A Podium at Lynford

The annual Clover Lynford Super Classic was another great event this year. Leaving home at 5:00am to make the 8:30 start I didn’t know what weather to expect however, I soon found my answer, HOT and sunny. With a quick registration it was off to do a short warm up ride. Which took us- Darryn Purtell, Justin Porteous, Brandon Venter, Hayley Smith and myself- up the 700m hill to start the race.

I didn’t take long before the legs were warm, thanks to the hill and the weather and we were ready to go. Like every other year the 45km was made up of 2 different laps allowing the spectators to witness the action at around the halfway point. With Burry Stander back in South Africa and on top form after The UCI World Championships everyone knew it was a race for second but we would try put up a fight.

Like every year the race started with the shot of a gun and we were off down a fast 100m decent shortly followed by the first hill of the day. Up the first hill a group of seven including myself were able to get away from the bunch fairly early. As the group of seven was about to crest the first hill there was an increase in pace and the group split into 3. Burry was able ride off the front followed by a group of now four, which soon became a group of 3 as Andrew Hill pulled out due to illness.

The next few kilometers Kyle Dorkin, Alan Hatherly and myself were able to work well together to open our gap away from anybody else as we closed the gap on those ahead. However all good things come to an end, and up a short steep climb my legs were unable to match that of Kyle and Alan, and they were able to ride away from me. After a few deep breaths, I got back into a comfortable rhythm and started my own personal time trail as the gap of the two ahead stayed at about 40sec for the next 20km.

The truly amazing double single track back down to the start/finish at the end of our first lap allowed for my legs to recover before the 4.5km hill awaiting on our second lap. At the bottom of the 4.5km hill my legs struggled to maintain a good cadence allowing Alan and Kyle to pull away and Matthew English to close in behind me. However, about halfway up I was able regain my strength and saw I was now catching Alan who Kyle was able to drop. With the encouragement of knowing Alan was lying 3rd overall and if I was able to pass him I could make the podium I was able to reel him in just before the top of the hill.

With a quick little sprint I was about to pull a small gap over Alan, which seemed to open quite quickly over the next 3km or so. Knowing the final 4km would be fairly flat and down hill I gave it my all to ensure I could stay 3rd overall. With 7km left to the finish my legs showed signs of strain as I could feel some cramp coming on. (Quick tip- If battling with cramp try using Eno’s and Coke while spinning your legs in a lighter gear). By spinning my legs I was able to avoid any serious cramping and enjoy the very fun last 3km.

I only felt the real effects of the 38°c heat, at the finish as I was unable to catch my breath until a 10min session of lying flat on my back in the shade unable to move except for the occasional cough because of the dust. Once I was able catch my breath and have a good swim in the pool it was time for prize giving and a moment to stand on the podium. Thanx for the support from all the South Coast riders who almost made the trip up to Lynford.

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Pondo Pedal 2011

Every year a group of 18-24 riders ride from Port Edward to Port St Johns along the beach over 3 days. This year I was fortunate enough to go with on this adventure for my third time with my brother and dad also riding and my mom and sister as part of the back up crew.

Day 1

First river crossing

The first day of Pondo is always the longest day it covers 72km and takes about 10 hour to complete. With such a large group this year of 24 riders the fitness levels differed tremendously, and we all had to ride at the same speed as the slowest person. Like all Pondo’s day 1 start by riding through the Wild Coast Casino golf course and the straight down to the beach where our first river crossing awaits. (TIP1 – I wouldn’t recommend swimming in tights at 7 in the morning during winter with 10 hours still to go on the bike.) After the first river everything starts to repeat itself for most of the first day. The first 6 hours consisted of riding on the beach crossing 2 more rivers and walking over soft beach sections.

