nothing takes the pace off as quickly as

a face full of windscreen wash 😉

So there I am in a rush for the train, minding my own business and cycling with gusto (gasping for air like a fish out of water) when a VW Golf comes past and the driver cleans the windscreen.

Next thing I know my breath is taken away by the strong smell of screen wash – really glad I wear cycling glasses, that would have stung…

that was a first for me

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one year ago today

I can’t believe it, today is exactly a year ago that we started the Craft Transalp 2011 challenge. Time really has flown.

Below are a few pictures that were taken during the 8 day event.  As far as I can tell all the photos were taken by sportograf

Little did we know what lay ahead and at this point we were just hoping that our training was enough.  This is us setting off to the tune of “Highway to hell” by AcDc (which we did every morning – surely they could have come up with something better for days two to eight, but no!!!)

Oh and I am the one with the hairy legs – there was no way I was going to shave them 😉

The beginning

This is us at the end of day one crossing over the finish line, Nick had blown up his rear hub about 18 km from the end and we had a mix of me pushing him, Nick running with his bike, and me pushing his bike up hills and Nick running.  Needless to say we made it with just over half an hour to spare.  Talk about a close call.

day one

Weerberg – stunning.

Weerberg

mile upon mile of beautiful single track

with equally stunning – fast flowing – downhill sections

there is always someone to have a chuckle and share a story with

probably the coldest I have ever been, we were totally unprepared for the weather.  I think it was about two degrees at the summit without taking into account the wind chill.

The photographers had set up their cameras in some interesting locations.  Speaking with one of them on one of the days, he was getting around by bicycle.  If I remember correctly he said that his bike weighed about 11kg and his camera bag that he was taking around weighed 15kg.  Talk about being top heavy.

tranquil

yep, we rode up that

the finish line, I was shattered

crossing over the finish line was a relief, I don’t think the reality had set in until a few days later.  We were spoilt with unbelievable weather nearly every day, I met some fantastic people and I hadn’t spoken that much Afrikaans in many years.

Would I do it again?

That’s a tough question.

Do the challenge – absolutely!

Commit to that level of training, with all that time away from home, wife and children – very difficult to answer!

Never say never 😉 I do believe there are other challenges to be had and time will tell.  So Nick how about doing The Great Divide?

the curse of the second mobile

Got on the train this morning and as we pulled off you could hear someones music playing.

Man they’ve got to be deaf, if not now, they soon will be…

Eventually commuter A gets up and asks whoever’s music it is to “please turn it down!”

All she gets is a few blank stares – then “c’mon it’s got to be someone’s!”.

“it could be coming from someone’s bag” replies commuter B, reaching for his bag and searching fruitlessly around in it.

“Well it’s not mine, I’m listening to ?????” replies commuter A while reaching for her bag.

“OH NO!!!!, it is coming from my bag” came the mortified reply

“sorry everyone!” she yells as she turns her second mobile (cellphone) off

I look around to a sea of smiling faces.

Thanks for the chuckle 😉

salt lick

On Sunday I took the family out for an early breakfast picnic by bicycle.

Did not go very far as the younger ones are not that fit yet, but this is an attempt to get them fitter and more used to cycling.  You see this is all part of my plan to get us all to cycle the “Downs Link” as a family later on this year.  Basically the Downs Link is an off-road trail that starts just south of Guildford and ends up at Shoreham-by-sea.  It follows along the lines of an old disused railway and is about 40 miles in length.

It was a lovely morning but the forecast was for rain at about 9, which was partly why we set off so early.  Surprised to see so many dog walkers out and about.

picnic

Storing all those bikes can be a bit of a pain, but the big difference in the cycling for the children has been getting them better/lighter bikes.

trusty steeds

Nice view over the lake, it was fun watching some dogs splashing about and trying to bite the water – very funny.  Some of them were so engrossed in their water play that they totally ignored the calls of their owners.  Also lovely to see the swans with their cygnets.

Then there were the COWS, they were grazing a short distance away and slowly made their way over to us.  They came closer.  And closer…. and

It is quite off-putting trying to eat a hot-cross-bun with a cow staring at you.

Next thing the cow on the right is licking my cycling bag.  My wife reckons it is because that’s the one I use for commuting and the cow thinks it is a giant Salt Lick.  Well I promptly removed that and sat down and tried to ignore her (the cow that is).

inquisitive cows

She then starts breathing down my neck and next thing I know she’s licking my back, I was up like a shot!!!!!  I’m just not that sort of guy, 🙂  I mean I don’t even remotely resemble a Salt Lick

wonder what that tastes like

They are quite intimidating when this close to you.  They showed a remarkable interest in the bike.

Next time I’m coming with a beef sandwich, let’s see how they like that !!! 😀

Oh and the best bit, “can we do that again next week”, now thats music to my ears