Full Sus Vol. 68 Jan 2021

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bikepacking life’s journey

unplugged

COVID PROOF EVENTS FOR 2021

36ONE RIDE REPORT

D EC/JA N 2021 VO L 68

BIKE REVIEW TITAN CYPHER RS TEAM 2021


O F F T H E B E AT E N T R A C K

OFF THE

BEATEN TRACK IN 2021


O F F T H E B E AT E N T R A C K

THIS YEAR HAS TAUGHT CYCLISTS THAT WE SHOULD SAVOUR EACH AND EVERY RIDE. WE MET UP WITH THE KING OF THE KAROO JOHN SWANEPOEL TO FIND OUT WHY WE SHOULD ALL EXPERIENCE RIDING OFF THE BEATEN TRACK. WORDS BY JOHN SWANEPOEL IMAGES BY JOHN & FRANCES SWANEPOEL

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hings have changed a lot since March 2020. We’ve all been affected in some way. It was all a bit of a shock, but it’s time to stand up, dust ourselves off and accept that worldwide pandemics are probably here to stay a while and we need to look at new, safer ways of satisfying our spirit of adventure. Clearly, if you venture into areas with a lower population you are at a far lesser risk of contracting some horrible disease, even better if it’s nice and dry so the lurgies can’t survive that long. In South Africa, “no people and dry” equates to the Karoo and if you haven’t noticed there is a lot of it. It’s a little hazy as to where the Karoo starts and ends,

Spectacular mountain passes are a regular occurrence when you ride the Karoo.


O F F T H E B E AT E N T R A C K

but if you stay north of the Outeniqua mountains, south of the Orange river, east of the Fish River and west of the Cederberg mountains, you are definitely in the sparsely populated, arid Karoo. Many of us see it as that boring, endless dry place on the N1 between Colesberg and the Hex River Valley when we are travelling to Cape Town or Gauteng. Agreed, the N1 doesn’t pass through the best of the Karoo, the best

your bucket list, not to mention lots of the “long straight dusties” that the gravel bikers love. It is difficult to describe what attracts one to the Karoo and it’s harsh beauty, but Eve Palmer, Author of The Plains of Camdeboo summed it up in one simple sentence. “At first encounter the Karoo may seem arid, desolate and unforgiving, but to those who know it, it is a land of secret beauty and infinite variety.”

“I’VE ALWAYS ENJOYED THE KAROO, IT’S A HARSH PLACE WITH EXTREME WEATHER CHANGES AND IT CANNOT REALLY BE CONQUERED” of the Karoo lies off the beaten track. Towns like Graaff Reinet, Cradock, Prince Albert, Calitzdorp and De Rust all lie in the Great or Klein Karoo and each has it’s own charm and unique appeal. Cycling routes abound, endless remote gravel roads with minimal traffic and incredible scenery lie waiting for the adventurous in spirit. Swartberg, SwaersHoek, WaaiNek, BuffelsHoek, Rooiberg, Gannaga, Ouberg are all names of passes that need to be on

I’ve always enjoyed the Karoo, it’s a harsh place with extreme weather changes and it cannot really be conquered or “colonised” as we have done to our coastline and greener climes. Traversing it on a bike is always a little unpredictable with temperatures north of 40˚C or south of 0˚, relentless headwinds and the occasional thunderstorm that sends you racing for cover from the lightning and hail, but there are those incredible still days with

crisp mornings and balmy afternoon temperatures which far outweigh the bad in number. Never venture forth unprepared if your ride is longer than four hours. Mountain passes such as the Swartberg Pass can provide uncomfortably cold conditions even in the summer months of November to January. The Karoo plains can turn up the thirst in a 60km ride from a one bidon/water bottle to a three bidon affair. Then there are thorns and sharp “flintstone” shale in places, not great on the tyres Make sure you’re tubeless with a relatively tough sidewall and make sure to take gators and plugs along with you. If you are a resident South African cyclist, look to the current world events rather as a positive trigger to discover new horizons, than a restriction or curbing of your favourite cycling events and adventures. Events will need to have smaller numbers and perhaps they don’t always have to be full-on races with all the pomp and ceremony. Organise a multi-day ride with your mates in the Karoo, there is plenty to explore and experience. I clearly have a bias for Prince Albert which lies north of Swartberg Pass and about an hour’s drive from Oudtshoorn,

for the simple reason that I chose to live there with my family. Prince Albert offers a huge variety of landscapes, vegetation and geology in a relatively small area, allowing your rides to be quite diverse and interesting. We offer a multi-day ride called the “Karoo GravelGrinder”, a social, cycling and culinary adventure as well as a more hard-core “Gravenduro” over five days. These events are more social with smaller numbers and even involve a bit of competition on Strava Segments, everything is laid-on with medics in sweep vehicles, water-points, meals, wines and great accommodation. You can check out all the links at www.mtbafrica.com Whatever your preference is, organised tours with everything laid on, or a quick sortie with your mates organised by you, the Karoo is there for the exploring, get out there, you won’t be disappointed.


O F F T H E B E AT E N T R A C K

Fresh air, Karoo rolling hills and friendshipwhat more do you need?


Image by Jacques Marais

BIKEPACKING

101


B I K E PA C K I N G 1 0 1

ikepacking. It’s a word that screams complication, confusion and one that scares people by it’s “bigness”. It shouldn’t, though. Bikepacking is the simple act of going away with your suitcase strapped to your bike, or your back, but preferably your bike. It is as simple and complicated as that, although like everything it can be made more so. In either form though it brings adventure that is difficult to otherwise find in this modern world and a freedom that you never want to let go of.

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SO HERE ARE MY FIVE EASY STEPS TO TAKING ON YOUR FIRST BIKEPACKING TRIP: YOUR BIKE IS THE RIGHT BIKE. The internet tells us that we need a bike optimised for touring with 14 mounts and, and, and to go bikepacking, but you don’t. Every bike is an adventure bike when the rider feels adventurous. Take your roadie, your groadie, your Enduro bike or your XC beast. It’s you that decides to have an adventure, not your bike’s adventure-cred. YOU DON’T NEED ALL THE GEAR! Riding bikes has enough expenses and we don’t need to add more just for the sale of it. There are 100s of great

Bikepacking bags available that will make your ride a little easier, but your trusty backpack will do just fine too. Use what you have to give the whole vibe a try, if you like it then you can invest in the gear, but for the first time you’ll be fine with what’s at home. I promise. YOU DON’T HAVE TO CAMP. While “true” Bikepacking seems to demand random camping spots to be used I, personally, prefer a nice warm bed and if you do too that’s ok. Stay where you want, indoors or out, but ride between points. If you do choose a guest house you can enjoy the wonder exhibited by your hosts: “You rode from where?” P.S. Bikepacking with guest house stops is called flashpacking, it’s super fun. GO WITH THE FLOW. SLOW DOWN AND HAVE FUN! Life, and sometimes riding, is too serious and bikepacking is a chance to step away from it all. With 10kg of gear you’re never going to be that fast anyways, and Strava doesn’t have a bikepacking leader board, so stop and enjoy the views, the outdoors, the rest stops. It’s why you’re there, after all. An addendum to this is to let go of the stress of the plan not working. You will plan, and then the plan won’t work out. Don’t sweat the small stuff, a

puncture doesn’t end your ride and nor will a headwind or slow day. Take it all in your stride. DO IT WHERE YOU ARE. The last bit of advice is that for most of us in SA we can ride from our door. Take advantage of the relative proximity to great riding and nature that we have. You don’t

Curve’s titanium beauty is all the bike you will ever need to venture off the beaten track.

need to head into Lesotho, the Karoo or anywhere else if you can’t, just take a ride a little past where you’ll normally go. You’ll soon find yourself experiencing familiar places in new ways, and there’s not much better than that. To find out more about bikepacking and the best titanium bikes make sure you log onto https://benky-rides.com/


CONTENTS

02 COVER FEATURE: We explore the trails and adventures of riding of the beaten track and especially in the Karoo. 10 ED’s LETTER: Looking forward to an exciting 2021 11 NEWS: The latest #MTB skinny. 14 COVID PROOF EVENTS: Seamus looks at what events will possibly return next year. 18 QUICK PRO CHAT: Gert Heyns on his 2020 experience. 20 PRO CHAT: Cherie Redecker shares her 2020 experiences and plans for 2021. 26 RIDE REPORT: Timo Cooper relives his tough 36ONE 30 ENDURO: Check out what went down at the recent Hogsback Enduro

35 B IKE REVIEW: We swing a leg over the 2021 TITAN CYPHER RS TEAM

REGULARS 38 GEAR: What bike packing gear should you consider. 39 TEST ZONE: Putting some products to test. 40 TRAILBLAZERS #3: Pieter van Wyk’s Wild Boar & Welvanpas trails explored 43 TRAILS: Jacques Marais rips it up in Gabriels Loop MTB Trail 47 DHI: Pottie is amped to tackle 2021’s downhill scene 50 COACH: Ben shines some light on the year of Zwift! 52 CALENDAR: Take a peek at our updated calendar- they’re back and need your support!

