29 Jun 2012

Mud fight in the Stormberg

Wednesday, 27 June 2012 23:04
Rhodes, Eastern Cape
Friday 22 June 2012

As the 2300km 2012 Freedom Race Across South Africa moved through the mountains of the Maluti Drakensberg and across the treeless and windy plains of the Stormberg plateau, the battle for many of the riders became one merely for survival.

Race leader 7 time Dusi winner, Martin Dreyer, arrived at the Rhodes support station at midday on Thursday, 21 June,  and promptly continued up the valley of the Sterkspruit.  He was followed two hours later by 2010 and 2011 winner and current record holder, Alex Harris.   The two were in turn chasing down early pace setters Mike Woolnough and Trevor Ball who left Pietermaritzburg two days before them.

Over the next 36 hours close to 100 millimetres of rain fell over the Stormberg.  Riders climbing Lehana’s Pass, which at 2760m is the highest point of the race, had to contend with snow. Further ahead the charge of Woolnough and Ball got stuck.  After crossing the Loutebron and Bontehoek portages they were forced to stop for the day at Moordenaarspoort, the site of the Anglo Boer war ambush of General Jan Smuts.  On Friday 22 June 2012, after battling with heavy mud and unrelenting rain, the two stopped at midday at the farm Kranzkop, having taken 6 hours to travel 40 kilometres of open road.  It was at Kranzkop that Dreyer and Harris caught them, arriving 2 hours apart in the course of the evening.

Meanwhile elsewhere in the field the arduous terrain and weather conditions were starting to take their toll.  By the time the cold front had passed over the Stormberg  more than 20% of the field of initial starters had withdrawn.

This from Freedom Challenge website.

In the meantime my bike is in "hospital" and I'm on the mend. Busy moving my mind to a better space and will start my preparations for Cape Epic 2013 soon. Any help and input from you all out there would be appreciated.

Watch this space for my Freedom Challenge in pictures. 

21 Jun 2012

News from the Freedom Challenge; Day 10

The end of my Freedom Challenge 2012.  Thanks to all for your support and thanks to Ben and Dave for trying to get my bike going.   In the end, the mud took its toll.

On my way back to Rhodes with Ben de Lange, and should be back in Pretoria on Friday.

20 Jun 2012

News from the Freedom Challenge: Day 9

Another tough day. Only managed a half a day to Moordenaarspoort with the mud.  Bike is giving big problems in the mud - gears and shock -and is now unrideable.  Fellow cyclist, Dave Bell, has cracked his frame, and Ben de Lange will be bringing Dave a spare bike tomorrow.  Ben will also bring down Rodney's bike, and we will see what the best plan is. (Thanks Ben!!!)

I am now one-half days behind now, tomorrow I will be two-half days behind - with possible further penalties.

We will see what tomorrow brings (Rodney)

19 Jun 2012

News from the Freedom Challenge: Day 8

Icy icy cold wind, rain, hail, sleet at blizzard pace. We could only manage 40km in 7 hours. Impossibly muddy.  Some bike problems - gears are a problem but managing.

Dave and Dawn Bell and Chris Morris joined us in Slaapkranz.  Rory and I are now one day behind and will have to catch up later. (Rodney)

18 Jun 2012

Race Across SA :: Champion Page | BackaBuddy

Race Across SA :: Champion Page | BackaBuddy - a very worthy cause to support my Freedom Challenge

News from the Freedom Trail: Day 7

News from Gerda: Rory bitten by a pack of dogs -fine but off to Doctor in Barkly East for repair - then back to Chesney wold for the night.
I got to Chesney Wold at 14:30, and tried to go on to the overnight at Slaapkranz - but the mud was far too thick. Would not be able to make Slaapkranz by night so decided to stay over at Chesney Wold. (Rain and Sleet in Rhodes - going to be interesting for the racing snakes)

Some Feedback from the Freedom Challenge

Cell phone reception has been poor, and Gerda has had a very busy time ("what an adventure").  Here is some feedback on her ride from sms's and Twitter:

Day 2: Allendale to Ntsikeni: Got a bit lost coming into Ntsikeni at night. Met up with Rory and Elton and made it in by around 8:30pm

Day 3: Ntsikeni to Masakala:  With all my night riding to Ntsikeni, batteries running out. And triangular bag's zip is packing up.

Day 4: Masakala to Malekholonyane: At last safe and sound after taking wrong turn off in the wattles and arrived in another valley. They came to pick me up @ 8pm after farmers didn't want to accommodate me. Getting a 2hr penalty. Can only leave at 8:30.

Day 5: Malekholonyane to Vuvu: Took the district road with Rory and Elton from Tinana. A horrible road, very very difficult and hard on the body. Got into Vuvu around 7pm

Day 6: Vuvu to Rhodes:  Took the alternative route to Rhodes with Rory and Elton.  Gear cable splayed at the top, and don't have granny gears so have to walk all the hills. Gloves worn through on the patches, luckily have the other pair.  Elton withdrew just before Naudes Neck.

