Saturday, June 27, 2009

Yup, not much posted here these days

If you find the quarterly postings here a bit slow, try
that's where the action is.

Monday, March 16, 2009

An Argus of Note

There's no dust in Cape Town, just flying sand and debris.
Now that all the hype's said and done, it was a great Argus (and future ones can probably only be better)

With surprisingly little training (some 20km rides, one 65km race and two rides along the Boyes Drive bit), we acquitted ourselves rather well.

It was an absolute pleasure to ride with Anna, not once did she whine or suggest that we ride slower or walk. Anna was still pedalling hard as we came steaming into the finish in 6:11:14

Well done Anna!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Now here's a T-shirt logo...........

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Prince Albert Dikwiel Kommando

Thirteen ultra elite members of the international super-extreme cycling fraternity have recently earned the right to call themselves Members of the Prince Albert Dikwiel Kommando.

This hectic event took place under challenging circumstances, with a committed group of four struggling to set the record during the inaugural running of the event. They eventually succeeded, setting the bar at 20h30min. Try beating that.

The Thomas family earned the first full family membership.
In keeping with tradition we had two Subjects of the Crown in our ranks. (Marius and Audrey, you would do well to remember what happened to Breaker Morant) Maybe skip through Mud Island on a different passport next time?
Jan Nel took the challenge in his stride, but was nearly disqualified for doing the whole thing in about 7h30.

  • Steve "One is all you need" Porter
  • Steven Thomas
  • David "The Navigator" Waddilove
  • Bennett "Pyjama" Thomas
  • Di "Windhoek-Hunters" Thomas
  • Ricky "Racer" Thomas
  • Jan "Nou gaan ek Ry" Nel
  • Fiona Coward
  • Audrey Gerber
  • Marius Gerber
  • Olaf "The Mechanic" Klostermann
  • Curt von Keyserlingk

Honorary posthumous membership is awarded to Curt von Keyserlingk, for encouraging me in these endeavours, and for all the support and encouragement over the last few years.

Olaf Klostermann is an associate member, primarily in recognition of his theory that anything is possible on a singlespeed.

In keeping with modernity, you may apply to have your certificate made into a spoke card, but only if you ride a single speed.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Go well, Curt

may the road be smooth
gently undulating
generally downhill
with a few hills to keep you fit (and in front of us!)

may the rohloff maintain it's teutonic efficiency
may your laugh echo out loud
may you find the best routes
we'll join you sometime

Monday, January 26, 2009

Life at the edge

Just as the new year brings challenges that seem insurmountable, thank your lucky stars/planets /angels etc. that you aren't a teacher...................Imagine having to face this kind of monster every day!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

To Hell with the Full Moon

So it happened. The Inaugural Running of the Ultra-Extreme 3-day International Gamkaskloof Raid, aka Prince Alert Dikwiel Kommando

Congratulations to those who took part, commiserations to Willie Onderarm and Malcolm on their dns. You had nothing to lose by joining us as Jan Nel was going to whip our collective rears anyway. Full Stop. You see, Jan is an old racing snake, and wears a seriously retro piss-pot helmet to make you think he just a fashionista. Truth is, he rides like a demon and he had the helmet when it was new.

It's not often things go according to plan, even less often do they go according to dreams, but this weekend was Ed Zachary as I had dreamt it. I mean, who else can get DWAF to let water out of a critically low dam so that cyclists can have a swim?

The group was pretty relaxed and as gracious host, I and a three other gracious riders let the visitors experience a route free of our tracks. In fact we were forced to stop and sleep in order to let them get further ahead. It was only my snoring that prevented us from giving them a 6 hour lead. Thanks to my snoring, we were awake when Jan Nel came riding back towards Prince Albert, which he reached in a total time of 8h05min. That makes Jan the official ambulance driver for the Dikwiel Kommando.

The lead group Fiona, Marius, Audrey, Di, Ricky and Steve Porter set off "down" into Gamkaskloof at a cracking pace. We knew there was much to savour and were wise enough not to waste such a golden opportunity.

Full marks to Bennett for smiling when, at one of the little hill-top stops, I suggested that he get out of the bright moonlight and into the shade. (The moon was so bright I instinctively went to sit in the shade). Bennett is one you can count on when the going gets tough. And on top of it all he has STYLE. Serious style. Who else do you know who can do a ride like this in pyjama pants AND has a fresh pair for the ride out? Style Man se moer, Style Kid Rules!

Unable to navigate without our local knowledge, the lead bunch folded and we were forced to escort them into the BOSKAMP (geddit? B .O. S. K. A. M. P.) at about 06h30 on Saturday morning. Monica, Pippa, Lisa and Harry had laid out things in anticipation of our arrival. What a pleasure. Thanks Monica for the support.

This Boskamp is a credit to Cape Nature Conservation. Clean, tidy, basic, but with hot showers, toilets and beds with mattresses, what more could a weary cyclist want? It wasn't long before the beds were filled with rows of "shot pigs" (A Danish term I learned in another life)

It wasn't long before I decided that defection was the better part of valour and left David Waddilove to escort Fiona up Die Leer. Being the spirited adventure racer that she is, Fiona easily found the big tree next to the ruin at the top of Seweweekspoort. Fi, it was pleasure to see you again after about 25 years.