Photo by: Sage Lee Voges

FEATURES



ED’S LETTER

COMMON SENSE, A GREAT READ AND WEAR YOUR MASK!

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t is so damn easy to be negative about 2020, it’s been like an apocalyptic movie except it’s been a real life series. It’s also damn easy to get caught up in the negativity and just as you think “stuff that, I’m not going to be negative!” a new 2020 drama presents itself (I would want to use profusely more colourful language but this is a family show)! I mean beaches closed? Being in the fresh air is apparently now more dangerous than a shopping mall - really? It also seems that common sense has also taken a turn for the worse – not only some of the regulations but also people who don’t seem to give a shit about others – what the hell are you thinking? You know who you are! Be responsible dammit, put your mask on and stop being an idiot! Rant over. This issue has some really great content for you to sink your teeth into; with gravel bikes selling well the popularity of bikepacking has seen a big increase and John Swanepoel and Kevin Benkenstein upack the experience with Kevin giving some sage advice if your contemplating hitting the long and dusty backroads. Take a peek at the Gear section, there are some essential ideas for bike-packing necessities. Seamus takes a look at the event landscape – it’s a murky crystal ball as who knows what awaits us

next year – let’s hope that things start to settle down and we get a vestige of normality back! The event industry desperately needs a working chance and we really want to get out there and be part of the mountain biking stage race and event scene again. Covid protocols are going to be with us for a while I suspect so let’s help the industry if and when we are lucky enough to take part in an organized ride. Frans continues the Trailblazer series and we meet Pieter van Wyk the man behind the stunning Welvanpas and the Wild Boar trails in Wellington. Fortunately we are able to get out there with mates and tackle most of the public trails, so if you do anything this holiday period make sure you get out there and take advantage of our amazing trail networks! I would like to thank all the regular writers, contributors and friends of Full Sus that ensure that the magazine continues to put out fantastic and substantial local content. To those advertisers that have stuck with us through the lockdown and also now on the digital platform – thank you for having faith in the big little title! Finally, thank you to all our readers for continually coming back and reading Full Sus, for your kind words of encouragement, social media interaction and generally sending us MTB love. We really do appreciate it. Keep well, keep safe, chin up and be happy! Oh and put your mask on! Cheers until next year! See you on the trails!

2021 WE’RE READY FOR YOU!

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espite 2020 being virtually (pun intended) a complete write-off of a year I am pleased it has nevertheless flown passed. We can all remember back in March when we first heard about Covid-19 and how millions of South African’s worlds would be changed drastically. The first initial lockdown made us all rethink home exercising. No one in their right mind would ever attempt a 10 or 21 kilometre run around their home - yet we did! I sat on a trainer in my garage for a month just to avoid sitting in a cramped flat. The first outdoor ride back in April was a surreal feeling! Being forced to train indoors with Paarl Mountain a mere five minutes away was torture. That first ride felt like my first ever mountain bike ride. Paarl’s sun, wind and some rad singletracks was thoroughly enjoyed for the entire month of April. After participating in a few events recently I cannot but be sad for all the respective owners who could not run their annual events. Rides I wish could still have happened in December include the fun but tough Origin of Trails in Stellenbosch and the Southern Cape slog of Windpomp Sjerrie in Stilbaai. Origin’s was marketed as the MTB YearEnd party, but boy, you would have had to work for your beers! Two days of 60 odd kilos would have been perfect to help us forget about this crap year. To all our readers, supporters, advertisers, writers, and photographers we are thankful that you guys stuck it out with us. We hope to see you on the trails in 2021. And that ’21 won’t resemble ’20. Season’s greetings Until then, stay on two wheels!

Frans


MTB NEWS

MTB

NEWS 01

MERIDA LAUNCH NEW NINETY-SIX FOR 2021

The new NINETY-SIX is a super modern cross country race bike. Modern, in this case, means that it is much more downhill capable than its predecessors. The key reason for this is that cross country races have become far more demanding over the last few years. On top of that, customers are expecting much more downhill performance from a bike in this category as they did a few years ago. Worldwide the cycling press is even talking about a new category - downcountry bikes. Down-country bikes are as light as possible to climb even the steepest mountains with ease, but also able to handle challenging trails with more panache as the travel numbers would suggest. Depending on

the configuration, the NINETY-SIX is available in a more classic cross-country (NINETY-SIX RC) or a down-country (NINETY-SIX) setup. The RC models have a 100 mm fork in the front, super fast rolling tyres and a lighter front brake. The (non RC) NINETY-SIX models have 120 mm in the front, more grippy tyres and a more powerful front brake. However, whichever model you look at, they all have improved downhill capability due to the updated geometry and the more progressive suspension configuration. So, the range of use is even bigger as it was with the last generation. The NINETY-SIX can be used as a long-distance endurance bike, where two water bottles are always a big advantage,

as a super-light trail bike, or as a classic cross-country race bike. Two versions Our new NINETY-SIX is available in two versions. The more race-focused RC version with 100 mm fork travel and the more trail orientated version with 120 mm upfront. The longer fork does not just offer the ability to handle rough trails better, but it also slackens the head angle and gives the bike a more playful character. Both versions are based on full carbon frames Two water bottles One big wish from race legend José Hermida was that two water bottles could be fitted into the front triangle. To fulfil that, and without having an impact on the seat post insert depth, we are using a unique adapter on the lower part of the seat tube. This gives us the ability to fit two big water bottles into the frame without affecting the ability to use long travel dropper posts or making the bottles difficult to reach. Perfect for long marathon races and extended trail sessions.For more info www.merida-bikes.com Check availability with your local bike shop.

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RACE TO THE SEA ENTRIES OPEN

Ever since Faces Advendurance hosted the first hugely popular Race to the Sun 100 miler gravel race three years ago in Gauteng, we couldn’t wait to introduce a similar event in the Western Cape. We mapped out a truly spectacular route starting in Franschhoek and finishing in Hermanus and named it Race to the Sea. In 2019 we were compelled to cancel the first edition of this event due to a rock fall rendering the Franschhoek pass impassable. In 2020 COVID-19 forced us to cancel again. We are ecstatic to announce that Race to the Sea is finally on track to take place on 30 January 2021 and we believe it will be every bit as popular as its sister event in Gauteng, Race to the Sun. Starting at the Huguenot Memorial Monument in Franschhoek and finishing at Benguela Cove in Hermanus, this route promises to be awe-inspiring with every pedal stroke. Enter here https://racetothesea.co.za


MTB NEWS

03

POC APPOINTS SWITCHBACK SPORTS AS EXCLUSIVE SOUTH AFRICAN DISTRIBUTORS

Although safety precedes form and function, POC has not allowed that to hinder their design process raking up over 60 international awards, including Switchback Sports strengthens portfolio, the coveted bike adding vogue cycling brand POC as they reach more industry’s “Brand South African bike stores. of the Year” award. Founded in 2017, Switchback Sports distributes Furthermore, The POC a range of premium cycling products to over 200 WATTS Lab work closely South African bicycle stores. From December 2020 with their professional athletes, the Cape Town based outfit will add POC helmets, including EF Pro Cycling Team, to optimise eyewear and apparel to their portfolio. The Swedish performance and aerodynamics. Due to POC’s outdoor brand joins a stable of products which multi-disciplinary background they are able to draw include Easton components and wheels, Rondo on inspiration and knowledge gleaned in sports bikes, Panaracer tyres, Wheels Manufacturing like skiing and snowboarding to create premium hangers and bottom brackets, and Geosmina products for road, gravel and mountain bike riders. bikepacking bags. Customers will be happy to note Their drive to create safer products does more South African bike stores will be adding POC’s not end with their helmets. POC’s AVIP collection offering to their line-ups. (Attention Visibility Interaction Protection) brings POC has built a formidable reputation, an additional level of safety to their helmets and since Swedish founder, Stefan Ytterborn, took apparel through increased visibility measures. on the skiing market in 2005. 2014 saw the first Switchback Sports will ensure a wide range introduction of cycling helmets as POC entered the of POC helmets, eyewear and cycling apparel are road market, and a few years later the mountain available through their network of retailers. bike scene. In the process they created POC Lab, an POC helmets, eyewear and cycling apparel will innovative collaboration of material and medicine be available in South Africa from early December led by medical experts, neuroscientists, specialists 2020. For a full dealer list or to view the range of in spinal cord injuries, and even traffic accident POC products sold by Switchback Sports please professionals. visit switchbacksports.co.za.

