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« An amazing 2012 Wines2Whales race! | Main | Historic launch of Christian anti-corruption campaign - EXPOSED shining a light on corruption »
Wednesday
Nov072012

Gearing up for the Wines2Whales Contego Mountainbike Race 2012

On Friday I will be setting off for my third Contego Wines2Whales  3 day stage race here in Cape Town.

This is one of the highlights of my year! I have been making lots of sacrifices to be fit and ready for the race (hiring bicycles while traveling, battling jet lag to keep fit while I have been in England, the US, Malaysia, Holland Uganda etc.), trying my best to eat well, and going out at 4.30 and 5am (long before my beautiful wife and kids wake up) on the weekends so that I can train and still be home when they are up and about.

But, it is worth it.  The scenery, single track, fun, and camaraderie on this race are such a blessing!  On Friday we will set off for day 1 of the race (I am a little bit like a diesel 'bakkie' (pickup truck for my American friends)).  I am not all that quick, but I can climb just about any hill and I can just keep going!  My partner Andre Swart and I are heading out in the second last batch of the morning (group I).  It is going to be great to ride with Andre!  I did my previous two Wines2Whales races with my good mate Greg Long.  Greg is living up in Johannesburg and so decided to give the race a miss this year.  I was first training with Steven Johnstone, but he had a nasty fall on a training ride we did in Stellenbosch and broke his wrist, so Andre very kindly stepped in!  Andre is about 10 years younger than me, much fitter and very strong!  So, I am blessed to be riding with him.  Day 1 is a tough day of riding.  We take off on Lourensford Wine farm (about 800 meters from my front door!) and ride across the beautiful farm, then across Vergelegen, and cross over into my regular training spot in Sir Lowry's Pass (Schapenberg Black Route), where we go over the old wagon trails and climb up to Grabouw on the other side of the pass.  It is a total of 2000 meters of climbing!  Once over we head to Oak Valley (also part of the ABSA Cape Epic route) and camp there for night 1.

On day 2 we head out from Oak Valley and do a great loop out towards Bot River and towards the coast.  Day 2 has some of the most amazing flowing single track in the world!  We ride Paul Cluver, Lebanon Forest and of course Oak Valley itself.  There are some seriously technical bits on this day’s riding (Puff Adder and Boom Slang!).  But, I always find day 2 quite fun.  Last year we had a good ride on day 2 (except for the fact that I broke my chain twice!)  Amazingly I also broke my chain on day 2 in 2010!  I hope that I will not do that again this year.  It is obviously poor great changing on my part that causes the problem.

 

On day 3 we do some amazingly fast riding down from Oak Valley to the town of Bot River, then past there we go through a valley and start climbing up towards the Hemel en Aarde side of Hermanus.  That last little sting in the tail is a killer! After three days of riding the legs get a little tired!  But the sight of the Atlantic Ocean the finish in Onrus is always a motivation!  To know that I will be seeing Megie, Courtney and Liam gives me that extra bit of energy to make it over the top and home.  In 2010 Greg and I made it onto SuperSport on day 3!  We were weaving through some single track when I looked up and the camera was in my face!  I also took a tumble on some sand, but fortunately they didn’t air that piece!

 

Well, I would like to ask for your prayers for ‘Team Transformation’ this weekend!  Please pray for our safety on the ride, also please pray for our health (I am nursing a knee niggle.  I broke my left leg badly in 2008 and have had a few knee and ankle hassles since.  Three weeks ago when I was in Holland I did two 80 km rides on a bike that was not set up quite correctly and my knee took a little bit of straing.  Please pray that it is perfectly well by Friday and that it remains strong, stable, and free of discomfort and pain).  Please also pray for our equipment.

 

You can follow my twitter feed @digitaldion for regular updates, or see my tumblr blog for pictures at http://digitaldion.tumblr.com

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