First Triathlon

After another Saturday ride at Dura Cycles sitting around having a nice cup of coffee before the ride home, Justin Portious (Future Boy) having a random moment of “genius”. Invites me to the Mudman Series #2 held by Epworth School on the 6th of March. My first thought was more pain not that excited about that. However, he insisted and soon I found myself saying “yes”.

My brother was more excited than me to hear that we would be “racing” a triathlon and jumped at the opportunity to organise our lives as we only decided the day before to compete. Sadly this meant cleaning the bikes in the hot sun.

The night before a race there is normally a few pre-race nerves but we were just going to have some fun instead of racing. This meant a very relaxed night on the couch watching a movie with some friends and a bowl of pasta precedes the early start waking up at 5 O’clock.

Soon we would be entering at Albert Fall Nature Reserve for the 9 O’clock start. The race compiled of a 750meter swim, 20km mountain bike and a 5km run. As being a mountain biker I was looking forward to this leg on the race to make up some time on all the others. I also have done some cross training with running so I knew I would handle this part on the race well.

This would have to be the case as I knew the swim would be a major disadvantage as swimming is definitely my weakest event. Right from the start of the swim I would find myself going backwards very fast and at the half way mark noticed that brother was also struggling next to me. Eventually I finished the swim WAY down the field (felt like I was in the water forever) and I could enjoy what I do best and the bike lay ahead.

The slightly shorted bike route meant I had to pick up the pace and make up some time. That’s what I did passing people from the moment I got on the bike until I moment I got off. Passing got a bit tricky around a few corners otherwise the relatively flat course was all about powering through and passing as many people as possible and that’s what I did.

Coming onto the 2nd transition and starting the 5km run I was feeling a lot better and ready for the hill that would start the run. It seemed like there was nobody else in the race for the first 2.5km lap as I ran by myself with only at one time seeing another athlete as they raced past me. The 2nd and final lap would be very different as I had to make my way through all the back markers which made the run I little more interesting but I was able to continue running my own race. Was able to finish comfortably in the top 20 and can only improve from there.

I got to say multi-sporters are tough to race these all year. However, not taking it all that seriously and using it as a little bit of training for next weeks South African Championships MTB in Cape Town this was a lot of fun and enjoyed every moment. Definitely going to be doing some more triathlons in the future, just need to do some swimming training before next time.

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Bundu Bashers Annual AGM and Prize Giving

Recently was the Annual Bundu Bashers AGM and Prize Giving held in Ramsgate. With Bundu Basher being one of the biggest (if not the biggest) cycling clubs in KZN, we expected a large turnout with the club currently having 201members, however with members living all over KZN many of them could unfortunately not make the event.

Like all AGM’s the club discussed the future of the club and their ways of moving forward and improving on previous issues that had arisen. Bundu Bashers also hosts two big cycling events every year the Momentum Health Short Course #3 (11th June), and the Sardine Super Classic (12th June). With these two events on the same weekend they hope to attract larger crowds this year and promote cycling on the South Coast.

Both events are already on the way in terms of preparation and both courses have had the necessary alterations made and are looking even more manicured and enjoyable than previous years.

As the AGM came to a close and with business out the way they began, Prize Giving. With such a large club there is always competition, however, with the likes of Burry Stander in the club it would be impossible for anyone else to compete against such a rider. Therefore, it was decided before hand that not all the awards would go his way.

•Hayley Smith and myself were both able to win “Best Youth rider for 2010” as well as“Best up-and-coming riders” for the future.

•Candice Neetling and James Reed won “Best Junior riders”
(Candy also won best female rider in the club)

•Darryn Purtell went home with “best U/23”
Just to name a few.

However, as always the real fun came after the more serious awards and prizes such as “best Legs”, “biggest stirrer”, and “most spectacular wipeout” were all hotly contested. Looks like I need to do some more calve raises to compete for the “best legs” next year.

All and all the evening was a huge success and loads of fun for all the attended as the night ended with a nice big braai and some good old socialising.

African Continental Champs

Hayley and myself waiting for the race to start

Exactly 6 days after arriving at King Shaka from Atlanta City I found myself boarding yet another plane this one heading to Cape Town. Was quite an experience going to my first African Continental Championship all alone, and the hardest part was not knowing how the legs would react after my long five week holiday to America. During my time in America training was sporadic as some places such as Las Vegas it was actually against the law to train in the gym if you were younger than 18 years old, I was luckier in other places such as Orlando where the resort had stationary bike which I could make use of daily.

Upon arrive to Cape Town on Thursday evening I was greeted by a familiar face as Charles Stander picked me up from the airport. Arriving two days before the big race left me with one day I which I can learn the technical 4.2km course. However, after a delicious breakfast with Charles, Nicky and Darryn I found myself standing in the kitchen of the smallest flat I have ever seen. It consisted of two rooms and a bathroom. The first was my and Darryns bedroom, the kitchen and lounge conveniently my bed was in the kitchen and my pillow would be against the side of the fridge for the next two days. The other room was the other bedroom, dinning area and office. However you could stand at the door and see the whole house. To my surprise the cupboard was the biggest part of the house and fitted my whole built up bike.

Arriving at the course on Friday morning I finally bumped into my Team Jeep team mates Brendon Davids and Ryan Ellis who had both been in Cape Town for about week. Soon it was the traditional official practice which meant registration time and finally to hit the track for the first time.