RIDES XC. AND THE STUFF THAT SCARES XC RIDERS. TOP FUEL Part trail bike, part XC race bike, and full-on singletrack ripper. Top Fuel is quick on the enough suspension (120/115mm) to pin even the sketchiest, most technical descents.


MTB NEWS start line and again on the finish line. We will have timing pods out on the route to ensure teams stick together as well. Batch 1 - 5am start Batch 2 - 6 am start Batch 3 - 7 am start (elites to start in this batch) Teams should be batched in accordance with the timeframes applicable to their situation. E.g. teams with accommodation within Willowmore and surrounds should start 05:00 whereas those traveling from PE should start 07:00. If the batches are bigger than the allowance for batch sizes according to the Covid-19 Guidelines for Sport Events, we will break the batches up into smaller batches. For example we will start 250 riders

04

TRANS BAVIAANS 24HR MTB MARATHON – UPDATE Images Jacques Marais

We have received all the necessary approvals for the events to go ahead as planned in January 2021. But it does not come without compromise. The National Lockdown regulations with the curfew as set out by Government under the State of Disaster will play a role in your Trans Baviaans this coming Jan. We have engaged in meetings with the necessary officials, but unfortunately we are not able to get permission to run our event as per normal Trans Baviaans rules which will have riders ride through the curfew period (24:00-4:00) in January. Please note below the list of changes that will be incorporated to comply with the

current State of Emergency laws. Should these laws be lifted, the event will revert back to our standard rules and timeframes. We will START EARLY! Yip Trans Baviaans will start early, super early this time round. Taking into account that Riders will need to travel to the start from their various accommodation locations, we will run the Events as follows. Batched start times We will have three starting times on the respective Saturdays to accommodate all riders that still need to travel to the start within the curfew time frames. Timing will be done electronically and your time will be recorded as you cross the

at 5am, the next 250 at 5:10 and so forth. Registration There will be no registration on the Saturday of the event. All team crates, that need to be transported to the checkpoints will be loaded onto the trucks on the Friday evening by 9:00. Unfortunately these are the cards we have been dealt with and we are still going to give it our best shot for you to have an enjoyable Trans Baviaans experience! The good news is that you will be able to see most of the amazing Baviaanskloof in daylight! For more info make sure to visit https://www.transbaviaans.co.za/


COVID PROOF EVENTS

covid proof

events BY SEAMUS ALLARDICE

A muddy Sani2c. Image by Anthony Grote

2021


COVID PROOF EVENTS

FOLLOWING THE SUCCESSFUL STAGING OF A NUMBER OF MOUNTAIN BIKE RACES LATE IN 2020 SEAMUS ALLARDICE LOOKS AT THE POTENTIAL ROAD MAP FOR HOSTING A FULLER CYCLING CALENDAR IN 2021. (NOTE: MOST OF THIS IS PURE SPECULATION OF COURSE…) fter a year characterised by about as much uncertainty as most of us could handle it appears as if mountain biking may be edging towards a 2021 calendar of tentatively scheduled events. The annoying phase of 2020: “new normal” has fortunately been abandoned, along with any lasting conviction that anything will proceed as planned. Some events will no doubt run without a hitch however, but one suspects that uncontrollable external factors could determine which races are run and which aren’t. One thing you can be sure of though is that event organisers will be doing all they can to ensure their events take place. After a year of lost income, for the businesses behind many mountain bike races, to survive they will need to sell entries and bill sponsors in 2021. This is how some events have managed already and what others are planning to do…

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BOUTIQUE EVENTING While the big events like FNB Wines2Whales, KAP sani2c and the Absa Cape Epic have historically proven most

profitable for their owners there has always been space for smaller stage races in the calendar too. These events typically attract less than 200 entrants and due to constraints of geographic location or quirks of the organisation never really grew. Now it seems they’re about to have their moment of glory. With the government and CSA cap on event size is 500 people, including crew, having a natural limit of 200 riders makes life a lot easier for small event organisers. From a personal perspective 200 people also doesn’t seem like that many, at a mountain bike event. While I’m no epidemiologist (well, aren’t we all armchair epidemiologists by this point) it certainly feels safer when the crowd at the race is smaller. One of the first stage races to take place in accordance with the new Covid-19 protocols was the De Hoop Vlei MTB Experience. “Riders had to complete a Cape Nature indemnity and Covid questionnaire prior to entering the reserve” Overberg MTB Event’s Anneke Jacobs confirmed. “At the event all the necessary Covid protocols were adhered to; including the wearing of face masks, frequent hand sanitising and social distancing, etc. Our water points also had the De Hoop Vlei MTB Stage race – images by Oakpics.com


COVID PROOF EVENTS

necessary equipment for the staff to adhere to the safety standards.” During the stages the riders were naturally dispersed and off-the-bike the De Hoop Collection did all they could to facilitate social distancing. “De Hoop provided a Bedouin tent in front of the Shed restaurant, to add more room, which made it much easier to adhere to Covid protocols” Jacobs explained. “This went a long way to creating a sense of open space for everyone in attendance at meals. I felt it helped dispel the anxiety which I think most of us now feel when going into crowded spaces.” One of De Hoop Nature Reserve’s advantages over other event venues is its abundance of accommodation. “We had approximately 125 riders, many of whom brought their families” Jacobs pointed out. “But as all the De Hoop Collection accommodation was reserved for the De Hoop Vlei MTB Experience each family or riding group had their own accommodation. This allowed families to maintain their own safe ‘bubbles’ and nobody was put at risk sharing with unfamiliar people.” “Bespoke, small and quaint events, are certainly the way to go for the foreseeable future” Jacobs predicted. And I’d agree. Though the industry needs larger events to take place too… BIG EVENTS KAP sani2c appears to have gone off without a hitch. Writing this a week after the race its heartening to note the lack of negative comments on their social media handles.

Hopefully looking back on the 2020 race it will be remembered for the crazy weather and December date, rather than causing a Covid spike. At this stage it looks like that particular issue has been avoided, so perhaps it will serve as a road-map for other large events to follow. Fellow KZN stage race, Grindrod Bank Berg & Bush have moved their 2021 date and are gearing up for a February edition. “We only have one event planned for 2021, Our traditional October date will fall away” founder Gary Green clarified. “The weather around the time of our new dates, in late February and early March, is stunning in the Berg. We are hoping to keep these dates for the foreseeable future.” “Over and above the government regulations we are looking closely at other sporting events taking place between now and the Berg & Bush to see how we can implement necessary protocols and improvements” Green stated. “Covid-related changes to our event that we are considering include: placing tents further apart in the Race Village, Self-help waterpoints for riders, online race briefings, sanitizers at all entrance and exit points around the Race Village, take-away type meals being served, smaller start batches or rolling start batches, and moving form one large marquee to a few smaller Bedouin style tents with open sides for improved ventilation in the main gathering area of the Race Village.”

“FROM A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE 200 PEOPLE ALSO DOESN’T SEEM LIKE THAT MANY, AT A MOUNTAIN BIKE EVENT.”

The Swiss Epic image credit Francesco Narcisi


COVID PROOF EVENTS

“MEANWHILE SOUTH AFRICA’S BIGGEST AND THE WORLD’S PREMIER STAGE RACE, THE ABSA CAPE EPIC HAS POSTPONED THEIR 2021 EVENT.”

Image by Marius Holler

Meanwhile South Africa’s biggest and the world’s premier stage race, the Absa Cape Epic has postponed their 2021 event. The new dates are now the 17th to the 24th of October. Moving the Epic to after the Tokyo Olympics could be great for getting more elite women to take part, but will also provide time for vaccinations to come into effect and for travel restrictions to be lifted. As it stood there was simply too much chance, as I read the situation, that a March Epic would have been contested almost exclusively by a limited number

of South African riders. Being able to look forward to a near full-size Absa Cape Epic, with many of the world’s best mountain bikers taking part, will certainly keep me going through 2021. Especially if other events manage to stage editions within the shifting regulations, thus keeping the race industry going. As good as the boom in bike sales have been in late 2020, cycling in general and mountain biking in particular needs a full calendar of events to ensure the sport remains in good health.

