21 Mar 2007

These boots are made for running...........

One of these days these boots are gonna run all over you, dum dum dum dum..............
Remember the song?

When you play cricket, you wear cricket shoes, when you play golf, you wear golf shoes and when you cycle you wear...........tackies?

The human foot is made up of a whole range of intricate little bones, tendons, sinews and muscle. It is that part of your body that makes the contact between you and the hard surface, be it the tar road when you are running, the cricket pitch when you are bowling or the pedal of the bike if you're cycling. So what is your shoe suppose to do? It is suppose to support your whole body weight on a shoe size 6, 7 or what your shoe size is.

Support is the important word here. In cycling your whole body weight is pressing down on the ball of your foot. Ok, paint the picture, here you are-on average 70kg-standing on the bike pedal with no support or not enough support to your foot. What is going to happen is a dead feeling in your toes, numbness, pins and needles, injury.

The cycling shoe is so designed that your foot is suppose to have free movement within the shoe. Add to that, a very hard sole (not inner sole) so that the shoe can support your weight on the pedal. What will happen is a wonderful power output to the pedal, meaning you can actually pedal hard without injuring your foot. You will have the support you needed.

Money! I hear you groan. A good pair of cycling shoes cost in the region of R400. Of course if you want to splash out, go for it! The best pair of cycling shoes I ever had, and I had many, is the SIDI mountain bike shoes. Fits like a glove, (or is it shoe), with leather uppers, it is soft but with a stiff sole and it gives me real support for an excessive power pedal stroke. Go to the various cycling shops and try them on, don't just buy. When your feet are happy, then you buy. By the way, who of you saw the SIDI stand at the Argus Expo? The shoes there displayed were fantastic and so were the prices, but on the other hand, how many pairs of feet do you have?
Competition time! You can win yourself an entry ticket to Northern farms to the value of R120 if you can identify the owners of the cycling shoes in the photos on this blog.
Cycling shoe picture 1 is:
Cycling shoe picture 2 is:
Cycling shoes picture 3 is:
If the shoe fits........put it on

14 Mar 2007

Sunday 11th March 2007

At last it was happening. The Argus Cycle Tour! We trained for it, we dreamt about it and it was real. Our wishes became true as the weather stayed favourable and we had a glorious ride.

Look at the results , pinch yourself, it happened, personal bests for most of the riders and for those riding their first Argus a fantastic welcome to the event.

We were lucky that none of our riders had a fall. With huge groups of over 800-900 per group, and no wind to slow them down, high speeds were the order of the day. All the groups from Group J onwards were delayed by 15min. The delay was caused by an accident in the H group. At the notorious Hospital Bend one of the cyclists clipped one of the road cones with his pedal. He didn't come down but the cone flew up and landed slam bang in the middle of the peleton with the effect that 44 cyclists came down. Needless to say they needed some time to clear the road of fallen riders and bike debris. Photographs in the local newspapers showed cyclists and bikes strewn across the road, with one of the cyclist on his back, his bike right up in the air and with his cleats still in his pedals. Luckily none of the victims got hurt too seriously, and most did complete the tour.

We met at the beer tent at the end, and as they came in one by one, their smiling faces were already telling the story. "Better than last year" and "it was great" and "I thought it was going to be worse" (obviously from a first timer) .

Now, the only thing we are still looking for is "Smits Winkel" ( winkel: Afrikaans for shop)
I forgot to tell the first timers that Smitswinkel was indeed a mountain pass and not a shop.

Until next year! In the meantime we will keep on training for the wonderful Cape Argus Cycle Tour.

PS. I really like the Bulla shirt!

13 Mar 2007


.....2...1.......And here we are in Cape Town!

After a couple of queues and a few hickups at the airports, we all arrived and started to take huge chunks of fresh air with chilled glasses of white wine. A fantastic combination for a good ride. Add to that good weather, and you would find us all wondering what on earth we are doing up in Gauteng!

First things first. I went to the Expo to collect race numbers and to drool over bikes and accessories. They had them all, from Cervelo to the latest in the GT camp. Sunglasses and clothing and the latest bandanna that keeps the sweat off the brow, according to the chef. He tried it, and it works. For all who didn't go to the Expo, here is what it looks like! 35000 cyclists and their families.

The next day I was commandeered off to collect family and friends from the airport with baggage and bikes. Now of course what they didn't realise was that I hired a VW Chico, a white one, the size of a bar fridge. So how on earth they thought they would all fit in, is a wonder to me. We tried and squeezed and pushed and took things off, but eventually we all fitted in baggage, bike and all. I was glad I was the driver because my lungs didn't get pierced by a pedal, nor a spoke! By the way I didn't mind driving out to the airport, because in the meantime my companions reserved a table for us all. That was now from lunch to dinner. One of my companions got a bit sun burnt and I know nobody will believe him, if he had to tell them he got sun burnt while sitting at the restaurant.
Saturday dawned with a beautiful fresh smell from the sea. Going out to Camps Bay for breakfast was the best thing to do, with hundreds of cyclists turning pedals to get to their breakfast rendezvous. Misty on the beach with just a hint of a drizzle. The day later cleared with the sun just right with just a slight breeze and at dinner at Quay 4 we were all keeping our fingers crossed that the weather will keep it's mood and not turn into a howler.

We went our separate ways with promises of meeting at the beer tent after the race. Our mouths were talking but our minds were ticking off our check lists ....... shoes, timing chip, start card, bananas ............... oh and the new bandanna!

4 Mar 2007

Tour De Soweto

It was 04:20 when the alarm went off. Another early morning!!!! Dragged myself through the shower, have a quick cup of coffee and off we went, to see Soweto.

It is huge and yet it was a bit difficult to find. ......... Reading and understanding maps early in the morning, is not my speciality.

The "tour"started on time. I say tour because I shot out the blocks just to realise I'm riding on my own. After settling into a nice pace, it was time to observe, look around, take in, see what this place was all about. I took in the smells from the city, open cooking fires of potatoes here and pap over there. Other more pungent smells which make your tummy turn.

We turned a corner and up the hill we went, a good hill, and another one. Who said Soweto was flat?! By this time word has spread of things happening in the city and people were coming out their houses to watch us fleeting pass.They clapped, they cheered and all 150 marshals, dressed in yellow T-Shirts, waved us on, left, then right, then left again. Some of the roads were closed to traffic and others had one lane reserved for cyclists. Good effort was put into securing a safe ride. We thanked the marshals as we passed them. They returned our calls with clapping, or cheering, or "Sharp sharp doll!" At one point we had all church goers from a specific church dressed in their traditional blue and white, out on the pavement cheering and clapping.

No, I did not see your TV, or your car, or ....... I saw houses with burglar bars and security gates. I saw very ordinary people. Many of the participants arrived with their bicycles, two sizes too small. Some pedalling bare feet, others with all sorts of lucky charms attached to their bikes, an old man with a lunchbox attached to the front of his bike. We were all taking part in the same event, enjoying our differences. Some of the youngsters whizzing passed me, looked back over their shoulder at my gleaming bike and smiled.

We only did the shorter route and by the time we got back at the start, which was about 9 o'clock, we were looking for something to eat and drink. The beer was getting unpacked, but was still warm. All the ingredients for making juicy hamburgers and boerewors rolls were there, but not ready. Next time, I'm sure they'll have it ready.

I enjoyed the ride, and I'm sure will do it again. Maybe the weekend before the "Big Argus" might not be the ideal date, but still a worthwhile ride.