Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘cycling’

Push yourself

Read Full Post »

Tale of the close shave

We all know about the 2 types of cyclists, the ones that have crashed, the ones that have crashed and those that will crash again. They make up some serious stories and most are exaggerated to some degree. What does not get repeated time and again are the close shaves with traffic and the near misses with pavements, light poles and other stationary objects. 

Here is one tale of the close shave.

There are only a few roads that lead from my house on my training rides. This particular route, i have cycled possibly 1000 times. Semi challenging when you are not warm but nothing too hectic. It involved a fairly long downhill section which is actually quite fast. On a normal day you can easily get to 65 km/h without much peddling. This hill is not 2,5 km into the training rides. This particular day it was quite windy so the hill was directly into a head wind, a fairly strong wind meant that maximum speed was 41km/h. Anyway, about halfway down the hill, there is a road on the left hand side. Mostly the cars stop and let you pass before joining the traffic flow. There is always the exception that proves the rule. This older lady, driving a small car, slowed down and had a look up the road but then carried on accelerating. 

At this stage, I was about 20 metres from the car! I was close enough that i actually saw her look right to see if the road was clear. I ride in the colours of the COWS and the kit is a black and white cow print. It is really obvious! I am also 193 cm tall weighing 90 odd kilograms. A fairly large object to miss! She missed me barrelling down the road? She pulls out and i had to make a make a call. Is she going to pull out – i would be able to miss her round the back of the car. Or is she going to stop. Roughly half way into the lane, she stopped. 

I was able to swerve arou d the car. In doing so, I uttered a few choice words! I politely asked her what she was doing and managed to keep it upright. What surprised me but yet it is pretty standard in Durban, is when we got to the lights at the bottom, the ldy looked at me as if to say, “what have i done wrong?”

I had to exercise serious constraint then and then had to calm down so I could finish the training ride. 

Read Full Post »

2 types.

We all know about the 2 types of cyclists, the ones that have crashed, the ones that have crashed and those that will crash again. They make up some serious stories and most are exaggerated to some degree. What does not get repeated time and again are the close shaves with traffic and the near misses with pavements, light poles and other stationary objects. 

Here is one tale of the close shave.

There are only a few roads that lead from my house on my training rides. This particular route, i have cycled possibly 1000 times. Semi challenging when you are not warm but nothing too hectic. It involved a fairly long downhill section which is actually quite fast. On a normal day you can easily get to 65 km/h without much peddling. This hill is not 2,5 km into the training rides. This particular day it was quite windy so the hill was directly into a head wind, a fairly strong wind meant that maximum speed was 41km/h. Anyway, about halfway down the hill, there is a road on the left hand side. Mostly the cars stop and let you pass before joining the traffic flow. There is always the exception that proves the rule. This older lady, driving a small car, slowed down and had a look up the road but then carried on accelerating. 

At this stage, I was about 20 metres from the car! I was close enough that i actually saw her look right to see if the road was clear. I ride in the colours of the COWS and the kit is a black and white cow print. It is really obvious! I am also 193 cm tall weighing 90 odd kilograms. A fairly large object to miss! She missed me barrelling down the road? She pulls out and i had to make a make a call. Is she going to pull out – i would be able to miss her round the back of the car. Or is she going to stop. Roughly half way into the lane, she stopped. 

I was able to swerve arou d the car. In doing so, I uttered a few choice words! I politely asked her what she was doing and managed to keep it upright. What surprised me but yet it is pretty standard in Durban, is when we got to the lights at the bottom, the ldy looked at me as if to say, “what have i done wrong?”

I had to exercise serious constraint then and then had to calm down so I could finish the training ride. 

Read Full Post »

Look where you want to go.

Most people know how to ride a bike. If you do not know how, I would love you to learn. It is a great outdoor activity for all ages. I have ridden a bike from when I was about 5 years old. I only took it up as a hobby about 15 years ago. I now spend between 2 and 6 hours on my bike per week. Not a huge amount of time compared to (more…)

Read Full Post »

Having spent about 6 hours on the bike in the last 3 days, life seems to be a whole lot different for some reason. Admittedly,  6 hours is not a lot of riding for 3 days but for me it capped probably one of the best weeks of riding ever.

I did not do it very fast at all but I did it and that is enough. I did my best for the condition I am in currently. I stopped to often but whatever. I actually wanted to get out 3 days in a row and do some pretty serious mileage amd I did exactly that. I probably should have done some carbo loading before hand but I did not realise that I had the stuff at all.

Being alone for length of time did put things into perspective somewhat.  The sacrifice that Carrie (my wife) and my family make in order for me to go out and ride are actually huge and I really hope that I can repay that someday.
My mind then drifted to work and I also started planning my referral email to my contacts. I have really been moved recently by a video about referrals and I am going to use that method to grow my business into something great and I have a new business and I now have a goal, the goal is to grow the business to such an extent that I can employ another 2 people. 