PRACTICAL ADVICE FOR COVIDPROOFING WATER POINTS Let’s face is, water points have always been a hot-bed for germs. So, sharping up the hygiene is a good idea, above and beyond Covid-19. Provide nutrition packs of pre-packaged goods which riders can take without needing to linger over the water point table. Provide a bottle service, taking riders’ individual bottles to water points. Staff to hand over items rather than allow riders to take for themselves, as the staff can more reliably sanitize and wear masks throughout. RACE VILLAGES Most stage races have seen their tented villages shrinking in recent years so I expect that to continue with renewed vigour in 2021. Decentralise the race village with as many riders as possible encouraged to stay and eat off-site to limit the time period that riders are forced to congregate. Post-stage rather than dinner-time prize giving. Sponsors love the opportunity to present to the riders, but if prize givings can take place as the 3rd placed rider/team in each category crosses the line there will be no need for long evening presentation. Digital race briefings and sponsor presentations. This will require sponsors to create content which is more relevant to the riders, but I suspect many sponsors would be shocked to discover how little attention riders pay to the CEO speaking during dinner at a stage race anyway. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY Most events will be doing their utmost to comply with regulations but they will need you to take responsibility for your own safety too. So… Follow the guidelines, they’re a bit of a pain but they’re better than not being able to attend races at all. DON’T GO IF YOU’RE FEELING SICK. And don’t be a (rhymes with sick). Everyone is trying to keep their businesses afloat in these difficult times. Don’t rat them out or take to social media to complain, if you see something that you feel is wrong speak to the race organisers directly and help them keep everyone safe but still doing what we love.


P R O C H AT

CATCH UP WITH

GERT HEYNS

TIMO COOPER RECENTLY CAUGHT UP WITH THE DSV PRO CYCLING ELITE ATHLETE


P R O C H AT Why is off-season so important to you and other professional riders? It is a chance to take a break from riding, giving the body and mind a chance to rest and recover. It is important to take longer breaks occasionally to get rid of built up fatigue and probably almost more importantly to take a break from the mental strain of training and racing continuously. This helps a lot to enter a new season fully motivated and with the right mind-set.

“IT DOES ALMOST FEEL LIKE A REAL HOLIDAY WHERE ONE CAN TAKE A CHANCE TO JUST RELAX” What is your favourite and least favourite part of off-season? To get the chance to do things that you never have the time or energy to do during the season is probably my favourite part. It does almost feel like a real holiday where one can take a chance to just relax, eat whatever you want and enjoy a beer or two with friends. My least favourite part is probably the fact that most people that you would like to spend your off-season with usually have to work at the times that I take off so unless you have something to do like studying or chores it can actually become quite boring and frustrating to stay off the bike.

How long is the off-season usually and why? Anything between two and four weeks depending on how you feel. I usually wait until I am really eager to get back to training. What do you want to focus on during this time, what do you want to improve mentally and physically? It is a good time to focus on strength training and running, as starting with it while doing a lot of hours on the bike can be very difficult. Mentally I prefer not to think about racing too much as there will be enough time for that in the build-up process. What type of training do you focus on during the off-season and why? I enjoy hiking and trail running because you get to see amazing places and spend time in nature. I also try to work in some strength training before getting back on the bike. Ideally I would dust off my surfboard for off-season but that has not happened since 2014. Fan fact about Gert? Spent most of the last four years studying a BSc degree at Stellenbosch University, also cycling is my side hustle now, I actually spend most of my day just drinking coffee.

IMAGES BY BRANDON WAUGHHALF PINT PHOTOGRAHPHY


SHAYNE DOWLING CHATS TO SA’S MIXED CATEGORY WINNER OF THE 2020 SWISS EPIC

Image by Sportograf/Constantin Rimpel

Q & A W IT H C H E R I E


CHERIE (VALE) REDECKER JUST FINISHED THIRD IN THE SA XCO CHAMPS. I FIRST MET CHERIE CHOOSING GLOVES IN CHRIS WILLEMSE CYCLES A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO – HERE I WAS TELLING HER SHE MUST USE FULL FINGER GLOVES, SHE TOOK HALF FINGERS – I CAN AT LEAST REPORT THAT SHE SEEMS TO HAVE MOVED TO THE FULL FINGER GLOVES THOUGH – I CLAIM ABSOLUTELY NO INFLUENCE AT ALL. SHE WAS A STUDENT, A BUDDING SPORT/ CYCLING PHOTOGRAPHER AND A REALLY GOOD MOUNTAIN BIKER. CHERIE HAS ALWAYS BEEN A REALLY FRIENDLY AND APPROACHABLE PERSON AND A GREAT AMBASSADOR FOR THE SPORT AND SA. A LOT HAS CHANGED SINCE I FIRST MET HER SO WE DECIDED TO CATCH UP WITH ONE OF SA’S TOP ELITE ATHLETES. SHE QUIETLY GOES ABOUT HER BUSINESS BUT IS CERTAINLY A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH.

Q1: Cherie a lot has changed in the last four years of your life but before we go there perhaps you want to share a little more of who you are and where you come from and, of course, how you got into mountain biking on a social and now very competitive level? A1: I grew up on a Farm in the Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands. Sport has always been a big part of my life, from horse riding, hockey, athletics, and adventure racing to name a few. I started mountain biking because of adventure racing. What was great is that it became an official school sport at Treverton College (the school where I matriculated). We even had South African School Adventure Racing Championships where my team came second in 2007. It was probably one of the toughest races I have done to date. When I moved to Stellenbosch in 2008 to study, I reduced my sports to hockey and cycling for the first year and from then I just started to cycle. First taking part in the 35km races and then eventually increasing to the longer marathon type distances. I started racing XCO in 2010, first taking part on a social level and slowly progressing. 2010 was when I also met Heiko. He was a very competitive cyclist and already had multiple Namibian Championships titles in road and mountain biking. He really helped me get more serious into racing. Not only learning how to race properly but also to fix my bike. In 2013 I got to race cross-country more seriously when Stephen van der Walt gave me the opportunity to be part of the local team that he created. From there the opportunities to race in Europe and join the Novus OMX Pro team really helped me to race on a very competitive level.

Images by EGO-Promotions

Q & A W IT H C H E R I E


Q & A W IT H C H E R I E

SOMETIMES THE STRENGTH WITHIN YOU IS NOT A BIG FIERY FLAME FOR ALL TO SEE, IT IS JUST A TINY SPARK THAT WHISPERS EVER SO SOFTLY: ”YOU GOT THIS! KEEP ON GOING!”

Images by EGO-Promotions

- SOURCE UNKNOWN


Q & A W IT H C H E R I E Q2: You were a really good photographer who rode a bit. Would it be fair to say it’s the other way around now? A2: Thank you for the compliment. It is safe to say it is the other way around. My photography has been on hold, but I want to get it going again. Q3: You got married and have moved to Europe. Is your hubby Heiko, who was a Namibian MTB Champ, still cycling at a high level or is he your support crew? What made you decide to base yourself in Europe? Do you think you have an advantage being based there?

“I WOULD LOVE TO QUALIFY AND COMPETE AT THE 2020 OLYMPICS ( NOW 2021 ) AND TO BECOME SA XCO CHAMPION AGAIN.” A3: Moving to Europe was a plan Heiko and I started working on in 2015. We both wanted to experience something new. Heiko decided to move away from riding on a competitive level and rather focus on work. He still wanted to integrate his passion for cycling with his engineering and saw it as a great opportunity to work in the bicycle industry in Europe. He still competes on a social level racing some enduro races.

We still spent a year in South Africa after we got married where Heiko worked at PYGA Industries. At the end of 2016 once Heiko got a job offer in Germany, we finally took the leap and moved. With Europe being “small” and each country having their own national series, the choice of racing only XCO races is endless. The level and depth of competition is higher. I saw it as a great opportunity to improve. Q4: Give us a run-down of some of your achievements/highlights to date and perhaps tell us what you really still want to achieve in the sport. A4: This question has made me reflect a lot of what I have achieved. Becoming SA MTB XCO Champion, taking the overall SA XCO Cup series title, finishing third overall in the Bundesliga series and finishing 24th at a World Cup have been some of my highlights from racing. Even though there have been some big goals that I have not achieved and hoped for, the growth and experience I have gained have been enriching. One of my recent highlights is racing the Swiss Epic with Tumelo Makae riding for team #pumpforpeace Velosolutions where we took the overall win in the mixed category. Tumelo is such a humble athlete and his perspective and energy for life was motivating. There are so many emotions from the event, especially since we were able to race during the current circumstances. What was really special for me and kept me motivated through the challenging stages was riding for a purpose like #pumpforpeace. I hope we were able to inspire and make a difference to the


