The 2 Decade Bucket List item done and dusted… barely…

 

Bucket List Item #6– To complete 21 Cape Town Cycle Tours- formerly known by us as “The Argus”…  a 109 km race around Table Mountain.

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I must confess, like my blogging these past 3 months, my training program went sadly lacking… I did train. But not nearly enough. I also tried something new. Instead of my usual February midday training sessions (summer here, remember…) I trained at night in front of my television set. Doing a few Sufferfest training sessions- really good training material!

But so, last Sunday, 6 March, the day dawned on my 21st race…

And for once it was a nearly perfect day! Last year’s race had to be shortened a lot because of Table Mountain burning, and all the soot in the air threatening our lungs.  In previous races the Southeasterly wind blew a lot- one year up to 12o km/h. But this year- blue skies, no wind, no smoke… perfect!

I knew from the start that I have committed the grave sin of undertraining. I went slowly up Hospital hills, and then suffered a LOT up the 2 km of Edinburgh Drive…  I did manage to ride to the top of this hellish climb. Then, on the Blue Route I felt as if this day just might be survivable… managing speeds of up to 72 km/h on the slight downhills.

At the Naval Base of Simonstown I started feeling quite poorly. A slight wind was now blowing from the front, and the heat picked up a bit. On through Millers Point and over Smitswinkel Bay I felt some strain. But when you reach halfway, there is a long slight downhill, with the wind in your back. That part was really good. On through the beautiful and spooky Scarborough and onwards to Noordhoek I pedalled. But then it started to heat up quite a lot (according to me…)

At the base of the beautiful Chapman’s Peak Drive is a lovely place called Noordhoek Farm Village. For the first time ever I stopped there. Went to their restaurant, and ordered a cup of filter coffee. I was seriously contemplating abandoning the race, as I just felt drained. After the cup of coffee I soldiered on towards Chappies. But I knew I was in trouble. I had a hard time breathing, and my heart rate monitor showed that I was above maximum heart rate- 220 minus your age. At about halfway up Chapmans Peak drive I had to pull over. And then, with the heat and the heartrate going through the roof, I had to walk the last km of Chappies- it felt like a walk of shame! Over the top, I made time up- it is a good 4-5 km of downhill, sweeping turns, dodging slower cyclistts- as a motorcyclist I am really good at downhill riding! But then- the dreaded Suikerbossie Drive in Hout Bay. First a 1 km climb, coming back down again, and then a 2 km steep incline.  As I entered the smaller Suikerbossie my legs just loced up solid in a cramp. I could barely manage to turn my ankle to get my shoe out of the pedal. Some spectators helped me to the sidewalk, and I had to lay down in the shade till the cramps subsided. And then I had to walk the 2 km up again to the top of Suikerbossie…

In order to qualify for a medal, you have to finish the race under 7 hours. As I walked up to Suikerbossie’s top, I realised that I had already used up 6 1/2 hours. To get to the finish line from here is usually more than half an hour for me… Was all the suffering going to be a total waste of time?  Still cramping, I got on my bicycle, and started chasing the clock to be in time for my medal. And it was bad! It is a beautiful stretch of road, going past Llundudno, and the 12 Apostles Hotel, and then through Campsbay, Clifton, Bantry Bay, onwards to the finish line at the Greenpoint Stadion. Most of it is downhill. And a lot of riders, having had a better ride than me, slow down just to enjoy the scenery. But me, cramping a lot and in pain, tried my best to reach the cutoff time.

When I finally passed the finish line I looked at my watch. I have made it, but with only minutes to spare… my worst time ever, including the 120 km/h wind race a few years back. But it counted! At this time I was really in pain. I had to go to an Info tent to go and claim my special 21 st medal. And then, feeling the strain, I went and booked myself into the medical tent. I was feeling dizzy and very thirsty. The medical staff took over, tested my pulse, and blood pressure. My pulse kept on racing at 12o, where I usually go back quickly to 65/70. The other problem was when my blood sugar levels were tested, it was up at 11.3. I have never been diabetic, but in the struggle to finish I have taken on too much sports drinks…

But I had my medal. It has taken 21 years to get this medal.

I might still be the slowest cyclist in my home town. I may not always look like an athlete.

But: I have a 21 Cycle Tours medal. And from next year I am riding with the Argus’ sought after  Blue Number, being a member of Club 21.

I really doubted that I would finish this year’s race. But maybe Winston Churchill was right when he said: “Never, never, never, never, never give up…”

 

 

 

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#20 Done and Dusted…

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Yes, the route was less than half the original. So it does not do to compare times with previous races.  But it sounds good to me that I finally rode  a Sub 3 hours official Argus race. Nearly broke 2 hours!

But the South Easter blew quite heavily up on Hospital Bend. Past Grootte Schuur Hospital, where Chris Barnard did the first ever successful human heart transplant so long ago.  We also did not get any grace on the incline at Edinburgh Drive, also known as Whine Burg Road.

The route felt a bit crowded with a possible 35000 people entering the race. Yes, 35 Thousand!

I enjoyed my race today! No excuses, no regrets!