The first hurdle in a new business is the first couple of clients. Once those start rolling and we can start building that nest egg, I can think longer term and advertising more extensively through the various avenues available.

Back to the riding, there is a different focus about me now. I was once told that you get to a level of riding that eventually changes your focus. I think my spirit is a lot calmer and my head is certainly clearer because of it. Here is to findin out what happens next…….

Read Full Post »

A long road

It’s been a long to recovery since August 23rd of last year and I found out yesterday that I have come a long way but similarly have a long road to travel ahead. That road is both metaphorical and literal.
The metaphorical road is the fitness level that I am currently at is simply not high enough I found that out yesterday.  The literal road is the miles of black top that will pass under my wheels and feet to get that fitness to the required level.

So yesterday? What happened that made me come to this conclusion? What other lessons could have been taught?

Yesterday marked another running of the Midmar Notts cycle race. It’s a relatively shprt race at 60 or 80 km but definitely a unique event on the local calendar. The unique character is that it is an out and back route along the same road. More unique is the elevation profile. You start at about 1 000 m above sea level and at the turn around you are about 1 400m above sea level. It is certainly not all up hill so you do a lot more climbing than those stats suggest.
It was the second time that I attempted this race. The first, back in 2012, was a blisteringly hot day. I did the 80km ride and my race did not go well. I did not hit the wall but I came pretty close.
This year, the conditions were poles apart. It was 9 degrees Celsius when we started with a slight drizzle. The roads were very wet from heavy rains the afternoon before. The cool weather made it very cold once moving which added to my demise.
Anyway, I digress! Lessons learned?
1. Always be prepared. I was lucky that I took my (sleeveless) rain coat. One should always take clothing for all possible weather conditions. My leg warmers would have been perfect.
2. Never underestimate a race of this nature. Because it is a uphill and downhill route, we prepared for a 30 km race. Wrong! Once we hit 30km it was still an hour back on precarious road sufaces. Another factor to my demise.
3. 5 months off training lost does not come back in 5 weeks. I learned very hard that thos 5 months of lost training have halted progress. This halt is not undone in a very short space of time I.e. 5 weeks. I have lost my legs I had 6 months ago.
4. What goes around comes around. For years, I have been the one to wait foe other people whilst on the bike. I do it as a choice because I want to help them. Well, this was my time to be helped. About 4 km from the finish of the race, I was encouraging my riding partner, who happens to be my dad, to keep going and, well, he did. Straight off my wheel and away into the distance! It was great to see him go. I hoped that he would go and finish but he slowed and almost stopped, to let me catch up. I told him to go ahead for thw the second time but he refused AGAIN! He said hat many time I waited for him so he waited for me this time. It was appreciated and I told him too.
5. The Time Freight Midmar Notts cycle race is one for the calendar! A great race in all aspects. Well done to the organisers once again.

So lessons learned and recovery on the way to complete. Next year will be better becaus of better preparation.

Read Full Post »

I may not have got to goal 1 yet but I have got the first brick session in my legs. It was not pretty. Not even close.

It was not fast.  Not even close.

I was not ready for it physically.  Not even close.

I was not not ready for it mentally.  Not even close.

Are you starting to see a trend here?

About the only good thing that happened was that I went out and did it! I completely tanked afterwards but it was nowhere near to the low I would have experienced if I had not gone out there.

So not pretty but it is one in the legs.

My arm is still up to scratch but getting stronger everyday. It was a little tired and sore after the above workout but that was mainly due to the aggressive setup of my road bike.

One down Many to go.

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

Your attitude determines a lot about you as a person and affects everyone around you. The collective attitude of the group of people around you has a bigger (although different) effect. The attitude of entire country has an effect of being to determine where that country is going.
I live in Durban, South Africa and over the last couple of years I have become aware of 3 areas where attitudes make a massive difference.
1. Cyclists.

I am a cyclist and do a fair deal of road cycling. The general attitude towards cyclists from motorists is that they should not be in the road. It goes the other way too with cyclists believing that motorists are out to get them and they are reckless. I am saying that both are 100% to blame for the stupidity that this causes. Being able to comment on both side of the coin, my opinion is this: cyclists often cause their own trouble by riding 2 or 3 abreast. Having said that, motorists often are very impatient and do sudden turns without indicating or stopping suddenly etc. Dangerous to all road users!
What I suggest? If you are cycling, be aware of cars and other road users and ride single file if necessary and let the person pass. Safer for all. If you are a motorist and you come across cyclists – do not hoot! This is very startling for cyclists and causes accidents. If there is a group in the lane, slow down exercise a little patience, make sure there is room to pass and take over as you would a normal car. It may slow your trip down by about 2 minutes but that’s something you have to deal with.


