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JANUARY 2017 | VOLUME 15 | NUMBER 1

YOU’LL RIDE FASTER / YOU’LL TAKE YOUR TIME / YOU’LL GO NEW PLACES / IT’S INSANELY FUN / IT’LL TAKE YOU ON AN ADVENTURE / YOU’LL BE QUEEN/KING OF THE MOUNTAIN / YOU CAN AFFORD IT / YOU CAN’T BUT YOU DESERVE IT / YOU NEED TO TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT / #NEWBIKEWATTS / YOU MISS WHO YOU USED TO BE / AIR. BIG, BIG AIR / YOU WANT TO JOIN THE GROUP / YOU WANT TO GET AWAY / IT’S ITALIAN / IT’S BEAUTIFUL / IT’S SOOOOOOO LIGHT / IT’S OLD-SCHOOL / IT’S BLUE / IT’S STEEL / YOU’VE HAD YOUR OLD BIKE FOR YEARS – YOU KNOW WHAT? JUST BUY THE BIKE. 48 NO W TURN TO PA GE S GUIDE ER’ FOR THE 2017 BIK E BUY

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34

The Absa Cape Epic route is known to make grown men cry. But what goes into creating this masterpiece of lactic pain, and what’s in store in 2017? We join the organisers on a trial ride to get the inside scoop on this year’s route and how the trails were planned – and why they would volunteer to be the first to suffer. BY CHRIS WHITFIELD

39 So You Wanna Go Pro? Professional cycling, like other pro sports, has a rock ‘n’ roll glamour that has young cyclists itching to join the ranks. But pro sports aren’t as glamorous as we think – and pro cycling could be the least glitzy of all. We speak to a range of pros in various disciplines, to find out just what it’s like to make a living out of riding a bike. BY JONATHAN ANCER

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BICYCLING.CO.ZA • JANUARY 2017

12 Editor’s Letter 28 StyleMan 86 Race Diary 90 The Frame

39

SPORTZPICS/CAPE EPIC/NICK MUZIK | CASEY CRAFFORD | JAMES GARAGHT Y | GET T Y IMAGES | ISTOCKPHOTO

34 Epic Trials

“In races, there are no second chances. You can’t change what happens because of a split-second decision. In a race, there’s only one person who is really happy, and hundreds of others who are disappointed.”


16 Ask Bicycling The most common beginners’ questions – answered right here.

18 Eat How wine can make you live – and ride – for longer er. Cheers!

18

20 The Scientist It’s not about how hard yyou train, but how well you re rest.

22 The Coach Take your mountain-bik ike riding to the next level – starting here.

24 In My View Cycling tech may chan ange – but as Cherise explain ns, the basics stay the same.

26 Fetish Batman has the bat si signal – now, you can have your own bike signal.

48 30 Body The 5 point post-crash checklist that could save your life.

32 Action Figure Keagan Girdlestone: surviving horror, and coming back strong.

48 2017 The Bike Buyer’s Guide It’s a new year, you’re a new you – so isn’t it time for a new bike? If this rings true for you, there’s no better place to find your brand-new ride than in the Bicycling Bike Buyer’s Guide. From road to MTB, from razor-sharp racers to supercomfortable tourers, here’s what you can expect so see in your LBS this year. BY OLI MUNNIK JANUARY 2017 • BICYCLING.CO.ZA

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Don’t be fooled – mountain biking’s not easy. The myriad of gear options, training plans and skills you need to know can make the sport intimidating to the uninitiated. Just take bikes, for example: on the road, your choice is mainly about price. Simple. But in mountain biking there are 29ers, 27.5, 26ers, soft tails, hard tails, enduro bikes, DH frames, etc, etc – and that’s just for starters! The BBGTMB is your ultimate guide to bike choice and much, much more.

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F RE S H B URN S C A R S IM A GE BY T OB I A S GIN S B E R G, 11 NO V E MB E R 2 01 6 All was going smoothly at the FNB Wines2Whales after the second of three events (The Ride) took place. But on the day before the big third and final event (The Race), disaster struck. A fire broke out just outside Grabouw, burning the part of the route called the A-2-Z Trail. The blaze was extinguished, but the race organisers had to think quickly, and they managed to deviate most of the route away from the fire-affected section. It’s a good thing they didn’t reroute all of it, as what remained set the scene for this photograph – showing the contrast between the jeep track, and the charred remains surrounding it. METADATA NIKON D4, 80-400MM, F4.5-5.6, 1/1250SEC, F9.0, ISO800 WHERE A-2-Z T R A IL , OU T SIDE GR A BOU W, W ES T ERN C A PE

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Southern African edition. Bicycling® is a registered trademark of Rodale Inc. All rights reserved. Published under licence from Rodale Inc.

EDITORIAL EDITOR MIKE FINCH (mike.finch@media24.com) DEPUTY EDITOR JONATHAN ANCER EDITORIAL ASSISTANT ANDRÉ VALENTINE (andre.valentine@media24.com) ONLINE EDITOR AARON BORRILL (aaron.borrill@media24.com) ONLINE CONTENT MANAGER YENTL BARROS (yentl.barros@media24.com) ONLINE JOURNALIST PENELOPE CAIRNS (penelope.cairns@media24.com) SENIOR DESIGNER ALANA MUNNIK CHIEF SUB / MANAGING EDITOR DAVE BUCHANAN GEAR EDITOR OLI MUNNIK (olivermunnik@gmail.com) PICTURE EDITOR AMY MOSTERT SCIENTIFIC EDITOR DR JEROEN SWART OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR LABEEQAH SULIMAN CONTRIBUTORS

JB BADENHORST, GREG BEADLE, MARK CARROLL, CASEY CRAFFORD, ZOON CRONJE, MORNE DE KLERK, JAMES GARAGHTY, TOBIAS GINSBERG, NILS HANSEN, ANDREW HILL, CRAIG KOLESKY, TYRON MACKENZIE, NICK MUZIK, GARY PERKIN, EWALD SADIE, CHERISE STANDER, MARISKE STRAUSS, NIC WHITE, CHRIS WHITFIELD,AMANDA BATTY, ANDY FUSSELL, AC SHILTON, SEAN TALKINGTON

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Editor’s Letter

New Year, New Bike THE DECISION TO BUY A NEW RIDE IS NOT ONE TO BE TAKEN LIGHTLY. READING THROUGH OUR BUMPER 37-PAGE BIKE BUYER’S GUIDE IN THIS ISSUE (THE DROOLFEST STARTS ON PAGE

I now know the answer to the one question that vexes cyclists the world over: What bike am I going to buy next? No matter where you are in your cycling evolution, your next bike is always in the back of your mind. Sometimes I catch myself, mid-work day, trolling through bike reviews just to dream – even if a purchase isn’t imminent, or even practical. I’ll vacillate between upgrading, re-selling and just plain buying, internally negotiating my own finances to pin down my next investment exactly. Buying a new bike is not a matter to be taken lightly. Lots of variables need consideration: Wants vs Needs, Desirability, Usefulness, Motivation, Financial Standing… and that age-old moral dilemma: New Bike vs Kids’ Education. Most of these can easily justify a new bike. But once the investment is made, your worst fear could still manifest: regret. Imagine spending months planning, only to get the bike and then realise you should have bought 48).

something else. Bikes aren’t cheap. They’re a big investment. And you can get away with a bad choice of car or Friday takeaway, but a bad bike is a disaster. So I’ve narrowed down my newbike decision-making process to the following critical questions: 1.Will a new bike positively enhance my life? 2.Will a new bike fill a gap between the bikes I already own? 3.Do I work hard enough to reward

for road or MTB is always going to be better than a hybrid of both. But since then I’ve ridden a few gravel bikes, and found that their plush frames make them great for road riding, yet you still have the option of off-roading and pavement-hopping. It’s not like I’m giving up my road or mountain bike(s) – that would be irresponsible. I’m just filling in the gap between the two disciplines – to ensure my own future health and happiness,

You’ll note that the answer to these questions is invariably ‘yes’... myself with a new bike? You’ll note that the answer to these questions is invariably ‘yes’, which makes buying guilt-free… you just have to ask the right questions! So this is my decision: I’m buying a gravel bike. The idea of being able to jump between road and gravel, and the dream of touring adventures (even if I don’t get to do many!), was the kicker. Just over a year ago, our US edition wrote about having one bike that does it all. I rejected the idea, in the belief that having a bike specifically designed

and thereby, by design, benefiting all those around me (note: this is what I will tell my wife). Thankfully, this process is fully supported by our gear editor Oli Munnik, who – despite arriving at work blearyeyed while putting this bumper Buyer’s Guide together – understands more than anyone the need to constantly advance your bike collection. Thank you, Oli, for your inspiration. Mike

editor @MIKEFINCHSA

3 BIKE-BUYING LESSONS I’VE LEARNT (MOSTLY THROUGH ERROR)

J 1. GET THE RIGHT FRAME SIZE The wrong frame can never be adjusted to fit. J 2. GET THE BIKE THAT SUITS YOUR RIDING STYLE Race-ready stage racer, or Sunday afternoon enduro junkie? Buy the bike that you’ll want to ride… every day! J 3. COMFORT TRUMPS SPEED, EVERY TIME Plush road bikes and longer-travel MTBs make riding more accessible and fun for almost everyone but the top 1%. Don’t buy that top-end race bike just because it’s what the pros ride. 12

BICYCLING.CO.ZA • JANUARY 2017

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HELPFUL ADVICE FROM EXPERTS AND RIDERS

THE ONE THING THAT CHANGED IT ALL S E T T I N G T H E S TA N D A R D

gr a eme s t ick ell s z one ac a dem y

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BICYCLING.CO.ZA • JANUARY 2017

/ 43 /

co - founder of t orq

SUPPLIED

About 10 years ago I was having lower back problems, and my physio recommended cycling to strengthen my core. After one ride, I was hooked – especially by the mechanics of the machine. I often messed around with my bike in my garage. I was working at the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) at the time, and had been involved in training in some form or another for most of my adult life. So after establishing that there were no formalised training standards for bike-mechanic training in South Africa, I offered to help develop them. After that, it didn’t take much for my current business partner to convince me to open South Africa’s first bicycle training centre of excellence.


A L L YOU R B E G I N N E R S ’ R I DE QUA N DA R I E S – S OLV E D

I WANT TO STAND UP AND PEDAL LIKE THE PROS DO. HOW DO I DO IT SMOOTHLY, WITHOUT FALLING OVER?

C R A I G K O L E S K Y/ N I K O N

The key to staying balanced is a smooth pedal stroke. To practise this, ride indoors on a trainer at least once a week, spending 20 to 30 minutes of an hour session out of the saddle. Wrap your thumbs around the brake hoods, with your arms slightly bent and your hands and shoulders relaxed. Start in a harder gear, with your cadence in the 50- to 60rpm range – your pedal stroke should feel like a walking motion. Now use the extra resistance from the hard gear to push yourself off the saddle. Then focus on one foot at a time, until you’re moving smoothly. Switch to an easier resistance and increase your cadence, until you’re comfortable pedalling out of the saddle in the 90rpm range.

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BICYCLING.CO.ZA • JANUARY 2017


F The gears on my bike excite me, and I get a little shift-happy – to my detriment. When is the right time to shift gears? Your bike’s gears are designed to help you keep a consistent cadence (usually in the 90rpm range), which will allow you to pedal at maximum efficiency. Riding conditions such as wind resistance, terrain and group dynamics affect your cadence, and you should adjust your gear ratio accordingly. A cadence meter can provide a steady gauge of how fast you’re pedalling. The first tip is to anticipate conditions that will affect your effort level, so you can shift before you actually need a smaller or bigger gear. Changing gears when there’s less pressure on the pedals allows for a much smoother shift, and less wear on your drivetrain – especially when you’re shifting the front derailleur.

F I never use the drops on my road bike, but I know they’re there for a reason. When should I be riding in them? Any time you need greater control of your bike. With your hands in the drops, you put more weight on your front wheel, which stabilises the bike and

increases your braking power. On long descents, move your hands down before your speed rises above your comfort level. For some new cyclists, riding in the drops can cause hand, neck and shoulder discomfort. Choosing the right handlebar, brake-lever adjustment and proper bike fit should make the position more comfortable.

F I got into cycling and started commuting; but I find heavy traffic a little daunting, and I spend a lot of time standing still. Do you have any tips to make it smoother? Getting caught in a traffic jam doesn’t have to mean standing in the road breathing exhaust fumes. Indeed, avoiding this is one of the biggest advantages of riding a bike in a city. You just need to take extra caution when negotiating in close quarters around cars. Stopped cars in a traffic jam present many of the same hazards as parked cars: blind spots, getting doored, and unpredictable starts, stops, and turns. If there is an open passing lane, use it rather than threading between cars. If the street is completely plugged, slowly pick your way forward, with your hands on the brake levers. Remember, any car door could

2 500

suddenly open, at any time. If there is an open driveway or a parking space into which a car could turn, assume that a car will go for it. Check whether a car’s front wheels are turned, and move away from the side of the car as you pass. Try to get the driver’s attention, and make eye contact as you approach the front of the car. When cars are stopped but not completely bumper-to-bumper, watch out for drivers from other lanes trying to dart into the gaps. And stop and look before you move into a gap yourself.

F I want to start taking longer rides, but I’m not sure if I’m ready. What are the signs that I can go long? “If you can pedal comfortably for 60 minutes, from a fitness standpoint you’re ready to tackle a challenge of, say, two hours,” says cycling coach and Bicycling Fit Chick Selene Yeager. You may be less ready depending on your skills, bike handling, and riding with traffic, but you’ll get there with practice. When planning a long trip, it’s important to take into account factors such as the kind of roads you’ll be riding (quiet or busy), and the terrain (hilly, flat or downhill). But the most important thing is pacing yourself. “Cycling speed and

duration have a sort of inverse relationship for new riders,” says Yeager. Most newbies can ride long or pedal very fast, but don’t have the muscular endurance to do both at the same time. So if you’re going with a group you haven’t ridden with before, ask how fast the pace will be. You should know how far the trip will be. “A 35km round trip is good if you’re taking your sweet time.”

