first ride 2013

After three weeks of no cycling filled with a bad dose of flu and an even worse case of sinusitis, I was a bit apprehensive to go cycling with Mike.

He had a 20 mile route planned, with quite a bit of road sections to it, due to a lot of rain and everything being muddy.

It is strange packing for cycling again after a break, I kept feeling that I am forgetting something, but couldn’t place it (it was the energy bars grrrrr…., and I needed them). Also first time out with my re-built Candy Acid pedals after the bearings had seized.

Anyway we set off in a slight drizzle and after about half an hour I felt my sinuses clear, after two weeks of headaches, what a wonderful feeling… I should have done this sooner.

An hour and a half into the ride it quickly becomes clear that Mike’s solo outings are paying huge dividends.  The man is like a machine, we start off together at the bottom of the steep sections and he just disappears into the distance, by the time I arrive at the top, huffing and puffing, he looks like he’s not even broken a sweat, as if he’s just about to start out.  I think I have my work cut out for me now 😥

The route took in  “Barry Knows Best”, always fun, especially when there are no others on it at the time, and was supposed to take in Water Lane (one of my favourite training hills), which they had re-surfaced, but we missed that one this time, due to coming up onto Newlands Corner too early.  I was relieved, since I don’t think my legs had it in them to get up Water Lane, even after one of Mike’s energy bars…

Brief stats about the ride

Mikes Winter 20 miler

Mikes Winter 20 miler

Also really happy that the pedals worked without a hitch – better than buying a new set 😉


2012 in numbers

I cannot believe that I haven’t posted anything since July, which sucks.

But I finally got a moment to have a look at my stats for 2012

203 Activities
Distance: 2,134.57 km
Time: 157:27:07 h:m:s
Elevation Gain: 33,649 m
Avg Speed: 13.6 km/h
Avg HR: 105 bpm
Avg Run Cadence:
Avg Bike Cadence: 75 rpm
Calories: 101,685 C

Which in  54g Mars bar terms makes that about 420 – which is just over 22.5 kg of Mars bar, man that’s a lot of chocolate 😉

I treat a daily commute as one activity i.e. two laps, one to the station and the other home.

So, this now becomes a target for this year, which is a good thing.

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

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.


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.


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.


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

cobwebs in my shoes

not been out “riding” since coming back from Dorset, and now the spiders have taken to living in my cycling shoes! Eeeeuuww!!  And I don’t like spiders.

I commute every day but it is not the same as getting out into the hills and breathing the fresh air.

Gotta get this bathroom finished, it’s been dragging on for way too long, and this is the only way I can get it done, by promising myself a long ride at the end 😉

At least the dirty work is done, chasing pipes into the walls etc



The end is in sight, most of the tiling has now been done and grouting to do, which I detest.


It’s a funny thing not riding, I see people out early in the morning and feel a tinge of envy, especially when the day’s are as glorious as they were this morning.

Oh and it doesn’t help when you get a txt from Mike on Friday saying “Weekly reminder that you have a bike and might want to use it…”

And then another one today saying that he is stringing together as much single track as he can find. At least I will benefit from all his hard “legwork” 😉