2. Pedestrians.

Not all roads have pavements. Not all pavements are clear from bushes etc. Things happen! Discard those items from the argument. I am talking here about walking in the MIDDLE of the road regardless of any pavements or walkways etc. This is not unique to cities in South Africa – it happens everywhere. Not only does this occur but the following often happens to me. You are turning into a road and have to stop mid turn to allow a pedestrian to cross the road – often holding up traffic behind you. These people do not look left, right and left again before crossing – they just walk. This is ingrained into the psyche of the people who do it. These people often complain with hand gestures when they are asked to move aside for a car! They BELIEVE they are entitled to walk across the road without looking.

3. Litter.
This has become more of an irritation to me over the last couple of years. People with buy something from the shop, use it (eat / look at etc) and discard it on the floor where they are walking. No one likes carrying rubbish around with them. That’s a given. At least have the decency to walk a few steps with it and put it in the rubbish bin! In and around Durban, there are numerous bins all over the place, on street corners, lamp poles and especially inside shopping centres. I would guess that you (on average) could not walk more than 200 metres in any direction without walking past (or into) a bin (or 2) of some sort. You may have cross the road but you can get over that excuse. The result of this attitude is a dirty, grubby looking city which no one likes to see.
I have heard a disgusting attitude say “it provides employment for people” – that’s technically correct but is a horrible attitude to have. That person is educated too which it even worse.
I admit – I have been known throw apple cores out the window. I also made certain that they go onto the grass. They are biodegradable.

Attitudes are great to have but they can also tear into the belly of a great nation. Sort your attitude out first though!

Read Full Post »

Team Laister rolled over the finish line of the 2012 edition of the Toti 69er tired and weather battered. It was a very tough race for 2 reasons: 1. My dad (stoker) had never ridden the route before and 2. (most important factor) there was 30km/h wind blowing. Being an out and back route along a coastal road, we got hammered on the outward bound leg and were too tired to bring it own strong.

 

The 2013 edition rolled around and we had not done the amount of training we would have like to due to illness and mechanical issues. We had  completed a few long rides on both the tandem and our single bikes which made up sufficient training to aim for a sub 3 hour attempt. The build up way dealt a blow when we read the weather reports for the day. A 20 – 25km/h SW wind with rain. Almost the same as last year!

An irritating blow was dealt when my parents dog ate the timing chip we use on the tandem. This was not a problem to our ride but more irritating because the results would not be “official” without it. More an irritation than anything else.

Getting up on the morning, we could hear the wind getting going but we bundled everybody into the car, made sure the bike was firmly strapped to the bike rack and headed off to Amanzimtoti to the start.

There was a plan this year. Due to the cold start, we would warm up over the first 10km or so and then average between 23 and 24km/h to the turn leaving enough in the tank to factor in tiredness and fatigue to break the 3 hour mark.

We headed off in warmer than expected ,almost perfect conditions. The first 1.5 km is brutal. You drift down a slight downhill and are immediately thrust into one of the toughest hills of the course – all before you can feel your toes. We knew it was coming so took it nicely at a steady rhythm. To our surprise on the day we overtook a lot of single bikes on the uphills – something that does not normally happen. Tandems are very quick downhill due to momentum and strength but that weighs against you going up!

Over the next part of the race we got into a nice pace and started to warm up and get our legs going doing a very nice speed which was well over the 23km/h needed. There was one major uphill going out that we were weary of but again – got into a rhythm and got to the top with relative ease. We crested the hill and with less than 4 km to the turn, I received great news from my stoker than we would be well under 1:30 at the turn.

Very smooth straight road was welcomed as we turned around and we hit the gas knowing we had enough left. With this burst of speed we dropped the tail we had accumulated along the outward leg. Our personal fan club made many appearances along the way and we felt like professionals when we passed because they were taking many photos and waving their arms. They also were taking photos on the way past as there was not full road closure. It’s probably going to be the closest we come to fame on a bike! It’s always a boost when people come out to support us and this time was no different. Some decent photos were taken too!

The remainder of the race was good with only 3 real challenges faced – 2 climbs and a short sharp incline to the top of a fast downhill to the finish. We hit the 2 climbs harder than normal because we were now pushing for a revised time of 2:45. We came through those well and knew there was only one little challenge left. We hit traffic problems half way up due to stupid and inconsiderate driving but came through okay. Counting down the km with sign boards I was looking for the “flame rouge” and it was a welcomed sight. The last kilometer dealt its own drama when we took the last bend to fast and went onto the other side of the road hitting a hole in the road. Crisis handled and last push was in order. Just as we pushed along the last 300m, a puncture struck. We could not continue on the flat so we got off and ran the last 200m – road cycling shoes and cleats and all!
It was an eventful end to the day and we felt like idiots but the crowd was cheering us on mainly because they too thought it was unfair we had a puncture! That was the only bad luck we had on the day. We ran across the line to finish in 2:41:00.

The moral of the ride – plan and execute your day and it will turn out good. Do what you can and let the rest happen. Don’t worry about the things you cannot change.

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »