20 Jan 2007

The Baviaans is back

Those of us who have done the Trans Baviaans 24hr Mountain Bike Marathon between Willowmore and Jeffreysbay went into absolute hyper-drive when we heard the Baviaans entries for 2007 are now open. I have done quite a couple of races in my life, mountain bike and road, and nothing but nothing compares to the Baviaans in excitement, adrenalin, endurance, vasbyt and extreme exhilaration on completion of the race.

The first time I did the race, we were a 3 man team, Celeste, Hano and myself - and complete novices. I bought my mountain bike secondhand two months before the time. A beautiful GT, and it's blue. Celeste's pedal came off after 70km and could unfortunately not finish the race. Our lights were not working properly. I was blinded by my own lights at least 12 times which caused me to fall, at least 12 times. I lost two sets of lights. I got hypothermia because of cold wet weather and not wearing the right clothes. I remember sitting inside a sleeping bag on top of the mountain at 12 at night, soaking up the warmth of our 4x4 support vehicle, shivering, drinking dreadful tasting soup that they dished up for the cyclists, dressed in all the clothes I had, when the voice of Hano, reached my ears with these dreadful words: "It's time to go". What effort it took to shook off the warmth and step into the cold. But amazingly we finished the race in 22 and 1/2 hrs.

So lessons were learned and last year we were so much better prepared. It was going to be Hano and myself. We trained harder, we trained smarter. We had a support team like non other, Rodney and Edmarie. They had everything warm/cold/fresh/tied down/ loosened, you name it, they were prepared. But the Baviaans threw the curve ball. Beautiful the day before the race, on race day late in the afternoon it started to rain. The second half of the race was wet, mud, rain in your face, and more mud. At one stage we had to cross a low water bridge. It's dark, you can only see a beam of light, not where the road is, not where the bridge is, so I missed it and rode right off the bridge into the river. The mud played havoc with the brakes of a number of cyclists including mine and although our mechanic (Rodney) did his best, I had to finish on the spare bike. And finish we did, and in style in 19 and 1/2 hrs. Some wise words at the end: "It is not so much about the fitness, it is more about your head, your mind. Many riders were a lot younger, but didn't finish the race."

This, just in short, is what you can expect on the Baviaans 24hr mountain bike race from Willowmore to Jeffreysbay, 230km in all. The race date is Saturday and Sunday, 18-19 August. For more information about the rules, entry fees and such go to www.gardenroute.org and find the Baviaans link or go to www.ecobound.co.za

You will need:
  • a mountain bike with shocks
  • lights for your bike
  • spares
  • rain clothing
  • all weather armorfit clothing
  • food and drink
  • first aid, and
  • above all fitness and a will to finish

In addition to that, you will need an entry, accommodation for before and after the race, and a support vehicle which needs to be a 4x4 or a vehicle with high clearance. Teams consist of either 2, 3 or 4 cyclists plus your support team. From past experience we found that a 2-man support team is better than just one person

We will have a pre-Baviaans Braai at my house on Friday 26 January at 18:30. If you are remotely interested in mountain biking as a cyclist or want to be part of the support team to see what this race is all about, be there. We will want to put teams, support teams, 4x4's, accommodation and the rest together. Forms to fill in, what to take, what you need etc will all be on the agenda.

By the way, I'm still riding the secondhand blue GT. Just got new egg beater pedals, thanks to an ardent fan.

14 Jan 2007

Northern Farm

The Northern Farm MTB Trail Head (Diepsloot Nature Reserve Johannesburg) is open for MTB riding every Saturday and Sunday and all Public Holidays Gate. Times: Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays from 06: 00 to 18:00.

Directions: From Pretoria, travel towards Krugersdorp on the N14 Krugersdorp - Pretoria Freeway. Turn off at the Diepsloot Turnoff (R511). At the first traffic lights, turn left and travel back under the N14 highway and then the 1st road left (R114) towards Muldersdrift. Travel on the R114 until you cross over the N14, past Diepsloot Café (+/- 5km) on the right. The main entrance to Northern Farm is on the right. Sign in at the security boom, show your entry ticket and continue straight to the parking area.
Entry tickets are purchased off site at the "Bunkhouse" of SA TRAILS. You can either purchase a "Single Entry" ticket at R12 for the day or you can purchase a discounted "Season Ticket" R120 for 20 entries @ R6 per ride. All tickets must be purchased before you enter Northern Farm. Only those riders that have a ticket will be given entry by the Northern Farm security.

