24 Sep 2008

Back into road cycling season

The road cycling season has started again and everyone is trying to get fit as quickly as possible for the big 94.7 that is coming up in November. If you haven't got back into the swing of things, please do now. It is not too late to start a training programme.

Our official photographer is out of action at the moment, so you will have to bear a bare blog.
Etienne is forever cycling with his camera and taking pics when you least expect it. How he's doing it, we don't know. I mean, trying to stay in the bunch, take pics, drink from your bottle and not fall over , well...... All the best for the second op to his collar bone after the fall on the Baviaans Mountain Bike Marathon. Hope this time they get it right.

We started the season off with the Dome2Dome, which is quite a long and strenuous ride for the beginning of the season. I'm sure if the organisers could organise a later date in the season, we will see better times. Coming out of hibernation for most of us, it was quite a shock to the system. Although I must say, we had better weather than the year before. Our first time rider Phill, did a magnificent job on his first road ride. Never done any training on a road bike before and to jump in at the deep end speaks about courage. He did have a few chain episodes during the ride, but I understand he got the yank of it now.

The Outsurance ride was next on the list and what a surprise we got! Thinking it would be almost summer we woke up with a howling wind and temperatures of between 7 and 10 degrees. Not a pretty sight. The pretty sight was the Union buildings which we, on the 77km had to pass 6 times-hope I got it right. It was a pretty sight to see the city from there, although the city did look a bit wind swept, with dust, leaves and all sorts of debri flying all over. I must say it was the first ever ride that I finished with a cup of coffee and not a beer. It's just not the same. We prefer the pros to start first and then us novices.

A lot of rides are coming up so watch all these different sites for details:

It is not all road rides, so if you are more interested in mountain biking, most of the big rides also do have a mountain bike ride on the other weekend day. A nice and fantastic ride to try is the Crater Cruise. The Saturday is a 100km event but the Sunday is only 56km and really great fun. It is all happening at our very own Paris- Parys.

A very big welcome to all the new faces at the gym. To mention a few, Ilse and another Ilse and Frik and Charles and Elzette and Rennie and Elsa. Hope you are having fun.

And for all the other guys still in hibernation....... come on..... get out....have fun.

By the way, the 94.7 is still open for entries till 30 September. I know you've been humming and hahing-how do you spell that-so come on , take the plunge and enter. It is just fun!

Hope to see you soon at the gym, if you are still coming out of Winter, or see you at one of the races.

Just do it!

7 Sep 2008

Important Dates

Well as you all know, the two most important races on the cycling calendar are open for entries.
The 94.7 is only open till the 15th September. Don't delay! This is also your seeding race for the Argus Cycle Tour 2009.
Which is the other very important race to enter for now. Entries opened on the 1st September, but will only stay open till the first 35 000 entries have been received. And please remember after entering the Argus, also make sure about your accommodation as places to stay in the Cape are very limited-well of course there are places to stay but at our Gauteng budget there are only a few. Also if you are flying down, make sure about booking your ticket ASAP.

94.7 deadline: 15 September

Argus deadline : First 35000- they already had 10000 entries within the first 24hours of opening the site. Go to http://www.cycletour.co.za/ to enter.
We here at Bullamakanka are prepared to help any novices who would like to enter the Cape Argus Cycle Tour with advice and also a training programme to prepare you fully for this fantastic event. Please speak to us.

How to win a bike in 5 easy steps!

Yes! That's not difficult. If you want to win a bike follow these easy steps:
1. Well of course you have to be there, silly! It also helps when your mates are there to support you and help you draw lucky numbers.
2. You have to stay for the lucky draw. What's the lucky draw? Well after every race they have a lucky draw where you can win lots of prizes. Bikes, holidays and so on. But, YOU HAVE TO BE THERE. Not there? No prize!

3. You must be prepared to hang around (for quite some time) and drink a couple of beers while waiting for the lucky draw to take place. Not that you have to listen to anything going on at the stage because you know you weren't one of the fast ones and therefore will not get a money prize.

4. You have to be lucky! I mean sitting around drinking beers and waiting for others to win tubes and water bottles and lollipops but only at shop so-and -so means you have to be lucky. So feel lucky otherwise you're not going to win anything.

5. Win the bike! I won it! A brand new Merida Road Bike! It felt so good, except I do have a fantastic Trek already.

By the way, all of the above excitement happened at the Carousel Ride.

So, now that you have the recipe, be there, ride the race, have a couple of beers with your friends afterwards and wait for the lucky draw. Well, to be honest, that is what we have been doing all along and having terrific fun times together. Why are you waiting? I'm expecting your smiley face at the next ride....which bring me to ......important dates.

