Saturday, 30 March 2013

"Its not about the bike" = Not true

So in my last post I mentioned my new bike, well I have now had a bit of time to bond with the bike and its WOW!! So, I thought I would do a bit of a review....

They say that its not about the bike and that its all about the rider and their training. I just learnt something over the last bit since I got the Ghost: thats rubbish!!! Its ALL about the bike.

The Bike:
Ghost Race Lector 20th

First impression:
Stunning sleek lines, awesomely light with paintwork that is simple yet striking.

The Specs:

The important bit - the ride:
1st ride out on it, I was having a bad ride and the bike made it look like a normal ride so I knew there was something special. Every pedal stroke results in direct power and a responsive reaction from the bike. The gearing is a bit of overkill for South African conditions but makes climbing hills WAY too easy!! No jokes, I am not a great climber but suddenly I can climb much more comfortably and find myself climbing more and more in the big chain ring (which puts people off a bit). On the flats, I find I can sprint a touch faster, although I find I have to increase my cadence - which is not a trainsmash cause I am riding faster and using less energy. On the downhills, I am way more comfortable! The longer top tube means I am able to stretch out a bit more which means less pain in my back and neck.

Downhill cornering is smooth and it responds when I apply breaks or turn it into a sharp corner. On uphills it is light and the gearing helps so its stupidly easy on the climbs. On attacks, it jumps when I jump so it is fun to attack friends!

I always knew a carbon bike was nice and made a difference (you dont see Elite racers racing on Aluminium) and over the last few months I have been looking at various options and brands and at every turn I have found them to be over priced and the more affordable ones heavier than my Trek. Then one looks at the Ghost.... Pricewise, I doubt you are going to find a bike with these specs and this light and of course a bike in this price range with such quality workmanship.

I am riding a fair bit better lately and no matter what anyone says, its cause of the bike not because of my fitness!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Prepping for the race of a lifetime and a new adventure:

Last week I promised a great reveal:

I have formed a brand partnership with Ballistic Bike Trading! Ballistic Bike Trading, exclusive Importers and Distributors of Ghost Bikes, Bryton GPS, ESI Grips, HIRZL Gloves, Halo Headband, Chamois Butter, Buh Bump, Bike Medicine Ax-Lightness, Ass-Savers, Cratoni Helmets and Tyre Juice. These are all awesome products that I am sure you are going to be seeing a lot more of on my rides. (Check out my product review section for a review on the Bryton Rider gps device.)Especially since I have now acquired a Ghost road bike! Yes, Ghost have road bikes and they are amazing – in fact, if you are in the market for top range road bike at an affordable price, take a look at a Ghost! Seriously – just look at specs of the Ghost vs specs of other bikes…. I did. 

The partnership is an exciting one which I trust will be beneficial to both parties and look forward to the journey.

So a few months ago someone put a little idea in my head: go race in Europe. The initial idea was to go to France and do the Tour de France sportive since this year is the 100th edition of the legendary race. But, when the sportive route was announced we decided it was too easy (I would only have gone if they had included one of the legendary climbs such as Alp de Huez which is a climb I have always wanted to this climb as it’s the classic Tour de France climb where Lance Armstrong gazed into the eyes of his competition and simply rode away to victory). And, the sportive stage was at the beginning of the tour whereas the pros are riding that stage on the second last day of the Tour so we would miss seeing them ride that stage. We looked at the other options like Giro di Italia and the various classics. We eventually decided on Belgium which is host to some pretty awesome races and after much back and forth, we settled on Liege Bastogne Liege and I decided to play it safe and just do the 155km vs the full 271km.

Despite the shorter distance, it still makes it significantly longer and harder than any of the South African races so it has meant I have had to get my fitness to a level above anything I have ever needed. I have been training my butt off!! Although life has been a pain and often impacted the training which is a pain but hey, life must go on and I am a load fitter than I have ever been.

With 1 month to go, I essentially have 2.5 weeks of hard work before I have to taper. Think tapering is going to kill me as I really don’t think I am ready for this. Its actually scary to think that in 1 month, we will be on a Turkish Airlines flight to Belgium.