#pumpforpeace communities. The event was a great reminder of how much sport brings people together. Competing at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast Australia in 2018 was amazing. Despite the race not going well due to a technical, being able to represent South Africa and meet other athletes from different sports and countries was an incredible experience. I would love to qualify and compete at the 2020 Olympics (now 2021) and to become SA XCO Champion again. These goals have been challenging and sometimes seem to be just outside of my grasp, but I am determined to work even harder towards them. Seeing the positive impacts of how initiatives like #pumpforpeace and Velosolutions have been for the youth and developing

communities, I would like to help contribute to the development, growing the sport and inspiring the next generation. Q5: Do you ride for a team? So, are you sponsored? What bike do you ride – can you tell us more about it? A5: When I first moved to Germany it was really challenging finding a European based team and I ended up racing as a privateer. Heiko had to support me at the races as well as work during the week. It was challenging but we had some amazing adventures. We were lucky to meet Thomas Schröder who ended up helping us at some of the races when I was a privateer. The following year I got to join his team and have been riding for them for three years. The first year the team had some different sponsors but for the last two years we have been under the name of Conway Factory racing team. I have been really blessed to have support from Computer Mania and Stephen van der Walt. Without the support, I would not have been able to come back and race in South Africa. Q6: Tell us about life on the road in Europe – what circuit are you racing on and perhaps give us a reality check on the life of a pro. Also maybe something funny that has happened? We stalked your Insta pics and the van build looked really cool – tell us more? A6: My main focus has been the MercedesBenz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and German Int. Bundesliga circuit. I have done some other races in Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Spain and

Czech Republic. An interesting side fact, In the last four years of living in Europe, I have raced 48 races in Europe. 43 cross-country, four stage races and 1 marathon. This just shows the number of cross-country races there are to do in Europe When I first came to race in Europe, I was amazed at how many people would stay at the venue in mobile homes. There must have been a whole hockey field filled with campers. I could see why this is so popular. You are at the venue, you have everything with you and you are saving a large amount on accommodation. Having the team support has helped a lot at races and with equipment but accommodation and transport was on my own expense, so having a camper would be a great cost saver. Until recently we did not have a car. When we needed a car for races, we would rent one. On some occasions, I would take the train or went with a teammate. In 2018 I got to experience a bit of vanlife when I went on a training camp with a former teammate to Livigno. It was amazing and I was completely sold on the idea. At the end of 2019 Heiko and I went to a small race in Germany where we camped at the venue … in a tent. This was an entertaining experience. The tent was too small (Heiko won it at a race a while ago and never tried it out before). The blow-up mattress just fitted in and it was autumn, so the temperatures were already dropping. Seeing the other people’s set-up in the campsite we were inspired to work on a plan to invest in our own van.

After endless searching we finally found our van … der Schlumpf (Smurf in English). A fitting name given to the van by a friend. We got the van just in time for the first race of the season, after the first COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. So, with limited time we installed the basics, a battery and high platform bed so we could install the bikes underneath. In that short week, with the race and a mini holiday break afterwards we got to experience the highs and lows on vanlife. What I loved about each spot we stayed was meeting some amazing people and hearing their stories. Two couples we even worked with in South Africa in 1980-something. Some of the conversation was a bit broken up since my German is not that good and my Swiss German is even worse.


Images by EGO-Promotions

Since the trip we have only installed a roof vent as the racing schedule got too busy. We are planning to work on a proper build of the van this winter so we will be better equipped for the next adventure. Q7: Most elite riders who have spent some time overseas get asked this: Why do you think that the European riders do so well in XCO and even marathons vs the Saffers? (We seem to have a really healthy MTB fraternity but seem to struggle to deliver consistently on the big stages. Or is this an unfair comment?) A7: To be honest, it is something I have been trying to figure out myself. Q8: Do you see yourself moving back to Africa and what do you want to do after professional cycling? A8: I do not see us moving back to Southern Africa anytime soon. We are both happy in Germany. Heiko has a job he loves, and we have an amazing group of friends. Finding a supportive group of friends has really helped make moving to a different country easier and I now feel at home. Plus I need to put my German classes into good use since I did have to do an integration course for six months with four hours of learning German :p I have some ideas of what I would like to do after racing on a high level, but they still need some refining.


3 6 O N E R AC E R E P O RT

36ONE – THE ULTIMATE RACE FULL SUS CONTRIBUTOR TIMO COOPER COMPLETED THE GRUELLING 36ONE EVENT RECENTLY. READ AND ENJOY HIS RIVETING REPORT ON ARGUABLY THE TOUGHEST EVENT IN SOUTH AFRICA. :WORDS BY TIMO COOPER IMAGES BY SAGE LEE VOGES

It is inevitable that you will spend loads of time riding solo.


3 6 O N E R AC E R E P O RT hat an event, what a journey. I do not think it is possible to prepare yourself mentally and physically for an event like 36one. 361km on a bike is no joke but something that must be tried and hopefully conquered if you are an avid mountain biker. Like all Dryland events, the organizing was superb from the marking to marshals, water stations and friendly staff all along the route throughout the night. The race kicked off at 3pm on Friday the 13th of November. We all knew that the first 99km to checkpoint one was going to be tough but man, were we in for a surprise! The heat and wind were just unbearable for the first 3 to 4 hours of the race, hitting close to 45 degrees Celsius with a strong headwind. To be honest, I was very close to calling it a day at the 35km mark, if my dad was there next to the road like many other supporters I would have pulled out. The first 50km of the event was by far the toughest for me mentally and physically. The pace for the first 2 hours was also no joke, there was definitely no hanging around at that time. After fighting with myself mentally for about 20km from 40km until the first water point at 56km, I finally got into a rhythm and started to feel a bit better. At that time Dusty had already ridden away by himself and we were a group of four riders just ticking along nicely. During the next few kilometres to checkpoint one at the 99km mark the

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temperature dropped and the wind started to die down a bit, this in itself was a massive relief and welcomed by all. We rolled into checkpoint one and man, was I happy to see my dad, with new bottles, my headlight and a gel or two. Leaving the checkpoint we lost two riders of the initial group. After checkpoint one I settled into my own rhythm and the kilometres ticked by nicely. At that time I was in third place and happy with the way things were going. I had no issue; I was not feeling too tired and started to believe that I can make it and in a good position if possible.

“I was not feeling too tired and started to believe that I can make it and in a good position if possible.” At around the 174km mark, Ruan Botes thought we made a wrong turn, and we headed back along the tar road to find a marshal to make sure all was ok. After turning around and heading back along the route I saw another rider making his way to us and realized that we made a mistake, we were actually on the correct route all along and so I turned around again to ride with

Riding at dusk and into the night is part of the experience.


GEAR

BIKE PACKING

- WE SUS OUT SOME COOL GEAR

DRY-LITES ULTRALIGHT PANNIERS

STICKING WITH OUR ADVENTURE RIDING THEME WE SCOURED THE INTERWEB FOR THE LATEST BIKE PACKING ESSENTIALS.

HANDLEBAR SNACK BAG FORK-PACK GEOSMINA HANDLEBAR BAG 10L

APIDURA BACKCOUNTRY DOWNTUBE BAG

MICRO TWO SADDLE BAG

CURVE POCKET POOCH


3 6 O N E R AC E R E P O RT

the rider that caught up to us. Luckily, I did not lose a lot of time and this small mistake turned out to be the biggest blessing. The rider was Braam aka Braampie. Someone I did not know before the race but during the next nine hours or so we became great friends. Braam and I rode into checkpoint two together and without even thinking about it, we decided to ride together for as long as we can. Two is better than one, especially during an event like 36one. Stage three included some proper climbs with the infamous Rooiberg pass being one of them. Braam and I continued to work together, we stopped at the water points, had the odd mechanical but nothing serious and quickly conquered the stage. We rolled into the last checkpoint in Calitzdorp at about 3 am if I am not mistaken and all was looking good for us. With great support from my dad and Braam’s parents, we rolled out of the checkpoint knowing it was the last stage and we are almost home. Almost home is different for this event, once you hit the 260km mark, you think “lekker I am almost done” but in other terms, you still have 100km to go. Stage four was tough with lots of small climbs but at that time of the event, every little bump in the road felt like a massive hill. Braam and I continued to work together, sometimes we would not

speak for ages and others we would solve all the world’s problems. If I am honest, I cannot really remember what we spoke about along the way but I can assure you that Braam and I will be friends for life after this event. As we got closer and closer to the finish of this amazing journey, I actually got a bit emotional, it is a feeling I cannot explain. Riding such a distance in such tough conditions, through the night. Reaching the finish was amazing, I did not even care about the result just that I made it to the finish. Many emotions over the last 15 hours with ups and downs but the finish must be the highlight for me. I was broken. Honestly, I was not feeling great at the time but Braam, the legend that he is, made sure there was a beer for us both at 7 in the morning. This event is tough but something each avid mountain bikes should do, the event is so well organised by Dryland, they always make sure you have everything you need to make sure you reach the end. It is a must do. TOP ROW: The 2020 men’s podium from the left is Timo Cooper (3rd), Dusty Day (winner) and Braam Wannenburg (2nd) BOTTOM ROW: The women’s podium from the left is Bianca Cooper (3rd), Fienie Barnard (winner) and Jenny Close (2nd).


