Friday, April 30, 2010

dual track

dual track (n)

2 singletracks running next to each other, starting from the same place and going to the same destination. sometimes parallel to each other, sometimes one would cross over a river and veer off, the other would have a jumpie or rocky section, before they convert again. sometimes possible to cross over between them.

making riding singletrack so much more fun.

joberg2c day 8: handmade singletrack (and 2 tumbles)

Mackenzie to Jolivet
97 km; 2230 m of vertical ascent; 6:53

it was the famous nic's pass today - together with the newly-cut yankee doodle and murray's meander some of the most exquisite mountain bike tracks in the country. they also happen to go mostly downhill :)

here's the view from yankee doodle:

These trails are cut into the side of the mountains, just wide enough to fit one bicycle. Singletrack masterpieces. (yes, yes, i know it wounds soppy - how do you describe such works of art to people who hasn't ridden it?)

was really slow going, though - i need to learn how to cimb so that i can get to the juicy bits first!

there were lost of climbs today - 2200 m of it - (next year i'll train a bit more) and some downhills to match, of course!

the rocky climb to the nando's stop was hot and i was really tired there. caught sight of the tandem a few 100 metres ahead of me, and they kept me going. the water table (and glen lubing my bike) was welcome - and so was the brief bits of technical downhill-relief before the climbing would continue.

the umkomaas valley is a bit of a blur - i remember seeing cruxpearl, spinnekop, ducttape and the tandem a few times on these stretches.

here's a watercrossing at the bottom of one of these downhills

was tired when i finally got out of that climbs and to the last waterpoint. but suddenly the bike came to life again: there was some good singletrack to be had, and the bike is well trained for that.

i took my first tumble of the day when i tried to pass the broken-tandem-spectacle. on singletrack, 2 guys pusshing the tandem, and the tandem on tow behind another bike. so i decied i don't want to be there when it fall ... and passed them on singletrack, looking at the spectacle in stead of in front of me ... and then did a spectacular endo just after commenting that i don't want to be around when they fall. unfortunately bent the front shifter (the new pink one) so have only granny gear at the front at the moment.

then there was a last steep climb with lots of kids asking for their chocolates, a rocky descent, and a hot shower.

one day to go.


rajesh, congrats on the twins' birth - hoping that neroshni get well soon!


D&D, enjoy the moonlight in pareee this weekend :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

joberg2c day 7: sani2c dualtracks at last!

underberg to mackenzie
86 km; 1110 m vertical ascent in a gentle 4:41

k, let me try again - the first post got lost in cyberspace

i forgot what a pleasure it is to cycle between underberg and mackenzie ... and couldn't belive how we could miss the tracks between mackenzie and donnybrook last year on ride2rhodes (but to our defense - it WAS dark)

anyway, was a very quick stage, some lovely dualtrack, very little congestion (at least at the back of the pack.

cycled with mr phil liggit for the first 30 kays - until the camera crew attacked him on the first waterpoint. here he is at the first dualtracks of the day:

the floating bridge was lying on a dry dam, but still fun:

lots of fun singletrack and dualtrack - THIS is why everyone raves about sani2c :)

got a few questions about the daily penalties ... that's cos there is no 'team' :(
paul is just way too fast, so i suggested he go ride with the front bunches where he won't be so bored. i get to ride at my own pace, in stead of chasing him without ever stopping to eat, fill up, dress down, tie shoelaces or take pictures, and both of us get to ride some of south africa's most spectacular singletrack - so it's win-win. the hour penalty every day is not the end of the world, we wouldn't have won the race anyway :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

joberg2c day 6: she'll be coming over the mountain when she comes

Kamberg to Underberg
94 km; 1946 m vertical ascent in 7:15 (plus another hour penalty)

day 6, some 93 kays with 1980m of vertical ascent. a mountain pass with a festive water table at the top - here's the first views of the first climb:

an awesome downhill that went on for what - 12 km? 14?
then a fun river crossing:

an awesome little technical climbie - about 10 of that technical climbie in the corner in groenkloof - the views was just spectacular. AND i managed to climb the whole thing!

another festive water table at the top. doughnuts, chocolate, potatoes. the tandem (andre & mike) caught me here and snuck out before i could see them - but i caught them :) ... and followed their line on some nice downhills with huge bumps where gary flagged us down - climbs, rocky river beds that the tandem just cycled through (with me following the crazy line)

here's the tandem in an oak lane a few kays from the finish:

neck and back's starting to feel the climbs! but the downhills make up more than enough.

