Testing myself to see if I have the staying power to do a long single stage race. Saturday before last I set out across a few dirt roads then on to some paved roads in the direction of Thabazimbi. I passed Bella Bella where I purchased some food for lunch then chose the Thabazimbi road. Not a good road for cycling as there is no sholder. The vehicales tend to push you off the road.
On route I passed a few well known lodges. One been Mabalingwe where we sometimes take foreign contractors that do work for us. Then there was the turning to Mabula and Adventures with Elephants. This is an area that is Maleria free and close enough to drive out from Johannesburg or Pretoria.
I turned back home when reaching the sign that said Municipality of Thabazimbi.
Did 200 km for the day. Temperature went to 44 degrees Celsius. Used the heart rate monitor to make sure of a even work out. Found the distance was not a problem. Only problem was to get myself refueled. Will have to look into food that can help me to sustain performance.
Things look good. Almost ready to take the step to register.
Last weekend I rode the Momentum 947 cycle challenge. I really enjoyed the spirit of the course. I must say there was more supporters along the road than I thought there would be. The large number of participants made it a big challenge to get to the starting point. The new venue will have to be improved to cope with the traffic .
Momentum947 cycle challenge start
The course has more hills than I thought. When I grew up in Durban Natal we all used to say it is flat in Johannesburg. Well try ride it on a bicycle. I think the hills make it more difficult than the Cape cycle tour. On the other hand it made it very interesting to ride. I found that the hills made it difficult to keep my heart rate constant. After halfway I turned the alarm off for my heart rate target zone. Just glanced at my monitor from time to time.
Coming from the Springbok flats I am not used to the down hills. Reaching speeds of over 65 km/h can be quite scary. I do not get much chance to pick up speed like that down hill were I live. Then there are other riders that do not hold their line and can crash into you. I saw a few people who had taken bad falls. There was one woman laying in the middle of the road on a steep down hill. Lucky the ambulance was not far away. Other riders behind me said they saw there was a big puddle of blood and the paramedics were stabilizing her with oxygen. Also laying her out straight so they could get her on to a stretcher. That just can take your nerve away.
Well a side from the dangers of road racing with bicycles or should I call it fun riding. If you want to see Johannesburg from a different perspective, try riding the streets on a bicycle. I think I rode through the old centre of Johannesburg faster than you could ever do with a car. Went through all the red and orange traffic lights. Roads were empty of cars, that was strange. I have never seen Johannesburg without cars in it. All the road closures for the race made it seem so different. Then there was riding down the M1 highway and M2 highway on a bicycle. If you did that normally the police would come and get you. Or you might be knocked over before they even get to you.
The road passed Johannesburg Zoo and going through Randburg and Santon was just a big street party. People playing music,clapping calling out. Then there was all the braais (barbeques) and camping chairs along the road. There was a man offering his beer to me but it smelled like he was burning his meat on the fire. Looked like he had to many distractions to watch how his meat was cooking.
Heading north out of the suburbs brought some nice long hills to test your stamina. By this time it had reached 32 degrees. Thank goodness they had placed some sprayers across the road to cool off the riders.Then passing the Lion park was a nice down hill. This tricked me into think it was down hill to the finnish. Well not so fast the organizers made sure there were two monster hills coming near the finnish. About 50 % of the people climbed off and pushed up these two hills.
There were riders that did two laps for the day, that makes about 200 km. Then there was Batman. People in Rhino suits and one rider had a Rhino around his bicycle. Others with short skirts on and super hero capes on. Other fund-raising groups helping three wheel bicycles along, dressed in cow outfits.
All in all I really enjoyed the ride.
Some riders after race
They say part of a holiday is the planning . The next is getting there which in our case will be the holiday. The destination will be the smallest part. Last the way back is also part of the adventure.
I have been keeping touch with my dad regularly. He sure is living out the planning and training for his cycle holiday. He is working hard and has been on a exercise schedule. He is now on to the cycling every day stage. His exercise has effected his blood pressure. He is normally on blood pressure tables. He monitors his blood pressure and has had to stop taking tables as his blood pressure has come right. As with age there are lots of other things you have to look out for with your health.
He is concerned that his health will hold out for the whole trip. I just keep on telling him we are going to go at his pace and if he has any problems we can rest or if worse comes to worse we can find a bus home.