Long walk up the Rocky Hill

The 3rd river on the day seemed to cause the most confusion, momentarily splitting the bunch up in to 4 groups. The majority of the bunch crosses the river about 500m inland from the ocean and did some hiking up a rocky path, knowing we would need to find our way back down to the beach for our breakfast stop. On top we had discovered that a small group had braved the deeper water at the mouth and where already on the beach, group 1. After a couple of mishaps and a mechanical the remaining bunch split into 3 more group with myself being stuck alone with my brother and not knowing where to go.  My brother thought with us being so close to the ocean we could make a B-line for the beach (TIP 2 – never listen to your brother). We ended up taking to a forest and fighting our way through, some how we eventually landed on the beach and slid down a sand dune to find most of the others that had regrouped.

Darryn with Marks bike

With the each for their own nature the group was taking on, I was happy to eat some breakfast while the remaining two groups made their own way either through or some how around the section of forest. Once regrouped we were able to carry on until one of the riders called it a day and luckily knew someone with a helicopter which was able to fetch him from the middle of nowhere (TIP 3 – when doing a group ride always make sure there is at least 1 person weaker than you).  However, it was a two-man helicopter, which meant his bike didn’t fit and all he could take with was his wheels. So after strapping the wheel less bike to Darryn’s back (making him look like Buzz Lighter) with wings and everything (TIP 4 – never offer to help someone carry their bag unless it really is a bag) we were on your way for the last half of the day.

With 1 river remaining the day’s stop never seemed to get closer and the already slow speed seemed to come to a stand still for about 2 hours. We had finally made it to little Goss the last river of the day and an easy 8km to the home stop before we released we had split the group into 2 groups AGAIN and had to wait for 30min for the second group (TIP 5 – Find a team next year who can stick together ) However, we took the chance to do some more eating and talking rubbish like we had done most of the day.

Possible the best part of the day is arriving to the nights stop where our 6 followers had prepare some amazing food and snacks and a bed awaited, for most (TIP 6 – When being added to a group after accommodation already booked don’t expect a bed). After a good dinner with Chicken ala King and Babotie it was off to bed/floor for some much needed rest.

Day 2

Breakfast Day 2

Claiming it like Absalon

Day two had a nice 8 O’clock start, which allowed for a nice big breakfast and a allowed it to get warmer before we hit the road although by now we had lost 2 team members. Day 2 is known for it’s walking however, it started with a fun 1km single track to begin actual ride. But in no time we were carrying over a few big rocks to start the days’ walking. (TIP 7 – Holding the bike above your head like Absalon doesn’t work when walking more than 10m.)

Walking on day 2

The first hour of the second day went relatively smoothly and didn’t have too much walking. Then came a few technical sections, which tested our skills and failed therefore resulting in more walking. The real walking then began as we first had to climb up and the down two rocky mountains to be treated to an amazing rocky single track down hill leading onto the beach. With my brother around it always turns into a competition and we tried to see who could ride the technical sections without putting a foot down. (TIP 8  – When your brother doesn’t see something, it never happened…)

The 32km day 2 finally, was near completed after 6 fun hours and some amazing views of waterfalls and some rock formation in the sea. However the day ended with a massive mountain walk/ride then one of the best down hills of the day down to the awaiting followers and delicious food.

Day 3

Highlight of Day 3

Day three was another 8 O’clock start and the hills literally started from the word go after losing yet another group member.  The first hill of the day was the first 500m straight up from the campsite where I was the only one able to make it all the way up without walking. (TIP 9 – if you fail at first try again) After the first hill was another amazing down hill with one of the most amazing views in the world. Day three had some of the steepest and hardest hills but all of them are 100% worth it, as they once on top there are the most amazing views of the ocean, rivers and mountains.

Jayson taking strain after a long walk up Goats Hill

Day 3 of Pondo is the shortest and the most relaxed as there is no rush however, there is no race I have ever ridden that has a mountain that can make a man more tired and sore than Goats Hill. The view from Goats Hill it amazing it looks almost vertical and if u jump down u will almost land in the ocean. Coming up the last hill of day three was a race between my brother and myself, which I will happy say I won, pay back for him making me walk through the forest walk on day one. Reaching the top of the last hill is the view that you have been waiting for, for three days as you over look the beach heading straight to Port St John and our final stop.