F I’m doing my first race soon and am a bit nervous about being a newbie among the experienced racers. How should I approach this? Don’t be intimidated. “I remember showing up to my first bike races wearing a plain jersey and riding a well-used aluminium bike with second-tier parts,” says pro racer Neil Bezdek “I couldn’t help but notice the matching logo-covered clothing and equipment of those around me.” But Bezdek says that there’s surprisingly little correlation between a cyclist’s ability and their appearance, physical or sartorial. Also, don’t buy into elitism, or listen to anyone who shouts. The best advice is dispensed quietly, and as Bezdek says “from people who know that their expertise in cycling is, in the grand scheme of things, somewhat odd.”

THE NUMBER OF KILOJOULES YOU’LL BURN IN AN HOUR, JUST GOING AT THE RECREATIONAL PACE OF 25KM/H. IF YOU CYCLE AN HOUR A DAY FOR A WEEK, THAT’S 17 500KJ, WHICH IS ENOUGH TO SHAVE OFF 500G OF WEIGHT. JANUARY 2017 • BICYCLING.CO.ZA

17


Wine & Climb

Why a glass of the goood stuff can help you ride better and live longer

The average increase in HDL (good cholesterol) that can be gained from one to two glasses of red wine a day over a long-term period.

BY A NDRE VA LENTINE

While doing research for his book, The Blue Zone: Lessons For Living Longer From The People Who Have Lived The Longest, Dan Buettner of National Geographic found that one key habit of people who lived to be 100 was that they had a glass or two of red wine each day. Nutritionist Megan Pentz-Kluyts takes us through the four ways red wine could help you live – and ride – for longer. A STRONGER HEART Moderate consumption of alcohol, or more precisely ethanol, reduces the chances of death by cardiovascular disease. “Red wine in particular is thought to be more effective for this,” she says. Red wine also keeps arteries healthy by increasing the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol level, positively affecting the inner layer of the arteries and reducing ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol oxidation. Healthier arteries mean more oxygenated blood, leading to less lactic burn.

INFLAMMATION-RESISTANT “One major preventative effect of red wine is its anti-inflammatory action,” says Pentz-Kluyts. Resveratrol, a natural phenolic in red wine, has been found to inhibit the COX-2 enzyme, responsible for igniting inflammation. This could fast-track recovery, getting rid of delayed-onset muscle soreness more quickly and getting you back on track for your next ride – pain-free. PINOT FOR ENDURANCE A 2013 study found that resveratrol was related to increased energy and also decreased serum levels of lactate, making it a potential antifatiguing agent. To get the maximum benefit, Pentz-Kluyts suggests choosing Pinot Noir, which has been shown to be the wine with the highest level of resveratrol. But she warns that while moderate drinking may play a part in a healthy lifestyle, over-consumption can have the opposite effect. “Too much wine is associated with a sharp increase in the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke,” she says.

Dan Nicholl – Cape Epic MC, keen cyclist, and host of the new online show ‘Dan Really Likes Wine’ (danreallylikeswine. com) – shares his favourite post-ride (and mid-ride?!) wines.

Paul Cluver Seven Flags Pinot Noir

A light, healthy red that’s always excellent, from an estate that’s full of mountain-bike trails.

Ernie Els Signature

A big, strong red blend, to celebrate completing a big race.

Charles Fox Cipher MCC

Outstanding South African bubbles for the moment you cross the finish line.

Cape Point Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc

Reserve this one for when you have a break on a warm, languid summer ride.

18

BICYCLING.CO.ZA • JANUARY 2017

GET T Y IMAGES | ISTOCKPHOTO

SMARTER AND MORE ALERT Polyphenols – powerful antioxidants – are the key nutrient in the red wine health arsenal. Pentz-Kluyts says polyphenols are reported to have the ability to suppress neuro-inflammation, which in turn promotes cognitive function and attention span, keeping you alert on the road or trail.


Brian Vernor

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COACH’S ORDERS B Y DR J E ROE N S WA R T

I’m following a programme from my coach. It contains prescribed workouts for each day, based on an upcoming goal event – but I’ve simply been left to my own devices with it. Is this the right approach, or should I be concerned? – Clyde, Rondebosch

A training programme is just the starting point of coaching. It’s obviously important that the programme follows a sound training philosophy – a periodised structure (changes in training volume and intensity over successive cycles of training), and scientifically validated principles. But the more important aspect of coaching involves adequate monitoring of the athlete’s response to training – and where indicated, appropriate intervention. All athletes respond differently to training loads. This depends on various factors, including stress, seasonal variation, and sleep. Blindly following

stresses imposed on an athlete (external load) and the athlete’s response to training (internal load). The most widely used external load monitoring method in cycling is the Performance Management Chart (PMC). The PMC (see ‘The PMC Explained’ below) uses different inputs – such as power, heart rate or perceived exertion – to quantify training load. The first is an external load, the last two are internal. Measurement of internal and external load should happen concurrently, allowing the coach to establish where those two measurements deviate. An example of this is when an athlete flies across numerous time zones. An external load-measuring

Blindly following a static training programme has less chance of success.

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unit (e.g. a power meter) will not measure the effects of jet lag on the athlete. However, the athlete’s internal responses will change (e.g. different heart rate, or perceived exertion). Illness, psychological stress and other factors can also affect these measurements. There are a number of software applications that create a PMC from training data. These include TrainingPeaks

WKO+ and Golden Cheetah. If using these tools seems excessive, there is a simpler way. The human brain is adept at telling us when we are doing too much – we just need to learn to listen to it. So, regarding your plan: if you’re training hard, and you’re feeling tired, and your coach isn’t monitoring you… perhaps you need to take a little more time to recover.

The classic PMC is based on the Banister model of training load and fatigue, introduced in 1976. Professor EW Banister hypothesized that fitness takes a long time to develop (42 days), while fatigue takes a short time (seven days). Monitoring the training load over 42 days gives us a true index of how fit an athlete is, while the training load over seven days gives us a true index of how fatigued an athlete is. The difference between a fitness test and a fatigue test gives us a value known as the training stress balance (TSB). When fitness is low and fatigue is high, the TSB will be negative. When fitness is high and fatigue is low, the TSB will be positive. With this, a coach can advise whether or not an athlete should rest (negative TSB), or whether they can continue the programme.

THE PMC EXPLAINED

Dr Jeroen Swart is a sports physician and exercise physiologist at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa.

BICYCLING.CO.ZA • JANUARY 2017

ISTOCKPHOTO

DOCTOR’S ORDERS

a static programme has less chance of success than a programme based on response to training – as validated by Science to Sport coach Ben Capostagno, who is completing his PhD in this field. Without monitoring, it‘s impossible to tell whether you’re at the optimal training load, or if you’re under- or overtraining, which may prevent training adaptation. Monitoring is done by measuring the


Next Level: MTB

HERE’S HOW TO UP YOUR OFF-ROAD ANTE

If you’ve recently started mountain biking and have been struggling to grow into the sport, you may need to change your approach. Riders often switch from road to MTB and think they can get by on road fitness – but MTB has different challenges in terms of physical and skill demands. Mountain-bike riding generally has a great number of accelerations, and uses the upper body a lot. In order to maintain momentum

Skills are the start point, and I can’t emphasise this enough. Few people bother to train skills specifically, and that’s a big mistake. Lack of skills affects safety, speed and enjoyment – or rather,

Improved skills prevent crashes and broken bones. – through sand, up hills, or over rocky sections or uneven shale – you need to build the capacity to deliver these high-power efforts repeatedly. Conditioning, through a combination of on- and off-bike fitness, strength, balance and proprioception (the ability to sense the position, motion, and equilibrium of your body), will transform your riding, keep you safe, and allow you to really experience the thrill of MTB. SKILLS

Not many road skills can be carried across to MTB, because mountain terrain is less uniform. However, MTB skills can be trained up, with the correct focus.

improved skills prevent crashes and broken bones, improve race time, and add a huge fun element. A highly-skilled MTB rider with a (relatively) smaller engine will always be better than a poorly-skilled mountainbike rider with a big physical engine. Important skills to practise include choosing lines, front-wheel lifts, rearwheel lifts, bunny hops, riding a straight line, and cornering. There are individuals and companies who offer skills classes – search for them in your area. UPPER-BODY STRENGTH

The upper body is used much more in

M T B T R A IN ING P L A N

BY M A RK C A RROLL

To enjoy your MTB riding a little more, focus on skills and off-bike conditioning. A well-designed week should include: J Skills-focused training session, practising what was learnt from your skills coach J 2 x interval-session days J 2 x off-bike conditioning sessions J 1 or 2 x LSD rides MTB than in road riding – so much so that a weak back, chest, arms and core will cause early fatigue and poor performance. Because of the skills MTB demands, adding balance and proprioception exercises will enhance performance and safety. Again, find an expert to teach you technique – it’s easy to get injured if you do these incorrectly. For some ideas on off-bike conditioning for MTB, check out episode 9 of world champ Nino Schurter’s YouTube series The Hunt For Glory.

MTBers tend to believe that the terrain they ride makes them fitter than roadies. But how true is this? To find out, a study in Australia compared the power profiles of elite cyclists from both disciplines, who did all-out efforts for various time periods, determining their aerobic and anaerobic capacity. The test produced some interesting (and surprising) findings. The cyclists completed tests in time ranges from 5 seconds to 10 minutes. With the exception of the 5-second test, there was an insignificant difference in power output. So, as a general rule: in terms of fitness, road and MTB cyclists are in fact evenly matched.

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Mark Carroll owns Cadence Cycling Performance & chairs the CSA Coaching Commission .

BICYCLING.CO.ZA • JANUARY 2017

ZOON CRONJE

THE COACH

WHO’S THE FIT TEST OF THEM ALL?


IN MY VIEW BY CHERISE STA NDER

INJURY

Stone Collar

Collarbones break – that’s a fact. If yours does, here’s how to ensure you come back strong. BY AC SHILTON

T

THE EVOLUTION OF THE

bicycle has most certainly come a long way, with new technology introduced every year. We now have electronic and Bluetooth shifting, electric bikes, and suspension that thinks for you. This has made cycling more competitive and enjoyable, but also a lot more complex when it comes to mechanicals. Now more than ever, you need to make sure that your bike receives all the attention and love it requires – and that means taking it in for regular services.

skills can save you a lot of time once you’ve mastered them, and you never have to worry about being stranded on the side of the road. I would definitely advise you to enquire at your LBS about workshop evenings. Even experienced riders could learn something new. My own progress has hit a bit of a pause, as Thomas has started teething. I’ve also discovered that ‘sleep when your baby sleeps’ doesn’t work for me, because my baby… doesn’t! We’re up every two hours through the night, while going through the days feeling

Enjoy all the benefits your trusty steed has to offer... That way, you ensure you’ll enjoy all the benefits your trusty steed has to offer. It’s important to remember the basics, and most shops now have technical workshop evenings where they explain how to fix basic mechanicals such as changing a tyre, putting in a plug, and fixing a broken chain. These basic

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BICYCLING.CO.ZA • JANUARY 2017

like zombies. Hopefully this phase should be coming to an end – well, at least until the next tooth arrives.

Cherise Stander, who recently became a mom, represented South Africa at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

COOL STUFF

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ISTOCKPHOTO | SUPPLIED

NEW TECHNOLOGY IS GREAT – BUT CREATES ITS OWN CHALLENGES. CHERISE EXPLAINS SOME OF THEM.

As a cyclist, it’s likely you or someone you know has suffered a broken collarbone. “It has to do with the way cyclists fall,” says orthopaedic trauma specialist Dr Brian Cunningham. “When you fall directly onto your shoulder, your collarbone – which has an S-shape – compresses, and can break.” While this break won’t impair your longterm function if it heals correctly, that doesn’t always happen. “If it heals in a position where it doesn’t reach the shoulder joint, there may be some weakness,” says Cunningham. This weakness could lead to repeat injuries – often from less serious mishaps. That’s why it’s essential to seek medical attention. A break is easy to detect: you’ll hear a crack as you hit the ground, and moving your arm will hurt. Doctors will do X-rays to determine the severity. For minor damage, a sling will solve it – but major damage could require surgery. But you’ll soon be riding again, says Cunningham. With surgery, you could be back in the saddle in just a few days. Without surgery, you’ll be out for at least six weeks.


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BICYCLING.CO.ZA • JANUARY 2017


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FCB10021320JB/E


ST YLEMAN QUIPS – BUT THIS MONTH, NO RE ADER TIPS OR CYCLING FOR YOUR LIPS

MACHO, MACHO MAN WHY ARE THERE NO OPENLY GAY PRO RIDERS? IS A SPORT IN WHICH MEN SHAVE THEIR LEGS AND WEAR THE TIGHTEST OF TIGHT CLOTHES STILL TOO MACHO FOR ITS OWN GOOD?

– Leigh-Ann, Kensington THERE IS ONE CYCLIST I KNOW WHO HAS COME OUT AS GAY.

Graeme Obree, the Scot who held the hour record, and a two-time world champion, came out in 2011. He said being in the closet had tormented him for years, and was perhaps one of the reasons he once tried to take his own life. Professional cycling has not even come close to evolving into a sport for all. As the very wise people at inrng.com wrote: “There are Catholics,

Muslims, Protestants in the bunch, and their faith is known, but not a talking point; it’s entirely for them. Some things are more visible: the pro peloton is mainly from Europe, but disproportionally white. Put simply, the peloton doesn’t reflect society.” Team Dimension Data have attempted to do that – and as recently as last year, they experienced racism in the bunch. There is work to do.

