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  • What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
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Entries in MTB (13)

Monday
Nov112013

Wines2Whales 2013 all done!

Well, the wines2whales 2013 race is all done! We had an awesome last day's ride - 4h47 from Grabouw to Onrus. Again, the tracks were super! The trails are well made and offer a great variety (single track, jeep track, fast descent, looooong climbs and amazing scenery).

I took a stupid fall about 35 KM into the ride while climbing a switchback above Houwhoek inn and broke my ring finger on my right hand. The downhill and single tracks were a little uncomfortable for the remainder of the race. But my riding partner Andre took us through the last 40 KM in style!

We managed to take about 3 hours off last year's time! Quite remarkable!

Now, I just need to keep up my fitness and loose a little weight before next year :-)

Saturday
Nov092013

Wines2Whales Race 2013, almost done!

We have two awesome days of riding - on day one we rode 5h15 for the 75km from Lourensford farm to Oak Valley in Grabouw. As usual the Gantouw pass was a serious climb. But Andre and I do well.

Today we rode 4h12 for the 70km 'single track' day on Oak Valley, Paul Cluver and Thandi.

Tomorrow we ride from Grabouw, through Botriver to Hermanus. It has been awesome!

Sunday
Oct132013

3 years 10 000km and still an awesome bicycle! 26" Mongoose Canaan Team

I bought my Mongoose Canaan Team three years ago from a friend who had owned it for about a year before that. It is a super bike. Since I have owned it I have done an average of 3000km of awesome mountainbiking a year on this lovely bike! Sure, there are newer and fancier bikes on the market, but this one suits me just fine!

Yesterday I did a lovely 45 km ride along the Helderberg - Schapenberg Black route (including Hans se Kop). The 26" wheels can handle the tightest of corners and the most technical of terrain. I will be doing my fourth Wines2Whales stage race on it this year. I love it! I am so grateful!

My time on the bike is often spent alone. I pray, reflect work out solutions to challenges, change my attitude about people and things that I have not been engaging appropriately... And of course it is good for my health! Since having a bad motorcycle accident in 2008 cycling has been a wonderful way to stay fit, enjoy nature and strengthen my leg (which was badly broken requiring pins and screws, and a form of exercise that was low impact).

Monday
Sep022013

Giraffe chases Mountainbike cyclist in South Africa

I know that mountain biking is a dangerous sport! I currently have a friend with two broken elbows and another with broken ribs from falling.

However, this is a different kind of crazy! A friend of mine, Jimmy Ramage, was cycling with some friends in Groenkloof nature reserve when a giraffe chased down this cyclist. An animal of that size could do some serious damage!

This was a close shave! Certainly a story to tell your grand children.

Monday
Apr012013

30daysofbiking (30 days of biking 2013)

We were away for the Easter weekend in Grabouw. It was wonderful to be with friends and family, and to be riding some of the world's best mountainbiking trails!

Today was special for another reason - it is the start of '30daysofbiking' They have the following to say about this fun, and wortwhile, cause:

30 Days of Biking, whose fourth year begins April 1, has one rule: Bike somewhere every day for 30 days—around the block, 20 miles to work, whatever suits you—then share your adventures online. We advocate daily bicycling because we believe it enriches lives and preserves the Earth. A worldwide, thousands-strong community of joyful cyclists has been forming around that idea since April 2010—and will further amass in 2013! We ride our bikes every day.

I didn't get to ride my Brompton today - but I did start 30daysofbiking by doing a GREAT Moutnainbike ride on my Mongoose out in some of the most remarkable mountains and singletrack in the world - Lebanon trails in Grabouw.  Here is a picture, and here’s the Endomondo trail.

Tuesday
Nov132012

An amazing 2012 Wines2Whales race! 

The Wines2Whales race is done and dusted! Thank you for your support and prayers! Andre and I had a super fun, safe, fast ride.

Both of us had a few small tumbles and hit some 'flat spots' along the three day route. But we had no major injuries, and our only technical issue was when the bottom came off Andre's shoe at the end of the portage at the Gantou pass on day 1.

The first day was so hot with a lot of climbing, but also such beautiful views and lots of new single track! Day 2 was fun, fun, fun! Although we raced quite hard on day 1, while we climbed in the seeding and started earlier we suffered at around 60km, but we made it home in a great time. Day 3 was awesome, fast and tough at the same time. Everyone underestimates the fact that the race only starts at around 45km when there is still about 1000m of climbing to go.

