Monday, 31 December 2012

Rapha Festive 500

I am a sucker for punishment! Whilst most of the world winds down at this time of year and indulges in food, wine and festivities, 15 248 avid cyclists around the world signed up for getting fit instead of fat and were forced to endure less endulgences (or perhaps more because of the exercise) and I was one of them. What I am I jabbering about? Well, there is this website called Strava (I am not going to go into it, but check out if you are interested) and on it I saw a challenge called the Rapha Festive 500 which was 500km between 24 and 31 December. In short, you do a ride and make sure your gps is with you and tracking you, then every evening you upload your gps data and knock off kms to your 500km goal.

I had no idea how I was going to do this but, well, I signed up for it so gave it a bash. Here is my diary of the 8 days...

Monday 24 December

4:00 - Stupid alarm is going off! 5 more minutes
4:30 - Argh!!
4:45 - Oh bleep! I had better get up or I am NEVER going to get these stupid kms done. What the heck amd I doing????????
5:01 - Off to ride....
6:30 - Home and showered. Nice 23.27km ride. Glad I got up for it. That sunrise was AMAZING!!! Seeing it rise over Lonehill was priceless. Why dont I do this more often? Now to get ready for work....

Tuesday 25 December

1:00 - Just got home from dinner. Bed time
1:30 - Dog is mif, can hear my brother talking loudly in room next door. I need sleep!!!!
5:00 - Dog wants to go outside to relieve himself, suppose I must get up.
5:05 - Just 5 more minutes....
6:00 - Time to move it!! The road calls
6:56 - Off to ride. No idea where I am going but off I go! I am so tired.
10:30 - Got a bit carried away!! Eeeeek. 30mins to get ready for lunch. 78.32km done. Legs are so sore. Hope the lunch venue doesnt have stairs and has lots of food. Mom fortunately making my recovery drink whilst I shower.

Wednesday 26 December

6:00 - Tired. Not riding. What am I doing?
12:00 - Enough slacking. Need to ride.
13:00 - Off for a quick ride.....
16:30 - Recovering on couch. 60.24km done. So much for a "quick ride"! Poor woof is upset with me. Going to so have to make it up to my boy. Rode with some guy I met on Facebook named David. Really nice ride if you exclude the major rain downpour. Oh... and the puncture - on Jan Smuts, in the pouring rain!! At least we werent the only suckers out there in the rain - Chris Froome was also out there. Saw him on William Nicol Drive, must be cool to have a car matching your kit following you......

Thursday 27 December

6:00 - Work today so no ride
16:00 - Ride or walk dog... Walk dog
17:20 - Back home - still light so can go ride
17:30 - Argh!!!!! Bryron gps battery is flat. Mutter mutter. No ride. Lets see how much charge I can get in 15 or 20mins.
17:56 - YAY!! Off for a ride. time to chase the sun.
19:00 - Awesome ride!! 20.08km  - every km counts. That sunset was special. Really enjoying this challenge - getting to see the full day. Now what is for dinner?

Friday 28 December

4:00 - Dont wake up at this time for work. Take a day of leave and I wake up at this time. Insanity.
5:51 - Time to ride. Meeting up with some kiddo named Josh from thehub forum. Hope he isnt a real racing snake or I am going to die!!!
5:58 - Oh poo!! Forgot to put sunscreen on.
11:00 - Ok.... I am dead.
11:02 - 115.24km done in insane heat and I am roasted
11:15 - Recovery drink in system. Ok, so Josh was a racing snake - he is a Junior from Cape Town. Seriously hope the dude goes somewhere in his career (he deserves it after riding with me). I got stung by a bee out there - was quite entertaining: bee hit my shirt and landed in my shirt, actually in my bra (sorry if that word is tmi) and stung me. Had to stop and well, remove stinger and the suicidal bee. Think I will name him Achmed the suicidal bee. Not going to lie -  THAT HURT!!!!
11:45 - Time to get ready for lunch with Mom. Suppose I should take bicycle to get a few more kms
11:54 - In jeans in this heat, bike ready. Off to lunch
15:30 - Hmm... that was a total of just over 10km added for day. Red wine makes you faster (only had 2 glasses but liking my theory here!). Been a long day on the bike, am tired. Tomorrow will be a bit slower.