ANIMAL CRASH VICTIM AN ANIMAL MADE ME CRASH. WHICH ANIMALCAUSED CRASH WOULD MAKE FOR THE LEAST EMBARRASSING STORY? A DOG? BECAUSE WHO HASN’T BEEN CHASED BY A DOG? I SAW PICTURES OF A GIRAFFE JOINING IN AT

THE CAPE PIONEER TREK. OKAY, I CRASHED BECAUSE OF A DASSIE. HE WAS UNSCATHED. I BROKE MY ELBOW. – Bev, Sea Point DEAREST BEV: THIS IS AWFUL… I FEEL SO BAD FOR YOU. NO, WAIT – I DON’T. Sorry, Bev – that is the

most embarrassing animal-crash story of all time. I cried with laughter while writing this. And I came up with this little modified version of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Bad Moon Rising’: ‘Dassies are bad for riding /

Dassie is trouble on the way / Dassies mean arm-breaks and jibing / Dassie will end your ride today. Don’t go on that group ride / Well, it’s bound to spoil your time / There’s a bad rat on the ride…’ Sorry Bev, I just couldn’t help myself. Hope your elbow gets better...

G A L L O I M A G E S /A F P

STYLEMAN


PLAN AHEAD Make health and medication info easy to find. You can set up a Medical ID on an iPhone and make it available from the lock screen. Other options: IceID.co.za, dog tags, or you can get a family locator app that shares your location with family and friends so they can find you if you get into trouble.

F HEAD You don’t want to mess with a possible concussion or bleeding on the brain. Get checked out if you have a cracked helmet, headache (even if it comes on later), confusion, vision changes, or if you lose consciousness. F CHEST If it hurts to breathe deeply, you might have a broken rib and should see a doctor. “Cracked ribs can have sharp edges,” Martin says, “and if it’s an unstable fracture and it shifts, it can puncture a lung.” F BELLY Palpate your abdominal area gently. A tender spot could mean internal damage to soft tissue or vital organs. If your belly becomes distended or firm, that’s a sign of possible internal bleeding. Seek medical attention.

6 THINGS MEDICS WISH YOU KNEW No matter how good a cyclist you are, crashes happen. But before you jump back on your bike, run through this quick checklist from paramedic Greg Martin, to be sure you’re really good to go. It could save your life. BY SELENE Y EAGER

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F BLEEDING Forget what you’ve seen in movies about using a tourniquet; you risk doing more damage than good. Manage heavy bleeding by placing direct pressure (preferably with something clean) on the wound. Keep it there until you can see a doctor.

Illustration by M C K I B I L L O

F SPINE Spinal cord injuries need immediate attention. If you have numbness and/ or tingling in your fingers or toes, or discomfort when turning your head 45 degrees to the left or right, get to the ER.


Host City

Host Federation


J Check out the video of

Girdlestone’s first postaccident ride at bicycling. co.za/girdlestone-back


ONE-ON-ONE WITH THE HEROES OF CYCLING

both of which I crashed out of. So I think my biggest moment was surviving my last crash! When did you start feeling strong enough to ride again? When I could walk 30 minutes without wanting to collapse. And had enough strength in my arm to hold my body up.

O

NAME: KEAGAN GIRDLESTONE O AGE: 19 O BIKE: CERVÉLO R3 PROFESSION: PRO R ACER, TE AM DIMENSION DATA CONTINENTAL I N T E R V I E W A N DR É VA L E N T IN E

Do you remember anything from the aftermath of the accident? I remember feeling hot liquid running down my neck, and spectators saying something that sounded like ‘Piano, piano, piano’ [gently, slow down]. Then everything went silent. What was the first thing you thought when you woke up? I remember thinking, What’s happening? I was surrounded by doctors, my parents, and Robbie Hunter, my rider agent, who acted as my translator. I remember the doctors telling me to squeeze my hands. And at the time, I couldn’t recall even moving them; but everyone cheered, and I remember thinking but I’m not doing anything, I’m barely moving. The main injuries you suffered were to your neck, but were there any others? Yes, the cut to my neck severed nerves to my arm, vocal cords

O

PHOTO ANDY FUSSELL

and hemi-diaphragm. My bicep is paralysed. And my shoulder is partially paralysed – I am able to move it, but very little, though rehab is helping with that. My right vocal cord will probably never work again, but surgery will try and improve my voice. I also suffered several strokes, due to lack of blood circulation to my brain. Because of this, 30% of the right side of my brain is dead. What did you miss the most during your time out? I missed being able to walk, initially. Then it was being able to use my hands and arms to do normal things, like eat and dress myself. I also missed the English language, as no one besides my parents could speak English. What motivated you in hospital and rehab? The thousands of messages people sent helped me get through the dark times. My parents also did so much for me during this tough time.

You did well at the 2016 Cape Town Cycle Tour and Junior Men’s Time Trial at the 2016 World Champs – do

How did your road back to fitness start, in terms of riding? Very slowly. I could only do five minutes, to start. That built up to 10, then 12, increasing over weeks, until I managed to ride an hour and 30 minutes indoors. What lessons did you take from the accident, and the experience in hospital? Don’t take life for granted. It can be taken away from you in the blink of an eye! Also, working

I also suffered several strokes, due to lack of blood circulation... you think you were having a pretty good season? I think 2015 was by far my best season. 2016 wasn’t good at all. When I got to Europe, I crashed at my first race and broke my wrist. I spent two months recovering... and then had my big accident. Do you think you’ll get back to pro racing again? Going by the small chance I had of just surviving, I believe in my small chance of reaching a strong level in cycling. What, to you, was your biggest moment in the pros? Well, I’ve only done two professional races in Europe,

hard, believing and patience can result in miraculous progress. Has your perspective on life changed since the accident? Absolutely. I learned to appreciate the small things in life, and appreciate everything I have and am able to do. What are your future plans? I’d like to get into motivational speaking, perhaps – and write a book about my experience. What did that first ride back feel like? It felt incredible. And it felt like progress. It made all the hard days worth it.

JANUARY 2017 • BICYCLING.CO.ZA

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IM AGE: SPORTZPICS/CA PE EPIC/GA RY PERKIN

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50 SHADES OF GREYTON: Cape Epic riders tackled the Greyton trails on Stage 5 in 2014. The race returns to Greyton this year, where riders can expect rocks, climbs and rugged singletrack – as well as a few delights.

When five-time champion Christoph Sauser sees the Absa Cape Epic route, he doesn’t take too much notice of the distances, or the amount of climbing. He simply asks two questions: ‘What are the surfaces like?’ and ‘What will the weather conditions be like?’ In other words, it’s difficult to discern how tough a stage (or the entire event) will be from the distance and elevation per day. However, a small group of people have some insights: the trial ride team. The annual Epic trial ride takes place over seven days in August of the previous year, and all seven stages are scouted out on bikes. Actually, the trial team ride a bit more than the course that the Epic participants finally get to experience: they end up going up the odd hill or two that are eventually deemed unnecessary to the event. And during the Epic itself the riders have the gates opened for them – those on the trial ride have to clamber over several every day! Each day between six and 12 riders take part. They are led by route designer Pieter van Wyk, and include Andrew White, who helps plot the route, Cape Epic race director Kati Csak, Day Trippers duo Steve and Di Thomas, and television scriptwriter and former pro rider Neil Gardiner. Here’s the inside track on what you should know about the route in March.

JANUARY 2017 • BICYCLING.CO.ZA

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Soon after the start, the route heads up Rotary Way and along the spine of the mountain, before dipping down into the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Next is the 911 Climb (because the phone lines overhead might tempt riders to call emergency services), and some ups and downs along the flanks and stunning wine farms of the Hemel-en-Aarde valley. Then Tesselaarsdal and the Haarkappersroete over the Klein River Mountains – the zig-zag ascent that barber Jan Willemse used to walk over the mountain in the 1950s, to cut his clients’ hair in Stanford. From the bottom of a potentially tricky descent, the riders will finish the day with a fun spin along the town’s urban assault section. Stage Tip: Keep some energy for the Haarkappersroete... if you’re strong there, you can make up good time by the finish. STAGE 2: HERMANUS TO GREYTON 102km, 2 350m

Riders go north to a new race village in quaint Greyton, with some fierce climbs along the way. Before long they’ll be acquainted with the day’s biggest challenge: Shaw’s Pass. It’s only 4km long, but gains more than 220m in altitude. Later they will confront other testing climbs either side of the Caledon Kloof, and in the mountains looming above Greyton. There will be some relief, thanks to stunning singletrack sections through beautiful fynbos along the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, down the Katkloof trails at the back of Shaw’s Pass and beyond Caledon. Stage Tip: Hopefully you’ve invested in tyres with decent

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sidewalls (and have brought along plugs, a spare tube and a gaiter). The going gets increasingly rocky as the day gets longer. STAGE 3: GREYTON TO GREYTON 78km, 1 650m

After two tough days, riders get to enjoy a shorter stage – and the delights of Greyton. After a country meander it’s straight into a series of climbs, including Mad Dog Bite, Zig Zag, and the UFO – the latter so named because of the strange, UFOlike building perched on the hilltop. But what goes up must come down, which means some thrilling descents and great, rugged singletrack. Stage Tip: This is a day on which you’ll need to nurse your tyres. And pace yourself on the climbs: they keep on coming. STAGE 4: GREYTON TO ELGIN 112km 2 150m

It’s rolling hills from the moment you leave Greyton, and riders will approach one particular climb with apprehension: Pumping Legs. As you get closer it seems as though the road heads up straight into the sky. There is some relief on the Lover’s Lane Descent before cutting through the KlipheuwelDassiefontein Wind Energy Facility near Caledon. Soon after that, riders get a sample of the twisting trails at Wildekraans, before heading up the Old Houw Hoek Pass. Then it’s past the Houw Hoek Inn and on to Oak Valley Wine Estate, for a good night’s rest. Stage Tip: A deceptive stage; by halfway, you could be lulled into thinking that everything’s just peachy. And then you go up the sandy, rocky Old Houw Hoek Pass, and the cursing begins.

The Queen Stage will be Stage 6, which is later than usual. What was the thinking behind that? “Groenlandberg is kind of a fixed location, and we didn’t know how to move it to Hermanus (laughs). Jokes aside, we work with what we have to provide the best ride experience in the location we’re at. So we don’t add mileage just for the sake of adding mileage, and we don’t cut out awesome stuff just to make it easier. The general guideline is to have a winning time of 3.5 to 5 hours, which translates into a riding time of 7 to 10 hours for those at the back of the field. “Having the Queen Stage late keeps the race for the leader jerseys, and the podium open until the end. But it also means there’ll be an uncertainty factor playing with the minds of those aiming to receive their finisher’s medal.”

What broad philosophy do you apply to deciding on the route? “First and foremost, it’s about finding venues that are big enough to host the infrastructure for the race village, and then it’s about good riding and then linking up those two parameters. Once these three boxes are ticked, we aim to provide the best ride experience, with an anticipated winning time, as I say, of 3.5 to 5 hours. Technically, it needs to be challenging – but also achievable.” How often have you done the trial ride? “Ten times! That’s not counting my first two years, when I wasn’t race director, and only rode sections of the route.”

SUPPLIED | SPORTZPICS/CAPE EPIC/ NIC MUZIK/GARY PERKIN/NEIL GARDINER/GREG BEADLE | SUPPLIED

STAGE 1: HERMANUS TO HERMANUS 101km, 2 300m


TOP LEFT: A lone rider descends to Houw Hoek Inn in the 2014 Cape Epic. RIGHT: An aerial view of the 2008 edition of the Cape Epic that saw riders pedalling from Bredasdorp to Hermanus, which is the start of this year’s race. ABOVE: Nino Schurter (front) and Philip Buys of Team Scott-Odlo MTB passed through Greyton during Stage 4 of the 2014 Cape Epic.

STAGE 5 ELGIN TO ELGIN 84km 2 100m

There’s always a fun day at the Epic, and barring bad weather this should be it. First there are a few climbs to negotiate – including a particularly nasty one that has concrete strips for traction – and then the legendary Nuweberg from the east side. A couple more climbs as the course weaves across the hills above Grabouw, and then riders will be in singletrack heaven. They will do most of the A-to-Z trail network above the Elgin/ Grabouw Country Club and around the Eikenhof Dam, and then the renowned trails on Paul Cluver Estate and Oak

Valley on the way back to the race village. Stage Tip: The key to actually having fun on this day is not to kill yourself in the early bits – hold fire until after the Nuweberg. STAGE 6 ELGIN TO ELGIN 103km 2 750m

The route returns to the rugged Groenlandberg, which rises more than 600m along 9km of rocky, sandy climbing – the average gradient is 7%, but one or two sections tilt up more than 20%. That confrontation with the race’s most notorious climb comes 20km into the Queen Stage, and after some gentle climbs

to warm up the legs. Then it’s more rocky trail across the back of the Groenlandberg, another tough climb before a sweeping descent, and a bump or two and some short singletrack under the N2. At which point it’s time to explore the south side of the Grabouw district – Kogelberg Nature Reserve, Lebanon’s flowing singletracks, and back to Oak Valley. Stage Tip: Groenlandberg is the toughest ascent you will confront in this race. It is one of those climbs that keeps tricking you into thinking you’re near the top… and then it goes on. And on. And on.

STAGE 7: ELGIN TO VAL DE VIE 85km, 1 350m

This is the least climbing riders have to do on any day of the race. However, they’ll be well advised to keep some energy in reserve for the climb up the Franschhoek Pass, after about 40km. That 7km haul rises nearly 400m, marking the last major climb of the race. The day begins with a neutral start through Grabouw, takes riders round the Eikenhof dam, and then down Viljoen’s Pass. They will also cut through pristine fynbos past Theewaterskloof Dam before getting to the pass. Stage Tip: The numbers speak for themselves, and a lot of your altitude gain is on the tar of the Franschhoek Pass.