At the moment, I have to juggle life, work (am swamped and not sure how I am going to get everything done), training, spending as much time with KD as I can, my new challenge with Ballistic Bike Trading and I have to start thinking of packing!! Am totally freaked out that I have to pack a week’s worth of stuff into a single medium sized bag and with the weather in Europe at the moment, it may prove to be interesting as to what I pack as its not just cycling kit but also off the bike stuff. And, I have to pack for the bush.
To my brother Gareth: not sure if you read my blog (doubt it) but here goes… On the day we drive to the farm, everytime I drive down to the farm and we go down the pass, I dream of riding down the escarpment into the Lowveld and would LOVE to ride it from the top (the top of the hill where mom had her accident) to Manoutsa but would accept just riding it from the tunnel to Manoutsa. I have a pretty shweet deal on the cards for either option. And a bonus offer as well. J I have no fear you are gonna stop and not request bribery – cause you are a rockstar brother.

I have done my fair share of cool adventures but this one is going to beat them all in scale as I have never had to think of suck great logistics! Fortunately for me, like all my adventures I have an awesome support team behind me. From Andy who is my adventure partner, to my folks and my family who are always there for me, my family in Belgium, to my awesome friends and last but not least my new brand partners.
I still have a lot to get sorted like getting my visa, getting new gloves (think I need new long finger ones so will be looking at Hirzl gloves since I have recently had issues with my short finger gloves in hot weather and am naturally nervous of wet weather and loosing grip). Also need to spend quality time on Casper my new Ghost to get used to it.

So, if I am quiet for a while, apologies! (Will be tweeting my heart out so find me there but promise to send news as often as I can.)

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Exciting News!! (And a bit of a real blog post)

Going Somewhere Slowly has secured a brand partnership. This partner is the distributer of some leading cycling brands and we hope this will be a long lasting and fruitful partnership for both entities.

You may be wondering who the partner is but I am going to keep you in suspense for just a little longer until we have dotted the “i"s and crossed the “t”s. In the meantime, keep an eye on my Twitter feed for really obvious hints as to who it is.
You will soon be seeing an increase in activity under the product review section (1 review is actually almost ready to go up but am waiting for my thoughts after tonight’s long idt ride) and I am busy behind the scenes in the evening with  stuff for them.

In the meantime, I have a little bone to pick with companies and service…  On Saturday night I went to a well known Douglasdale restaurant and had a stunning pizza which was served by a non-existent waitress and there was no manager around or anyone asking if everything was ok. Then came the cherry on the top: being highly allergic to nuts I scoured the menu looking for a dessert I could safely eat and I settled with a rather nice sounding coffee meringue. When it came it looked amazing and I was already working out how many extra kms I would have to ride to work it off. Then I tasted it and I did not taste the decadent chocolate taste but rather the poison of almonds. I spat it all out, we called the manager who quite honestly could not have cared less if he tried. Long story short, I did not ride on Sunday but rather spent the day sick on the couch watching the Argus.
Now compare this to another interaction I had recently… my gps unit decided to give me a bit of issues and I tweeted about it’s issues and the distributer contacted me on Twitter and helped me out – even after I proved to be a fussy customer. In fact, they went above and beyond the call of customer service! So far that I cant stop yapping about how my Bryton kicks Garmin’s butt with technology and innovation. I mean, my warranty replacement unit even has a coaching function that beeps loudly when you are slacking off or are over doing it. LOVE IT!! Just think: this company could have shrugged their shoulders and just tried to fix software or whatever but they made sure I was able to ride and have my data. Thank you Jason and BrytonSA.