Will wait for the official time, my little cycling computer stated my time as 2 hours 7 minutes for the race.

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My team manager also had a great day at the Victoria and Albert Waterfront in Cape Town, waiting for his star athlete to take him to beer and home…
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What a day!

47 but still great!

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No, not my age anymore…

ON Sunday I will ride my 20th Argus. (Cape Town Pick ‘n Pay Argus Cycle Tour…)

BUT Table Mountain has been burning since last weekend. The fires has been conquered to a great extent. A great health threat still remains with possible flare-ups and soot.

SO the race organisers took the difficult decision to shorten the route to 47 km. It is usually a 109 km race around Table Mountain, now just 23.5 km out on one side and then an about turn back.
I am disappointed, as I have really tried to train hard for this race. But then: a lot of people lost so much in the fires. And the firefighters put up such a brave fight against nature’s power. 

So- I really understand the decision and will try to do my first sub 3 hours Argus ever! 
I am so grateful that the race was not cancelled altogether.  I salute the race organizers and marshalls for still hosting the greatest one day cycle race.

Meanwhile- we are really enjoying the good times with our friends in the Cape. Having a great time with my son!

We just celebrated sunset over Robben Island at the Blue Peter Hotel, a very significant place in my life as that is where we celebrated our honeymoon, on the 31st of March, 25 years ago…

Today was a beautiful day in Cape Town, and in my life!

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But the young man is starting to scribble his girl’s name in the sand…

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Road Trip with my son…

One of the reasons for my silence the past two months was that I was training very hard. This coming Sunday it is the Pick ‘n Pay Argus Cycle Tour. I am aiming for my 20 th medal this year.

Yesterday morning my eldest son and I left home at 04:00. We are having a road trip to Cape Town.

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Yesterday was a very long day- 1156 km from home to Beaufort West, where we arrived at 17:00.

This morning was fun- we drove through the scenic Meiringspoort…

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A bit later through Oudtshoorn, the one time ostritch mecca of the world. We drove on Route 62 to Barrydale, and over Tredouxpass to Swellendam.

Tonight we are staying at the Cape Agulhas Backpackers Lodge ar Struisbaai. What a fun place to stay if you want to visit the Southern most tip of Africa.  Which we did this afternoon.

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We had a lot of fun so far, driving more than 1600 km in 2 days (1000 miles). Today was extremely hot, we measured about 41 degrees C in the car. We passed an Asian gentleman on a bicycle, geared for transcontinental travel. He looked in distress, and we stopped and asked if he was OK. He ran out of water, and we were glad to give him a litre of cold bottled water. He said his thermometer showed 48 degrees on the tarmac!

There is a serious heatwave
In the Cape Province, with some serious bush fires around our race route for Sunday. I am just praying and hoping for cooler weather, and that the fires will be doused before the weekend’s race.

But I am having a good time with my eldesr son!

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HE is also enjoying his first ever Backpacker lodge experience. Now signing off, I am tired tonight!

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Still Cycling…

This morning my younger colleague drag me kicking and screaming out of my bed, to go training with him. He has already done a leisurely 29 km with his fiancee before that. And then he pushed me to do my first 30 km training ride in a while- definitely the furthest I have ridden since this year’s Argus Cycle tour in March. You don’t believe me? Endomondo tells no lies…

15 NovemberOn our way back we were seduced by our favorite coffee shop, to have a breakfast there. And the Endomondo for some reason did not stop, so the time given is much more- we actually did the 31 km in about 90 minutes.  Very, very slow for my young colleague, and quite taxing for me…

In any case- I have now done 148.63 km so far for November on my bicycles. I forgot to mention, this morning I have taken out my Schwinn Fastback- much lighter than the Trek 800 Trail (which weighs 20 kg with a full water bottle… and has knobblies on…)

Slowly it feels as if my body remembers that it was fit, some time, a long time ago. Just hints of joy crept into the training, and the burning desire arises to be fit again, and feel the miles fly by without feeling like the angel of death is hovering right behind me…

We talked on our training ride about all the lovely things we have seen on this route. It is wonderful to be outside the city, and riding on a quiet country road. We have, between us, seen snakes, I had a close encounter with a Green Mamba once, another with an Egyptian Spitting Cobra,  he has seen a serval- very rare, they thought it was a baby leopard… a beautiful member of the wild cat species.  We have had our funny encounters with warthogs, who did not hear us approaching, and they are very funny when they get frightened, spin on one place in their pull away, before they find the right gear and head off to safety.

There is a world famous wetlands nearby, the Nylsvley Wetlands Reserve, and the small river Nile that feeds it (no relation to the one in Egypt…) is passing underneath our training route. There are the most beautiful bird life around there, with a lot of different coloured finches, swallows, sparrows, hornbills, and other beautiful birds. The fresh air around our town is so good for exercise.  So it was a good start to my day.