Direction to SA TRAILS "Bunkhouse" for entry tickets: Instead of turning into Northern Farm, continue west on the R114 past the main gate for +/- 6km (over the Jukskei River). Turn right at the sign "SA Trails" Bunkhouse. This is a dirt road that leads up to the SA Trails "Bunkhouse".

That's the important information, now for the fun part.

It is really a super great venue, absolutely safe to take your children there if you were thinking of a family outing. But, at the same time it is also tough enough, that is, if you want it tough. There are some single track, but mostly dirt road. After a rainy spell, there is definitely enough mud to squelch and slip and slide (all fall over) your way through. There are river or water crossings, there are uphills and there is the roller coaster. The Roller coaster (Rodney's favourite) is up, down, up, down, loose sand, mud, down up, up and up until you reach the top with your heart rate beating in your ears and your breathing the sound of a steam loco.

Whether you go for a training ride or a leisurely outing, Northern Farms has it all. The dirt roads take you pass dams with bird life and hanging over water willow trees. Next to canals with spiny poplars, through tall Highveld grass from where you can see planes taking off and landing at Lanseria airport. Pack a day pack with picnic blanket and picnic next to any of the beautiful spots or ride hard and go back to the Bunkhouse for a cold beer and to share some stories with the other riders.

Are you still there? I hope not! By now, you should have packed the bike and the rest and be on your way. Enjoy the ride!

11 Jan 2007


Yeah, You can say that again!

Ok, here goes: ,bu:leme'kaengke

Bulla what, Bulla who?

Bullamakanka, the name of the spinning gym.

So many before you have asked and wanted to know the meaning of the word. It sounds very African. Well it's not. It's something you made up when you had a bad dream. The first words you spew out of your mouth when waking up after dragons have been chasing you. No it's not. It's bits and pieces of the names of your children all mixed up in a cauldron and spread out to dry in one looong word. No, it's not. Oh, your in Blue Bull country, so it must have something to do with the blue bulls. No it's not.

Do you give up? If you do, read further. If you would like to take another guess, don't read further.

I have a book at home. The title: The new Collins concise English dictionary. On page 143 I found this: Bullamakanka n. Austrl. an imaginary very remote place.

We might be remote in the sense that we are tucked away in the suburb of Erasmuskloof in Pretoria. We are not blazing lights on a busy street corner, but we are personal and not at all imaginary. All our instructors are Johnny G Spinning instructors, meaning they do have certificates to show for it. We started off very humbly with only 4 spinning bikes or was it 5? almost eight years ago. We do have now 13 spinning bikes and 9 balance balls and enough people in and out that makes it feel like a Christmas fleamarket. Except when they're all redfaced and sweaty you know it's not the market but the gym.

We plan outings and rides, breakfast rides and ride-together-rides. All the time we have fun, jokes, laughs and yet at the same time are very serious about our training, improving our lifestyle, getting fitter, getting thinner, training smarter. We compete against each other, but also encourage each other and beginners to take that step, start out, buy the bike, get the shoes, do one more class a week. And so, over the years we have reaped cyclists where there were none. We gained spinners who were former couch potatoes. We are all winners. We are Bulla for short.

You all feeling good? Ok, now then. I'm looking for people who are prepared to train hard and long, to do a gruelling 24 hr event, to ride as a team, to be an overcomer, a don't-give-upper, a go-to-the end-person. I would like to enter more than one team for the 24hr Baviaans Mountainbike race, from Willowmore to Jeffreys bay. Can I count you in? If so, plse speak to me urgently as I need to book accommodation asap.

9 Jan 2007

Profile on Christo de Kock

Christo is one of the best cyclists in the gym. Ok, Ok, he is the best. We all are very suspicious and think that he might have an enjin somewhere hidden on his bike. They won't send him for a drug test after a race, but they might ask him to pull over at the garage so they can test which fuel he is using. Peddle power? Paddle power? Here follows his profile:

Cycling history:

  • Started at the age of 5. (Grew up in rural Eastern Cape where a bicycle is a young boys pride, transport and escape vehicle)
  • Will be doing my 10 th Argus Tour this year. Only my last result is worth mentioning - 3 hours 13 minutes. In 2005 I managed an impressive (embarrassing) 6 hours of suffering
  • I have done three 94.7's, two Telkom classics, one Crater Cruise, Ride for Sight, Hyper to Hyper and a few other smaller races