20 Aug 2008

Trans Baviaans Marathon 2008

Days before the event we were watching all possible weather predictions on the net to see what we could expect on D-Day. A cold front was creeping over the country and to make it slightly more uncomfortable, it was accompanied by an icy wind. We arrived in PE to pick up our 4x4 truck. We would only find out later how much we would need this truck. Marle, our last minute appointed driver, didn't seemed to be fazed at all by the conditions.

Arriving in Willowmore, we made our way to our overnight accommodation, where some of our teammates were already waiting. A full inspection of all the bicycles was made by everyone who was going to ride and by everyone who wish they could ride and by everyone who was very thank full that they won't be riding. Off we went to registration to get our race numbers as well as all the rules and regulations, t-shirts, tog bags and corporate car sticker. In the meantime, lots of cooking had been going on in the kitchen. It was cutting, chopping, stirring and adding salad dressings to the wrong salads. A wonderful chin wag time was going on and to keep the throats wet, a glass of wine and a beer were just the right stuff to get everyone in the right spirit. The next morning, everyone was up early to get bikes ready, to pack the 4x4 and to have the usual pre-race breakfast. Coffee and more coffee. We watched the weather anxiously. Was it going to rain? The sky was heavy with clouds and an icy wind was blowing. Some were more nervous than others. New inventions to stop the cold from reaching the bodies were the order of the day. Rodney and Carl came up with these toe warmers, but after about 10min the wrapping fell off.....no good.A last team photo before our support , Elzet and Marle, had to leave.

Facing a headwind and really bad corrugations we arrived at checkpoint 1. All the effort is soon forgotten when we were welcomed by our teammates as royalty. The scenery was making up for the difficult riding conditions and kept us going. Once again we were on the open road.The heavy downpour of the previous night filled all the potholes in the road with water, so we were never sure how deep a puddle really was. We had to stay vigilant and it was left around a puddle, right around a puddle, in between puddles, watching out for slippery muddy sections...... and the constant vibration of the corrugations of the road.

We arrived at checkpoint 2 and the general talk was about how many minutes were already lost in comparison to last year's ride.
And so we reached checkpoint 3, where we donned some lights and warmer clothing. On to the hill of hills, up and up till we reached checkpoint 4, Bergplaas. There we changed into the warmest of warm clothing. It was freezing. Lovely warm soup, dry clothes. I had a fell over into a mud puddle and my gloves were wet. We tried to dry them at the fire but gave up after a couple of minutes. I got some long fingered gloves from a Samaritan but because they were slightly too big, all the cold air got in. Our 4x4 by now resembled a sweep vehicle having to pick up poor soldiers whose horses gave up on the battle. We were 140km into the race. 90km still to go.

Getting up the mountain is one thing, but going down quite something else. The steepness, the darkness, trying not to look at the cliff edge just at your side. A sigh of relief, we made it down the hill in one piece, no mechanical. Between Bergplaas and Komdomo is another 30kms. We were about halfway when the accident happened. How it happened we are still trying to figure out, but Etienne came off his bike and broke his collarbone. We couldn't believe it. We retrieved his bicycle from the jungle. He got onto the back of a scrambler with his bicycle neatly wedged in between him and the biker. I had to join up with another team and cycled with them to Kondomo. At this point that team decided to withdraw from the race and I had to find yet again another team to ride with so I could finish the race. In the end I was teamed up with "die Bosvarke", bless their socks. We made it all to the end. Thanks to Attie and Wilhelm and Garth for riding the last 60km with me.

Something of interest. At all the checkpoints they put up a little black board with the first ten teams names on that went through the checkpoint. Yes, by the time I passed that checkpoint it was 2:26 in the morning.

A big welcome also awaited Team Build with Rodney who navigated his first timer teammates through the Baviaans successfully. Well done to Carl, Gordon and Rodney!

And so this wonderful ride came to an end. But only till next year. I hope that this story has inspired you as it has us, again. To ride more and more often, to take up a challenge. You will only know if you can, if you do it.

10 Aug 2008

Opening "new look" gym

So, at last, on Friday 1 August, we opened the gym. The last bit of Friday afternoon was spend running around with mops, and dusters and vacuum cleaners to get everything in place and cleaned up. Having cement dust and bits of tiles lying around would be a no-no.

Final inspection and we were ready for our spinners to arrive.

Mario, or Mr M (as he is better known as) delivered a magnificent welcome and opening speech, repeating himself a bit as his speech was only a quarter page long and was written hastily in the shower before he arrived. I then had the honour of thanking everyone for their presence. Also thanking Pauline and Etienne for the donation of the carpet tiles, Mario for the printing of cards and flyers for the gym and Magda and Dave for sponsoring the wine for the evening. Rodney then welcomed and thanked Dino the builder, for pulling out all the stops at the last minute to finish in time for the opening. So after all the formalities, the spinning instructors grabbed scissors to cut the red ribbon. Officially opened!All had a good time eating, drinking and chatting through to the wee hours of the morning.