If you look at 2min49s on this youtube highlights video of day 3 you will see Andre and I climbing up to Rotary Drive

This picture shows Andre in front of me on the right and me at the back on the left. We saw the camera crew interviewing Songo from Song.info at the water stop (we were riding at the same pace as them for about 20km up to that point), then the camera crew passed us and set up on the top of the Hill.

All in all it was an amazing weekend of riding, amazing friends, beautiful scenery and some great fun and technical track!

Here is another picture of us at the end of the race.

Sunday
Apr222012

A last ride in Paradise before heading to the USA!

Yesterday I had an absolutely stunning mountain bike ride on Lourensford with the Cycle Addiction club. We are blessed with amazing riding here!

Tomorrow I head to the United States to participate in a significant Christian business conference (where the 8 Millennium Development Goals will be the central discussion points - so thankful that they have taken this important discussion on board!) The Church must learn to engage business if we are to be God's agents of renewal and transformation in the world.  We can halve global poverty by 2015 if we each just do our bit to witness, advocate and act on behalf of the poor.

In many cases Nation States are no longer the most influential and powerful regional influencers. This quote from Lesley Newbigin made sense in this regard:

[W]e may well be coming to the end of the era of the sovereign nation-state as we have known it for the past three centuries. Economic, financial, and technical forces have created a global system that is far more powerful than most existing states. The secular powers shaping human life are increasingly transnational If the Church is to speak the truth to Caesar, it is these powers that must be more and more in our sights.

— Leslie Newbigin, Truth to Tell: The Gospel as Public Truth p89

After Orlando I head to New York for some meetings regarding EXPOSED (see the EXPOSED2013 tab at the top for more information regarding this corruption and poverty project). I will be at the United Nations meeting some friends in the UNDP and also at the Salvation Army meeting Christine MacMillan, their general in charge of social justice initiatives. I will also be at Redeemer and a few other significant meetings.

Please pray for me (and for my family back home)! I get back on 3 May and then head off to Indonesia on the 12th of May. So it is a little hectic with travel at the moment. Skype is a wonderful blessing to stay in touch with Megie, Courtney and Liam.  But I always miss them so much!!! My goodness, these three people truly do occupy my life!  I am already filled with a little sadness at having to leave.

As for cycling - I will dream of the trails of Cape Town! But, keep an eye on my twitter and facebook feeds. You'll see me doing some running!

Please follow @EXPOSED2013 on twitter.com and on facebook at http://on.fb.me/exposed2013

God bless,

D

Wednesday
May182011

Schapenberg ride on Municipal election day in South Africa! 

Every time that I return home from a long trip overseas I am reminded that I live in a beautiful place. Today is a public holiday in South Africa since it is the municipal elections across the country. It is critical that Christians should participate in selecting just, ethical and responsible persons to govern on their behalf.

Megan and I went to vote this afternoon. Since voting in the first democratic elections in South Africa on the 27th of April 1994 I am always filled with a great sense of gratitude for the opportunity, and freedom, that we have to participate in our democratic processes.

Past experience has however taught me that it is not a good idea to go to the polls first thing in the morning! Most people mistakenly think that if they go early they'll vote quickly.  Of course everyone who wants to make the most of the public holiday things the same thing and you end up standing in a line for hours to cast your vote!

Instead, we decided to use the morning wisely.  Megie, Courtney and Liam slept in a little while I went cycling with my friends.  We rode the black route of the new Schapenberg mountainbike trail here in Somerset West. It is such a beautiful, although taxing, ride!

Here are one or two pictures from the ride.

The picture above shows Ruan and Lyle.  The picture below shows the beautiful False Bay with Gordon's Bay on the slopes of the mountains.

 

Friday
Apr222011

A little bit of heaven on earth - Schapenberg Mountainbike trail

Below are a few photos from the new Schapenberg MTB trails just outside of Somerset West (Sir Lowrys Pass).  Since it has opened my friend Greg and I have ridded the black route three times with minor variations.  The full black route is quite hectic with two very serious climbs!  The first climb is a killer!  But it does get one to some awesome single track through the forests above Sir Lowrys pass village.  The second climb is the one up to Hans se Kop with kilometers and kilometers of fairly technical downhill single track!  Super riding indeed!

 

Sunday
Apr172011

Riding the new Schapenberg Mountainbike trail from Ongegund in Somerset West

Greg and I headed out to ride the new Schapenberg MTB trail ride this afternoon - it is just above Sir Lowrys pass in Somerset West.  We intended doing the red route.  But, when we arrived they were closing up and so Johan Kriegler (the guy who does the Wines2Whales trail) told us how to get in along the Knorhoek road.