Paddling history:

  • Started paddling in 2003 (most difficult thing I have ever tried/attempted)
  • I have done one Dusi, three Fish River marathons, two Drak Challenges, two Vaal Challenges, many Klip and Highveld Croc rivers, and a few other smaller rivers

Running history (not my favourite):

  • Nashua Marathon in 1986
  • A few corporate relays
  • 10 km on the Dusi with a canoe (not a boat) on my back
  • I will have to improve in this area (2007 goal)
Endurance events:
  • 24 hour Colourpress Parys (local) race
  • Six day (600 km) trip from Springbok to Cape town with my wife (Juliana) on a mountain bike
  • First triathlon, the 24/7 Stilbaai adventure race (12 km sea paddling, 45 km Mountain biking (I mean real Western Cape mountains - not Hans Strydom in Gauteng) and 10 km dune running)
  • Few more planned for this year (2007)
Favourite music:
  • Water splashing when placing a paddle in the water
  • Noise of my bicycle chain
  • 93 % of max heart rate in throat
Training/racing philosophy:
  • Always lead from the front (go as hard as you can)
  • Achieving a goal is possible or impossible, difficult does not count
  • Have a cold beer after each event

How to get these bikes to Cape Town on time


You've entered for the Argus Cycle Tour down in Cape Town in March. You are training hard. You have booked the most spectacular place to stay because it is an important weekend. But what about your bike??

There are different ways to get from here to there. You can transport the bike on the back of your car. Tulle has got amazing clippings, hooks and the rest to secure the bike/s. You can get on the train, with your bike. (havent tried this one before). You can fly down with your bike, or your bike can fly two days ahead of you, or disaster, your bike arrive after the Argus.
I found the best way for me, is to fly down and put my bike on a truck. Why? It's convenient. I dont feel tired because I didn't had to take the long trek down. My bike looks equally fresh from the truck ride. The bikes get transported right to where the race ends, which is a mere 5km or so from the start. So pick up your bike, ride to the start, ride the race (race the race) and after the race leave it at the end again. Easy. No hassles of finding a car with a bike rack etc.
There are a couple of companies taking the hassle out of bike transport. DJ Retief, Elliott's Cyclelab all advertise bike transport. I'm making use of a company called Nightwing. I have used them before and I like what they're doing. All the bikes get packed in boxes.The bikes get individually boxed, meaning no paint chips, scrapes and peddles getting mixed up with somebody else's bike. Arriving at Greenpoint the bikes get unpacked and are ready for collection. The drop off and collection point in Gauteng is at Melrose Arch Volkswagen, Cnr Corlett drive and Melrose Boulevard, Johannesburg.

Of course you have to book. Road or mountain bike a mere R495.00 return. Eish...... I know, but it's worth it. You get it slightly cheaper when you send your bike self-packed. Give them a call:

Hollings 082 684 5053 or hollings@nightwing.co.za

Do it now! Your bike needs to be in Cape Town for the Argus.

Have you had a different experience flying your bike down or trucking it down?. Please let us know about the pitfalls, the aches and the pains when your bike arrived in a heap, dismantled and no-one in your group knowing how to assemble the bike again.

6 Jan 2007

Jumping Lunge with Rotation

I think a very interesting title indeed.

I do know of course of hundreds of spinners who have asked me exactly that question. How do I do the Jumping lunge with rotation? Please don't try this on the spinning bike! But you could come and try it in the next balancing ball class.

I've been watching you in the spinning classes, trying to do more, working hard to add cadence or power to your pedal stroke and seemingly not really getting there. You try doing more classes and although you are getting fitter, you just don't seem to get stronger. Spinning is an excellent exercise to get fit, but to be able to get stronger, you have to concentrate on exercising a specific muscle group at a time. There are two ways to achieve this. Maybe more, but on a Saturday afternoon after a snooze, only two.

First one is on the spinning bike itself. When your instructor tells you to do a standing climb, it doesn't only mean we are going to get out of the saddle so we can rest our nether regions. It also means that in that position on the bike we are going to train a specific muscle group. On the standing climb you will be using your hamstring and bum muscles. If you don't feel it there, make sure about your position on the bike. Are you maybe too far forward, meaning you are leaning on the handlebars, your weight is not on your pedals, your bum not across the saddle. Always make sure about your position on the bike so you can reap the full benefit of the exercise.

