10th September 2016, Cape 300km
I’d already resigned myself to the fact that in all likelihood I would be riding most of this 300 alone. In fact I’d said as much to Yoli the evening before. Neither Gerhard nor Theunis were riding, and everyone on the signup sheet was a faster rider than me. So it came as no surprise to see the blinking tail lights of the main group slowly shrinking ahead of me as the gap between us widened. It was 4am, and I was completely alone in the dark – the civilization of Franschhoek was still 15 or 20 minutes riding ahead. I reminded myself that this would be my reality for two whole weeks if I take on TCR next year, so I’d better get used to it. more “Assumptions and Angels”
The impossible dream, spoken in a south-east London accent by Del Boy to his younger brother across countless episodes of the BBC hit TV series Only Fools and Horses. Something they’ll probably never attain, until of course almost by accident they actually do (albeit briefly). It’s pretty much how I feel about the Trans Continental as I sit at my PC watching all those dots edging their way across the map towards Turkey in this year’s edition. As much as I say to myself I’m going to be there next year, it seems just as far fetched as those words to Rodney.
more “By this time next year Rodney …”
“Indoor training is boring”
Yep. It certainly can be. But then anything has the potential to become boring – even the most positive outlook can struggle to find interest in mundane tasks done repeatedly. So why willingly submit yourself to possibly the least interesting form of cycling? This is a question I am often asked by guys I ride with who see Strava updates from me regularly cataloguing some recent bout of indoor torture. In a probably long winded and roundabout way, I’m going to attempt to answer that question in better fashion than I usually manage whilst gasping for breath trying to keep up with the person who asked it. more “Dream Factory”
It’s always risky leaving it too long before writing a ride report, and with one of the rides of this entry being more than a month ago it’s entirely possible I’ve forgotten or overlooked some important details.
The calm – 28th May 2016
Evita se Audax is a ride we’ve ridden often, and it’s “just a 200”, so is there really much left of interest worth writing about? Luckily, it turns out rather a lot – although the ride was the same, the circumstances were not. On a personal level, it was my first Audax since the crash, and the first ride where the extent of my healing would be properly tested. How much endurance fitness had been lost in the weeks off the bike? How much discomfort was I going to suffer after more than eight hours on the bike? The route was well worn, but how I’d hold up to tackling it was a complete unknown. more “A tale of two 200s”
A GHOST re-born – 8th June 2016
Chronologically speaking, this entry should cover the first ride of our Cape Audax Winter series which took place a couple of weekends back, especially since the actual topic of this piece references one of the outcomes of that ride. But therein lies my problem, that outcome involves two of my favorite things: a new adventure; which of course creates an excuse for a new bike. Needless to say, those thoughts have become significantly obsessive and time consuming that I need to get them down on paper … or at least digital paper anyhow. more “It really is all about the bike”
A somewhat overdue drivers-eye view of the inaugral Cape 1,000km – hereafter to be know as The Cape Beast.
Cape 1,000 – 26th April 2016
Sitting alone in the St Andrew’s bar of The Lord Charles Hotel with a pizza and beer in front of me, it was impossible not reflect on what might have been. A handful of weeks back, lying in Constantiaberg hospital after crashing out of the Argus, I already knew my role in the Cape 1,000 would not be as a rider. But some part of me held onto the remote possibility that maybe I’d recover in time. My first 100km club ride back with the Wednesday group finally banished that notion. I survived, barely, and mostly by latching on to every wheel I was offered. By the end I was beyond exhausted – my legs were like jelly. Even if I’d felt stronger, the answer to whether I’d ride would still have been a resounding “no“. Sitting on the bike for four hours was tolerably uncomfortable, but 50 hours? Not a chance! But this wasn’t an evening to dwell on my own misfortune, riders and supporters were beginning to trickle in and we had an Audax to make happen. Riding, or helping out, all of us were there to take part in a little piece of Audax history – the first ever 1,000km BRM held in South Africa. more “A little piece of history”
24TH March 2016
Life, and other posts got in the way of me writing this piece for a couple of weeks. But finally I’ve managed to carve out a few hours to bring the blog up to date with a couple of my more exciting cycling related developments of the year.
Confession time. Starting with Shu Pillinger‘s RAAM attempt in 2014, and successful completion in 2015, I’ve become something of a “dot watcher“. It’s a term given to friends and family of riders who sit back at home following the position and progress of the rider they are supporting, shown as a small numbered dot on a map of the route. Be warned it’s highly addictive – I’ve since found myself checking in on the progress of riders on the Trans Continental in July 2015, and most recently The Munga last December. more “Track & Trace”
My body is now sufficiently recovered to sit at a keyboard long enough to jot down the tale of an unexpectedly eventful Argus weekend (and yes, I know, it is now more correctly known as the Cape Town Cycle Tour).
Junior Cycle Tour, 5th March 2016
Our move to South Africa and the Argus are inextricably intertwined with my passion for road cycling. I’ve ridden every edition since that first one in 2008 and, come September, I sit eagerly at the PC waiting for entries to open without ever questioning the decision to ride it again. In the last three years that tradition has evolved to the extent that I’m almost more enthusiastic about the shorter, but equally enjoyable Junior Cycle Tour. more “More news, after the break”
Cape 300km, 19th February 2016
And once again, I’m re-using the ride report written for the Audax SA website! 🙂
In one sense, a full house of finishers could be seen to justify the decision to move from a 3am start to 9pm the previous evening. But in contrast to the 300km brevet last November, the weather concerning us at the start certainly wasn’t heat. Whilst the entire Cape were celebrating the arrival of some much needed rain, eleven hardy Cape Randonneurs were kitting up and heading out to Vrede amidst varying levels of downpour. The rain had at least stopped by the time we gathered for the pre-ride formalities and rolled down the driveway, but it was hardly a promising forecast. An ominous ring of clouds loomed over moonlit mountains all around us as we made our way towards Franschhoek. Together with the occasional scattering of stars peeping through the clear patches, it would have made for a rather beautiful scene if it didn’t also represent the very real possibility of a drenching with a long cold night of riding ahead. more “A Hard Day’s Night”
It’s a strange feeling. For three and a half years barely an hour went by without some aspect of PBP occupying my thoughts. From the obsessive planning and re-planning, to wondering what it would be like and if I would be up to the challenge. And then, in a flash, it came and went. Not in the same way as LEL passed-by, in the aftermath of that I was so physically and mentally drained I doubted my passion to continue. The months since PBP have been more like basking in the glow of a long sunset after enjoying a much anticipated day – the memories remain vivid, but the light is fading and that question of “what next?” hangs unanswered on the night time breeze. My bike, and I, need direction.
more “Uncertain Direction”