So I thought I would start with the weather… again. In case you haven’t noticed it’s Spring! Now for you folk around the country who have summer rainfall or if you’re in KZN and have pretty much the best winters anywhere, this may not be as an auspicious occasion as it is for us drenched Capeys; down here it means earlier sunrises, drier tracks and despite what the hard core guys say much more pleasant riding! It’s all just better from here on in – roll on summer!
The other reason to be upbeat this time of the year is that all the new bikes are pretty much here and we can all get to see, touch, feel, test ride and buy the latest bike porn out there! Yeah baby! I suggest you hook up with Full Sus on FB or Twitter to keep up with all the latest.
On to a more sobering note and that’s the alarming crime stats but more pertinently the escalation of crime against cyclists that seems to be spiralling out of control. I was chilled to read Jaco Oosthuizen’s account of how he was savagely beaten and told bluntly that they weren’t interested in his possession they wanted him to die. (This happened on 14 September) Jaco survived to tell the tale and to quote him: “We should not let things like this infringe on our right to freedom and make us live in fear” – a brave sentiment from a brave mtber, but where does it stop? How far does it go before someone dies or retaliates and there are fatal consequences? We tend to ride in remote areas, we live for quiet, remote areas that offer us the amazing escape the mountain biking affords us but more and more we have to resort to gated, fenced parks or find ourselves riding in groups or in busy times of the day. Of course Full Sus advocates all these solutions but we also call on government both local and national to wake up, to protect its citizens and to at least be seen to engage, discuss and make every effort to put meaningful solutions in place. Of course we also have an obligation to ourselves and our families – so continue to use common sense: don’t struggle with any potential assailants, give them your stuff (I know it bites your ass doesn’t it!), ride in groups when at all possible, tell someone where you are going and make sure you have the local emergency numbers on your phone in case you are able to call! Be vigilant! Be safe!
To the woman who came storming past all of the riders waiting patiently for their turn down Mamba at the inaugural PPA Elgin MTB ride, shouting: “coming through! 30km rider! coming through!” – what a chop! What did you think we (doing the 42km ride) where doing there? Eish, you were selfish, clueless and frankly downright annoying… time trail on Strava darling, not on a fun ride! (Yes it was timed but we all had the same problem.) It was a great ride by the way – well done to the organisers.
Finally my last rant is to the dog walkers who we share the paths with. I am a dog lover but for heaven’s sake (and that of the dogs and riders…) please make sure you know where your dog is when you see riders approaching and if possible hold onto it. For the record in Silvermine or Tokai dogs are supposed to be on a leash – no fun for the dogs (I get it) but no fun for either if it results in an accident.
Right rant and rave over. Quick thanks to Johan and Gerda for once again being perfect hosts at the Greyton MTB Tour, a brilliant event once again. Thanks to Bobby, Bianca and the Specialized team for a fantastic media launch – products aside – you folks treat us exceptionally well and it is always a pleasure dealing with you – thank you!
By the time the next issue comes out I should have just started my second Wine2Whales hopefully on a nice new bike too – I can’t wait and hope to see some of you there!
See you on the trails!
Sus the Altitude Training at Sea Level – Part II
So Rich and I are now into the swing of things. First things first, we visited the Bike Plus Altitude Centre for our introduction and assessment. Nervously we sat down on the fancy Watt Bikes (which are really cool!) in the space aged fish tank – Matt briefly took us through the workings of the Altitude Centre, showing us how the air is “scrubbed” of oxygen and pumped back into the room with some 7% less oxygen in it. There are two independent measuring stations that show the percentage oxygen as well as the equivalent altitude that you are simulating.
A few minutes into the training session I mentioned to Matt that I felt a little light headed like I was sucking air in through a straw; I asked if it was the “placebo” effect – he laughed and said “no way! This is what it’s about – there is less oxygen – your body is working hard and the idea is to get it used to working effectively with less”. After 15 minutes we were ready for our test: flat out for 3 minutes! With this data our power bands were set; these form the bases of all the classes thereafter.
We were back two days later for our first class – having remembered all our settings we were handed our shiny new info “cards” – we linked up or heart rate monitors and once the class had started all our info popped up on the two huge TV’s, for all to see! Literally nowhere to hide – your cadence, watts and heart rate are all up there – talk about motivation! The nice thing however is that you are all working to your “zones”, so despite your cadence bands being the same your wattage is unique to you. I really loved this way of training! It makes much more sense.
Like most instructors there is a little bit of masochist in all of them and Matt didn’t disappoint. All classes are 40 minutes long, which believe me at 3 000m is all you need, and Matt gave us 15 second sprints at least 150rpm, every 5 minutes. Sounds easy but with the “thinner” air and having to get back into your target zones this becomes an interesting challenge. For the record it is really hard and the lack of air is a challenge! I really and truly had a blast. Two classes down and both times it’s a stunning workout – but here’s the kicker: recovery is unbelievable. Within the shortest possible time you feel as if you haven’t done half of what you just did.
Ok so what are the long term benefits – I can’t say yet. But if the theory that I am hearing plays out, then it is going to be well worth it. If you think of all the Kenyan distance athletes and how they perform after high altitude training there has to be something to it! I have no doubt that my physique plays a big part in my level of performance but if it is going to benefit a buffalo like me then I see huge benefits for all! I will keep you posted.
For more information, rates and class availability go to www.bikeplus.co.za.
In September we gave away four copies of Jacques Marais’ new Trails Bible More Top MTB Trails. The following four lucky readers have each won a copy: Louise Sequeira (Benoni), Thabo Mamatshele (Isando), Nadia Van Wyk (Kempton Park) and Jill Black (George).
If you didn’t win you can purchase your very own copy of More Top MTB Trails from any good book store or online from www.mapstudio.co.za for R250.
In October and November we’re giving you the chance to win an Axis A40 mountain bike, turn to page 29 to find out how.
Sus the Local Bike Shop: Lynnwood Cyclery – (012) 348 3132
Pretoria’s Specialized Concept store, Lynnwood Cyclery is owned by the father and son combination of André and Andy Terlouw. With their experience in the motor vehicle retail sector they wanted to bring that professionalism to the cycling retail business. The store focuses on service excellence, in both the workshop and sales department. The store’s x-factor though is the personal and friendly service, which keeps customers coming back until they’re old friends. The recipe for success includes a state-of-the-art workshop, a dynamic team of staff, an ideal location and facility, together with the close association with the one of world’s leading bike brands, Specialized.
They’re also very active on the riding scene with club rides on both the road and mountain so if you’re based in the area you should consider joining their club. And the shop features a Body Geometry Fitment studio too.
Drop in for a coffee, to see what they have in store, and in store for you if you become a club member at Shop 1A, Willow Way Centre, Lynnwood Rd, Pretoria East. Follow them on Twitter at @LynnwoodCyclery, find them on Facebook at Lynnwood Cyclery or visit their website www.lynnwoodcyclery.co.za.