weather's been perfect: crisp in the mornings, but by the first climb it's hot enough to remove the armwarmers and jacket. started drizzling just now.

bike's holding up very well. had to tighten the headset and the shock - from all the rattling on downhills (thx spinnekop and glenn for noticing and tightenihg this for me!) front shock need some adjustments, it feels rigid-ty on the technical stuff :(

now it's only the 3 days of sani2c proper that's left. tomorrow's a rest day, with only 86 km (lots of sani2c singletrack) and only 1.1 km of ascent. the bike's very much looking forward to that, it loved the technical bitsies up till now.

adri, elsie - i'm looking forward to that run of yours on your behalf - if your vibe in the evenings are gonna be half what we have, then you're in for the time of your lives!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

joberg2c day 5: glengarry (and wappo)

Winterton to Kamberg
102 km, 1625 m vertical ascent in 6:40 (with another hour penalty)

perfect weather - cloudy, not too hot, and at times a light tailwind. a 'rest' day. 102 kays, with some 1600 m of climbing - and only about 1000 of descent (was payback time for yesterday's more descent, i guess)

the day started with an awesome about 40 kays of cattletrack - then a festive waterpoint, some boring-ish gravel road and a climb to die from - at least there was a great water table at the top - and Glen appearing from nowhere to lube my bike. some more singletrack and some tufties thrown in for good measure.

here's a viw halfway up one of the climbs - just after the first waterpoint, i think:

was good to be home in time to do the washing AND get it dry :)

Supersport live coverage of the event at the moment - so if you have tv, then go watch - there's free beers, so i'll have to go cheer for the people coming in.

ps - Fiona, Fatguy, Ducttape, Lickety Split - i removed your bloglists 'cos i kept reading them in stead of rehydrating / sleeping / doing washing / other ride admin - will put them back again after the ride :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

joberg2c day 4: magic

Sterkfontein Dam to Winterton
126 km; 1937 m vertical ascent; 8:24, but with an hour penalty (and some time added for the team mate's slower time)

some most excellent riding.

a bit of district road to get onto the berg&bush descent route. a festive waterpoint with a view over the whole valley. then dropping into it, with some short steep climbs inbetween to break the monotony of downhilling :)

The rest of the day was a blur of most excellent cycling, some horrible climbie or two (spioenkop comes to mind) and some more singletrack and downhills to match.

it was a lovely singletrack next to a river to get to the last waterpoint - where there were espressos. This was also the halfway-mark - here's the waterpoint:

after this, it was more singletrack, this time on the other side of the river, and the other direction - then there was a steep rocky climb, the mamba - i got off and walked some of it. Some more singletrack, and finally some tufties through mealie fields, and Winterton.

i came in just before 4, with more than an hour to cut-off - AND beat the tandem of andre/mike (but they didn't know i was racing them, so it doesn't count).

I cycled with lots of cool people today - saw the tandem out there, the black trek who always smiles and cheers me on, the 2 teams who talked me over the last few tufties, the 2 girls in pink who just never seems to get tired, the guys in fairbairn capital-green cycling kit, glenn who just appears at all the waterpoints to wash and lube my bike - and wappa who cheers me on every time he sees me on the route.

a good day at the office. and tomorrow there's more :)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

joberg2c day 3: big plans

Reitz to Sterkfontein Dam
125 km; 1064 m vertical ascent in 8:14

'make no little plans; they have no magic to stir man's blood'

don't know who said it, and the internet connection is too slow to google it - but he must have known farmer glen and his crony wappa.