We met up with a few friends along the way and started riding the route with them. They turned off onto the shorter yellow route and we decided to take the red route.  About 10 km into the ride we realised that we were at the cut off point of day one of the wines2whales!  We knew that with just a little climb we would link up with the most amazing single track (from Hans se Kop down into the valley). So, we braced ourselves and climbed the black route... Quite a climb to the top, but some beautiful views and incredible single track on the way to the top!  It was worth doing the black route!

At the top we made the turn and hit the road down.  Greg was in fine form flying down the technical stuff!  I was a little... shall we say ‘sensible’ about my descent? Just when we thought it was over the route took us into a tunnel of trees and a whole new section of single track!  At the end of that we climbed next to the railway for a few km’s only to be taken into another section of incredible downhill single track – some of it quite steep like on our Helderberg ride.  Super stuff.

This is certainly a route worth riding.  Because we came in from the side (since the Ongegund office was closed) we probably missed the first 18km of the trail.  But, the last 23km we did ride was absolutely amazing!

Blessings,

Dion

PS.  If you have google earth installed on your computer just click on the attached file for a ‘fly through’ of the route.  If you don’t have it installed download google earth from here:

http://www.google.co.za/earth/

Thursday
Nov112010

Contego Wines2Whales 2010 - team frosty is ready to go!

Well, it is just before 9pm on the 11th of November 2010.  My bag is packed, my bike is clean and lubed, and my kit is laid out and ready for the 2010 Contego Wines2Whales three day mountainbike stage race.

My friend Greg and I have been training for this ride for almost a year now.  It will be the first time that either of us does a multi-day mountainbike ride.  We have both ridden longer distances, and of course ridden on consecutive days.  However, this race is unique in that each team has to ride together (you must pass each checkpoint within 2 minutes of your riding partner).

It is called the Wines2Whales because it starts on the historic Lourensford wine farm (which is my 'back yard' - this is where I ride just about every weekend), and then goes via Grabouw to the Whale Watching city of Hermanus on the Cape Coast.

Day 1 is the toughest day, a 70 km climb (1453m) out of the Helderberg valley, over the Hottentots Holland mountains to Grabouw.  Here's a descriptoin of the first day.

Start - Lourensford, Somerset West
The first 10km is open gravel track, climbing from 100 - 325m, with ample opportunity to warm up and for the bunch to spread out
The next 6km include 190m of climbing with 4 downhill single tracks interspersed with gravel
16 - 20km (385m): Granny gear, scenic views, check your heart rate AND keep something for 'DIE KOP'
7 single tracks and short gravel sections (fast and straight) lead you over the Blue Gum dam wall and to the 1st waterpoint at Lourensford Winery (33km,100m), whereafter you cross the Lourensriver into Vergelegen
Single track and long, slow climbs via the Wedderwill Game Reserve with a 'no passing zone' to deal with on this section takes riders to the 2nd waterpoint at Wedderwill winery and then on to conquer 'DIE KOP' with a cut off point at 52km (545m)
Up the Elandskloof single track with a portage over Gantouw / T'kana Ouwe to the 60km (510m) mark
68km (325m): Slightly up, 2 single tracks
Last 2km fast into finish
Finish - Grabouw Country Club

Day 2 is the fun day with a majority of the riding on single track. It is 75km in length and has a total climb of 1265m. Here's a blurb about day 2.

Start - Grabouw Country CLub
The first 2km (320 - 370m) goes out towards 'DIE KOP', then turns back and goes round the start giving the bunch time to spread out
Up to 4km is along the Eikenhof Dam with a steep zig-zag down to 315m
4 - 9km: a long climb ascending from 315 to 415m onto the Molteno Trail
A gravel downhill, between the orchards, takes the riders to the 10km at 370m above sea level
The route climbs up the Oak Valley along 5 Oak Valley and 4 Thandi single tracks, to the 13km mark, at 480m and then on to the 1st waterpoint at Thandi Farm Stall (30km, 250m) 
The Paul Cluver single track climbs up to 400m and then the riders go down via the Lebanon Forest Station to the 2nd waterpoint - Korteshoven Shed at 40km (310m) 
The next 17km takes you up to Houwteq and then down to the 3rd waterpoint at Thandi (57km, 240m) via the Lebanon singles and the subway under the N2
Up Thandi and Paul Cluver single tracks to the Oak Valley and then down 5 Oak Valley singles to 71km, whereafter the route takes you slowly up Applegarth to the finish
Finish - Grabouw Country Club

And then there is the final, leg stretch day, day 3 which is an 85km ride with a 985m climb.