As with all first time tour cyclist, he has a long list of questions.
Gear is one question:
I just keep saying that you do not have to have the most expensive gear.
Take time to find the things you need and do not buy the first thing you see.
Normally we buy too much gear and cannot pack all. Land up having to leave some behind.
Find what you have around the house and modify it if you need to.
Should he get a more comfortable saddle or riding pants. Well I say that if you going slow and doing sight seeing. It is up to you. Which ever you feel comfortable in.
Should he put slicks on. Well he is not going to go heavy off-road. It will probably help to get a more easy roll.
Clothing to take with:
Hard to say to a person that is used to been set in their ways to leave most things at home. Time to rank needs and wants. Summer tour will always have rain in this area. Then there are the night time mosquitoes to keep off. Wind chill when it rains. The scorching heat at mid day and afternoon. Then something to swim in. Light backpacking towel.
Well back to me. I have stopped training and now resting for the Momentum 94.7 this weekend. Will let you know next week how it went.
There have been no responses for anybody to join me to East London. However my father has been itching to take his first long ride. So I have changed my mind. I do not have many years left with my father. Thus I have decided to take to a shorter trip from Johannesburg to Richards bay via St Lucia Natal South Africa. This will be done at my fathers pace and we plan on doing about 50 to 60 km a day. Thus giving us time to rest and enjoy some time together. He is in his mid 70’s and not a spring chicken anymore.
Anybody who wishes to join us is welcome. This my be in the range of more people. We will be camping wild and stopping at some nature reserves. Then ending with some swimming in the Indian ocean. My father is an avid bird watcher so he will want to stop and look at birds.
Departure from my house will be on 12 December and will meet my father at my sister’s house at Balmoral on the 13 December. From there we will hit the road together and head east. Doing a mix of sand and tar roads. We will be avoiding all major routes to keep out of the traffic. Plan to bus it back to Johannesburg on 27 December. Once I have done more planing I will post it on my Next trip page.
This is what I found outside my house this week. New white-faced owl fledgling that had not learned to fly yet. It put its wings up to make it look very big. Making that clicking warning sound as most young owls make.
For those of us that do not have much time to do a long tour/safari that spans many months. We have to do some pre-training to help get in shape, to make the tour a enjoyable experience.
1) Need to put some kilometers in the saddle to harden the tender parts.
2)This will also strengthen the neck and shoulders.
3)Pack some weight on your bike so as to build strength.
Need to do the following also:
1)Get gear together.
2)Book train tickets.
3)Medical aid kits.
4)Clothes for riding.
Well hope you will join me.
Did not get a chance to ride this weekend. I went with my wife to a five-star lodge called Kingfisher in the Entabeni private game reserve. The reserve is 22000 ha and is home to the big five. Reserve is in a malari free area and with in 250 km from Pretoria. Making it a quick African Safari when doing business in Gauteng area.The reserve has a high land area and low land area which are separated by a big mountain range.
Blue wildebeest and Zebra
We had the chance to see African elephants,white rhino, red hartebeest, blesbok, blue wildebeest, zebra, blue duiker, kudu, black backed jackal, ostrach, impala, warthog, hippo, vervet monkeys and cheetah.
Elephants with mountain
Close up elephants grazing
White Rhino family
Cheetah on the move
Not many sons can say that their Dad is their best friend. When I was a teenager we used to do training runs together. In those years he and I built a house from scratch. We stood shoulder by shoulder and laid bricks. This gave us time to talk about all sorts of things.
At the age of 40 he started running to keep fit. He went on to complete three Comrades marathons. This is a world renowned ultra marathon. He got three medals: one silver and two bronze. He kept running to keep himself fit until the age of 70. Where upon his circulation prohibited him from running. This forcing him to start walking. Last November (7 months back) I gave him my bicycle that I rode in Zimbabwe and Mozambique with. Then he could just ride 2.5 km. This week he came to visit and rode a 21 km gravel road with an average of 13 km/h at the age of 75. So nice to be sharing a sport with my Dad again.
Have started a new page on my blog for next trip in December 2014. I am looking for companions to ride with me from Johannesburg to East London (Settlers country). I will be adding more details of the tour from time to time. So keep an eye on this page and send me comments if you are interested in joining me.