JANUARY 2017 • BICYCLING.CO.ZA

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THEIR PLACE AT THE START OF A RACE. WE’D GIVE ANYTHING TO BE IN THEIR CARBON-FIBRE SHOES – RIDING STATE-OF-THE-ART BIKES, WITH MECHANICS ON TAP, AND FANS SCREAMING OUR NAMES AS WE BULLET PAST THEM. BUT BEING PAID TO RIDE A BIKE IS NOT ALWAYS MOONSHINE AND ROSES... by jonathan ancer JANUARY 2017 • BICYCLING.CO.ZA

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Pros live the dream. A world of champagne, cheek-kisses from podium babes, and masseuses. But behind the glitz and glamour there’s a world we don’t see – that’s where they worry about attacks and crashes, where they push their bodies to their absolute limit to stay with the bunch, and where they try to ignore the pain of brutal climbs. Riding at the sharp end of the field can be a vicious… cycle. And that’s just racing. Pros train until their eyeballs bleed; spend long hours on their own, doing intervals; live out of suitcases, and languish in airports; suffer homesickness in foreign countries; and are frequently lost in translation. If you ask them when they last ate pizza they’ll look at you blankly, and shake their heads. “Pizza? What’s pizza?” While Froome, Sagan and Cavendish may swim in cash, most pros make only a modest living, and some barely make minimum wage (prompting the question: What do you call a professional cyclist who breaks up with his girlfriend? Homeless.) So, why do they do it? Because it’s the dream, man. They are living the dream.

ASHLEIGH , 31, MOOLMAN-PASIO ROAD RIDER WITH CERVÉLO-BIGLA PRO CYCLING ashleigh moolman was studying chemical engineering when she met carl pasio, a competitive triathlete. He took her on a ride up the Knysna Heads; and she fell in love with him, and with competitive endurance sports. Moolman-Pasio’s rise to the pro ranks was as fast as she was, and she soon broke through, into the world’s top-ranked female road riders. “It was a dream,” she says now. But the dream comes with frustrations: some small, some bigger. On the small side: chutney isn’t easy to come by in Europe, cellphone roaming is expensive, and she spends a lot of time holed up at airports. And she loves animals and really wants to get a dog (“like a normal person”), but she can’t. Big frustrations are leaving home, friends and family, and embracing a different country, culture and language. “I live in Europe seven months of the year. It’s a whole different way of life,” she says. “If there’s a month of no racing, then I’ll be at a training camp, or training at altitude. If I’m in one place for three weeks, that’s lucky. But it is amazing to race in all these places.” Life as a pro can be emotionally draining, says Moolman-Pasio, and there have been times when she’s thought of packing it all in. “Even today, I thought, Jeez, life would be much simpler if I had gone into engineering – but then I remembered how blessed I am to have this opportunity.” Friends tell her she’s so lucky, because she’s ‘permanently on holiday’. As if. Being a pro is not her job – it’s her life. She knows that everything affects her performance – what she eats, drinks, when she sleeps… any little thing could change the outcome of a race. Moolman-Pasio says there’s an expectation that you’ll always be

positive; so much so that amateurs don’t see the emotional turmoil. Since she crossed the finish line at the London Olympics in 2012, Moolman-Pasio had focused on Rio, where she was regarded as a gold medal contender. Unfortunately – after four years of single-minded preparation – she left Rio without a medal around her neck. “In races, there are no second chances. You can’t change what happens because of a split-second decision. In a race, there’s only one person who is really happy; and the hundreds of others who have also put in so much hard work and commitment are disappointed. You have to learn to move on, or you’ll find yourself in a dark place. You can be in your best physical and mental space, but a bit of bad luck can spoil it.” And women’s cycling particularly is built on passion, says MoolmanPasio, because women don’t get the same financial rewards as men – although, she adds, that is changing. “In my experience, men treat cycling like a job, and get paid well to do it. I’m making the sacrifices because I love riding. But you can’t live on passion alone – it has to make financial sense.” Cycling in her 20s was all about ‘the dream’; but since turning 30, Moolman-Pasio has taken a longerterm view. “I want kids one day, so I’m asking tough questions – am I making the right choices for a future life that is sustainable, and makes financial sense?” For now, it makes sense. Besides, she’s addicted to the thrill of racing. Unfortunately, with thrills come spills. A few days after our interview, during the Chrono des Nations time trial, Moolman-Pasio crashed, fracturing her iliac bone. She’s been forced to take a three-month break. The crash – caused by a motorbike in a traffic circle – interrupted the dream. With a nightmare.

Photograph by C A S E Y C R A F F O R D

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“In races, there are no second chances. You can’t change what happens because of a split-second decision. In a race, there’s only one person who is really happy, and hundreds of others who are disappointed.”

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“To get to the pro level you have to be mentally and physically dedicated to the job, and train five to six days a week.” ANDREW ‘NEEDLES’ NEETHLING, 32, DOWNHILLER WITH POLYGON UR being a pro has its ups, but it also has its downs – in a good way, if you’re a downhiller like Andrew Neethling, who has been racing for 18 years; 13 of them as a professional. He has a season or two left, he says, before hanging up his helmet. Neethling’s dream began when he went to the junior World Champs in Spain, and decided to take part in a World Cup race. Although still a junior, he qualified to race with the elites. That was it. In his first year – fresh out of school – he was in the top 30, and beating much more experienced riders. People noticed he had speed, and the potential to hang with the big boys. The first two years were like

Photograph by E WA L D S A D I E JANUARY 2017 • BICYCLING.CO.ZA

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an internship; but in his third year, in 2005, he won a race in the Northern American National Series. He had arrived. With talent and style, Neethling developed a reputation. He was often photographed mid-jump, and got good play in the media. And he was considered a top-10 contender, and given a contract. “At that stage, everything was exciting, and super-glamorous,” he says. But after a while the dream’s shine dulled, when the reality of Neethling’s life set in: being away from his family for long stretches; sitting in airports; driving to a venue, racing, and then

moving on to the next race. “Doing that for six months at a time can get mundane,” says Neethling. To get to pro level, he maintains, you have to be mentally and physically dedicated to the job, and train five to six days a week. You also have to deal with setbacks – such as injuries, which he had his (un)fair share of in the last couple of seasons. Neethling began to ask questions about life after racing, but people in the game told him he’d figure it out when the time came – which made sense to him: who would know better that the fastest way to get down the hill is by not thinking?

However, in 2014 Neethling turned 30; and although he’d had a great year on the bike, Giant didn’t renew his contract. His email inbox was no longer overflowing with offers, and his phone didn’t ring. Reality kicked in. Fortunately, he got a new ride with Polygon UR – but he knew his pro days were numbered, and it was time to think about transitioning to life after racing. Now, Neethling and a friend are exploring the possibility of developing mountain-bike trails in the Helderberg in the Western Cape, which is where he participated in his first downhill race. “It’s a passion project,” he says.

WORKING-CLASS HEROES

HOW DO YOU BALANCE YOUR TIME BETWEEN YOUR TWO JOBS? Nico Bell (NB): I make sure my training is done in the morning, then it’s off to the shop until 6pm. I’ve being doing this for over 11 years while racing, so I’m used to it. Gawie Combrink (GC): My primary focus is on training and racing. Being busy at the shop helps to keep me sane, and gives me a mental break from pushing hard in training every day. WHEN YOU’RE IN THE STORE, DO YOU FEEL GUILTY ABOUT NOT TRAINING? GC: Training always comes first. Some days it’s a bit harder to

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Image : JB Badenhorst

Most people can just about manage to hold down one job; but Nico Bell and Gawie Combrink juggle full-time jobs, at the Specialized Concept store Bell’s Cycling in Nelspruit, with also being pros for Team NAD (New Africa Developments). We gave them a third job – answering our questions. focus after a tough training session, but then I just have a strong cup of coffee. WHAT SACRIFICES HAVE YOU MADE TO PURSUE YOUR PRO CAREER? NB: Time becomes limited, so you sacrifice time with friends and family. GC: You also can’t always do and eat what you want. You have to consider how it will affect your training, and ultimately your racing. WHAT DON’T ORDINARY MORTALS KNOW ABOUT LIFE AS A PRO RIDER? NB: There’s no on/off switch. It’s a full-time job, from riding to recovery. Our training consists of intervals and long

rides in rain and extreme heat. The travelling makes you tired – sometimes, more than the actual race. It’s a continuous struggle to be consistent and get results. WHAT’S THE MOST STRESSFUL THING ABOUT BEING A PRO? NB: Making sure you get to a race in the right form, and without getting sick. GC: Getting a contract at the end of the year. You can have great results throughout the year, and still be stuck without a ride. …AND THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A PRO? NB: Getting to that race in

the best form, and your bike sailing over everything with ease, and then crossing the line first! WHAT DO YOU KNOW NOW THAT YOU WISHED YOU HAD KNOWN BEFORE BECOMING A PRO? NB: That coming second is not the end of the world. Learn from it, and move on. WHAT KEEPS YOU MOTIVATED? GC: I’ve had a normal job before, sitting behind a desk in an office. I don’t want to go back to that – that’s pretty good motivation for me.


ALAN HATHERLY, 21, MTB XC, KARGO PRO CYCLING when alan hatherly was 16, he realised mtb cross-country racing was where his passion lay. “My dreams are just as big as they were five years ago, and I’ll always strive to reach them – which will be soon, hopefully!” he laughs. Once he’d made that commitment to be a pro, he says, everything fell into place. “The most difficult thing about being a pro is managing your body. Fatigue becomes a huge factor, when you push yourself to the limits, race in and race out – and hammer it in the weeks in between. I’ve learnt where my limits are, and how far I can push my training and my body. There’ve been quite a few times where I’ve had an incredible session, and then the following day I can hardly turn the pedals.” Another difficult aspect of pro life is holding form throughout the year. But, as he says: “When everything comes together and you hit peak form, it’s the most incredible feeling a rider can experience.” Hatherly has set big goals for 2017 – top-10 finishes at World Cups – and his desire to be able to ride away from the competition is what keeps him motivated. The challenge of pitting himself against the world’s best makes cycling a dream job, he says. But at times, cycling feels like a job – mainly on rainy days, hammering intervals in the freezing cold, water spraying in his face. “Those days require a few good songs and an extra cup of coffee – then I’m good to go!” he says. While cycling is growing, pro riders don’t achieve the rock-star fame reserved for athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. But when Hatherly was in a restaurant recently, a six-year-old girl approached him. She was holding a pen and a little notepad, and had written ‘ALAN HATHERLY’ in capitals, as neatly as she could. She asked for his autograph. In her eyes, Hatherly – a star over rocks – is a rock star.

“When everything comes together and you hit peak form, it’s the most incredible feeling a rider can experience.”

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ROBBIE HUNTER, 39,

RE TIRED PRO ROAD RIDER

in 1998, with nothing but the clothes on his back, a powerful sprint finish and bucketloads of aggression, Robbie Hunter made his way to Europe. Through dedication, hard work, fear of failure and his ‘f... you’ attitude, he fought his way into the pro ranks. It paid off, and he was offered a contract with Lampre. “Cycling was a way for me to live and pay the bills. But it was a great job,” he says. It was a great job, and Hunter was great at it. In 2001 he took his place at the start of the Tour de France – an African first. He followed this with another African first: winning a stage in 2007. Hunter’s biggest sacrifice was leaving his life in South Africa: with the amount of time he spent in Europe racing, friends and family slowly became distant. “You need to build a life in Europe,” he said. “Holding on to the hope of ‘I’ll ride the Tour and live 11 months in South Africa’ doesn’t work.” He also had to contend with the language barrier, as well as eating overcooked pasta and underdone chicken. Most people think the hardest thing about being a pro is becoming a pro, says Hunter – but it’s not. The hardest part about being a pro is staying a pro. People also think racing is difficult, but it’s actually the monotonous training, day in and day out, that gets you. “If you train hard, the racing is easy,” he says. Despite a punishing training schedule, Hunter kept going, because what hurt more than the pain cave was the fear of failure. As far as he was concerned, there was nothing worse than hearing people say, ‘Don’t worry – at least you tried’. But he never did get used to training and racing in the cold. “When it’s minus-2, with rain and snow… that was the worst. And that’s probably the only thing I really hated about my sport.”

Photograph by G A L L O I M A G E S / G E T T Y I M A G E S / M O R N E D E K L E R K

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“You need to build a life in Europe. Holding on to the hope of ‘I’ll ride the Tour and live 11 months in South Africa’ doesn’t work.” And the best? Getting to paid to ride his bike, every day of his life. “When I trained in Switzerland I would ride in the mountains, and see those natural lakes and the snow-capped Alps. Every day there was something that made me think WOW.” Seeing the world is part of the job; but travelling has its downside too. “Hotels suck. They’re just a bed to rest your head, and a few square metres of your own space for a few hours, to relax without people being in your face.” What sucks more than hotels is that cycling can be cruel: the dream ends when you get a wake-up call. Or, as in Hunter’s case, no call at all. Despite believing he still had two more years of racing in his legs, he couldn’t get a

ride. After a stellar 16-year career, his pro life had ended. The dream was over – and now he had to deal with real life. When Hunter was younger, he’d been keen on marine biology and zoology, but never had the opportunity to study – and now it was too late. The curtain had dropped. He decided to go into sports management; coming from the pro ranks, he had a unique perspective on what managers should be doing for their athletes. But he misses his pro cycling friends, the camaraderie, and – especially – the winning. “There is no feeling on earth like winning. It’s a drug that can absolutely consume you – but in a good way.” He doesn’t miss the cold.

SO, YOU STILL WANT TO BE A PRO? HERE’S WHAT IT TAKES…

ROBBIE HUNTER: “Train harder!” Pros ride on average between 25 and 30 hours a week. They can put in these hours because they have the time, can recover between sessions, and importantly, have been riding hours like that for years. And it’s not only about the time; it’s about making sure those hours are productive. Many amateurs do too many ‘junk miles’ – rides that aren’t hard enough for them to improve, and not easy enough for them to recover. You may not be able to put in the long hours, but you can focus on the intensity of your rides. ANDREW ‘NEEDLES’ NEETHLING: “Put good structures in place, get the right coaches, put your head down and be single-minded. Enjoy the process – and don’t be too hard on yourself.” ASHLEIGH MOOLMAN-PASIO: “Control the controllables.” In other words, focus on marginal gains – these are small improvements in a number of areas that add up to extraordinary progress overall. ALAN HATHERLY: “Believe in yourself and your ability. You will have days of doubt, where you may feel you’re not as ‘good’ as your competition; but perseverance always prevails, and hard work pays off when it counts.”