'cos thinking up this ride, and then pulling it off, was no little plan.

will post stats later ... but among other things, they had 4 showertrailers designed and built - you pull the trailer to where the shower area will be, put fencing around, and hot-shower-area working. Tiny cubicles, 8 to a trailer, 3 trailers.

cold water with clover-trucks that just seems to be everywhere ... 2 sets of tents, to unpitch one set and re-pitch, while the other set is in use... feeding 700-odd cyclists, washing their bikes - yes, you come in and the kids ask if they could wash your bike for you - arrive at your tent, bag's already there ... with a little chocolate welcoming you to wherever you are that night.

k, about today - was 125 km and about 1.3 km of vertical ascent. was hard, way over 8 hours. some excellent scenery. and som mud

we're in the free state - and the free state's NOT flat. thx wappa for the warning that we mustn't get excited when we saw the dam - was still a long way to go from there. highlights was a deep wavy singletrack (too short) going down to a particularly muddy tunnel - and the dam wall - and glenn disappearing with my muddy bike and returning it washed and lubed at the last waterpoint - oh, and the hot chocolate at the first waterpoint - these communities go out of their way!
here's one of the waterpoints, it looks and sounds like a festival!

only 6 days to go

it was beautiful to ride over the dam wall. 3 kms of it. into a wind, and hard riding, but so pretty.

tomorrow's the hard one - 125 kays (same distance as today) but about 2 km of vertical ascent

k, off to a hot shower now.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


tufty (n): a grass tuft right in the middle of singletrack, with no way to miss it, cos there'd be another one right next to it. usually found on fresh singletrack. hardtail-unfriendly. hard work, especially when combined with a bit of mud.

also a term used for people riding tufties, e.g. "joberg2c is strictly for tufties only."

joberg2c day 2: 707 km to go

Day 2: Frankfort to Reitz
95 km, 749 m vertical ascent, in a gentle 6:10

Reitz, it's cold. it's a little better than this morning, when it was cold AND wet. today was most likely the easiest stage of all - less than 100 km and less than 1km ascent.

we started in the rain. there were a few 'tufties', lovely track next to a railway line (and on the track, when it got too muddy next to the track).

oh, and some mud. here's one of the river crossings that caused the grinding paste:

a waterpoint where they washed and lubed the bike. the cold & wet weather & riding with a cotton longsleeve shirt together with not eating caused the team mate to bonk rather severely - it was very slow going till the next waterpoint. they had nicely salted steak off the griddle ... when finally i could persuade the team mate to eat 'junk food' (potatoes, steak, donuts from the water tables) in stead of race potions, he recovered quickly :)

we followed a bit of boring gravel ... and then the bike suddenly came to life: some awesome singletrack, first a little climb, and then downhills, jumpies, a little bit of gravel, and more down. some gravel road into town, and some singletrack to the showgrounds. the kids took my bike to wash it - then they dragged my bike to the tent, and they fed me. the getting clean i unfortunately have to do for myself ... i'm shivering, but there's unlimited hot water, so i think i'll go over there now (life is tough)

Friday, April 23, 2010

joberg2c day 1: it's finally happening!

Suikerbosrand to Frankfurt
121 km, 943 m vertical ascent (and one river-crossing by dragonboat)

Some district road, lots of swamp and tufties that was hard on the bum and legs. A long roadie-type district-road stretch to the vaal dam, where we paddled dragonboats to the other side.

the bikes went over by speedboat:

after this, it was a long hard slog through lots of tufties and swamps. The Reitz-kids cheered us in, washed the bikes, and fed us a local delicacy: fish! (in the free state, yes)

albert - your buddies broomie and grant say hi. here they are in the dragonboat-queue

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It is Time

thursday morning.

it's too late for training now.
gps coords to the start is punched into the gps
confirmation for stay in scottburgh is printed

how on earth am i gonna squeeze everything i want to take with, in the tiny little bag that they gonna give us? and how am i going to drag the ton to the tent every night? hmmm maybe i can throw some of the stuff out .... i'd possibly get by with 3 sets of cycling kit in stead of 6 - and i don't need 4 pairs of gloves - k, let me go re-pack (again)

now where did all these butterflies suddenly came from?

Friday, April 16, 2010

an outrageous birthday party

The Hardies always dream up, and pull off the most outrageous parties. Last night was no exception.

It was Clinton's birthday (he'll be forever one of my heroes for giving us D&D)

There were cupcakes,

sparkling wine,



and lots of horribly good singletrack.

and the mandatory hot chocolate at the spur afterwards.

Happy birthday Hardy!!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lost in Da Bush

'Twas adventure racing time again, this time with one of my favourite teams, Lickety Split.

The weekend started with a fuel tanker that blocked the highway out of jozi, and Con swearing to never ever EVER go away on a weekend again.

But that was soon forgotten when we hit the open road and Adri took out pizza, cinnabon-ised muffins and cookies.