Start - Grabouw Country Club
The first 2km (320 - 370m) goes out towards 'DIE KOP', then turns back and goes round the start giving the bunch time to spread out
2 short climbs in the beginning and a fast downhill, whilst saying a fond farewell to 'DIE KOP', brings the riders to Houwhoek Inn, the 1st waterpoint at 25km as well as Wildekrans Winery, the 2nd waterpoint at 35km
The 3rd waterpoint is situated at the Art House (47km, 125m) and from there the fast sandy downhill called Sandgat at 54km, will take you to the 4th waterpoint at Sumaridge (64km, 270m)
Fall from Hemel-na-Aarde, via Jan's single track to 69km, 90m above sea level
And then on to Rotary View Drive (72km, 250m), with it's stunning view of Walker Bay and the Kleinriver lagoon, via Hamilton Russel (witpad)
72km - 83km: Fast downhill with 3 short climbs and some pain, single track along the Onrusriver, under a bridge, along a trail path to the beach, up to Atlantic Drive and then on to the finish
Finish - Onrus Caravan Park, Hermanus

Greg and I have been riding together for about 2 years now - we have done quite a few MountainBike races together (the Cape Argus MTB, the Burger Sanlam in Stellenbosch, the Lourensford Classic and a few more).

Unfortunately, as is often the case, our training has not been perfect.  We have had a few injuries, some equipment failure, illness, busyness and travel to contend with along the way.  But, we're not looking for a win!  We're looking forward to spending three days in the saddle enjoying some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, and some of the most magnificent offroad biking in the world!

Our friends, Ruan and Philip will also be riding as a team.  We're trusting for a safe, fun time over the 240 km's that lie ahead of us this weekend.

I'll be tweeting pictures and experiences from the ride, and will also update my facebook profile - so please keep an eye on those for news.

If you're riding I'd love to hear from you!  I know that the CEO of Vodacom, Pieter Uys, is riding this weekend. We've had some connection via twitter - by the way, did I mention how cool it is that the CEO of Vodacom manages his OWN twitter account? He responds to customers and interacts with clients.  This is truly a great example of the power of social media when it is used well.  I hope more will learn from him!  

There are a number of other big names along for the ride as well.

Drop me a line, DM me on twitter, or leave me a comment here and connect over the weekend, or share your experience after the race.

Remember to keep the sticky bits on the gravel, go fast, go safe and have lots of fun!

Wednesday
Jul072010

The cliffs of Mosselbay - Riding the Wandelpad on my Mountainbike

On Monday Megie, Courts, Liam and I drove out to Mosselbay to spend a few days with our great friends, Cois and Corne and their kids, in Mosselbay. For those who don't know where that is, Mosselbay is about 3 hours drive outside of Cape Town. Cois and Corne have a beautiful flat in an area called Diaz beach.

Yesterday was a cold, wet day. Late in the afternoon I decided to go for a ride. It wasn't very long, about 22km, but it was great! I rode from where we are staying to 'the point' and then went looking for the Methodist Church (tip of the hat to the good 'Methodist people'). I found the Church and added it on Gowalla and while I was there a neighbour of the Church told me about a place called 'Die Wandelpad'.

So, I went up Church street, past the golf course and onto the cliffs around the point. It was an awesome piece of single track! Some great technical riding over rocks with a sheer drop on the side. There were a few moments where I was laughing out loud as I rode! I loved it! Just take a look at this view towards the lighthouse.

Here's a little piece of single track pointing out towards the sea. Here you can get some idea of the terrain - rocky and quite close to the edge! It is actually a walking trail, but one can ride most of it.  There were a few places where I had to climb off my bike because the corners were too steep, or there were large (or sharp) rocks obstructing the walking path.  Then of course there were the steps at the end.  But on the whole most of it was rideable in a lower gear (both up and down).  As long as I kept my weight back and my centre of gravity low I could climb and descend the paths.  I will confess that riding single track is what makes mountainbiking so appealing!

This was the last picture I took below the lighthouse before hiking my bike down the stairs to the point.  I had to pick up my bike and carry it down to the parking lot.  I passed a few tourists along the way who clearly thought that i was crazy coming down the walkway with my bike on my back!

 

If you're interested in seeing the track and the change in altitude, here's the info from my Garmin Forerunner 305 watch. It is an older watch, but it works for me.  It handles GPS coordinates, keeps track of my speed, distance, heart rate etc.  And what is best is that I can connect it to my Apple Mac via USB and download both the tracks and the riding data using a piece of software I purchased called 'Ascent'.  The little graphic below comes from a screen shot in Ascent.  It helps me to keep track of my rides, the distances and also to know how my training is going - I am preparing for a three day stage race later in the year called Wines2Whales.