Thursday, May 28, 2009

Only 52 Litres

There has been a lot of hurried preparation over the last few nights. Our 26 2 litre boxes are being shipped down to Cape Town today, for distribution along the route. These boxes contain everything we might need other than the meals we are given. Everything else has to be carried in our backpack's.

My major concern was preparing the maps. I have managed to cut the total number down to 52 maps including the narrative. Each map has the relevant narrative stuck on the map in the appropriate place, and also smaller inserts of 1:50 000 maps stuck onto the main 1:150 000 map, where there is a section that requires more detail. I have also cross referenced each point on the narrative back to the map for quick identification. Once this exercise was complete I folded the A3 map back-to-back and laminated it in plastic to waterproof it. These all had to be ready to be packed into boxes as well.

Aileen helped me by filling the boxes with all kinds of interesting luxuries. My Mom and Dad also packed some boxed with surprises. I had the task of trying to estimate where along the route we will need batteries, brake pads, chains, bike lube, bum lube, spare socks and a few spare shirts (to try and reduce the smell) and of course the correct maps in the correct boxes. I also packed bags of Hammer Perpetium (Energy Drink) and a recovery drink for each stop.

I see all the boxes also have a message written on the inside lids. I'm sure these messages will be an inspiration to me along the route. Some of the goodies that I saw that had been packed in the boxes for me include: chocolate, nuts, biltong, fruit bars, energy bars, tinned fruit with custard, condensed milk, Jack Daniels (only small 50 ml bottles), etc. Cant wait to get started so I can get to the boxes.

It is amazing how much you can squeeze into 52 litres.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The training continues...

This weekend we got some decent training under our belts. Saturday we headed out to the 'Ruins' and practiced some portaging up the mountain with bikes slung over our backs. This upper body fitness certainly helps to make the long portages easier. Last year on the Ride to Rhodes, I checked the difference in heart rate between pushing the bike over very rocky terrain or carrying it over the back. There is a substantial decrease in heart rate carrying the bike. It is going to be interesting to see how the Nutty Professor is going to manage portaging the 'Starship Enterprise' (his tandem). After this portage Fiona found a fantastic cheese shop with a coffee shop attached where they serve light snacks. I had a Russian and chips which went down sooo well.

This ride ended up being just over 80km. On Sunday we went out with Anton from Summit Cycles to Irene. We decided to leave from home at 05:30 to test our bike lights as well as our backpacks. Fortunately it want too cold this morning, in the region of 7 degrees. I have been experimenting with various lighting options, but they still need some fine tuning. I have 2 x Black Diamond Icon lights which are mounted on the bike. The battery packs are separate so they are strapped to the frame, but the lights were mounted to handle bars but there wasn't enough space. Derek suggested I mounts them to the headset, which I did, only to find the don't turn with the handle bars, but with the frame. I am still trying to get used to this.

We ended up doing a fairly quick 110 km ride on Sunday morning. This is almost a total of 200km riding this weekend. I feel that the fitness levels are OK for the ride. I am now busy with the maps and the logistics of packing my boxes. More about this in another posting.

(Karate Kid) The long hours of riding certainly take their toll on your sanity at times.

Stopping at the local general dealer for some refreshments.
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Monday, May 18, 2009

All this so close to home!

We have spent the last few weeks doing fairly intensive training. As part of the acclimatisation I have been carrying the kit I need to the Freedom Challenge. This includes my camera. As far a possible I have been taking pic's, but it is only now that I have downloaded them I get a full appreciation of the stunning rides around Johannesburg. Below are some examples:


Bridle Trail

Braamfontein Spruit


Hartebeespoort Dam

Friday, May 15, 2009

I Believe I can Fly

I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day
Spread my wings and fly away
I believe I can soar
I see me running through that open door
I believe I can fly
I believe I can fly
I believe I can fly

For this of you who have been following 'Liewe Hexies' blog, will know this story already, but here is my interpretation. Last Saturday we a group of us went out to do the Magaliesburg ride again. It starts off with a slog up he Krugersdorp hill and then off into the veld for some fantastic single track. There is a very technical 'gnarley' downhill section that takes a lot of concentration. Anyway about 50m before this downhill section it rode through a small tuft of grass only to find myself air born a split second later. Now flying isn't the problem, its the landing that is the problem. Well I somehow landed on my hand (as well as other parts of my body). The pain was intense, but after a few minutes I managed to continue virtually one handed. When we got back to the main road I opted to end the ride and go back. Liewe Hexie came back with me and I had it x-rayed, but fortunately nothing was broken. For the next few days I had a very blue hand and wrist.

This week has been very hectic, as I have had some guys out from the UK for business, but we managed to have our 'bike club' meeting on Monday evening. At one stage we were all standing out in the dark with our various tourches checking who's was the brightest. Well Gadget Boy won hands down with his 960 lumen tourch. That Exposure MaXx-D is amazing.

I need to do some serious training the weekend. Only 4 weekends of training left...

Hopefully I will be able to include some decent pics on the next posting.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Time is running out

Sorry for the long gap in publishing this post. It has been a combination of lots of public holidays in the past few weeks and then catching up on some work.

The time is getting short and now the panic is starting to set in. Not so much from the physical fitness side, but from all the other preparation that needs to be done. Getting 26 two litre ice cream boxes sorted out so they can be delivered to the support stations. What do I put into them? This is a list of some of the items I have thought of so far (in no particular order):

  • Torch batteries (every 2nd box)
  • Chocolates (every box)
  • Biltong/nuts (every box)
  • Socks (every 6th box)
  • New Chain (about 2000km into the race)
  • Shirts (every 6th box)
  • Bum cream!!!
  • Shampoo
  • Razor (every 8th box)
  • Maps for the next day
  • New pair of legs???

Please send me comments if you have any other ideas.

So what's happened over the last few lone weekends from a training perspective? Well Fiona was away organising her Panorama Tour last weekend, so we had to use our memories and try and remember some of the routes (we did surprisingly well). We also went on some fantastic rides with Mike W to Magaliesberg. We managed a route of about 120km on Friday around this area. (I say about, as between the four of us no one had anything to measure speed or distance).

On Sunday Fiona and I decided to do a quick 90km rode ride into the Cradle. We were having a great ride, passing all the runners doing the Cradle Marathon, when going up a hill my derailleur got caught in the spokes and snapped off. Of course being 'road cyclists' none of us had a chain breaker to convert it into a single speed, so we did the next best roadie option and phoned Dave to come and fetch us.

We downloaded the 1:150 000 maps last week and I printed them out, 25 A3 maps. Now that is terrifying, 15m of maps with the entire course laid out end to end. There are also about 170 1:50 000 maps coming.

Now to start thinking what needs to get packed in my backpack and trying to keep it at a reasonable weight.