We arrived just in time for race briefing - then set up camp in Mankele's camp site.

Race started early on Saturday morning with a quick run to a mini-waterfall - would have been quicker if the mankele singletrack was plotted on the maps, though ...

We than transitioned on a cycle-leg that took us on some of mankele's sweetest singletrack, hike-a-biking up koppies and bundu-bashing through Lantanas. Here's the team (sans the photographer) discussing route options before we left the tar ...

We found controls 3 & 4 quickly. Here's Adri and Will dragging a bike up to control 4.

Control 5 was easy to spot - the paths leading there, less so. Here's Con & Adri running up to the control.

It was a bit of hike-a-biking up to control 6.

We couldn't find control 6 anywhere (we later found out it was about a kilometer off where it was supposed to be) so we took a picture to proof that we were there:

On to control 7, but that one was also misplaced. We heard afterwards that some teams phone the organiser, who directed them to the correct control. Here's some bikes of other teams also searching for the control:

K, so by this time we lost a little enthusiasm and decided that while we're unofficial anyway, we might as well just go for the 'cool' controls. We purified some river water, then headed off to 7. Found it quickly (and where it was supposed to be) and then on to 8 via a sweet singletrack-detour.

Here's will taking a nap at the top of the mountain, just before we clipped control 8.

And then it was a serious downhill that left the bikes with scorching hot disks at the bottom.

The we searched a parking lot for a control that ended up being in a tree about 50 m from the parking lot :(

Here's Adri at the river crossing (where we heard that the last cycle leg was cancelled)

A quick cycle to the transition, and on to the next hiking leg. We decided to go for a finish and a braai, rather than collecting all the points - so only collected one next to a river, and one at the top of the downhill course. Here's the view from the top of the world:

... and here's the whole team at teh finish - just before the sprint to the swimming pool.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Spent the weekend at Mankele - not riding the tracks, but criss-crossing them on foot and on mountainbike in search of adventure racing controls on Saturday. On Sunday morning, while Will was cooking up a storm of a breakfast, the other team members explored the cross-country tracks on sunday morning - WOW what a cool place!!!

For R50 pppn you get
- a camping spot
- warm showers and a communal kitchen with kitchen stuffs
- cold showers outside, for you and the bike after a mudday ride
- permits to all the trails
- well-marked trails for all abilities and training needs
- tubes, if you want to go tubing

Here's a summary of their trails ... and here's a map (it's a rather big pdf)

I will certainly take another weekend or 2 to explore those routes.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Joberg2C - 3 weeks to go!!

With less than 3 weeks to go, i'm undertrained and overexcited.
Bike is in the bikeshop for a full service - and to get the pink bitsies fitted.
I'm cramming the last few kilometers into my legs (using the hardtail) ...

Found an old ride report of the 2008 Sani2C (could it have been that long ago???)

This one's gonna be good! can't wait ...

so, that's why i'm cycling home in the rain tonight (again):

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Groenkloof - still my favouritest singletrack in gauteng

It rained a little on Sunday.
But i had a ride arranged, and wasn't gonna miss out on some fun singletrack.

The parking lot looked a bit scary.

But soon we were paddling on sweet singletrack-rivers.

the signage in groenkloof is always clear - no doubt as to where the route's taking you :)

and a convenient bikwash at the finish

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy Birthday Dark&Dirty!

Congratulations, DarknDirty, on your 5th birthday!

I discovered them almost 4 years ago. Since then i've cycled many a happy kilometer with them, and in the process met Gauteng's coolest people. And always returned home dirty and happy after a ride.

The rides have been muddy, dusty, wet, dirty, thrilling - even fiery. There were ghostrides, noon to moons, beeg nite outs, christmas rides, photo-shoots, hot coffee on freezing nights, an ice-cream ride-through and lots of cupcakes.

We had to gave up some of our routes to city developers, we've discovered other routes. We saw owls and guinea pigs, we've fixed punctures and lights, we've taken people to hospital or pushed them home on bikes without pedals, or took turns to ride the seatless bike. We've taken many a tumble, we've discussed the meaning of life, we've told ghost stories, we've found adventure racing buddies, and shared the war stories afterwards.

We wrote stories about it.

And we always returned for more.

CONGRATS D&D, here's to many more!!!!