F*#k It List

Introducing the 2017


2017 BIKE BUYER’S GUIDE

56 BIKES SO AMAZING, YOU’LL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO OWN ONE – AND NEVER, EVER REGRET IT P HO T

WE BOUGHT THE BIKE!

Five riders share stories about buying bikes that they just HAD to have: there’s a bike so beautiful, the rider couldn’t take his eyes off it, and a bike that helped another develop much-needed ‘badass confidence’. Bikes make you happy, change your life and inspire you to become the rider you want to be.

ROAD

MTB

Road Endurance

Budget Hardtail

For comfort, when taking long rides on rough roads.

These are budget-friendly, but trail-ready. 58 Momsen AL029 59 Avalanche Tempest 27.5 59 Mongoose Tyax 29R

50 Specialized

Roubaix Comp

51 BMC Roadmachine 01 Ultegra

51 Swift Attack G2 Ultegra 51 Bianchi Infinito CV

Road Race The one you buy when you want to annihilate your previous best time.

52 Cannondale SuperSix

Comp 59 GT Karakoram Comp

Race-Ready Hardtail Light and tough, and ready to get you through your first race. 60 Specialized Rockhopper

EVO Ultegra DI2 54 Liv Avail Advanced 2 HRD 54 Scott Addict 20 54 Specialized Tarmac Pro Ultegra Di2

Expert 29er 60 Titan 29er Elite 60 GT Zaskar 9R Comp 61 Giant Fathom 29er 2

Road Aero

Graduate to the rougher stuff with one of these beasts. 62 Scott Scale RC 900

Your secret weapon – for beating wind, and gaining speed.

56 Giant Propel Advanced 1 56 Scott Foil 20 56 BH G7 Disc Ultegra 57 Merida Reacto 7000-E

Performance Hardtails

World Cup

62 Merida Big.Nine 5000 62 Specialized Women’s

Epic HT Comp Carbon 63 Trek Procaliber 9.6

Dual-Suspension Race Weapons Fast, tough, and ready for the long haul.

O GR A

PH Y

JAMES G ARAGHT

64 Scott Spark RC 900

World Cup 66 Cannondale Scalpel Si 3 66 Specialized S-Works Epic FSR World Cup 66 Momsen Vipa One

Dual-Suspension Trail For comfort over speed, so you can enjoy the scenery. 68 Specialized Camber Comp 29er

69 Niner Jet 9 RDO 69 Giant Trance 1.5 LTD 70 Santa Cruz Tallboy 3 CC 70 Yeti ASR T-Series 70 Ibis Ripley 29 LS 71 Trek Fuel EX 8 71 Titan Sonic Pro 71 Santa Cruz Tallboy 3 CC

DREAM Dream Road If dreams did come true, this is what they’d be made of. 72 Bianchi Oltre XR4 74 Pinarello Dogma F8 La Ventesima

74 Storm Chaser 74 Trek Madone 9.5

Dream MTB When you’re carving singletrack in your head, you’re riding one of these.

Y

76 Specialized S-Works

Stumpjumper FSR 29

76 Mercer Lanky Lemur 29er 76 Santa Cruz Hightower CC 77 Pyga Stage Max XX1 Eagle

SPECIALITY E-Bikes Forget the e-haters. These will get you there – quicker and easier. 80 Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Comp 6Fattie

80 SDuro Hardnine 5.0 80 BH Emotion AWD 29 Lite

80 Giant Full-E+ 1

Adventure Bikes So you’re a roadie. You don’t have to avoid that grondpad. 82 Ritchey Swiss Cross 83 Cannondale Slate Ultegra

83 Specialized Sequoia 83 Giant TCX Advanced 2

Time Trial When beating the clock is more your thing. 84 Cervélo P5 DA 84 Swift Neurogen 84 Giant Trinity Advanced Pro

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SILK YH

SMO OT

PS E C IA L IZ E D R O U B A IX C O M 50

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R54 1 0 0


ROAD ENDURANC E In 2002, Specialized created a new bike (rather than modifying an existing model) to tackle the Classics. That version of the Roubaix had a longer wheelbase, taller head tube and more relaxed geometry than race bikes of the time. It also had increased clearance for bigger tyres. Polymer inserts (called Zertz) were moulded into the frame, to take the sting out of rough roads. Best part: it was available to the masses. The standout feature of the new Roubaix is the Future Shock suspension cartridge. Positioned in the head tube, the cartridge provides 20mm of smooth travel in the front. A standard threadless stem clamps to the portion above the rubber boot, while the section below is housed in the steerer tube. Three spring options allow you to tune the suspension feel. Consequently, the Future Shock signals the departure of Zertz inserts in the stays and fork legs (though they’re still in the Cobble Gobbler seat post!). The geometry has also been tweaked, giving the Roubaix quicker handling and sharper acceleration. Roubaix (and the women’s Ruby) frames are stiffer, lighter, take tyres up to 32mm, and are disc-brake only.

R84 999 BMC-SWITZERLAND.COM

The Roadmachine’s light and stiff frame (BMC claim 930 grams) is built with geometry that hits the sweet spot between endurance and full-blown race weapon… it accelerates at will, corners evenly, and – thanks to a set of hydraulic brakes – stops on a dime. Based on our first impressions, we’d say the Roadmachine leans more towards a race bike than an old-school endurance or new-school adventure bike. But with clearance for 30mm tyres, you can fit some luxurious comfort for good

measure – and even attempt the odd piece of smooth gravel.

LUE US VA

SERI O

R35 900 SWIFTCARBON.COM

Endurance road bikes aim to offer a slightly less aggressive riding position (making them well suited to less flexible riders); as well as a more comfortable ride experience, by soaking up as much road buzz as possible. The latter is generally achieved through specific carbon lay-ups – like that of the Attack G2, which absorbs and dissipates the energy-sapping vibrations from bad road surfaces. At R35 900 for a full Ultegra spec, the Swift Attack G2 is smooth, and also light on your pocket.

GO OD

TI ONS

VIBRA

R79 999 J JC YCL ING.CO. Z A

The Infinito CV’s carbon lay-up is embedded with layers of patented vibrationcancelling material, which Bianchi call Countervail. Countervail cancels out up to 80% of all vibrations that would normally be transferred directly from the road to your body, resulting in reduced muscle fatigue and increased energy saving. It also helps to maximise control and handling when the going gets rough.

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ROAD R AC E

R G E LT U O V E IX S R E P U S LE A D N CANNO

A D I2

R50 0 0 0

Earning its reputation in the fastest pelotons in the world, Cannondale’s SuperSix EVO has a racing pedigree second to none. In 2015, Cannondale made the first updates to its flagship carbon road race bike, the SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod, with a slew of improvements that have now trickled down to the more affordable intermediate-modulus carbon frame, the SuperSix EVO Carbon. Despite its heftier carbon lay-up, Cannondale says their second-tier frame still weighs in at under 1 000 grams. Improvements include a new fork with slimmer legs that save weight and offer better balanced front- and rear-end ride compliance; a stiffer bottom bracket and head-tube area; a thinner, 25.4mm-diameter seatpost, for better compliance and weight savings; subtle aero shaping in the tubes; and the ability to take up to 28mm tyres. Specced with Shimano’s bulletproof Ultegra Di2 groupset, the SuperSix EVO is well equipped to deliver race-winning performances at an affordable price.

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ROAD RAC E

2017 BIK E BU Y ER’S GUI DE

R33 600 GIANT-BICYCLES.COM

ER FOR H CALLY I F I C SPE Like all Liv bikes, the Avail Advanced 2 is built from the ground up to take care of the specific needs of women – this is not a Giant that’s had its handlebars narrowed, frame painted differently, or seat swopped. Despite the Avail Advanced 2’s geometry being more focused on endurance than racing (think more upright, with less-twitchy front end), Bicycling believes it’s the perfect package for getting into racing, as the Avail has the pedigree for speed, but with more stability and control to calm your nerves in the bunch.

R WINNEESS! L – FOR

R46 000 SCOTT-SPORTS.COM

The victories earned on the UCI Pro Tour over the past few seasons reaffirm the capabilities of the Addict as an extremely light, fast machine. The Addict 20’s mainframe is built using Scott’s latest carbon lay-up process called IMP, which allows for lighter construction – thanks to carefully designed lay-ups, which require less material to achieve the same strength – while simultaneously improving ride quality. This performance chassis is complemented by a full Ultegra groupset, while Syncros – Scott’s in-house componentry brand – completes the build.

EXCEPTIONAL

ALL-ROUNDER

R98 800 SPECIALIZED.COM

IN THE REPU TATI ON EARNING ITS WORLD, E OT ONS IN TH FASTEST PEL EVO X SI ER P ’S SU CANNONDALE ND CO SE E RE IG G PED HAS A RACIN TO NONE.

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In 2015, Specialized introduced a Rider-First Engineered approach to the frame construction of its Tarmac range. Each of the seven frame sizes is developed independently – the needs of a 1.8m, 95kg sprinter differ from those of a 1.5m, 65kg climber. The Tarmac Pro, twinned with Roval CL40 carbon wheels, will make you a racing snake who exudes confidence when sprinting, cornering and descending.


2005 GIANT TCR ADVANCED BY SEAN TALKINGTON

Get the bike not for who you are, but for who you might become I used to work at a shop. When new cyclists would come in looking for a bike, I’d tell them that instead of buying the most inexpensive option, they should try to envision where they would be in one or two years of riding. Buy a bicycle that can evolve with you, I’d say, because you have no idea how far it’s going to take you. This was not some pitch designed just for the up-sell. I was speaking from experience. When I first purchased a road bike more than 10 years ago, all I wanted was to ride around my neighborhood and maybe lose a few kilos. A buddy advised me to spend triple the R5 000 I had budgeted. That R15 000 seemed insane – and I didn’t even have that much. But my friend was extremely persuasive, and my

mom had loaned me a credit card for school expenses. (Once again, sorry Mom.) I started pedalling around on my new Giant TCR in a skateboard helmet and tracksuit pants covered in chain grease, wearing a backpack that contained enough supplies for a week, including a map book. (This was before smartphones.) I thought I looked pretty cool – at least, cooler than my friends, who had shaved legs and garages filled with what appeared to be way too many bicycles. Racing, or riding 100 kays on a Saturday morning, seemed like something I would never (and could never) build up to. I was certain that I would never wear Lycra and become one of ‘those road-bike people’.

I loved my bike (of course), but I could tell it was much nicer than it needed to be for my neighbourhood spins, and I sometimes chided myself for spending more than I’d needed to. However, as my rides got longer and harder, I learned the extent of how awesome bikes (and stretchy clothes) can be. Eventually, I started racing. I ended up giving up my job as a designer, and began working full-time at a bike shop. Bicycles took over my life.

Sean Talkington is the owner of Team Dream Bicycling Team, Ringtail and a bike shop owner.


2017 BIK E BU Y ER’S GUI DE

R35 700 GIANT-BICYCLES.COM

Giant’s answer to the saying ‘aero is everything’ is the Propel frameset, which has been proved to slice efficiently through the air without compromising weight or stiffness. Although the materials are different, the Propel Advanced 1 is a similar design to Giant’s top-level Propel Advanced SL – the only distinction is that the SL version has an integrated seatpost. The tube profiles are identical; so you benefit from the same aero technology as Team Giant-Alpecin, but at a more affordable price.

R55 000 SCOTT-SPORTS.COM

Débuted in 2010, the second-gen Foil has been tweaked into a lighter, more aerodynamic, stiffer and more comfortable package than the previous model. Engineers focused on improving vertical compliance, which now allows the fullcarbon frame to soak up road vibrations better without compromising lateral stiffness. New tube profiles have improved the Foil’s real-world aerodynamics, while the BB, headset and front fork have been stiffened by a refined carbon lay-up. The Foil frameset is available with a mechanical (featured) or Di2 Ultegra groupset.

POWER PRECISE ST OPPING

R74 900 BHSOUTHAFRICA.CO.ZA

The G7 Disc is essentially an evolution of BH’s mechanical-brakeset-equipped G6 Pro aero road frame, with redesigned rear end and fork to accommodate disc brakes. Understandably, its geometry and sloping frame design are largely G6 Pro-derived – a good thing, as the G7 inherits all the G6’s speed, stiffness and confidence, with improved, precise stopping power. Our experience was that the compact geometry translated into stable, predictable handling, especially when cornering sharply.

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ROAD AE RO

D SPECCE FOR S SUCCES

M ER ID A RE AC TO 70 00 -E

R54 999

The Reacto’s ‘Fastback’ tube profiles, which allow it to achieve the slipperiness it does, are based on the NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) 0028 airfoil – in which the trailing edge is chopped off, tricking the wind into acting as if it were still there. The truncated-aerofoil-shaped tubes are borrowed from Merida’s Warp TT frame, while the fork blades are spaced wide apart, to stop dirty air turbulence interfering with the wheel. Internal cables and a directmount rear brake under the bottom bracket keep things tidy, while adding to aerodynamic efficiency. Specced with an ever-reliable Ultegra Di2 groupset, the Reacto 7000-E represents fantastic value for money.

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2017 BIK E BU Y ER’S GUI DE

M OM SE N AL 02 9

R8 150

If you’re looking to get into cycling, the Momsen AL029 offers the perfect starting point for you to to take the initiative, and buy your first mountain bike. At the AL029’s heart is an alloy frame tubeset that’s been welded to offer riders a balanced, stable riding position. New for 2017, the AL029 has been re-designed to incorporate Momsen’s LSG – Long, Slack Geometry – which will further enhance your experience, both on- and off-road. Blending a race-ready alloy frame and 100mm HL Zoom suspension fork with an 8-speed triple crankset gives newbie riders the chance to grow and improve, without the need for routine upgrades.