HOGSBACK ENDURO REPORT

shredding at

hogsback

enduro

AFTER A TERRIBLE LOCKED-UP YEAR, ENDURO RACERS FINALLY GATHERED AT THE RECENT HOGSBACK ENDURO TO TEST THEIR METTLE AGAINST SOME TECHY EASTERN CAPE TRAILS.

WORDS BY Harry Millar / IMAGES BY Dominic Barnardt


HOGSBACK ENDURO REPORT

ockdown has had very little benefits to the sporting world, but take a spoon of passion (Doc Chris Fick), a spoon of experience (Rene Damseaux), one raw forest with a “steepish” gradient, a few traveling souls caught by the surprise of lockdown (Wayne and Theuns) and this creates the perfect storm called The Hogsback Enduro and an amazing network of trails for all to enjoy. Situated almost equidistantly from the three biggest riding centres in South Africa is the small mystical town of Hogsback where the air is thin and the mist is thick. It sits at around 1100m above sea level and the views and riding take your breath away. Some say the area inspired Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings but we definitely know it was home to “Lord of the Chain Rings”, a three day Marathon MTB event of years gone by. It shall now be known as “The hardest damn race I have ever attempted” or “The best adventure to come out of 2020”. We arrived in some light rain and the wet, rooty trails kept our egos in check. Let’s just say, the first day often had me asking myself “How long have you actually being riding? It feels like 10 days, rather than 10 years!” The rocks were covered in moss, the roots were fresh and perfectly hidden under 2mm of fresh black loam that had turned to snot. Have I mentioned the gradient? The hashtag “#Steepish” was bandied about on all the social media platforms. Perhaps some

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kind of sick inside joke? When you saw trail signage with the word “Steep-ish”, it meant steep. Really steep! But, as always, we adapted, we learned to let the bikes do their job, we relaxed our mind-set and as the trails dried out, our fear turned to absolute joy. To ride in these spectacular indigenous forests on raw trails was a mountain bikers dream! I have been very fortunate over the years, to have been able to pack my bike and travel to Europe to ride some real natural trails (at great expense). Little did I know this was here, right under my nose. It just took some committed individuals with a vision, skills and passion to make it a reality. Practice day saw a mixed bag of “pros” and “middle of the pack plonkers” arrive. By now I could even go as far as saying I only had to “walk” a few sections (Obviously I was just track walking and scouting for creative lines!). The stoke was high in the field of 48 entrants, all feeling good with life resembling back to normal! Event shirts were donned, branded neck scarfs (aka COVID protection) in place, race boards were mounted and riders were smashing laps, with easy shuttles running all day allowing all the entrants to ride all six stages. Trail names and features were embedded into our memories .Military Way, Lockdown 21, Snakes and Ladders, Love Drop, Home Alone, Like a Virgin (believe me once you have ridden this trail you are no longer a virgin in the enduro scene) . Life

Slippery when wet in Hogsback.


HOGSBACK ENDURO REPORT

Concetration was crucial if you wanted to remain on the bike.


HOGSBACK ENDURO REPORT

was great – and then an ominous rumble was heard, the sound of thunder in the background and out of nowhere rain began to fall. Everything changed, bikes needed attention and the medics had their bags out patching scratches and bruises. The E-Bike class was decimated, the ballies spirits were broken. Silence and nervous tension mounted at race briefing as more rain was predicted overnight. Race day arrived with light rain and the field down to 40 die-hard, rain jacket cladded gladiators. You can smell the fear. Were we going to race down those trails or were we

course that consists of “liaisons”, which are non-timed sections from one race section to another, and then “special race stages”, which are timed from start to finish, much like a downhill race, but instead of only one track you race down multiple downhill trails. The boys from iTime Africa provide a super accurate, robust timing system made for this type of racing but more on that later. In some races, like this one, they even provide shuttle uplift, because as in this case, you would have had to pedal about 4000m of climbing. I can see the eyes roll back in the marathon guys heads. Let’s put this into

“WHEN YOU SAW TRAIL SIGNAGE WITH THE WORD “STEEP- ISH”, IT MEANT STEEP. REALLY STEEP!”

Full face helmets and loads of travel – living the enduro life.

just going to see who can survive? These were the questions that ran through a middle of the pack racer. The young guns fresh from racing the international circuit and Dan Dobinson, our very own Cape Town Veteran Racer second place veteran of one of the hardest enduro races in the world (Trans Provence) who refuses to let the young ones get one over him, were amped to race … And race they did. For those that do not know how the discipline “enduro” works. Enduro has a set

perspective, an average South African enduro will have 1500m to 2000m of climbing and a total distance of 30 – 40 km in distance and when all Special Race Stages are combined, the winning race time will be around 15 – 20 minutes. At Hogsback Enduro, each stage was 10-15 minutes long! The winning time for the total six stages combined was just over 53 minutes. Mister average here completed it in 1 hour 19 minutes and the last finisher 2 hours 38 minutes of racing time … Time out on the bike was about 6 - 7 hours. A very tough day!


HOGSBACK ENDURO REPORT

My race tactics were based on survival and tenacity, thinking that if I can just get to the end I must surely beat somebody!? At the front, the racing was intense with Keira Duncan and Sharjah Jonsson fighting it out with only seconds separating the two young guns between stages. Dan Dobinson, Rob Frost and Matt Wilkinson were hanging in to round out the top five. The field was thinning fast, Stage Six welcomed only 21 riders into the arena and that was how the day ended … the spirit was amazing at the finish with the finishers staying to cheer the last rider home. Chris and Rene made a memory that will stay with me, and I am sure all the entrants of this adventure, forever. As they say, at the end of the day, we are only a combination of our memories. In the end the results were tight! When

I say tight I mean only 0.423 of a second separated Keira and Sharjah with Sharjah taking the win. I salute you guys. Dan Dobinson took third overall and First in Vets, and wait for it - 14 year old Jenna Byrenes won the Ladies, and came a very respectable 18th overall. Why do I do this I hear you ask from under your mask? Well it’s just really a great excuse to go to some different destinations, and hang out with a bunch of riders that no matter how old or young, it is the fact that you showed up that counts. It matters not, how much body fat you carry, just that you want to ride your bike as fast as you can down a trail that challenges your mental strength and riding ability. It makes you feel alive and in my case, just for one second, young and invincible!

Some tricky wet stairs to navigate on your way to grab a beer!


BIKE REVIEW

TITAN RACING CYPHER RS TEAM CARBON TIMO COOPER TOOK DELIVERY OF THE NEW 2021 CYPHER RS TEAM


BIKE REVIEW itan Racing has been around for ages but never have they come to the party in such a big way. As a brand they are taking the market by storm. Titan is showing the industry how to provide high quality, well equipped bikes at a price that is reasonable. As consumers we have become used to paying X amount for bikes, parts and other cycling requirements. Titan is showing us as consumers what we can and should pay for quality products. Titan is also the only brand on the market that offers a five year multi-owner warranty which means that you are able to sell your bike to fellow riders with the frame warranty, how cool is that? I had the privilege of testing the new Cypher RS Carbon Team fitted with SRAM AXS. I really love what they have done with the colours on this bike. It stands out but it is not too much. It is one of those bikes that attracts people at a coffee shop. The bike comes standard with the best, from the fork and rear shock to the group set and wheels. The frame speaks for itself and has been tested all over South Africa. Titan has put a lot of time and effort into the R&D process to make sure this frame is up to standard and can even compete internationally. One drawback of the quality and durability is the weight; the frame and total bike weight is not the lightest, but it is something you can work with. Finally, we get to the fun and actually most impressive part, the way this bike rides. One thing I had to keep reminding myself about was the price. I could honestly not believe that the bike I was sitting on was more than R50 000 cheaper than my current bike. I could not figure

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it out although I tried, trust me. I luckily know most of my measurements and set the bike up quickly before I went out for the first roll on the brand-new Reynolds carbon wheelset that, as a bonus, looks really cool. As a first impression I was happy but not blown away, bearing in mind that the first part was on tar road. Once I made my way off the tar of Fourways in Johannesburg and into the bike park close to my house I was immediately in my happy place. The bike came alive on the twisty trails. Eating up every small bump, smashing the corners and at the same time some Strava segments. The bike truly made me more confident, this might be because of the fork or suspension setup but ultimately I think it was a mix of everything. I could feel that the bike was designed and manufactured for the mountains and to boost any rider’s confidence. I did feel the little bit of added weight from my actual bike to the Titan, but as I mentioned, this is not a massive issue at all. The bike is a well put together package at a very affordable price if you compare it to the other bikes on the market. I will take this bike to any race in SA with confidence and excitement. In conclusion, Titan has gone over and above to offer their potential customers a great bike at an unbeatable price. Value for Money - 5 Ride - 4 Weight - 3 Components - 4 Look/Vibe - 4 For more info on this ripper make sure you visit https://www.titanracingbikes.com/product/ cypher-rs-team-carbon/


BIKE REVIEW


GEAR

BIKE PACKING

- WE SUS OUT SOME COOL GEAR

DRY-LITES ULTRALIGHT PANNIERS

STICKING WITH OUR ADVENTURE RIDING THEME WE SCOURED THE INTERWEB FOR THE LATEST BIKE PACKING ESSENTIALS.