Beautiful views

A few last moments on the bike feel like seconds as we ride to the finish and the Spotted Grunter, arriving to some delicious sandwiches and a nice warm shower feels like home but better. The last night gives everyone time to reflect on the last few days and activities, which made the weekend amazing and can not wait for next year to make some new memories and enjoy new adventures. (TIP 10 – Never leave a man behind)

Dura Cycles – Knight Series #3

With 2 round of the Dura Cycles night series complete I was hoping to have a good race it the third race of this 5 part series being held at Douglas Mitcheal. The first round of the series I was able to pull off a victory and missed the second round due to a nationals in Johannesburg. This meant I was very excited to redeem my past performances and have a solid race in the third event.

After a chaotic start to the evening as my sister had to rush our puppies to the vet as they were suddenly sick, my races started earlier than expected. All the watching of the Tour de France paid off as I performed a 15km time trail in the dusk to get to the race start on time. However, with the solid warm up done and all lights on I was excitedly on the start line. With the sirens going off it was a race to the first single track, which Jono Downham managed to achieve with a more than questionable early start. With Jono carrying what look like flood lights from behind and Darryn Purtell doing the same sitting closely on my wheel, I was able to see the track like it was day time as I flowed Jono lines around the first lap.

With local pride holding the fastest lap time on the line I was able to sprint past Jono to cross the line for the first lap in first with Jono close on my heals. The second lap I realized my light was a lot less bright than I previously thought, as I no long had Jono around me lighting up the track. Knowing the course very well being my third time racing on it this year and many hours racing around it in training I was able to use that track knowledge to continue clocking fast consistent lap times.

Besides racing hard up front I was able to see the spot-lights on Jono behind me around nearly every corner. On my last lap I was able to open up the gap back to second a little more and was able to cruse the last few meters to claim the win with Jono close behind and Darryn working hard as he tried in vain to real in Jono. Altogether it was a great event and really awesome to race at night again. I cant wait for the last two races in the series and hope to see more of you there to enjoy the fun and amazing atmosphere.

Time to get running

This weekend allowed me to compete in my first of the Time Freight Multisport Series held at Albert Falls. I opted to do the Multi-x Long course, which consisted of a 5km run, 20km cycle and another 2,5km run. Having not done much running in the last few months, was wondering how my legs would feel doing a total of 7,5km of running.

Morning of the race was yet another early one, waking up at 4:15 to make sure we could leave by 5:00. With my mom joining me and competing in the multi-x short course for the first time, there was some excitement in the air and I for once was unable to sleep in the car. Upon arrival we knew it would be cold but the cars warming alarm saying it was just 2 degrees was unexpected.

After entering and doing the 32GI survey on their touch screens we started organizing our bikes and running shoes to put them in the designated area.  Before I knew it I would be at the start line standing with Murry Starr, listening to race directions.

We were off on our first 5km run (and just like mountain biking) the field quickly spread out and I had decided to run my own pace which surprisingly left me in 10th going through the half way point in the run. The early fast pace did prove to hurt the legs and I slipped back in the second half of the run to 11th.

 

Moving onto my favourite event next the,mountain bike, I knew I would be able to make up a few places. That is exactly what happened as I was able to pass 3 people in just the first 10km. The second 10km I caught up to, 2 more people, and we were able to work together to maintain a high pace all the way back to the transition zone. Having done a lot for work on the bike to make up time my legs were unwilling to start the run at a fast pace. With my two riding partners running away from me I just tried to hang on to my 7th overall.

After about 1km into the last run my legs started to feel better and I was able to increase my pace, however it didn’t last long as my left leg started to crap approaching to finish. I kept watching my back to make sure nobody was to come up behind me and pass me and I was luckily able to retain my 7th overall and 1st in the under 19 age group. I really enjoyed this event and can not wit for the next event at Shongweni Dam on the 21th August looking forward to seeing you all there.

For more information into the Time Freight Series check out the Max Cluer Events page at: http://www.maxcluer.com/home/time-freight-multisport-series

Or join the Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/MultisportSeries 

Event Pamphlet