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MTB BUD GET HARDTA I LS

R5 000

CT PERFE FIRST BIKE

AVALANCHEBICYCLES.CO.ZA

In 2015, with 26” bikes becoming extinct, Avalanche switched from 29” to 27.5” wheels in the entry level or ‘sport’ segment of the market. The Avalanche brand manager explained that 27.5” is the perfect entry point for those looking to cruise their neighbourhood or start exploring off-road. Critically for younger riders, who tend to ride small or XS frames, 27.5” bikes offer a better ‘fit’ than 29ers, on which shorter riders tend to sit ‘between’ the 29” wheels instead of above them.

R8 995 OMNIC O.C O. Z A

While Mongoose are better known for their BMX roots, this American company also produces a wide range of mountain bikes. Locally, Mongoose have created a foothold in the recreational or leisure segment of the mountain-bike market. The Tyax 29R Comp’s 32-hole Alex rims are tubeless-compatible, which is useful to know if you’re planning to convert. Kenda Small Block Eight tyres feature lowprofile, closely-spaced knobs that are fast-rolling, but still offer consistent grip. A full Shimano drivetrain and hydraulic brakeset complete a solid package.

R8 995 OMNICO.CO.ZA

TRAIL BREAKER

GT, with their iconic triple-triangle design, have a long racing history and a rich pedigree that has seen decades’ worth of development trickle down into their sport-level bikes. This is great for consumers, who score confidenceinspiring geometry and a quality build kit without having to break the bank. The Karakoram Comp’s capability makes it a great buy for those looking for a little more than simply riding around the neighbourhood.

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R16 500 SPECIALIZED.COM

The Expert sports Specialized’s 29” trail geometry, which gives it handling that’s both responsive and accurate, thanks to a low bottom bracket, roomy top tube, and 442mm chainstays. Up front, a Manitou M30 29 suspension fork takes care of business, boasting 30mm stanchions for added stiffness. Depending on frame size, the fork offers either 80mm or 100mm of travel. A reliable 2x10 drivetrain takes care of shifting, while a set of 29”x2.1” Specialized Ground Control Sport tyres will keep you in contact with terra firma.

MER SMOOTH PERFOR

R16 000 TITANRACINGBIKES.COM

Winner of Bicycling’s 2016 Race-Ready Hardtail shoot-out, Titan’s 29er Elite isn’t resting on its laurels heading into 2017 – with the introduction of a full 2x11 Shimano SLX drivetrain that promises even better shifting performance than the 2016 model’s 2x10 spec. Throw into the mix a set of ZTR Rapid rims and tubelessready tyres, and the 29er Elite will be difficult to ignore in 2017.

R17 995 OMNICO.CO.Z A

RACING PEDI GREE

In the late 90s and early 2000s GT offered some of the most advanced mountain bikes in the business, with the likes of Hans Rey, Steve Peat and the late Burry Stander all riding to victory on GTs. Traditionally, the Zaskar hardtail has always featured well-dialled geometry translating into a balanced ride – a good mix between comfort and aggressiveness. In terms of spec, 2x11 Shimano SLX shifters and derailleurs and an FSA crankset deliver reliable shifting and a wide gear selection, thanks to an 11-42T Sunrace cassette.

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RACE-READY HARDTA I LS

The all-new, fluorescent-orange Fathom blends weight, comfort and affordability to create a sporty hardtail that offers value where it matters. An SR Suntour Raidon fork offering 100mm of travel features a remote lockout (that means the lockout lever is situated on the handlebar) to keep your hands closer to the grips at all times, making your ride safer by keeping you in control. Other highlights include a well-specced 2x10 Shimano Deore/XT drivetrain, as well as a set of 29”x2.25” Maxxis Crossmark II tyres that are sure to keep you in tune with the terrain. Good to see a wide – that’s 730mm – handlebar, which grants stability at high speed and offers better steering leverage on singletrack.

O CAN-D LI T Y I

CAPAB

GI AN T FA TH OM 29 ER 2

R15 999

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IBLE INCRED RIDE Y QUALI T

R85 000 SCOTT-SPORTS.COM

In 2017, the 900 series will include the Scale RC 900 (Race Concept), featuring HMX carbon frame construction, and the standard Scale 900 series, with HMF carbon frame construction. HMX frames (as on the Scale RC World Cup pictured) are dedicated to 1x drivetrains. The HMF line-up is designed for a double-chainring, but can fit a single-chainring. Other improvements are boost hub spacing, 13mm-shorter chainstays, and a longer reach/shorter stem configuration for sharper handling. 62

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R36 999 MERIDA-BIKES.COM

Merida’s Big.Nine hardtail is made for competitive riders, who will appreciate the instant acceleration and agility of a carbon hardtail, as well as the crisp, hassle-free 1x11 Shimano XT drivetrain. The carbon construction of the Big.Nine seat stay has been tailored to flex, reducing fatigue, while each layer of carbon has been treated with a nanoparticle to strengthen the matrix of the epoxy resin, helping to reduce impact damage from rocks flicked up by your front wheel or by other riders.


MTB PERFORMANCE HARDTAI LS

TRE K PR OC ALI BER 9.6

R40 900 SPECIALIZED.COM

HER SPECIFICALLY FOR

At 1 175g, the new Women’s Epic HT is one of the lightest frames Specialized have made. They achieved this by making the entire frame from FACT 10m carbon, and using the Rider-First Engineered concept that originated with the Tarmac road bike. In terms of geometry, slacking-out the head-tube angle, lengthening the top tube, and steepening the seat-tube angle has improved rider stability, which translates into more speed. Stiffness has also been beefed up.

R39 999

Trek’s Procaliber is an extremely light, World-Cup-capable carbon hardtail featuring a specifically-tuned IsoSpeed Decoupler (similar to the one on their Domane road bike) that offers added rearend compliance – up to 11mm, according to Trek. The integrated decoupler allows the seat tube to rotate independently of the top-tube-to-seat-stay junction, increasing vertical compliance without compromising pedalling efficiency. Similarly to BMC’s Micro Travel technology, the IsoSpeed Decoupler’s chief job is to improve traction while simultaneously taking the edge off rutted, rooty and rocky terrain, keeping you fresher for longer. To improve stiffness Trek have built boost hub spacing into the Procaliber, which adds additional speed when cranking out the power. Two Procaliber models are available in South Africa: the super-light Procaliber 9.8 SL (R76 999), which features top-end OCLV carbon frame construction, carbon wheels and a RockShox SID RL fork; and the Procaliber 9.6 featured here, which is kitted out with a 2x10 Shimano Deore drivetrain and 100mm RockShox Reba RL suspension.

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SC OT T SP AR K RC 90 0 WO RL D CU P The 2017 Scott Spark could not have asked for a better introduction. Within a few months of its launch, Nino Schurter (on a 29er) and his Scott Odlo teammate, Sweden’s Jenny Rissveds (on a 27.5”), would achieve the spectacular feat of winning the 2016 men’s and women’s Elite World Championships, as well as Olympic Gold in Rio – both aboard the new Scott Spark. The most notable change is the orientation of the rear shock, which is now vertically mounted and uses a rocker with a pivotless swing-arm. This means that the swing-arm doesn’t use a linkage or bearing at the rear axle, which saves weight and requires less maintenance. The change has improved small-bump sensitivity, while increasing progression at the top of the stroke. In terms of rider fit and trail confidence, Scott have followed the trend of a longer front centre paired with a slacker head angle. Boost hub spacing is another new addition to the Spark range, with the full line-up going wider. While the more XC race-oriented RC 900 line offers 100mm of travel, the Spark 900 series’ Fox front and rear suspension boasts a plush 120mm of travel, which is better suited to more casual riders.

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R99 50 0


MTB DUAL-SUS PENS I ON RACE WEAP ONS

PURE GOLD

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DUAL-SUS PENS I ON RACE WEAP ONS

R75 000 OMNICO.CO.ZA

Last year Cannondale unveiled an all-new Scalpel, revealing a frame that had been on the receiving end of a surgeon’s scalpel. The new Scalpel Si has benefited from enhanced construction techniques that saw frame weight drop to 2 118g. Handling has been refined through revised geometry in the form of shorter chainstays and a slacker head angle, as well as a longer reach and longer fork-offset combination. The Scalpel Si’s new suspension layout has opened up the front triangle, allowing two water bottles to be stored.

LESS FAST ‘N FEAR

R140 000 SPECIALIZED.COM

Despite being around for many years, the current incarnation of Specialized’s marathon/XC race weapon, the S-Works Epic FSR 29, is showing no signs of falling by the wayside. Still electrifyingly fast, the Epic appears to be the weapon of choice at South African stage races. Rumour has it that the jewel in the Specialized crown is due for an upgrade – so either get into the game and buy a piece of history, or wait a few months for something that is likely to push the boundaries of speed, efficiency and agility.

KE FOR YOUR BI MORE BANG

THE MOST NOTABLE CHANGE IS THE ORIENTATION OF THE REAR SHOCK, WHICH IS NOW VERTICALLY MOUNTED AND USES A ROCKER WITH A PIVOTLESS SWING-ARM.

R55 000 MOMSENBIKES.COM

The Vipa One has a full-carbon frame with 80mm of rear-end travel and 100mm up front, making it perfect for stage races. Add a mounting for a toptube bag and space for two bottles, and you’re good to go. A full Shimano 1x11 SLX drivetrain is fitted with an 11-42T cassette for enough range for varying terrain. A 1x-specific rear swing arm allows for stiffer construction.

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I paid way too much, and it paid off.

2013 GT FURY WORLD CUP BY AMANDA BATTY

In 2012, my best friend encouraged me to try an amateur downhill race. I was hesitant, but I won. And I fell in love with the ticking clock and its pressure. I decided right then that I was going to become a professional downhill mountain biker. I signed up for every race I could find within a 750-kay radius. And I bought an R80 000 carbon GT Fury with a sweet ENVE and Chris King build. I suppose it may have been rash and unwise to invest so heavily in a sport in which I didn’t really know whether or not I could excel. But the money never seemed like too much when I was riding the bike. It was a risk, but one I was taking for myself. And unlike a new car or a flat or a TV or anything else I’d ever bought, this bike had awakened my spirit. I named her Lola. She was a show-off, and she made me do crazy things, like guinea-pigging a road gap with a blind entrance. Lola suited my Panzer-tank riding style, allowing me to

monster-truck over all sorts of obstacles. If it was fast, loose, or dry, I sent it. I felt like a superhero when I swung my leg over that bike, and part of the reason was because I knew I had made the investment to get what I needed. Lola was put together so that my habit of overshooting badly-built gaps didn’t end my life. I felt confident and unbeatable atop Lola – and unless I crashed, I usually was. And when some smarty-pants would walk up and ask me where my boyfriend got the bike, it gave me great pleasure to tell him that she was mine. Lola saw me through compressed vertebrae, a broken sternum and double pneumothorax, and all the other random injuries that I’ll feel in 10 years. Every time I was hurt, seeing her sitting there in the corner was enough to get me back up and in the saddle. Lola would always make speed okay again. But there were days when she was

too heavy for me, too big, too much of a straight-line sender and not enough of a low-cornering monster. In these ways, she showed me not only where I excelled but also what my weaknesses were, in racing and in life. I broke my shoulder and wanted to blame the bike. I won my first race on top of the bike, and wanted to hang it on the wall. I didn’t. What I did was to ride her into the ground over 13 tough months, from a broken axle at one race to a shattered frame at another, and into a career as a professional downhill bike racer.

Amanda Batty is a a writer and the founder of #ProvingPossible, a programme that pays entry fees for first-time female downhill racers.


2017 BIK E BU Y ER’S GUI DE

SP EC IAL IZE D CA MB ER CO MP 29 ER

R56 50 0

According to Specialized’s country sales manager Stuart Weaver, a few years ago the Epic was the only Specialized mountain bike on people’s radar. That was until the Camber arrived – and inherited the top spot, in terms of local demand. While the Epic is great for racing snakes, 99% of the field will benefit hugely from the more forgiving geometry of the Camber, as well as its longer 120mm front and rear travel. This particular Comp model features an alloy rear end twinned to a Fact 9m carbon front end that houses a SWAT storage box in its downtube, taking care of storing the essentials – like a tube, levers and CO2 cartridges. We chose to feature the Shimano 2x option, to salute all the big manne out there who require an extra gear or two when the track points skywards. The Camber Comp is also available in a SRAM 1x configuration, with exactly the same colourways and build kits (barring the granny gear!).

FUN & ING FORGI V

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MTB DUAL-SUS PENS I ON TRA I L

FRAMESET

R46 500 NINER.CO.ZA

While Niner’s RKT 9 RDO (with 100mm of travel) takes care of the racing snakes, the all-new Jet9 RDO is built with more relaxed [R]Evolution geometry and longer travel (120mm) that encourages you to rock ‘n’ roll on the trails without needing to call a shuttle to take you uphill – because Niner’s CVA suspension delivers efficient performance. The Jet9 RDO also has a trick up its sleeve: the frame is built to accommodate both 29er and 27.5+ wheels, with tyre clearance for widths of up to 2.5” and 3.0” respectively. It’s available as a frameset, or as a complete bike.

R47 900 GIANT-BICYCLES.COM

With 140mm of rear travel and 150mm up front, paired to 27.5” wheels, the Giant Trance favours the trail-oriented rider looking to spend a day in the mountains with his mates, as opposed to tackling a marathon race where riders are ripping around on 120mm 29ers. The 2017 Trance features a new carbon upper link, which weighs half what the previous alloy version did; while its suspension configuration has been redesigned, allowing you to run softer rear shock pressures.

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R105 000 YETICYCLES.COM

The best stamp of approval for any brand is happy customers, telling their circle of influence just how amazing their new bike is. Ahead of the 2016 Cape Epic, Mark – a friend of Bicycling’s Gear Ed – was struggling with his confidence when descending and riding technical singletrack. When it emerged that the 2016 Epic route would be dominated by singletrack, he began to panic. That was until Mark test-rode the Yeti ASR. In a matter of days he‘d sold his frame and swopped the parts across – it’s that fast, stable and light. Mark aced the Epic, and continues to sing the praises of the Yeti ASR to anyone who will listen.