Brendon Davids and Ryan Ellis were both by now well in tune with the forever changing course as every lap would present new challenges, as the lack of rain had caused loads of soft sand and loss rocks which seem to move every lap. This helped them during Saturday (race day) as the both did brilliantly even though Brendon would have a close race he came through on the last lap after attacking on the flatter road section and maintaining and slowing building his lead to achieve a well earned first in the Juniors. Ryan also maintain a more than solid pace and drove on throughout the race to achieve a 9thin a very strong U/23 class. Team Jeep South African however, dominated the morning with the lady’s Mikaela Johnson and Hannlie Booyens winning their to races it the early morning.

With the lady’s winning, and riding with team mate Brendon Davids a good race for Team Jeep i was on the cards. The 10:30 start was good, as we finally got to sleep in on race day. With I solid starting position on the front row, does not always guarantee a good start! I found myself slipping very fast down the field with a bad start. Finally I was able to find my speed just before the first single track but was a little too late as chaos broke out I don’t think there was even a moment where you were not being hit by a bike or a falling person.

Photographer Zoon Cronje - Technical problems

After making it out the first single track alive it was time to start making my way back up the field and it worked as passed 2 or 3 people before the top of the main technical hill. The rocky down hill proved to by my undoing as one of the only non-South-African in the field fell in front of me and caused me follow him on the way down. The fall seemed to do no problems at the time but that was not the case as it happened to cause my cleat to loosen and on the 2nd lap I found myself battling just to stay clipped in. Just before the technical hill I felt my cleat not clipping in at all and soon I would find out the cleat had some how pulled out my shoe. The race seemed to go down hill from there, excuse the pun. After losing a few minutes while Nicky Smith showed his skills fixing my cleats I was unable to carry on as the end of the 3rd lap was also sadly the end of my race.

Not the way I expected the season opener to unfold after a whole season last year with hardly any technical issues. A thanks must go to Nicky Smith for feeding me and technical suuport even though he had his own daughter racing at the same time, and Darryn Purtell who stood in the 2nd feed zone half way up the mountain with all the spares and bottles to feed me in the hot sun with his race starting later in the day. Charles Stander for all the support on the weekend and driving half an hour to fetch me from the airport.

Thanx to those who helped through out the ride

Hello world!

I first began cycling about 4 years ago in 2006, when my dad got my brother and myself a bike for Christmas. Having always loved sport and playing cricket, hockey, athletics and pretty much any sport in season at the moment I was excited about trying something new! When we first started riding it was a family sport but in no time my competitive streak came through and my brother and I took to the races.

In 2007 we did our first “race” at Sadara and we loved it! Cycling quickly became a lifestyle for the entire family and moved from just being a weekend event to cycling everyday.

The good old days involved saddle bags, camel packs and pedals those became a thing of the past as we traded up and took to bottles and cleats. The first rides we did were pretty frustrating having to continually chase the boys in the front who had endless energy, being the youngest it was a struggle to keep up.

In 2008 my cycling took a turn as I started concentrating on it as a main sport and moved from fun rides to actually training and preparing myself for the 2009 season. In 2009 I started doing my first lap races, I ended as the 3rd youth in the KZN series behind now Team Jeep SA team member Brendon Davids who won that year.

2009 was also my first year riding with a private team, (Thanks to Mark Balton and Jono Downham) Team Dura Cycles with my Brother Elmo van der Spuy and other close friends. We started doing Thursday team rides, which were helpful to build camaraderie among the team and to gain support from each other. Actually I wouldn’t really call it a ride, more like a sprint, there was no neutral zones, we would sprint to every landmark and up every hill just to see who would get there first, think my brother would do it just to prove he was better☺ No Thursday would be complete without the skills coaching of Jono and a good laugh at the Wipeout King Rudi Kuhn (who still holds the title.)

Without Jono my cycling would not be where it is today, the patience he had with us and the countless questions we asked we often wonder why he kept coming back to help. He took the time to help us individually to improve our weakness and to keep us motivated. I think we must have driven him mad, the number of times I been told to ‘Shut-up’ for talking on a Saturday ride are countless, I think most people will agree I like to socializes when climbing up the steepest hills when people cant reply.

2010 marks the best year so far. This year I won my first ever KZN cup lap race and went on to win the series. I also competed in my first national series, which was an experience to remember. I learnt a lot in my first race where I came 3rd in Alberton and put that to good use and won my first nationals race a month later in PMB at Cascades, Things only got better as I ended up coming 1st in George and another 2nd in Mankelle. This is amazing considering it was my first time competing in the series and it was a success as I had already won the series before the final event in Mankelle.

However, 2010 was not all a fun and games as I had my worst placing of the year in Cascades during KZN champs where I came 4th. Soon after that I found out I had Coxsackie virus. After that I started training with the thanks to Wade Trotter who introduced me to motor pacing which was an eye-opener in preparation for the final of the SA series, however on the day I didn’t have one of my best rides and again ended off the podium in 4th however had won the overall series.

2010 was definitely my best year so far during my short cycling career in terms of results. However, with joining Team Jeep South Africa for the 2011 season the future is looking very promising. I am extremely excited to be riding with Team Jeep South Africa and for all the thrills and adventures that will come in 2011.