Saturday 29 December

5:30 - Time to get up and ready
5:53 - Off I go into the known universe called The Cradle. Looking forward to riding with Pappa Yates!
6:20 - Waiting with coffee at Broadacres...
6:32 - Off we go!
11:30 - Ride done. 120km. Got stung by a wasp on my thigh - think these insects have it in for me!!! Actually didnt feel too bad today.
12:30 - Recovery drink at Hogshead - Can see the end of this challenge - only about 78km to go I think

Sunday 30 December

6:00 - Ride? Good joke. Will go later.
8:30 - Ride wins, will mow lawn later
10:00 - 30km done and dusted. Feel much better for it. Now, will the lawn please mow itself???

Monday 31 December

5:00 - Hello last day of 2012!! Time to get up for my last ride.
6:04 - Off to adventure and breakfast with an old friend
7:00 - 20km done, linking up with Ilma
8:00 - Breakfast at Fresh Earth Food. Gluten Free French Toast with Halloumi Cheese and a Chai Tea. Really great to play catchup with Ilma. Think my bunny Rex needs to move onto the bike again. But thats not race snake. Hmm.....
11:30 - Rapha 500km done and dusted!!!! 71km done today. 529km in total. That was a blast. Actually, stopping the ride was tough. Been an awesome adventure.
12:30 - BANG! The Rapha Festive 500 gun goes off... Nope... Shouldnt have left bike in the sun. Front tube just blew. Ooops.

Cannot believe I achieved the goal!! Was supposed to do another ride this arvie but decided to chill rather. For me this challenge was initially a good training camp for Liege - Bastogne - Liege sportiv but ended up being even more. I went into it scared of the amount of riding I would have to do alone. In the end, I rode my biggest days with people. I advertised on social media and on thehubsa forum for people to ride with. On Wednesday a friend of a friend joined me and I hope I gained a new cycling friend. Thanks David, I really enjoyed riding with you and thanks for helping with the puncture. On Friday I rode with Josh from Cape Town who I hope goes far in his cycling career - dude, I hope to see you on a podium in France. Pappa Yates rode with me on Saturday. Was great to do a full ride with you, get to know you better and I hope I have gained not only a new cycling partner but also a new friend. Thanks also for lunch. Next time Francis must join us!! Ilma joined me today. Ilma my old friend, its great to reconnect! Thanks for marking the 500km mark with me on our adventure. I have no idea how we did not get lost!!

To all 4 friends who rode with me this week: you were all awesome and each taught me something this week. Thank you. Hope you all have many safe and happy kms in 2013.

This week was amazing. Bring on the next one.


Saturday, 22 December 2012

The next great adventure is revealed!

On 18 April 2013 the next adventure begins! This one actually scares me because its such a great adventure. On the 18th April, Team GSS will be flying to Belgium. Yes, you read right. Belgium. After arrival in Brussels, we will be fetched by Sports tours international who will take us to the little town of Liege where we will prepare for the next day. On 20 April I will climb onto my faithful roadbike and race the Liege-Bastogne-Liege sportiv (I am going to be doing the 155km version as I am not quite brave enough to do the full 271km).

Liege-Bastogne-Liege is the oldest Classic cycling race in Europe and is known for being tough (notorioiusly for the second half) as well as for having bad weather. The first race was run in 1892 and had 33 riders (all amateurs), with only 17 finishing! The winner completed the race in 11hours which is quite a difference to this years winner who won it in 6hrs 43minutes. Its an interesting race filled with climbs and history racing through beautiful scenery and historic areas.

The sportiv we are doing is the amateur version of the race and is run the day before the professionals do the race. The sportiv offers 3 choices for distance: 80km, 155km, 271km. From what I have read, the 155km is not easy by any means! With 2500m climbing, its not a flat race and I have read it includes steep cobbled climbs. Eeek. The 271km is for real cyclists! It offers not only the insane distance, but also over 4500m of climbing. So ja, both distances are going to offer challenges to Team GSS!

The day after our race, we will get to watch the professionals race for glory and see how they tackled the climbs we did the day before. After 2days of obsessive cycling behaviour, we will enjoy a few days of exploring in Belgium and eating waffles and chocolate.

The next few months will be filled with training, eating, sorting out stuff for the tour but I will try and blog about updates and other adventures. (I will also try find interesting stuff about the places we will be going to.)

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Route 62 Videos

Ok all, I finally had a brainwave and instead of loading 1 too long video, I have split it into 2. So, here is a taste of what I experienced.

Day 1 to 3
Day 4 to 7