FAST LONG, SL ACK AND

R114 995 DHBDISTRIBUTION.CO.ZA

When imagining the Ripley, Ibis originally planned on a light, aggressive 100mm platform for World Cup XC-oriented racers. After some research, and many conversations with suspension guru Dave Weagle (inventor of the DW Link), Ibis ended up with a 120mm Ripley that was super-efficient, but enjoyed the added plushness of an extra 20mm of eccentric travel. Ibis recently added the Ripley LS into the mix, which also sports 120mm of travel but offers a 15mm-longer top tube and slacker 67.5-degree head-angle compared to the standard Ripley. The LS is better suited to taller riders (over 1.8m), while the nimble, sharper-handling standard Ripley is best for more competitive marathon riders.

AVAILABLE IN XXL, ABLE TO GEST SWALLOW UP EVEN THE BIG EXLIKE – UND ARO S BREKER BOK SKIPPER JOHN SMIT.

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MTB DUAL-SUS PENS I ON TRA I L

R49 999 TREKBIKES.COM

The big story for the 2017 Fuel EX is the move away from XC and into the realm of trail bikes (if you’re after an XC package, the Top Fuel is for you). The new Fuel EX chassis gets longer, lower, and slacker. The rocker arm retains the Mino link, a small chip that allows riders to change the head angle by 0.75 degrees and raise or lower the bottom bracket at the same time. Travel grows to 130mm at both ends (up from 120mm previously), and the bike is able to fit both 29-inch and (with the swop to a longer 140mm fork) 27.5+ wheels on the same frame. – Mike Yozell

GREAT VALUE

R29 999 TITANRACINGBIKES.COM

The Sonic is Titan’s first dual-suspension bike, and its competitive pricing is aimed squarely at getting more riders off-road, especially onto sections of singletrack that newbies would otherwise be intimidated by without the 100mm of rear suspension to soak up the bumps. The Sonic range comprises four build kits, of which the featured Pro is the flagship model, sporting the new 2x11 Shimano XT drivetrain, Stan’s ZTR Rapid rims, and tubeless-ready tyres.

SA NTA CR UZ TAL LBO Y 3 CC

R144 995

Launched eight years ago, Santa Cruz’s Tallboy was one of the first short-travel 29er dual suspensions, offering a lively, responsive ride more focused on having fun on the trails than breakneck speed on gravel roads or XC tracks. The new Tallboy 3 is longer, lower and slacker, and is able to swop between 29er and 27.5+ wheels. Interestingly, the Tallboy 3 is available in XXL, able to swallow up even the biggest brekers around – like former Springbok skipper John Smit, who recently upgraded to the TallBoy 3 from the previous model. At Wines2Whales the Bok legend said he just feels at home on the Tallboy, with the longer reach providing enough space to find the ideal riding position.

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B IA N C H I O LT R E X R 4 Bianchi’s all-new Oltre XR4 is one of those bikes that catches your attention and doesn’t let go until you’ve devoured every single detail – from the sleek fork blades to the iconic crowned eagle that sits proudly on every Bianchi head tube. And that’s before you’ve even turned a crank! Replacing the XR2 as Bianchi’s flagship race machine, the XR4 is more of a refinement than a completely overhauled design, with the two most significant improvements being in aerodynamic performance and ride comfort. The frame’s tubes – chiefly the fork, down tube, seat tube and seat stays – have been elongated to enhance the XR4’s aero credentials, giving it not just more presence on the road but a sharper edge, to cut through the wind. Built specifically for the XR4 is an integrated Metron 5D aero handlebar and stem, which just add to the aerodynamics. Arguably the biggest coup scored by the new XR4 is the fact that though it’s the fifth frame engineered by Bianchi to include the company’s Countervail technology, it’s the first that’s racespecific. Thanks to a specific carbon lay-up infused with a material that absorbs road vibrations and frame turbulence, Countervail literally cancels out energy loss that would otherwise cause you to fatigue. The importance of this is that it places the XR4 in the sweet spot: though it’s an extremely versatile package, it still has all the hallmarks of success – lightweight, aero, smooth… and of course, stiff enough to accelerate at will. The Oltre XR4 has earned itself the honour of being the go-to frame for the LottoNL-Jumbo ProTour team – which can only mean that it’s the perfect tool for South African road-racing conditions.

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R165 450


D REAM ROA D

E CELEST HE STILL T BEST

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2017 BIK E BU Y ER’S GUI DE

R165 000 ASGSPORT.CO.ZA

Developed in conjunction with Jaguar, the Dogma F8 – Pinarello’s flagship racing frame – has become synonymous with success, thanks largely to Chris Froome (with the help of his Team Sky teammates) winning three consecutive Tours de France aboard this masterpiece of engineering. To celebrate 20 years of building some of the most revered road bikes on the planet, Pinarello have released this limited-edition ‘La Ventesima’ (meaning ‘The Twentieth’), which is decked out with SRAM’s e-Tap drivetrain for an electrifying ride experience.

TY HAND-BUILT BEAU

FRAME, FORK AND STEM, PAINTED

R15 000 SHAUN WEBER:

083 629 3191

While there are many characteristics and qualities that contribute to a bike reaching ‘dream bike’ status, a fully personalised, one-of-a-kind frameset made to fit you, and you only, is the ultimate factor in determining your dream bike – one you won’t find riding up alongside you while you’re at a traffic light! Beautifully and meticulously crafted by Shaun Weber in his Cape Town workshop, Storm steel frames, such as that of the StormChaser disc-equipped gravel race bike, are handmade to order.

R139 999 TREKBIKES.COM

When Trek’s super-bike was designed, no detail was deemed insignificant, as engineers strove to maximise aerodynamics and ride quality. The frame and fork’s slippery KVF tubing is shaped to minimise drag, and a fully integrated IsoSpeed decoupler offers superior ride quality by enhancing vertical compliance. The Madone truly shines in its integration of cable, braking, electronic and bearing interfaces. These areas required intricate frame shaping and very tight tolerances.

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DREAM ROA D


We all rationalise the need to spend thousands (sometimes tens of thousands) of rands on a bike. If you’re like me, the process goes something like this: Read about a new breakthrough material/technology/ geometry/rubber compound; start to second-guess current set-up. Blame current set-up for anything less than flawless performance. Buy new stuff. After 20 years of doing this for every major purchase – from downhill race bikes to carbon tubular cyclocross wheels to fixie commuters – I’ve realised that this rationalisation is actually irrational. Because the most important thing to consider when you’re buying a new bike is... colour. I’m serious. There are very few bad bikes on the market today. If you have 25 or 30k, you can choose from dozens of great bikes. If you want to spend two or three times that much, the bikes are stellar, nearly beyond expectation. More than that? Forget it. So set your budget, chat with someone at your LBS, do some test rides to narrow down options. Then... choose the bike with the best colour.

I bought a custom Black Cat road bike a couple of years ago. The frame is a mix of lugged, fillet-brazed steel and ENVE carbon-fibre tubes. It descends like a demon, rides buttery smooth, and every component is top-of-the-line. The bike is rolling perfection. But the best feature – the thing that stops people when they see it – is the paint. It’s a pearlescent, semi-metallic light blue, inspired by a 1975 Ferrari 275. After nearly two years, that hue still has the same effect on me. It’s like looking at a gorgeous landscape, and I always make a certain sound – usually in my head, sometimes out loud – like, oofff... Just looking at the Black Cat makes me want to ride. That emotional response is a reminder of why we lust after new equipment. It’s not just about measureables, like climbing faster or riding further or finishing some crazy ride – it’s also about how that new bike makes you feel. Walk into your garage and look at your bike. If the sight of it doesn’t get you fired up to ride, it’s time to get a new one.

Dain Zaffke is the director of marketing for Giro Sport Design. You can find him riding his majestic, light blue road bike, a bright pink mountain bike, or a bright orange and purple ’cross bike. There are matte black bikes too; he just doesn’t want to talk about them.

colour

BY DAIN ZAFFKE

Because the

2014 BLACK CAT


2017 BIK E BU Y ER’S GUI DE

R141 000 SPECIALIZED.COM

Born in 1981, and regarded as the first-ever production mountain bike, today’s Stumpjumper builds on an impressive legacy, offering an agile package that delivers precise, snappy handling based around an efficient FSR suspension platform. Borrowing characteristics from both the big-hitting Enduro 29er and the more XC-specific Camber 29er, the 130mm Stumpjumper FSR 29 is positioned neatly between the two, offering a bike that accelerates and climbs like the Camber but descends like the Enduro – a happy medium!

STEEL STALLION

FRAMES FROM

R14 000 MERCERBIKES.CO.ZA

While Dave Mercer is best known as a maker of bespoke, made-to-order steel frames, the lanky Capetonian has created a few ‘semi-stock’ frames that steel enthusiasts can purchase without having to go through the rigmarole of measuring up for a unique, custom frame. For now, Mercer has settled on three stock hardtail models fillet-brazed from Columbus tubing: the Lanky Lemur, an all-day-fun 29er or 650b; the versatile, long-travel, trail-munching Hungry Monkey, and the endurofocused, er, King Dong.

R116 999 RUSHSPORTS.CO.ZA

The Hightower replaces Santa Cruz’s popular Tallboy LT, the more aggressive brother of the standard Tallboy 29er. The Hightower keeps the LT’s 135mm of travel (using the VVP suspension platform), while offering riders a choice between 29er and 27.5+ wheelsets. The main shift between the LT and the Hightower is the latter’s longer top tube and slacker 67-degree head angle, which are par for the course in modern trail bikes. With sharp handling and a carbon chassis, the Hightower will devour anything you throw at it.

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In 2014, Bicycling brought you the exclusive story of how Pyga were attempting to produce South Africa’s first carbon frame on home soil – the Stage. A series of setbacks forced them to move production to the East where manufacturing is more standardised and easier to control. Despite the challenges, Pyga persevered; and the Stage has been well received by riders in South Africa, who enjoy its stable, precise handling. While the standard Stage offers 95mm of travel, the featured Stage Max delivers 126mm of plush suspension, for riders looking to push themselves harder on the singletrack.


DREAM M TB

PY GA ST AG E M AX XX 1 EA GL E

R127 00 0

ER– PLUSH CAN SO YOU ER T GO FAS

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1972 SCHWINN VARSITY 1990 MIYATA 512 2002 TREK 5200 BY MIKE MAGNUSON

When I was a little boy and this is

embarrassing

to admit I treated a bicycle very badly.


It was my first, a black Schwinn Typhoon, one that my parents presented to me on my fifth birthday. After a short, unhappy stint with training wheels, I gained my balance and developed a head-cocked, crazy-eyed, hellion-rider demeanour; and proceeded to beat the grease out of that bike, ramrodding around town, hitting potholes on purpose, mistiming curb jumps to amuse myself with the subsequent crash. Or I would ride full blast toward the steep embankments of the nearby stream, and at the last second jump off the bike and let it tumble down the rocks and into the water; where, even though I was undoubtedly laughing too loudly to hear, the bicycle cried out for better treatment and an easier, more sustainable life. Three full years I flailed on that bike without the slightest worry or twinge of guilt, and somewhere in my journeys I started riding it to a bike shop called TR Driggett’s, which had a logo featuring a frog riding a penny farthing. I was just about to turn nine and inclined to admire frogs of all sorts, especially frogs that could ride bicycles, and one day I opened the door to the shop and walked in. There I saw, in a shimmer of fluorescent light, a yellow Schwinn Varsity 10-speed. Its frame gleamed, its cables stretched gracefully from the curled handlebar to the brakes and the derailleurs, and at the bottom of the seat tube was a sticker with that bike-riding frog on it. “I love it!” I said. The shop owner – Mr TR Driggett, naturally – informed me that the bike was too big for me and that my parents probably couldn’t afford it. For a full month I harangued my parents about that bike, elaborated its praises, detailed how much better my horrible life would be with that bike, how I knew it was too big but I would grow into it, and on and on. The bike cost more than my family could afford, but if one’s desires can be conveyed as a fanatical need, sometimes people stretch their finances. Finally, my father told me, “I’ll get you that bike for your birthday, but you have to promise that you will treat it the way you would your best friend – and I want you to ride that bike for the rest of your life.”

I had to do without some things for a while – movies, sweets, trips to the zoo, and some other things that were probably bad for me anyway – but on my birthday, I climbed onto that bike. And for a long time, I don’t think I ever climbed off it. I had the greatest summer of my life. I rode everywhere. I gave up crashing on purpose, and started keeping my bike clean. And while of course I didn’t ride that bike for the rest of my life, it set the tone. I would always have a bike that cost more than I could afford, and I would always absolutely love that machine as if

riding it, you’re cleaning it and lubing it or leaning it against the living room wall and staring at it until bedtime, then taking it into the bedroom with you so the last thing you see before closing your eyes is that bicycle, and after a full night of dreaming of that bicycle it will be the first thing you see when you wake up. That kind of love comes from riding in the open air and getting strong and fit and living longer and having countless new experiences, a whole set of new ones on every single ride. And sure, you can do all that on any old bike,

The completion of your velocipede spirit it were a person, and the bike would always be worth whatever sacrifice I had to make. Like when I had a crappy factory job in 1990 and had to pay the bike shop in instalments, and ended up getting my telephone service cut anyway because I sacrificed paying my bill to take possession of a Miyata 512. Or in 2002, when I was as broke as an old seatpost, and I leveraged every cent I had, called in every favour, borrowed, lied, cheated, and did everything but steal so I could buy a Trek 5200 with all the upgrades. I thought that bike would turn my life around, and it did. I rode it for thousands of kilometres; and aside from my children and my wife, that Trek 5200 is still the greatest thing that ever happened to me. You know the feeling: a particular bicycle never leaves your mind, and when you’re not

but when you’re straddling the smoothest, coolest, most beautiful bike of your dreams, the one you can’t take your eyes off, the one that has allowed you to ride faster or further or better than you ever have before, the one that is the completion of your velocipede spirit, wow! It’s that feeling that supersedes price tags and monthly budgets and all the other pesky obligations that go along with being a responsible adult. Just try adding it all up, the millions of beautiful things that come with that bike. You can’t possibly. Mike Magnuson is the author of Heft on Wheels and Bike Tribes. He’s currently finishing a novel about the 1944 Tour of Flanders.