20 Jul 2008

Are you afraid of the dark?

Opening of the new look gym

Well are you? .....I mean afraid of the dark?........Well if you are I'm sure we will be able to help you overcome this fear BUT if you are not afraid of the dark, we can celebrate together the opening of the new look of the gym. It will be dark because it will take place on Friday 1st August at 19:00. But all the new lights will be on, the new change room will be ready and we will celebrate with drinks and snacks. You are all invited to join in the festivity. Please RSVP by Wednesday 30 July 2008.

Mountain bike 24hr event

Talking about darkness...If the thought of riding in the dark is daunting the only solution is to become Knogturnal.
Knog will Ilumin8 your journey through your darkest hours. The course will be lined with the famous Knog Frog flashing lights to keep you on track. Scared of being ambushed by a technical section? Never fear! The Knog Bullfrogs will provide ample warning for you to tighten your grip and hang on for dear life!
If all the course marking isn’t enough for you, and you’re more a sidekick than a super hero, we suggest adding the Knog Gator to your arsenal.
For the lucky few, the hallowed arches of the Knog VIP marquee will provide a beacon in the darkness, a place to rock out in style, sip on Knogtails, schmooze with the bands and perhaps try and pick up one of the famed Knog girls.

This wonderful event is taking place on Saturday 30-Sunday 31 August. A 24hour mountain bike team event. You don't have to be super fit to participate. A lap or two is all you need to do to keep your team in the running. It is all happening at the Maropeng Centre near Krugersdorp.

A solo entry, that is now if the team thing is not for you, will cost R250 to enter.

2man team R440 and

4man team R850.

Teams of 5-10 members would cost R1500.

A team list will be put up in the gym, so get a team together, pay up and be ready for some great fun.

Riding list
Another name list in the gym are for those riders who would like to go out riding over weekends but are never sure what is happening, where riding is taking place and if there is riding for all abilities. If you are interested in riding, please put your name and cell nr down so we can contact you with the latest ride details. You will receive a sms: Bullamakanka weekend ride: and all the details will follow. We will try and accommodate all riders in changing it from road to dirt and also to accommodate different distances. Routes will also include short fast rides and longer slow rides.

Hope all the latest news and happenings here at the gym, will get you out of your winter sleep and right into all the action!

10 Jul 2008


They say " a change is as good as a holiday": We here at Bulla are taking it literally and are busy revamping the existing gym into a state of the art health and fitness studio........well almost that smart. This is the before picture of the existing gym. Have a good last look!
Here are some pictures of the changes taking place:

Another garage is added to the existing garage. From the old gym, we are breaking through to the downstairs room which we are busy revamping into a change room with shower etc. So all those of you who always wanted to spin early in the morning, shower and go to work, it is finally happening! Here is the breakthrough to the room:

In the meantime we have to make do with spinning in the TV lounge. That is quite a homey affair with carpets, the smell of cooking in the kitchen and all the other house hold noises and sounds. But don't despair, this is not for long. Watch this space! So when you arrive at the gym, find your way past the bricks and the two heaps of sand and past the rubble on the pavement and into the front door and there we will be.

As you can see the people here are as friendly as ever.

The two teams which entered for the Baviaans are still training and doing out rides on Saturdays and Sundays. Please join us on these rides. It will definitely motivate us with our training and help us to forget about tired legs and sore bums.

A nice race to enter is the Carousel, fairly flat, except for one long hill. Still time to enter as it is only taking place on 9 August.

I'm sure you all are watching the Tour de France....not?

3 Jun 2008

The DusiMfula

What an experience! To us at the back of the race, this was more than an adventure. Travelling through the valley of a 1000 hills, through rivers which we crossed about 8 times, crawling up Burma Hill, carrying bikes instead of cycling, using brute force to get our bikes over obstacles, surviving all to arrive victorious at the end. Awesome! Maybe only to be done once, unless you have trained numerous, endless hours of single track. But let me start at the beginning.......
We set off in high spirits, some of us in cars, others in planes, but our destination was the same, Pietermaritzburg. We were ready for the DusiMfula mountain bike race.

After a jolly night out, we had our bikes took a closer look at the countryside it was going to cycle through. The day started a bit misty and one could eavesdrop the other riders' conversations about what to wear..is it going to rain, is it going to clear and get warmer?