Number Two is when you do extra training in the gym off the spinning bike. Many of you also attend other gyms, to do circuit training, weights etc. How do you know if you are doing the exercises correctly? How many repetitions should one do for a specific exercise to get to the powerful, gleaming muscle stage? I found a very interesting site www.hyperstrike.com . Go check it out. At the moment there is a small video that shows you exactly how to do the Jumping Lunge with rotation. The video shows you how to do the exercise, which muscle groups you will be using and what benefit it will be to you. For this move you will use the hips, thighs and trunk, to increase the power output from the lower body. ( Sounds to me that this will work to better your cycling/spinning).
It is a great strength, power and cardio move.
The site can also provide you with a fitness plan, or what to eat or not eat before a workout etc. The first 7 days are a free trial period where you can see what? how? and hoekom?

Let me know what you think. We will be doing that exercise in the ball class this week. I will let you know about comments after day 2 or 3. It will probably be something like this: "aaahhh eina, I couldn't get in or out of my chair/car/bed/" or some funny comment like that.

1 Jan 2007

Cycling in the Eastern Cape

Phew! Just came back from a hectic holiday in the Eastern Cape. Hectic in the sense that I tried to cram in as much cycling as I could in just a week. But it was beautiful.

Very interesting indeed for me to see was the hundreds of people taking their bikes on holiday. We passed cars with bikes on the roof, on their trailers, strapped on the back of their cars with wheels racing in the wind. So it does seem that people are keen to keep fit during their holiday as well. What a good sign that is for health in SA!

I stayed in a beautiful village called St Francis Bay (
www.stfrancisbay.co.za) and did day rides from there. Day 1 was a mountain bike ride to the next little sea village named Oyster Bay. Here I just feel I have to quickly add that I'm not a technical mountainbike rider, so if a road is untarred with ups and downs I think that is fantastic. Of course I do other rides as well, with technical bits and pieces, but I do find that with those I tend ending up with a whole lot of new scars adding to the existing ones. So lesson nr 1: get your shoes out of the cleats if you feel like your leaning dangerously in the wrong direction!

The ride to Oysterbay was stunning. Basically it is all the way farm roads, meaning the road is untarred, but wide enough for cars to pass you. So while puffing up a hill, you can breath in fresh farm air, watching cows grazing, listening to the birds calling, and when you do get to the top, stop to take in the beautiful view. A panoramic view includes sand dunes on the one side and farmlands on the other. Amazing! Not too many hills, wonderful downhills which I like to fly down so that the hill on the other side is halfway won. In all it was about 43km ride. Worth the outing because of the scenery.

Day 2 was a longer ride to Aston Bay and back. The first 10km is on tar, and then turning onto the gravel road to Paradys beach. Also very scenic through some farmlands also ending at the sea. The road at some places are very cobbly stoney so get yourselves ready for a bumpy ride. Also quite corrigated at times but beautiful. At the turn around I wanted to explore a little more of the surrounding areas, and was sure that the road followed will bring us out at the main gravel road. Well it didnt and with a companion's face saying: "I told you so" we had to turn around and head back the way we came. We had quite a wind to struggle against on the way back so we deserved the pub crawl afterwards.

Day 3 was a short ride to Cape St Francis, following a single track and jeep track on the beach, bringing you out on the main road again. Very isolated and times very difficult terrain, deep sand, single track through bushes crowding in on you and rocky beach. Nice, but I think for the more advanced cyclist. Overheard a conversation from a group of riders passing us coming from the opposite direction: "See, you're not the only woman cycling". Needless to say, she didnt look impressed at all. Only about 23km. So, not far but a bit technical at places.

Day 4 was a 59km ride to Jeffreysbay and back. A road bike ride as it was tar road all the way. Taking the road from St Francis Bay to Humansdorp. At Humansdorp we turned onto the Jeffreysbay road and went out all the way to the Stop sign. I picked up a bit of glass so had to fix a puncture. The road out was a breeze at 46km/h with the wind in our back. Ok, so you've gathered the turn around wasn't fun. The wind full frontal and then turning back to St Francis a side wind that nearly blew me off my bike. Very tricky riding indeed. I first thought it was only me suffering, but was watching other cyclists at the end also looking "blown". Good training for the Cape Argus Cycle tour! Talking about the Argus, how's your training going? There are some training tips on the site,
www.cycletour.co.za so check them out.