Day 7 Rhodes to Slaapkranz: - 09:00 Rory bitten by a pack of dogs -fine but off to Doctor in Barkly East for repair - then riding on to Chesney wold for the night

"What an Adventure"

13 Jun 2012

1st day of Freedom Challenge

1st day was not without its drama. One of the riders, John Rex fell on concrete strip and demolished his face (and had 12 stiches). The ride is always tough, don't know why I thought it would be easier ... blond moment. Hella Hella is as steep as ever. Went through 6 packets of tissues ... long dry winter grass not doing me well.

I ran out of water on hella Hella and stopped a good Samaritan in a Corola. He had water 1 month old. I gladly accepted n thank goodness for water purifiers. He also offered me 3 oranges

Tomorrow is another tough day _ planning to leave at 04:30

8 Jun 2012

The physical Freedom Challenge

The Freedom Challenge is far more than planning your race, studying the maps, packing the rucksack and packing the 2l boxes. It is a lot about the physical, the riding of a bicycle, pushing a bicycle and portage a bicycle. Can one ever be totally prepared? 
Part of the hill training involved the "famous" Breeds Neck...up and down....up and down....



then down on the one side

Then the down on the other side

It involved long distance, and the next day and then again and when you tired, a little more....

Through water, sand, corrugations, rocks, lots of single track, dodging cows and finding adorable little cafes and drinking holes....

And just when you think you did enough...you decided to do a little bit more, just in case!

And now it is only a few more days before I start this great adventure. Tackling obstacles, making a plan, heading into the cold ....and night...to come out the other end enriched. Please track my progress on this blog or www.freedomchallenge.org.za.
I'll take enough photos to do another volume of The Freedom Challenge. 

22 May 2012

The maps are UPside down

Preparing for the Freedom Challenge is far more than just getting on your bicycle and pedaling for hours on end. Lots of time is spend on reading and understanding the narratives which accompanied the maps as well as searching through Google Earth trying to locate certain towns in rural areas as well as the tiniest of track or trail.

So, when at last we received an email stating that the maps were up, we were relieved because the real training has started. In our household it happened more or less like this.

The maps, the maps! I want to see, no, let me see... let me see first. I want to see first...

And of course because Rodney was going to change my maps into an understandable language, decipher hieroglyphics so to speak, we all had to wait our turn. No matter how excited we were, we had to wait!

At last, we settled and calmly opened the files

Uhm....excuse me....I'm riding the Freedom Challenge, so may I now have a chance to see what's going on? Hello! ....Excuse me!....
What?..... What?..... What is she babbling on about? We are looking!

Oh Nooo.....Does she have to go there? ....Better just close my eyes and bury my face! Is she going to come back? Who will feed me?...

...there!...there! There it is! On Google Earth...I can see the track

Wow! How did you find it? 
Mmm,....not difficult....I used my nose

 Is that it? Have we got it all? ...Ok.... Click print

I'll take a nap in the meantime.....sigh...exhausting work

And so,  at last all the maps are ready, printed and in my 2l ice cream containers, ready for Cape Town and then to be shipped to the different support stations.

Watch this space for the physical training part in preparation for the Freedom Challenge, Race across SA.

13 Mar 2012

The Tank on her Maiden Voyage

And so it is that we got ourselves "the tank" to help us "go faster" and "ride more together" and all the other wonderful things you envisage yourself and partner doing with "the tank". We did some training and practiced hopping on and off the bike. Firstly the stoker had to sit tight and then the captain got on and zooom we're off! We even got so good that we both had one foot clipped in the pedal and then our traditional 1-2-3 count and zooom we're off! We even got better and started to pull away on a little hill, or steep incline...the same 1-2-3 count and zooom we're off! 
So, we were ready, or sort of ready.
The big day dawned and we had a fantastic seeding, first social tandems. Lots of talking but the nerves were starting to show...hundreds of butterflies turning, swooping, and doing as many tricks they could. 

At last we could move forward and we could get to the start line.
Everybody said Whoopla! And away we went! Edinburgh drive was steep......the first of the hundreds of butterflies wanted out, and at about 16km we had to make our first stop....We pulled out all the stops and had a fantastic downhill past the University going at 74km/h......Things were looking up, yes up to Boyes Drive......constant peddling and some reminders from the back that we do have a granny gear as well....Catching our breath.... into Main Road and on our way to Smitswinkel......More of those nervous butterflies wanted to make an escape and so we pulled in at the loos with the views.....
Cramps or butterflies......we had to make a quickie stop again just to adjust the...all the things....We arrived at Chapman's Peak, climbing steadily, until we had to stop. Now, if you want to pull away on the uphill with cramping and half cramping muscles, be my guest. The stoker decided he has done enough stoking and off he hopped, leaving me with the tank. Two choices, peddle or push. I decided to peddle, so off I went to the top with no stoker. You just have to keep a deaf ear to all the shouting " you lost your partner" or "hey, lady, he really is not peddling" etc. The marshals were very good and went down to meet the stoker to tell him, that the captain is OK and has made it and is waiting at the top....Downhill was a breeze and then the last dreaded Suikerbossie climb. Surprise, or no surprise we repeated the Chapman's Peak manoeuvre, except we added a flat tyre. Being a MTB tandem it wasn't a problem except when I removed my finger off the hole to be plugged and the tyre sealant squirted across my face and sealed my one eye shut......luckily mostly downhill from there.......
It was hot, it was a voyage but we've made it......and we're still friends.