HANDLEBAR SNACK BAG FORK-PACK GEOSMINA HANDLEBAR BAG 10L

APIDURA BACKCOUNTRY DOWNTUBE BAG

MICRO TWO SADDLE BAG

CURVE POCKET POOCH


TRAILBLAZERS: EPISODE 3

Lekker ENKELSPOORPAAIE in Wellington


TRAILBLAZERS: EPISODE 3

AS JY AL OOIT DIE VOORREG GEHAD HET OM IN EN OM WELLINGTON MET JOU BERGFIETS TE KON RY IS DIE KANSE GOED DAT JY OP EEN VAN BEKENDE ROETE-BOUER PIETER VAN WYK SE TRAILS LAAT WAAI HET. VIR FULL SUS MTB SE DERDE ONDERHOUD MET ’N BOUER HET ONS INGELOER BY PIETER OM TE HOOR WAARMEE HY GEDURENDE INPERKING BESIG WAS. WOORDE: FRANS LE ROUX E N P I E T E R VA N W Y K

Hoe het jy betrokke geraak by trailbuilding? Hoe lank bou jy al? Ek was altyd opsoek na nuwe plekke om te ry en om plekke te bereik wat nie voorheen toeganklik was nie. Dit was ook altyd lekker om ander mense blootstelling te gee aan die natuurskoon van die Wellington-omgewing. Ek bou al sedert 2007 in die Wellingtonomgewing. Dit is ’n passie wat mettertyd ’n besigheid geraak het. Vertel ons meer van jou nuutste roetes (Wild Boar?) - wat maak hul so spesiaal? Hoeveel opsies is daar en waar presies is dit geleë? Ek het oorspronklik op die plaas Welvanpas begin bou. Dit was ’n 12km gemerkte roete. Met tyd het meer plase betrokke geraak. Hierdie oorspronklike roete

het uitgebrei na sewe plase en 45km se roetes. Ons moes op ’n nuwe naam besluit om meer omvattend te wees van die omgewing. Die naam Wild Boar Trails is baie gepas, aangesien baie van die trails van die bestaande wildevarkpaadjies gevolg het. Die begin van die roetes is op die plaas Val du Charron. Daar is opsies van 17km, 26km, 38km of 45km om te ry. Die roetes is nie maklik nie, maar dit is meer as net ’n fietsry-ervaring. Ryers ervaar die natuur soos op min ander plekke in die Boland.

“FIETSRY GEE JOU DIE GELEENTHEID OM SO BAIE VAN DIE NATUUR IN ’N KORT TYDJIE TE ERVAAR.” Is jy self baie lief vir bergfietsry? Ek hou daarvan om in die natuur te wees. Fietsry gee jou die geleentheid om so baie van die natuur in ’n kort tydjie te ervaar. Dit is wat fietsry so ongelooflik maak. Wat is jou gunsteling plek in die Wes-Kaap en die land om fiets te ry en hoekom? My eerste werklike blootstelling aan fietsry was in Knysna. Dit is regtig spesiaal om in daardie inheemse woude te kan fietsry. Die roetes by Harkerville sal altyd my gunsteling bly.


TRAILBLAZERS: EPISODE 3

Hoe groot is jou span waarmee jy bou en hoe lank vat dit gewoonlik om ’n roete te voltooi? Ek het ’n span van ses wat roetes bou. Die terrein bepaal die tempo waarteen gebou word. Dit kan wissel tussen 80m tot 250m per dag. Ek verwonder my nog daagliks aan die werk wat die manne doen. Wat was/is jou betrokkenheid by roetes bou vir die Cape Epic? Daar is nou basies op elke dorp ’n trail-netwerk wat deur plaaslike spanne gebou word. Ons probeer om altyd nuwe trails te bou as die Epic in die omgewing is. Dit sorg dat die trail-netwerk in Wellington altyd uitbrei. My span doen redelik werk in die Boschendal- en Banhoekomgewing op roetes wat vir die Epic gebruik word. Wat is van Wellington/Boland se grootste bou-uitdagings as dit by nuwe roetes kom? Ek dink in die Boland se berge is die gradiënt ’n groot uitdaging. Dit is baie moeilik om roetes te bou wat toeganklik is vir die massas

op terrein wat te steil is. Klip en sand bly ook ’n uitdaging. Kleigrond is ideaal, maar is ongelukkig baie skaars op Wellington. Het die inperking en Corona jul roetebou beïnvloed? Lockdown het nie ’n te groot invloed gehad nie. Onderhoud op die trails het egter heelwat agter geraak. Waar in die Boland sal jy graag nog ’n roete wil bou en hoekom? Daar is nog so baie plekke waar ek sal wil bou. Die ou Hawekwaplantasie het egter die meeste potensiaal. As jy enige advies vir mense kan gee wat roetes wil bou, wat sal dit wees? Jy moet ’n passie hê vir die natuur en seker maak dat die trails op ’n volhoubare manier gebou word. Vir meer inligting oor die Wild Boar Trails besoek gerus https://vdcwines.co.za/wild-boartrails/ https://www.facebook.com/ wildboartrails/

TO RIDE SOME OF PIETER’S AMAZING TRAILS LOG ONTO www.graveltravel.co.za or find them on Facebook @GravelTravelMTB

SUS THE

ROUTES WILD BOAR PORCUPINE HEDGEHOG WARTHOG


TEST ZONE

ASSOS CHAMOIS CREAM

OAKLEY SUTRO –

PRIZM TRAIL TORCH LENS I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Oakley media event to launch their new range for 2021. Larger than life Seth Hulley was on the front line chatting about the range and we spent quite some time waxing lyrical about all that is sports glasses – particularly of course with regards to mountain biking. Oakley are undoubtedly the go to sunny when it comes to most sport disciplines and I would hazard a guess that the jawbreaker is the most worn Oakley style on the mountain. The Flight Jacket also something you would find on quite a few faces. Fashion and the need to encourage sales ensure that the look and styles are regularly updated and on the mtb we have definitely seen an influence of the snow goggle coming through on a lot of our shades. Wraparound lenses that offer maximum protection and uninterrupted peripheral vision. Super light and using different methods to keep the glasses from misting up. The Sutro would fall into this category. The large lens dominates your face and guarantees pretty much no reflection or sun creep under the shades. They look cool, feel great on and being so light you tend to forget about them quickly. They don’t seem to have the same grip on your head as other frames I have tried, so I wore the frame arms under my helmet straps. My only negative of these frames are that the frame arms are thin and a hard plastic (other Oakley frames have “rubberized” arms that are more grippy) and don’t hold well if you, like me, tend to store your glasses upside down with the frame arms tucked into the air vents on the front of your helmet – I kept them in my shirt pocket to be safe. That said when on, the airflow is ok when climbing but perfect when riding at a decent pace and particularly so on the descents. What make the shades standout though are the lenses. Like with all Oakley products the lenses are really what you are after. Tons of R&D, quality materials, effective technology

that isn’t just bullshit, an array of options and a really important advantage: interchangeable and replaceable lenses! So taking all this into account, hype aside, what are the Prizm Trail lenses like, out on the trail? Prizm is supposed to enhance or “amplify” what you are seeing (they do have a polarized version which has a filter to block out glare but that is not primary to the Prizm). It is honestly very difficult to put into words the efficacy of these Trail lenses, to explain how everything, whether in full sunlight to shaded areas, just POP! You start to take for granted what you are seeing, not realizing that you are actually at a distinct advantage. Those shaded rocks and roots, depth perception is on point, nuances of the trail and terrain that you may have missed if you were squinting or if your lens was too dark or just filtering out glare. What is also important for me is that your eyes don’t get tired – sometimes even with shades on you find that you are getting sore eyes or fatigue – bordering on a headache particularly on the longer rides – I never experienced this once. It is also good to know that the Prizm lenses can be made up as prescription specs - all the advantages of the quality sunny with good vision too! The lenses are incredible and are definitely something I would highly recommend. Seeing is believing! Reviewer: Shayne Dowling Shock rating: 4.5/5 (not perfect as I would have liked the option to store the sunnies on my helmet) Price RRP: R2100