While I was wandering around looking at rider clothing and bikes and accessories I marveled at the line of Loos. Something that the roadies just don't seem to get right....enough loos for allThe start of Day 1, and the dirt road was jam packed with riders, all ready to go flying when the gun would go off.
Team 178, our friends Lambert and Fanie looked very relaxed, although a bit too warmly dressed. It took them about 1km to get rid of their jackets. That was also the last time we saw them. They were showered and relaxed by the time we came in at the end of the day.
Next to them at the start were us, The Bulla Team, Rodney and Gerda. We took a more scenic approach to the ride.

After the first couple of kilometres, we realised this is going to be one tough ride. From a wide but steep roller coaster start to a single track, to cut-grassed jeep track, all the time, in the now familiar roller coaster fashion. It wasn't long before many a rider had to get off their bikes to push.
Then a steep downhill followed to the first river crossing, The Cascades, where we had to queue in line for about 40min to wait our turn to cross the river. The first of about 8 river crossings.

The route took us through the countryside and next to the river

until we eventually reached, high on the top of the mountain, the water point. By that time some riders have had enough and their bikes were loaded on top of the sweep vehicle, strapped to the roof, with the tired rider hanging over the bonnet.

The view from up there was just so beautiful. While I was taking in the view and got myself photographed and filled my water bottle, the rest of the team made their appearance.

Only 26km to go to the end of Day One. Doesn't sound like a lot, but believe me, there were still a number of climbs, obstacles and dongas to cross. We laboured on and when we finally reached the end and could see the dam, the tents, we knew we finally made day one. We were presented with a snack pack. What a nice surprise! A roll, a fruit, a chocolate and a muffin which were absolutely devoured. I didn't realised how hungry I was. The bulla team took 7hours and 53 min to complete day 1, about 75km.
All the teams had their numbered tents waiting for them, all equipped with two thick sponge mattresses.

............. and the tent inhabitants.........

Day Two dawned a bit cloudy, but not cold. We settled down for a very early breakfast and then the big packing up as our bags had to be with the Crown removals truck by 6:30. The race started at 7:00. After the wonderfully prepared supper the previous night, we slept like logs. Breakfast was an equally sumptuous feast, from cereals to bacon and egg rolls, to muffins and enough coffee to wake up the sleepiest of the sleepers, except for one team who thought that the race only starts at 8 and was therefore an hour late..

With our bags packed and our bikes lubed and checked, we were ready for the second day, or so we thought. They announced that Day One was a technical ride, don't we just know it, and Day Two was to be the adventure. Standing in the chute waiting for the start gun, my eyes wandered to the cyclists legs around me, bruised, scratched, maybe also tired, but also some very strong and lean muscles. STIHL was the company who cut the paths during the previous day and apparently through the night so it was ride-able. I saw a couple of their riders around at the start.

The gun went off and we were on our way with the media helicopter hovering over us, always taking footage of the front runners. What about me! What about me! True to the ride of Day One, Day Two was also littered with uphills, steep hills, out of breath hills. It just gave us enough time to catch our breath and sneak a look down on Inanda Dam, our overnight stop of Day One. What a view! Before we knew it, we were at Burma Hill, the dreaded hill. It was dragging, pushing, shoving, carrying, and more carrying our bikes up, up and up the hill. Nobody seem to be in a hurry. All were just slowly making their way up.While some were admiring the view over the valley from the top, others were still making their way up. The welcoming committee were waiting up at the top in case somebody wanted to hand over their bike and walk the rest of the route. At last the water point. Loud music was pouring out the house and friendly people were clapping as we came round the corner. A very welcome sight. ........Did you see the dog?

Just when we thought we could have it a bit easy, another big hill followed. Our Pink teammates, Pauline and Etienne battled it out on the hill. The previous day, they were the yellow team and they were welcomed in with a huge Mexican wave and fanfare and an interview on TV.
Then the fall... Pauline came down on the single track. "I'm OK, I'm OK". So we left them to the dusting off and checking the bike and went our merry way........

across the bridge
and crossing the river over a bridge. There should be other terms for "bridge".......
and crossing the pipe bridge covered with rickety planks and at a dizzy height!.......and across the bridge built by the army, with some members in a rubber duck in case we decided to take a tumble into the river........and all the way to the end!And it was only at the end that we heard the shocking news, that Pauline's fall was a bit more serious and that "I'm OK" actually means "I'm not OK and that I'm in excruciating pain but I'll smile with my front teeth and grind the back ones." Arm in sling but with a smile on her face we did get to see her at the end too, with a beer.
I'm sad to say, Etienne got hurt too........luckily not seriously..........just a bit........... a small wound.
And so a wonderful, but very tough and tiring, event came to an end. We did celebrate and explore Durban's night life. The smell of the sea, the views. Till next year. ....Maybe