Unfortunately, when I reached home, I have received word of another of the elderly ladies of our church that has passed away peacefully in her sleep last night. I will be conducting another funeral next week…

Now it is time to start work on Sunday’s sermon. I am thinking of John 13:34 as the text… let’s get back to work…

Training started for my P’nP Argus Cycle Tour #20

Most people who meet me are surprised that I do cycling for a sport.  I do not look like a sportsman, in fact, I look like the next candidate for a heart operation…  It is because the ladies of my congregation are always killing me with kindness. I also have allergic reactions to beer- it makes me swell up…

In any case- next year, on the 2nd Sunday in March, is South Africa’s and one of the worlds biggest cycling events. We cycle around Table Mountain, a 109 km race. All 36 000 of us…  (click op picture or go to http://www.cycletour.co.za/ )

Argus 2

Next year will be my 20th consecutive race if all goes well. I finished 19 so far, sometimes slowly, and sometimes very, very slowly. But every one of them count, they were all under the cut-off time of 7 hours.

But, in a Jeremy Clarkson voice: There is a slight problem.  My bicycle have gone into it’s winter sleep after this year’s race.  Yes, I did two training sessions in August, but then I got the flu. So the fitness is gone. Completely gone…

And so, as it being the 1st of November, leaving just 4 months to get into shape again (this year I only trained for 6 weeks- it was hell!) I decided: if you want different results, you need a different approach.

For the record (may it not come back and bite me in the *ss…) I want to do my 20th Argus in my best time ever. If the South Easterly winds will play along on the race day, I want to do it in (Austin Powers Doctor Evil type… pause) … sub 4 hours…  There, I said it.

So- a start was needed. Endomondo says I did start this morning: Argus

It is slow, I agree. It might be a bit short for you super fit freaks out there- only 20.42 km.  But it is a start…

Now I have to just keep doing that, a bit further and faster every now and then… And maybe, just maybe, the sub 4 is possible…

After training, I worked in my garden as well- I planted the first cucumbers ever in huge bags alongside my tomatoes.

And so- from a sweaty BICYCLE rider:

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Last training ride in 2012 just before my Argus #18 at Moyo’s, Eden on the Bay centre- do enjoy the helmet hairstyle, and the South Easterly was blowing like mad…

Enjoy your weekend! Do something different for a change!

 

 

Funny… who me?

Daily Prompt: Funny Ha-Ha 

by michelle w. on August 26, 2013

Do you consider yourself funny? What role does humor play in your life? Who’s the funniest person you know?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us CLEVER.

_______________________________________________.

No, I’m not funny…

Clever- The mechanic at my local cycling shop is very clever. He has fixed my mountain bike this morning… Image

So sorry- while you guys are looking for a laugh, I am having a very sad morning.

Sad, because on 11 March this year I was still fit enough to do the Pick ‘n Pay Argus Cycle Race, my 19th consecutive one. (109 km around Table Mountain, Cape Town)  And since then, I did not touch my bicycles… except to move them when the room needed vacuum cleaning.

Since then, my 3 sons did touch my bicycles, in an inappropriate manner.

I needed to buy a new seat. It just does not do to cycle without a seat. Some people might get by with just a seat post, but I would find that to be a pain in the *ss…

I also needed to have two new tubes put in… the youngest thought it is much better taking dad’s bicycle through the thorns on the dirt track than his…

I need a new tube bag, a new spare tube, two new tire levers, a new small pump, a new computer (somehow one of them thought they would investigate what happens when you snip the sensor’s wire…)

I also need a new multitool with all the allan keys in it- somehow not one of the 999 in the house comes to light.

The mountain bike is now nearly ready for a new season. Spring starts officially on Sunday. But winter in our town was only on 18 July this year anyway…

Am I ready… no!

I very politely asked my church’s ladies to stop feeding me cake and pie at every chance they get. I am allergic to cake and pie. It made me swell up over the winter, I now carry more than a sheep’s weight too much on my bulky frame, and it has got to go…  I am also extremely allergic to beer, it makes me swell up even faster than cake. But somehow, every Friday evening, when I light my barbeque fire- there is a beer or three in the fridge… If I do not address them properly, my sons will. Underaged drinking is a huge problem in South Africa.  And that leads to many other problems. It is even reported from the maternity ward that boys just will not leave the breasts alone…

So… I am a bit overweight at the moment. I have 6 months time to get ready for the next Argus, on 9 March 2014.  How do you start a new season of cycling from zero? I am in deep trouble.  My young colleague and his fiancé want to ride with me. There is another problem- she races professionally! She really weighs less than half of me! I am no prophet, but I see a lot of hurt in my immediate future, starting at my south pole…

I do not know how to begin training for this year.  I am in trouble. And prayer alone does not help… somehow I need to put ass to seat and take the hurt…

Whatever your religion or lack thereof- please pray for me, or send good thoughts into the universe…

Professional cyclists- go away. Reasonably fit cyclists, please leave advise of a positive nature. Lance’s doctor, please send some liquid fitness in a bottle.  Couch potatoes, get off your lazy bums and start training….

Have I left anyone out?

Pick ‘n Pay Argus Cycle Tour 2014- Kilo’s trained: 0.00

Weight lost for the Argus: 0.00

Pick ‘n Pay Argus Cycle Race Website: http://www.cycletour.co.za/

Overweight? Me?

I am the skinny one on the right...

I am the skinny one on the right…