Tuesday, December 22, 2009
The year is grinding out its last few days. After the Sabie Experience mountain bike stage race, I hoped to hop back on the bike and use my brand new trail shoes for the second time. No such luck.
I went down with a cold (I refuse to consider anything close to flu) and simply had no energy to do anything. Several afternoon naps later, I have started to feel like I can move around without dragging myself.
I can even face the piles of paperwork that accompany the wrapping up of a major race. And for a change, I am ahead of the game with my Christmas shopping. Usually it is a last minute scramble when I return from Sabie.
So all in all, the year is winding down comfortably for me and I hope for you too. I am starting to feel excited about riding properly again and setting some goals. I am also looking a some trail running goals (if only my brother would play ball and commit!).
So 2010 looks to be a bit different, not only because we're hosting the World Cup (soccer for all of you fixated on only your sport) but I think I will have some new experiences to savour and record.
Whether it is shining or snowing on your head, I hope you celebrate this Festive Season in a manner that is meaningful for you.
(Picture courtesy of Action Photo)
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
The Sabie Experience four day mountain bike stage race starts on Sunday. Why is this of interest to you or me? Well, there is a group of dedicated people making sure that it lives up to its reputation of being a tough, challenging event and I am the ringleader.
No wait, the tough and challenging bit belongs to my race director, Dennis. He is the one who must take the complaints from the riders when they struggle up the next big mountain and the next. When the climbs are nicknamed "Ugly Words, Jelly Legs and Bad Language" then you know that it is brutal and they are cursing him with the little breath they have left.
Moi, I am in charge of all the nice stuff. I get to receive all the compliments. I swan around the route in my VW Caddie with the aircon on, and cheering the riders onward and upward. I am the cheery face of the mountain bike race who commiserates when they suffer and promise downhills to the finish. I am the good guy who pretends to suffer with them, bleed with them and grimace through muddy or dusty faces.
All the while, behind the inane grin on my face is the little voice saying, "I am so glad this isn't me!" Don't get me wrong, I have ridden the routes so I know all about the sufferfest but that was under far more relaxed circumstances. I did not have partners ranting at my being too fast or too slow. I had the luxury of stopping frequently ostensibly waiting to show the riders behind the route.
But I do know what its like to stay in the saddle when the legs are begging for respite and the sweat is stinging the eyes. And I do feel the rider's pain when there is yet another uphill. But I live the swooping downhills and single track with them and congratulate them as they cross the finish line pumped with the achievement that comes with suffering.
So to all you riders making the pilgrimage to Sabie for some of the best mountain biking in the country, I'll be there for you but I won't envy you.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
This weekend was soul riding. A handful of us headed out to the Cradle of Mankind for a bit of technical riding followed by the ubiquitous coffee and in this case, apple pie and cream. OK, so I had an omelette instead but that's not the point.
The point is that I ride for the exercise, the space, the cameraderie and the social interaction afterwards. This ride just happened to include herds of gemsbok and wildebeest, some impala dashing across the road in front of us and two tortoises giving it horns.
And Sunday was the single track all the way up the Braamfontein Spruit to Greenside for famous Vida coffee followed by brunch at Doppios. (I am such a name dropper).
And for the first time in ages, I loved my riding. Not too much, not too far and wonderful company.
So what's your story?
What gets you out of bed and onto two wheels?