday its the 40km tt. on Saturday i'll race the xc national champs and on Sunday its off to Stellenbosch to prepare for the epic which starts on the 21st. im hoping the racing goes well this week as it'll be good to go into the epic with confidence. i really do want to give the whole race a go after the disappointing DNF last year.
till next week
Sani2C, South AfricaMarch 2, 2009
On Wednesday I packed up the van and headed off to the airport to pick up Conrad Stoltz, who was my partner for the 3 day Sani2C. The race comprises three stages starting in the infamous Drakensberg and finishing on the coast a mere 50km away from my home.
After picking Conrad up and a leisurely drive to Underberg I managed to cram in a three hour ride with Cherise. It rainied most of the time but the picturesque country side made up for the wet clothes on our backs.
The first stage was 85km long and kicked off around 6 am, which for pro athletes is way too early; well it is for me anyways. The first section was on a fast open dirt road and at around the 20km mark I got caught up in a bunch crash and ended up hurting the same knee I fell on a few weeks back. Nevertheless Conrad and I chased back to the lead group and caught them as we hit the main climb of the day. This is where we would let go off the leaders anyway making our chase a pointless effort. From here on we got to really enjoy the route and ride a steady pace to the finish. A definite highlight on the stage had to be the floating bridge complete with corners and all...we even mangaed a solid 7th spot.
Day Two started at an insanely early time of 5 30am. This was the hardest part of the race for me but with the support of Conrad I narrowly made it through! The day was 100k long so it was a good slog and perfect prep for the cape epic comping up soon. The first quarter of the race comprised mostly muddy single track so we were in our element. After a rather brisk 4hours and 10 minutes we crossed the line that Conrad was desperately looking for over the last 15km. I think an Xterra mtb leg is slightly shorter than day two of the sani 2 c ...!!!
On day three it seemed like we got to sleep in as we only jumped away at around 7am. Again we started on a fast and flat dirt road section before hitting some fun singletrack. It was a good workout for me over the course of day three as I only had a 40 tooth front chainring and the speeds were high. As we entered the beach we got to cross another floating bridge before finishing in the center of Scottburgh. After a quick hose down to get the mud off I took off to get some extra miles in and rode home. In the evening we had a good dinner recollected the past days experiences... I had such a good time riding with a legend of the Xterra sport; not to mention the story telling capabilities .....
November 16, 2010
October 18, 2010
October 13, 2010
October 13, 2010
September 7, 2010
August 10, 2010
July 27, 2010
July 19, 2010
July 13, 2010
June 28, 2010
June 15, 2010
May 25, 2010
May 10, 2010
May 3, 2010
April 27, 2010
April 13, 2010
April 6, 2010
March 29, 2010
March 16, 2010
March 15, 2010
March 8, 2010
March 1, 2010
February 8, 2010
February 1, 2010
January 25, 2010
January 21, 2010
January 15, 2010
January 4, 2010
November 2, 2009
October 27, 2009
October 20, 2009
October 14, 2009
September 29, 2009
September 21, 2009
September 15, 2009
September 8, 2009
August 25, 2009
August 17, 2009
August 10, 2009
August 3, 2009
July 27, 2009
July 21, 2009
July 13, 2009
July 7, 2009
June 29, 2009
June 23, 2009
June 15, 2009
June 2, 2009
May 26, 2009
May 11, 2009
May 4, 2009
April 28, 2009
April 22, 2009
March 31, 2009
March 18, 2009
March 9, 2009
March 2, 2009