"I'd rather be seen on my bicycle than on a park run" - Quote from the dark side

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Century Electrical Cycle Race

On Saturday the 13th of January Anette and I rode the Century Electrical Cycle race at Vanderbijlpark. It was a small, but very well organised race and I think the time of the year makes it even smaller with people still out of training for the holidays and out of money because of the holidays.

Making coffee at 4:16 in the morning...

As with all things racing in South Africa it was out of bed early to travel and get to the 7 AM start of the 80km race in time. I always prefer to be a bit early and we could get ready to ride without any pressure or hurry.

Anette on her way to the start.

The Giant waiting for me to get moving.

The start and finish was at one of the local churches and all the volunteers were from the church as well.The start was in the church grounds and we had enough time to be relaxed while waiting.

Waiting for the start of the 80km race. Small field.

Even time for a selfie.

After a rolling start we rode passed a few industries and were out into the country roads after about 6km. The whole race is out in the country with only the start and finish in the suburbs of Vanderbijlpark.

The open country route was one of the reasons I entered the race in the first place. It is always great to get out of the city for some time during weekends. 

We've done parts of the route a few times in other races. It was good to know a bit about what was lying ahead. Knowing that the route was fairly fast and flat gave us confidence for the ride. With such a small field it was also not long before I found myself on a solo 80km ride.

Crossing the Vaal river.

We crossed the Vaal river to exit Gauteng for a round trip in the Free State. This part of the route was mainly between farms with some cattle and lots of maize fields. The crops are looking good and there was lots of green around us after some good rain.

Crops are looking good.

The only down part of the race was some roads with really bad potholes. Luckily the race organisers filled a lot of them the day before and also marked the worst ones with spray paint. The potholes and the temperature that was climbing towards 30°C fast were the only negatives on the day for me. I was actually having a good time out there! Me having a good time cycling! Who would have thought that a few years back...?

Having a good time!

Before anything got bad or difficult or really warm, I was on my way back to the finish. My best cycle race by far. Anette also had a good race without any incidents. 

1st Medal for 2018 in the bag.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Riding the Neighbourhoods

I do a lot of my cycling through the neighbourhoods in my area. In fact, all my rides during the week are in the neighbourhoods and I only get onto the open roads over weekends.

I mentioned a while back that I might include some videos in my blog going forward. This is for me to play a bit but also to help me with motivation. Something new is never a bad thing...

I'm literally playing and experimenting with video so please don't expect award winning material!

This is a few clips of  Not So Nice and Nice Moments while riding the neighbourhoods.

Stay safe out there!

Monday, 8 January 2018

Kick Start 2018

If the first week of 2018 is anything to go by this year will be a speedy one for sure! I'm still on leave, starting work on Wednesday, which is probably one of the reasons last week flew by at the speed of light.

At least I started the year with some good training. 203km for the first week of January is good for me.

Now to keep it up for the next 51 weeks!

So what are the plans for 2018? I'm not a big New Year's resolutions person, but I love setting goals. Having long term goals always keeps me going, while setting smaller short term goals to reach the long term ones.

I've always been a slow, back of the pack runner that prefers long ultra runs. I'm now a slow back of the pack cyclist that prefers long slow rides. I think you are born a slow or fast athlete, no matter what the sport is.

My search for cycling races that fits my profile and preference brought me to the world of randonneuring, the world of Audax.

This is long, slow distance cycling and really excites me. This is cycling of routes of 200km and higher. It is not racing, but simply the aim of completing the journey. The idea is more or less to complete a 200, 300, 400 and 600km event and then look at the 1000km or further events. To get Super Randonneur status. 

The cutoff times also sits well with me, giving you time to finish at an average pace of 15km/h.

I really like this and it is definitely something that will keep me cycling.  There is also the prospect of taking part in some 1200 to 1500km events in other countries.

Anyway, without getting ahead of myself, my goal for 2018 is to do a 200km event in the first half of the year and a 300km event in the second half of the year. Getting there will include some long rides and some long races. Should be fun! Should keep me busy for the year.

A wonderful 2018 to all of you! Stay safe!

Sunday, 31 December 2017

That's it for 2017

Only a few hours left of 2017! It was a quick year, but also not...

On the cycling front I can at least say I am still cycling. I must admit there were a few times where I thought about not doing this any longer. Having said that, I am making progress.

I did miss my distance goal for the year. So for 2018 my goal is 6500 km again.

I am reasonably happy with the year's cycling, but I will be the first to admit there are many frustrations that face me with the transition from running to cycling. I will do a post about that so lets just say I was an old school, conservative type runner that now find myself in the world of cycling and tight fit and lycra... where's my lose fitting one size too large cotton t-shirt?

On the racing side I have not much loot to show for 2017.

I had incredible bad luck with punctures this year. Four races were not finished due to multiple punctures. I even had my bike serviced prematurely and wheels checked multiple times, but in the end it all seems to have been bad luck.

I felt a bit better about the puncture situation when I saw this post by Louis Meintjies yesterday:

Anyway, that's it for 2017! Have a great New Year everyone. See you in 2018! I will start the year with a post about my thoughts and goals for the year. Happy New Year!!!

Friday, 22 December 2017

The Power of the Dark Side

I'm not sure if it is only here by us or everywhere that cycling is referred to by runners as the dark side. There has always been some friendly and some not so friendly banter between runners and cyclists. To put it short... I have gone over to the dark side after being on the light side for 34 years!

Now I will feel the power of the dark side. Well, that is the truth, as I experienced yesterday. I visited a local cycling shop and fell straight into the trap of the dark side.

This is my new SPCA cycling jersey.

I walked into the cycling shop and straight to these cycling shorts... on special as well!

I was overpowered and immediately had to have them. It is a perfect match!

In my 34 years on the light side I never bothered about something like that. The power of the dark side is strong indeed...

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

The Cycling Tan

One thing that cycling gives you is the cycling tan. I've always had a sock tan from running and some running shorts type tan. A bit of a running vest tan as well but I must say my cycling tan beats that.

The fore arm... note the watch outline and then the nice tan between the watch and the glove. White hand with tanned fingers. Beautiful!

The upper arm... this gives any farmer a run for his money.

And of course the legs... lovely, especially when wearing shorts.

I'm told all of this means I'm having a great summer. Yes, I can go with that. I'm having a great summer!

Please take care in the sun everyone. Have fun!

Thursday, 14 December 2017

It's a mindset

Wow! A year since my last post... give or take a few days! I think the fact that I am still cycling and know I will not run again played a huge part in my lack of interest to blog during the past year. I always ran with my heart and I must still get to that with cycling. I'm not sure how or if I will ever get there. It's a mindset and I'm still a work in progress. But hey, I'm now a cyclist!

I've accepted the fact that I will not run again. My back won't allow this and I'm now fine with it. That is a huge step for me! The passion and love I had for running is not the same yet for cycling and I think this is my main battle currently. I have to accept that I am now officially on the dark side...

I've set myself new goals and I am working towards them in the same way I did with running. It's working and I am definitely more keen to get out there and train than I was some months ago. Again, a mindset, and working towards goals has always worked well for me.

We're in summer and riding is lovely.

Sharing my running life through this blog has always been fun and motivational. I think it's time I start doing that with the cycling now. The stories are getting bigger and better. I might throw in some vlogging between the blogging. I'm still thinking about that, but making videos might be a good addition to the blog. I have some ideas for a vlog. Let's see where it takes me.

For now, take care and be safe out there. Cheers from the bike!