In a similar vein, I recently needed some training advice for my upcoming trip and well, who better to ask than someone who wins stuff so I emailed Andrew McLean of Cycle Lab. Being the owner of Cycle Lab Fourways and a celeb, he could have passed the buck and told me to google the answer or buy a book but rather he gave me solid advice and said I must come chat when I am next at the shop.
Lesson learnt by this interaction? Well, I will never set foot in Throbbing Strawberry again – even though their pizza is amazing. But, I will firmly support Ballistic Bike Trading and Bryton because they went above and beyond in service. As for cycling shops, I think I will definitely be taking the mountain bikes for their much needed service to Cycle Lab.
What can companies learn? Well: in these hard days of money being tight, its time to up the service to gain and retain customers or you are going to loose customers. And if you don’t think loosing 1 customer is too bad? Well, 1 customer tells 5 customers, those 5 tell another 5…. Then add social media and you are tickets and your competitors and those giving service will reap the rewards.

Enough blabbing for one day. Remember to keep an eye out for the upcoming brand partnership announcement!!!

Friday, 1 March 2013


Success. People see it in so many different ways, they see it as different things. How do you see it? How do you attain it?

 7months ago I set out on a journey. I was seriously unfit and really wanted to get fitter than I had ever been. I was tired of feeling tired and tired of just being. I wanted to have reasons to celebrate and I think the success of my April trip really sparked something in me and I wanted to expand on it.

 Looking at it, I could have had 101 excuses not to accept my challenge but the problem is that excuses were too easy. Excuses are like giving up.

So, In June, I kind of started the journey by adjusting my eating habits to more healthier habits and and shifted my mindset.

The next step was training. This started in August with the start of the cycling season. I started training with a friend but soon I realized that my training methods were different to hers and more importantly, my attitude was different. I wanted to push, she wanted to chat. In fact, this friend got rather upset with me on a ride for pushing on the hills! But, I knew that the only way I was going to succeed at my goals was to push. My friend wanted to chat and get fit. This friend also hadn’t adjusted their mindset and sadly found a million excuses why she could not push. I could have used the exact same excuses but I chose to live instead.

So I kept pushing. Harder and harder, adding distance, pretending I liked climbing until I started loving climbs! Then I went even harder. It was insanely hard and there were days I could hardly pedal but I kept going.

94.7 came and I kept saying I wasn't going to make my goal. I made it. I succeeded and got a sub 3:30. Goal achieved. But I kept pushing. 24 -31 Dec there was a Strava 500km challenge and I pushed and did the 500km. Was so hard!! But, I succeeded.

 Then came a slightly different challenge that I set myself. I wanted to see how hard I could push myself. I put the main thrust of this in the previous blog post but my goal was to push just that bit harder. So, on Sunday I set out to attain an insane time. I didn’t tell anyone my actual goal and kept telling myself I was going to fail. For 102km I kept telling myself I was going too slow, I told myself I needed to get forward in the bunch. Then I lost the bunch and kept hammering the pedals. I pushed and pushed. I have never been so much pain!! My legs hurt and everything inside of me said stop. I kept going. Slowly but surely I caught the only other lady in front of me from my group and I kept pushing. The final turn came and I told her we need to sprint for the 1st place in our group. She said she was too tired so I took advantage (sorry fellow rider) and upped the pace despite my own death-like feelings and I succeeded in taking 1st place ladies in my group again. I then turned to my cellphone (my Bryton had died) and nearly cried. I had done it. I had actually gotten my sub 3!! I turned to my fellow lady rider and the guy with us and showed them we had done it. The 3 of us hugged and got quite emotional as for 3 of us, this was a 1st. If I look at it now days later, I think that was the most emotional I have ever been after a race and I had other cyclists to share it with. I honestly and truly did not believe I would get that time and I did. Why? Am I insanely fit? No. I am just hard headed and stubborn with a hint of being a pessimist so could push myself harder than ever before.

 So, how does one get success? Well, although my successes are small in the greater scheme of things, they have taught me some lessons: firstly you need to have the right mindset and then put things in place to help you get there (in my case eating healthier and hanging around positive people), and then you have to push yourself. Once you think you are at your limits, push again and again. There are no limits.

Whatever your goal, keep pushing and you will be successful!

 Just want to thank Hammond Pole Attorneys and Cycle Nation for the beers and cold drinks after my recent races and to Lovemore from CycleLab for also always being there with an ice cold coke, water and a smile. You guys really make those last 10km of a race easier knowing that when I cross the line, I will be looked after.