16 Feb 2012

March News

Almost March!

March is jam packed with all sorts of fitness things happening. Firstly, on Saturday 3 March 2012 is our Quick Fit Workshop starting at 6am. Here follows the full programme, but do remember that you can do the full programme, half a programme or just one class.  


Morning session:
6:00-6:45 sprint class on spinning bikes
7:00-7:45 upper body boot camp ball class
8:00-8:45 hill climbing/sprints spinning

Tea Break 9:00-9:30

Late Morning session:
9:30-10:15 one-movement class spinning
10:30-11:15 lower body boot camp class
11:30-12:15 introductory heavy weights class 
                    and rope class

Option 1: R250 for full day programme, including lunch, a variety of Woollies sandwiches and cold drinks.

Option 2:  R150 for morning/afternoon session including lunch, a variety of Woollies sandwiches and cold drinks.

Option 3:  R100 for morning/afternoon session without lunch.

Option 4: R50 for one class only.
Only 12 places per class. So book ASAP.


Secondly, the Cape Argus Road Race is taking place on 11 March 2012. We wish all our Roadies a wonderful journey and a fun experience. May all the winds this time, be from behind.
Please note that the gym will be closed from Fri. 9/3- Mon 12/3.
All classes will run as usual from Tuesday 13 March.

27 Jan 2012

February news

We did the first of our Quickfit Workout Workshop and we got blasted! Legs burning, lungs burning but a glowing satisfaction of a good workout had by all. And, the best, we are doing it again. Saturday 4 Feb here at the gym. We will be starting at 6am to avoid the heat of the day and to just pack more hours into your day. Sign up and join in the workout!

The programme will be exactly the same as the previous programme in January, the only difference is the start time of 6am and not 8am. The lunch break will now be a tea break, seeing that it is 2 hours earlier but it will again be Woollies sandwiches with cold drinks, and will only be half an hour instead of the previous hour break. We all felt rested enough to start with the second half of the programme after half an hour. You don't want your muscles to stiffen up. The programme ends about 12 midday. 

Just a reminder to enter for the Ride for Sight road event on 12 Feb. It is a qualifier for Argus 2013 and 94.7 2012. So don't miss out if you would like to improve your seeding.

5 Jan 2012

It is time to start some serious training!

January 2012
 Welcome back, and like always, I had some time to think during the holidays and came up with some new and exciting classes and workouts.  

Quick Fit Workout
An all day workout for Saturday 14 January 2012, starting at 8:00 and ending at 15:00. Phew! Ok, you could also enter for half a day.


Morning session:
8:00-8:45 sprint class on spinning bikes
9:00-9:45 upper body boot camp ball class
10:00-10:45 hill climbing/sprints spinning

Lunch 11:00-12:00

Afternoon session:
12:00-12:45 one-movement class spinning
13:00-13:45 lower body boot camp class
14:00-14:45 introductory heavy weights class 
                    and rope class

Option 1: R250 for full day programme, including lunch, a variety of Woollies sandwiches and cold drinks.

Option 2:  R150 for morning/afternoon session including lunch, a variety of Woollies sandwiches and cold drinks.

Option 3:  R100 for morning/afternoon session without lunch.

Option 4: R50 for one class only.

Limited space available, so please book ASAP!

 New Classes
Introducing heavy weights to the gym in the form of the medicine ball. These will be exercises with movement and not just lifting dead weights.
Introducing rope classes done with a skipping rope. These classes will be cardio workouts including fast skipping, power jumps and more.
Classes will start on Monday 16 January at 7:00 for heavy weights and 16:30 for rope classes and will be alternated on consecutive days.

Monday:      7:00 heavy weights
                    16:30 rope class
Tuesday:     7:00 rope class
                    16:30 heavy weights
Wednesday: 7:00 heavy weights
                    16:30 rope class
Thursday:    7:00 rope class
                    16:30 heavy weights
Friday: No heavy weights or rope classes

We will also add another spin class on Friday mornings at 7:00 to the existing spin classes, which are at 6:00 and 8:00.                          
That is a good way to start a new year and to help those who have set fitness goals for 2012.

Remember, having a muffin top is not a fashion J