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Entries in Wines2Whales (8)

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!

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.

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

Thursday
Nov172011

Sunglasses found on the Wines2Whales race on 11 November 2011

I found a pair of expensive sunglasses on Day 1 of the Wines2Whales race on Lourensford Farm last Friday (11 November 2011).

They were not collected over the weekend. If you come across this post and are the person who lost them please drop me an email. I'll just ask that you identify the brand and style of glasses so that I can be sure they are yours. If you can identify them I'll be happy to help get them to you.

Tuesday
Jan112011

Greg and I made it onto SuperSport's TV coverage of the 2010 Contego Wines2Whales mountain bike race!

Imagine my surprise as I was watching the SuperSport coverage of the Contego Wines2Whales 2010 mountainbike race when I suddenly saw myself and my partner Greg on TV!

This grainy pictures show us (me in red and Greg in blue) coming out of a piece of single track towards the end of day 3 of the race.

What a great memory - and so cool fir team frosty!

Friday
Nov192010

Highlights from the Contego Wines2Whales Mountainbike race

The 3 days of mountainbiking that make up the Contego Wines2Whales was one of the highlights of my year!  It was pure bliss to spend more than 20 hours in the saddle over the 3 days, riding 230 or so kilometers.

Today a friend Philip (who also rode the race) sent me some links to the superb highlight videos from the first 2 days of riding!

Take a look at this and you'll see why it was so much fun!

Day 1 video highlights

Day 2 video highlights

As I mentioned in my previous pre (and post) race posting my cycling partner Greg and I had a super ride!  We managed 7.30 on the first stage (a very tough day in the mud and rain).  On day two we ripped up the single track with a respectable 6.24 and on the final day we braved the long road over the mountains from Grabouw to Hermanus with a time of 6.40.

If you rode the ride, or know someone who did, I'd love to hear your feedback and insights!  Drop me a comment below.

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!