SPECIALITY E-BI K ES

2017 BIK E BU Y ER’S GUI DE

MY TH-BUSTING

T IE T A F 6 P M O C R S F O V E L O B S P E C IA L IZ E D T U R Specialized call their range of e-Bikes ‘Pedal Assist’, in an effort to debunk the myth that simply because you have a motor between your legs, you don’t have to exert any effort or expend any energy while riding. Having ridden the Levo FSR for six days straight – a total of 400km – ‘pedal assist’ may just be the best way to describe the feeling of the help that the Levo FSR affords you – essentially matching the power you inject into the system with an equal amount of its own, up to a maximum of 530W. There’s no denying that e-Bikes are challenging the beliefs of many riders; but we at Bicycling can’t see any reason to diss a technology that will, without doubt, put more bums on saddles.

R71 999 EVOLUTIONCYCLING.CO.ZA

Featuring a 250W Yamaha crank-drive motor, the Hardnine will enable you to ride longer and further – with less effort.

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R8 0 9 0 0

R55 000 BHSOUTHAFRICA.CO.ZA

With assistance distributed between front and rear hubs, power transfer is smooth and consistent.

R70 999 GIANT-BICYCLES.COM

Giant’s Full-E+ saves you energy on the big climbs so that you can enjoy the descents more, making full use of that 140mm of Maestro rear suspension.


Fixer The Life

My Juliana Joplin hums over the dusty Namibian singletrack. In this heat, sweat evaporates instantly, leaving me crusted with salt. Whenever the trail kicks up, I choke back the metallic taste of blood. My contact lenses feel as if they’re about to crumble out of my eyes. But I can’t stop smiling. Is this what it feels like to fly? I’d just spent two and half years finding out how it feels to crash my life, pouring all my sanity and money into a start-up apparel brand that fell apart just seven months after finally going live. By then, I’d gained 7kg and couldn’t shop for groceries without worrying that my card would be declined. So I did whatever it took to buy the Joplin, travel to Namibia and South Africa, and sign up for the 2016 Absa Cape Epic. It may have been a strange time to buy an expensive mountain bike, but after years of feeling that I was failing, I needed to accomplish something big. To conquer eight days and 647 kilometres of arduous and mountainous off-roading through the Western Cape, I sought a

2015 JULIANA JOPLIN BY COLLYN AHART

bike with characteristics that complemented my weaknesses. I often lack confidence climbing on technical singletrack, but the Joplin makes it feel easier. I wasn't going to be topspeeding through stages in four to five hours like the elite riders do, so I needed a bike that would give me the comfort and control to cope with seven- to eight-hour days on corrugated dirt roads, riverbeds of powdery sand, and steep, rocky singletrack. The Joplin delivered. The bike has become the equivalent of a life coach. See this hill? You got this one. Relax. And I keep pedalling. Pow. I was speaking with my mentor and mountain-biking legend Jacquie Phelan about having the confidence to follow your own path in life. She said, “People who break the rules need to stick together; there aren’t enough of us.” I think of this every time I get on this bike. It channels in me a badass confidence, one that makes me want to throw my hands up and howl at the sky: “I’m not alone in this.”

Collyn Ahart is a writer, brand strategist, and start-up founder.


2017 BIK E BU Y ER’S GUI DE

SWEE T

AND PERFECTLY BALANCED

RIDE

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SPECIALITY GRAVEL BI K ES

RIT CH EY SW ISS CR OS S

R18 00 0

The Swiss Cross Disc blends Ritchey’s cyclocross racing heritage with up-to-date sloping geometry and tubing – including a Ritchey WCS carbon disc fork, to soak up the bumps and deliver the balanced ride for which Ritchey is renowned. Currently only available in SA as a frameset; but in July, complete bikes will be available locally.

R58 000 OMNICO.CO.ZA

Sporting 650B wheels with voluptuous 42C tyres, to give them the same height as a 700C wheelset but a ton more cushioning, the Slate is your go-to gravel bike... and let’s not forget about the Lefty Oliver!

LOAD

& GO

R18 800 SPECIALIZED.COM

With a sturdy frame, big 42C tyres, and ample mounts for water, racks and fenders, the Sequoia is the perfect tool for your next multi-day adventure.

R42 000 GIANT-BIKES.COM

Built for speed, the TCX Advanced 2 was created for riders looking to rip it up offroad, with the occasional dice on the black stuff.

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SPECIALITY TI ME TR I A L

2017 BIK E BU Y ER’S GUI DE

LI GH TNING

C ER V ÉL O P 5 D A

FAST

R190 000

Cervélo designed the P5 as a complete system, integrating the various interfaces of the bike to work in unison with a rider across a wide range of angles. Co-developed with Cervélo, the P5’s hydraulic Magura rim-brakes are custom-designed to gel with the headtube (front calliper) and seat-stays (rear calliper) for next-level aerodynamic performance. For longer, Ironman-style events, the P5 delivers easily accessible storage solutions that are absolutely vital.

R45 000 GIANT-BICYCLES.COM

The Trinity’s AeroVault system was engineered with the frame as a complete unit, integrating hydration and storage and improving overall aerodynamic performance on the road.

ER RACE WINN

R88 900 SWIFTCARBON.COM

Inspired by the road-bike geometry of the Ultravox, the Neurogen is all about speed – but with a focus on control. So you can go fast on the flats, and around the corners.

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R64 999 TREKBIKES.COM

Love him or loathe him, Lance Armstrong provided pivotal real-world aerodynamic input during his infamous career, making the Speed Concept incredibly fast.


PUT WHAT YOU’VE LEARNED TO GOOD USE

THE MPUMALANGA TOUR S I X D AY S O F C L I M B I N G

SUPPLIED

As the only six-day road race in the country, this one holds a special appeal. And Mpumalanga promises its best challenges and scenery over 749km. The 11 500m of total ascents includes the famous Robbers Pass and Kowyn’s Pass, among a host of climbs aimed at testing the climbing mettle of the riders participating. However, the race is still set up so that riders of all skill levels and ages can experience the thrills and spills that Mpumalanga has to offer .

O&M CAPE TOWN 90963/E

12 -17 JANUARY, LOSKOP DAM, MPUMAL ANGA

IT’S NOT ABOUT HOW FAR YOU’VE COME IT’S ABOUT HOW FAR YOU’RE WILLING TO GO. WHEN ACHES AND PAINS GET IN THE WAY OF FINISHING A RACE, WE’LL BE THERE TO KEEP YOU GOING.

http://mentholatum.co.za I www.facebook.com/deepheatza

KEEP GOING


GAUTENG

MPUMALANGA

ROAD

MTB

8 JANUARY POWERADE SUMMER CHALLENGE 70km, 40km, 10km Stonehaven on Vaal, Vanderbijlpark Contact Wimpie van Niekerk 083 460 9338 Online Entries cyclelab.com

29 JANUARY VALUE LOGISTICS FAST ONE 96km, 49km Midvaal Raceway, Meyerton Contact Gerhard Eggers info@thefastone.org, 083 651 1425 Web thefastone.org MTB

15 JANUARY SUMMER FAST ONE MTB 65km, 35km, 10km Rand Water Grounds, 143 IR Kromvlei, Johannesburg Contact Race Office 083 434 3515, 016 982 6060 Online Entries cycleevents.co.za

28 JANUARY BARBERTON XCM MOUNTAIN BIKE CHALLENGE 110km, 77km, 48km, 30km, 20km Barberton High School Contact Barberton Rotary Club info@barbertonxcm.co.za, 082 455 1765 Web barbertonxcm.co.za Online Entries cycleevents.co.za MULTI-STAGE

12-17 JANUARY THE MPUMALANGA TOUR 749km (6-day stage race) First day from Forever Resort Loskopdam Contact Ansie de Jager ansie@hatoere.co.za, 083 411 2480 Web hatoere.co.za Online Entries cycleevents.co.za

MPUMALANGA

28 January This is a long-standing event in the Lowveld, with 2017 being the 21st edition. You have a choice of a few distances, from the kids’ 20km through to the half marathon and 110km ultra marathon events. The scenic trails will take you through a variety of landscapes and heritage sites, including some of the world’s oldest rocks (up to 3.5 billion years old!), while enjoying majestic views over the De Kaap valley. – Nic White

EASTERN CAPE

KZN SUMMER SERIES

ROAD

110-125km Midmar Dam Resort, Pietermaritzburg Contact Alec Lenferna alec@realem.co.za, 082 909 6909 Online Entries cyclingsa.com

15 JANUARY NFB BORDER 1000 CYCLE TOUR 80km, 35km, 20km Stutterheim to East London Contact Backyard Adventures escape@backyard-adventures.co.za, 082 397 5454 Web nfbborder1000.co.za

KWAZULU-NATAL ROAD

20-22 JANUARY

MULTI-STAGE

21-22 JANUARY 2017 EURO STEEL DRAK DESCENT 90km (2-day stage race) Restmount, Umzimkulu River, Underberg Contact Derek Christie

O&M CAPE TOWN 90963/E

THE RACE CALENDAR IS COMPILED TWO MONTHS IN ADVANCE. FOR THE MOST UP-TO-DATE RACE DETAILS, VISIT WWW.BICYCLING.CO.ZA/CALENDAR

IT’S NOT ABOUT HOW FAR YOU’VE COME IT’S ABOUT HOW FAR YOU’RE WILLING TO GO. WHEN ACHES AND PAINS GET IN THE WAY OF FINISHING A RACE, WE’LL BE THERE TO KEEP YOU GOING.

http://mentholatum.co.za I www.facebook.com/deepheatza

KEEP GOING


christies@vodamail.co.za Web sanispoors.co.za

KWAZULU-NATAL

WESTERN CAPE

21-22 January

ROAD

15 JANUARY DIDO VALLEY HILL CLIMB 2.5km (Hill Climb) bottom of Dido Valley Road, Simonstown Contact Gary Trepes gary@ pedalpower.org.za Web and Online Entries pedalpower.org.za MTB

Get your brain out of holiday mode with a leisurely ride alongside the Umzimkulu River. The race is a two-day affair that I’d recommend for anyone looking to get back into riding with a short stage race over manageable distances. Plus you get to show the river paddlers why mountain biking is far better, as they paddle the Drak Challenge canoe race over the same weekend. – Andrew Hill

21 JANUARY FAIRVIEW ATTAKWAS EXTREME MTB CHALLENGE

28 JANUARY PORCUPINE RIDGE MTB CHALLENGE

28-29 JANUARY 24 HOURS OF OAK VALLEY: MTB RELAY

121km, 52km Chandelier Game Farm, Oudtshoorn Contact Dryland Event Management info@dryland.co.za, 044 279 1013 Web atta.co.za

52km, 26km, 7km Bridge House, Newlands Contact Willemien Roux fhoeklionsmtb@gmail.com, 072 462 6595 Web and Online Entries pedalpower.org.za

Oak Valley Estate, Elgin Valley, Grabouw. Contact Dirtopia 021 884 4752 Web dirtopia.co.za

LIMPOPO ROAD

7 JANUARY VAN HEERDEN’S KRANSKOP CYCLE CHALLENGE 109km, 45km Modimolle Mall, Nylstroom Contact EnterSportsEvents Shamus Kruger 061 583 5087, entries@entersportsevents.co.za Web entersportsevents.co.za

WESTERN CAPE

21 January

– Mariske Strauss

O&M CAPE TOWN 90963/E

THE RACE CALENDAR IS COMPILED TWO MONTHS IN ADVANCE. FOR THE MOST UP-TO-DATE RACE DETAILS, VISIT WWW.BICYCLING.CO.ZA/CALENDAR

IT’S NOT ABOUT HOW FAR YOU’VE COME IT’S ABOUT HOW FAR YOU’RE WILLING TO GO. WHEN ACHES AND PAINS GET IN THE WAY OF FINISHING A RACE, WE’LL BE THERE TO KEEP YOU GOING.

http://mentholatum.co.za I www.facebook.com/deepheatza

KEEP GOING

ZOON CRONJE

For many, this race invokes a vast spectrum of emotions, from feeling on top of the world to below the ocean floor. I have had my fair share of ups and downs on it, and it’s definitely one that every mountain biker worth their salt should do. It has everything that makes MTB great: scenery, singletrack, and leg-searing climbs. Completing this event is a badge of honour to wear proudly – not to mention perfect training for anyone thinking of racing the Epic.


introducing the highline simply reliable. years of research, development, and rigorous testing has given rise to the world’s finest dropper post and remote.

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post features internal routing quick-connect mechanism for ease of cable installation • two-bolt quick release head for easy saddle installation • Jagwire elite ultra-slick cable and lex-sl housing • self contained hydraulic cartridge • igus LL-glide bearing and keys • •

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REAL IMAGES FROM REAL RIDERS

S U B M I T T E D B Y @ N I L S _W S C Y C L E W O R K S | I M A G E C O U R T E S Y O F N I L S H A N S E N THIS IS A N OLD ZEUS CRITERIUM REA R DER A ILLEUR, PROBA BLY DATING BACK TO THE 1970S. IT CA ME OFF A BIKE I WAS REDOING WITH MORE MODERN PA RTS. DURING THE 70S, ZEUS WAS THE M A IN COMPETITOR TO CA MPAGNOLO. THEY SH A RED SIMILA R DESIGNS – BUT SOMETIMES, ZEUS WAS BETTER.

Share your good times with us on Instagram. Tag @Bicycling_SA with your ride photos, and next time it could be your pic featured in an upcoming issue! (Remember to mention where the shot was taken!)


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