Through the heat of the afternoon the tension mounted as Marius was attacked by an over-confident fieldmouse and Audrey slept through the dust storm. I eventually managed to wake enough people to make a formal swimming party, joined by a serious-looking Dave.
If you hear that some intrepid cyclists had to swim through a raging torrent to get back over the river, it's true. Just ask the two GP 4x4 drivers who witnessed us struggling our way across the flooded causeway. One of them was so worried he did u-turn and drove away. Probably just a renegade member of the Ventersdorp Dunwiel Teerpad Brigade.

After a massive pasta supper we set out at about 9pm. Not 500m on I had a sidewall puncture, which eventually led to me putting in a tube. Anyone who tells you that, in the highly unlikely event of a Stans failure, ALL you do is put in a tube, has obviously never done it. I have still not plucked up the courage to pull that back wheel apart. Sand, Stans, Sticky. My faith in Stans is undaunted- I just now fear the midnight, sand-road conversion from Stans to tube more than I fear the taxman.

On arrival at the Gamkaskloof Restaurant, I was greeted by the same loyal comrades of the inward expedition. David, Steven and the incredible Bennett.

We knew we had the route to ourselves as the last lights went over the top of Die Slang before we even started it!

Savouring every moment, every step, every pedal stroke, we wound our way back towards soft beds, warm showers, food, coffee........ and then we came round the corner and found another skyline to cross...., and another....and another...........

There were moments, many moments (in fact some of them were hours) of absolute bliss. You know all the kak about transcending the pain? Well it's true, we were out in our own zone. Moonlight and Mountains. A mixture of endorphins, exhaustion and sleep deprivation. That's my drug of choice.

We rolled into town at about 9H30 on Sunday morning, even having taken time to rescue a tortoise from the Onderste Skilpad Rooster. Sirrias.

Juan, the unflappable Juan, was met by some urgent demands for food and coffee. Lazy Lizard food is brilliant at the best of times, but after a ride like this, it's bliss.

There's not much more to say other than thank you to all of you for making this work the way it did.

  • Steve Porter One Speed, One Time, One Damn Good Idea.
  • Dave Waddilove Solid dependable cycling china
  • Jan Nel For showing us his talent
  • Steve Thomas The smile says it all
  • Di Thomas Watching you fly uphill makes me wonder if the "Windhoek, Hunters,Windhoek, Hunters diet would work for me?
  • Marius and Audrey Those Killer Lights - George ATC reported sightings of UFO over the Swartberg, we locals know it's just Die Oog.
  • Bennett Inspiring young man (in pyjamas)
  • Ricky Inspiring young man (in Lycra)
  • Fiona Following her dream

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I had a day in Africa

On Monday (1st Dec08 )I went to Murraysburg.

There's a subtle change somewhere north of Beaufort West, without knowing it at first, one moves over the border into Africa. (No, I do not consider the Western Cape to be part of Africa and don't ask me why. It's hard enough remembering my opinions without having to remember the reasons for them).
Now Murraysburg is a dorp that once was and yet it once again is. It appears not to have the Western Cape's "papsak-siekte" and the various mindsets that go with it. The paint isn't peeling off, that happened long ago. It is as if the veneer of the old South African order has long gone, being replaced with a realism. A harsh realism. The dorp is poor, and scruffy, but that's the reality.
It's as if the place is so far behind that it's in front. In fact it's way in front. This is the future, accept it, embrace it and let's make things work again. No, not bring back the past. Make things work again - for everyone.

The picture is of the pump we installed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

To Hell with the Full Moon

Watch the moon set and the sun rise simultaneously,
not possible anywhere else on earth.

Heads up y'all:

I am organising a "To Hell with the Full Moon" ride. A stunning ride at the best of times, even better doing it there and back at full moon.

Moon and Sun info for the relevant days: Prince Albert

Friday January 9 2009
MR 18:28
SS 19:45

Saturday January 10 2009
MS 4:19
SR 05:34
MR 19:27
SS 19:45

Sunday January 11 2009
SR 05:35
MS 05:35 (Full Moon 5:28)


Friday January 10 2009
Ride from Prince Albert, up the Swartberg Pass and then up and down and up, down and down, up and down to Gamkaskloof (about 6-7 hrs)

Saturday 11 January 2009
Explore the valley, get a sneak preview of Die Leer, sleep in the shade, swim in the river.
At about midnight, start back, aiming to be at the top of the Swartberg Pass before dawn to watch the moon set and the sun rise over the Karoo.
Free wheel down to Prince Albert for breakfast.

There is a place to get food down in the kloof, so all one needs is a hammock to hang under a thorn tree.

If enough people ride, we can organise a backup vehicle to come into the kloof.

Apologies for the formatting, came out differently from how it was meant to!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

General Cycling Stuff

This snippet from South African War history:

At Graaff Reinet five hundred bicycles were confiscated under military orders.(Where are they now??) This step was necessary because of suspected disloyalty among the Dutch-speaking British subjects in the region.(56) In Pretoria the Boers also strictly controlled the use of bicycles. At the time of Winston Churchill's escape from Pretoria, two Englishmen were jailed for having left the town on their bicycles without a permit.(57) The fact that on both sides strict measures were taken against the use of the bicycle by civilians is an indication that it posed a real threat as a quiet, relatively fast, and cheap mode of transport.

I've spent quite some time during the last two weeks doing an apprenticeship under Olaf at Crosstown Cycles recently (mostly doing the highly-skilled, technical stuff like hanging new racks and fixing punctures)
Actually, it's a great learning experience for me, watching a highly-skilled and highly experienced person like Olaf working on a bike.
Sure as hell beats sitting in Prince Albert waiting for the municipality to realise that the view in front of them is the edge of a cliff and that the lake they can see is a mirage.