The name seems most appropriate. Jokes aside, the brand that is best known for the Rolls Royce of cycling (chamois) shorts and bibs also puts out a chamois cream. Seems like an obvious product to put out but as we know most folks should just stick to their knitting… not in this case. The butt lube is brilliant and without a doubt my favourite product. So how does one tell the difference? Well there are a couple of things that count for me, the first is the smell – I can’t stand sitting down for coffee and wondering if I really am smelling someone’s tee-tree oil and hoping that it’s not coming from someone’s chamois – Assos Chamois Cream doesn’t have any fragrance – I like that. It also doesn’t have Witch Hazel or Tee Tree Oil in it – both of which have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and astringent properties however they have distinct and strong smell but that also can lead to side effects that I don’t particularly like. I would also advise a test run before taking on an endurance or multi-stage event. I would also check all creams ingredients first and ladies in particular I would advise asking your GP on their thoughts if you are unsure. Assos also makes a women’s specific chamois cream that is specially formulated for ladies sensitive areas. I have used the Assos lube for rides in all types of weather – what difference does this make I hear you ask? Well the cream essentially creates a barrier that protects your sensitive areas from the friction caused between your saddle, the chamois and your skin. Sweat in the heat, water in the rain all effect the efficacy of the lube and hence my comment. The cream needs to last on the skin for however long you are in the saddle for (within reason of course) and along with the above mentioned moisture factors needs to help keep your skin protected and clean. Assos Chamois Cream delivers in all departments. It isn’t cheap and I wouldn’t want to use cheap products on my skin frankly, it also is peace of mind that saddle sores are not going to be a factor on a multi-day stage ride. I highly recommend this product and it why I give it Full Sus’s first 5 shock rating. HOT TIP: After you have been to the loo and BEFORE you lube up, use an antiseptic wipe to ensure your butt is completely clean before slapping on your cream. This will help ensure no nasty infections are encouraged should you end-up with any broken skin or sores. Reviewer: Shayne Dowling SHOCK RATING: 5 SHOCKS Price RRP: R299


TRAIL REPORT EVERYONE KNOWS ABOUT THE LEGENDARY TRANS-BAVIAANS 24HR MTB MARATHON THAT TRAVERSES THE WILD WONDERLAND SHAPING BAVIAANSKLOOF. THERE HASN’T BEEN MUCH FOR WEEKEND WARRIORS IN TERMS OF TRAIL EXPLORATION, THOUGH, BUT THE GUYS AT CEDAR FALLS ARE ABOUT TO CHANGE THAT… IMAGES AND COPY JACQUES MARAIS

GABRIEL’S LOOP MTB TRAIL, BAVIAANSKLOOF


TRAIL REPORT LOCAL BUZZ: The remote (and very rugged) “Valley of Baboons” unfolds along a narrow gorge blessed with pristine natural grandeur and boasting gnarly peaks, rushing rivers, winding gravel passes and high-altitude fields of fynbos. The “Kloof” is just under 200km long and is encircled by the northern Baviaans ranges and the Kouga Mountains to the south. The massive mega-reserve – one of the biggest World Heritage Sites in the world - lies at a lower altitude than the Karoo further

the horizon line. This does mean that you’re going to have to deal with some major climbs along the way. But as the local Klowenaars say: “Wie’s bang!?”

TRAIL LOW-DOWN The mountain biking route scarped by the Cedar Falls land owners - is a relatively new addition to the adventure offerings in the area. This farm is also the spiritual home of the Leopard Trail, arguably one of South Africa’s most magnificent hiking trails. Hikers from around the

“IN FACT, THE GABRIEL’S LOOP TRAIL PRETTY MUCH CONNECTS TOGETHER SECTIONS OF THE LEOPARD TRAIL, STARTING NEAR THE HOMESTEAD BEFORE CRANKING INTO THE ADJACENT WILDERNESS.” north. The high mountains intensify the rainfall from the arid interior, generating increased precipitation in the Baviaanskloof, contributing to the lush landscape supporting the diverse fauna and flora here. All you really want to know is that the views across the bars are going to leave you with renewed stoke around every corner, with dramatic geological features spiking

country travel here to tramp onto this four-day slack-packing route, making it one of the country’s most successful conservation success stories in years. In fact, the Gabriel’s Loop Trail pretty much connects together sections of the Leopard Trail, starting near the homestead before cranking into the adjacent wilderness. The MTB trail basically follows two


TRAIL REPORT


TRAIL REPORT

FAST FACTS

GETTING

THERE

JACQUES MARAIS is a GIANT (RSA) Ambassador and SA’s MTB Trail Guru, with six mountain biking trail guides and the www. mtbroutes.co.za to his name. If he’s not on his bike, chances are he’s out trail running or surfing in some wild corner of the country ... His latest book, ‘A Guide to More MOER & GONE Places’, will be on shelf later this year. Follow him on Twitter @JacqMaraisPhoto or www.jacquesmarais.co.za

upgraded sections of the hiking route, joining onto the first part of Day 1 and second half of Day 2. Strong riders will find they can ride most of the route, but the gritty ascents will be a challenge for many. The scenery over-the-bars is magnificent, though, especially if you take time to turn off the route to explore the eponymous “Gabriel’s Pools”, set within a magnificent and very narrow shady kloof amidst near-vertical cliffs. In the rainy season, the kloof boasts a cascading waterfall and a refreshing stream tumbling amidst the giant boulders. Be warned: you will be cranking off into a mega-monster climb, so don’t feel despondent if you need to get off and push. So saddle up and crank into the steep climb towards the grassland plateau and keep a sharp eye for the Cedar Falls horses, often seen grazing where the trail levels out after 1.5km. Relax into your ride, as the trail levels out here, making for an absolute dream of a ride along smooth and meandering singletrack traversing the valley floor. Just on 3km into your crank, you will see the signage indicating the turn-off into the canyon, where Gabriel’s Pools await. This is an absolute mustdo, so leave your bike (it is 100% safe!) and explore the kloof on foot before returning to the trail to pedal over the

ridge where you re-join the return route (5.5km). Another tough uphill (approximately 3km of hard graft, but with a river crossing or two thrown in just to make sure it does not become a buzz-kill awaits, but as we all know, everything that goes up must eventually come down! And when it does, it’s a whoopfest of fast-flowing downhill all the way back to base camp, bru. Here’s a headsup, though: the terrain is gnarly, with serrated rock, loose shale sediment, occasional pissed-off viper types, and big drop-offs lurking into the kloofs. It’s up to you to keep your shit together … The Leopard Trail is a hiking trail, so it’s a privilege to crank onto this route. Bear in mind the path is consistently used by trail runners and hikers, so make a point of being cautious and courteous. You’re miles away from anywhere, remember and you may need these guys to get you medical assistance if things do go wrong. One more thing: there’s a 4km flowtrack with interesting berms and a fullon hand-made feel slip-sliding into the valley below Red Cliffs Farmhouse. This is a jol of note, so go balls to the wall. And if you’re keen for some off-the-bike endorphins, the kloofing session to the waterfall is an absolute must … wetsuits are optional!


PULLING G’S WITH POTTIE

UPWARDS FOR 2021 POTTIE IS BACK FOR HIS SECOND COLUMN AND THIS TIME AROUND HE’S FOCUSSING ON WHAT 2021 WILL LOOK LIKE FOR HIM. P H O T O S B Y A D I VA N D E R M E R W E & C H R I S TAY L O R


PULLING G’S WITH POTTIE

H

ey guys! I am back and I have to say I really enjoy this column as it gives me the opportunity to share my thoughts with you and hopefully, give you something to think about or give you a different view about how things go in the gravity scene. So 2020 is a bit of a write-off in terms of events and races so what I want to share this time around are my personal goals for 2021, things I would like to change on the local scene or just things that I want to achieve. One of my big goals during the last couple of years was to help the sport grow. When I say “the sport”, I mean disciplines like downhill, enduro or even trail riding, the more gravity orientated disciplines. I think it is important and here are my reasons why. Firstly, South Africa is very marathon orientated and that is 100% fine, nothing wrong with it. However, this has caused a bit of a misconception into what mountain biking really is. For example, a person would walk into a bike shop and tell them he wants to start mountain biking. The first thing they sell him in most cases is a 100mm cross country bike, and that is a very specific tool. A short travel XC bike is designed to put you into a position that makes it comfortable to ride long distances and this is most of the time not necessarily what the person who is starting mountain biking actually wants, even though they wouldn’t know that because they are just starting out. Chances are the person who is starting out is going to be riding the local trail parks in their area, and that is mostly trail riding. So that specific person should have been sold a 120 or 130mm bike as that would have given them way more control and means to have fun on the bike when they go trail riding. Secondly, skills on the bike is very important because the better your skills are the safer you will be on the bike as well as it will enable you to have more fun. The gravity disciplines make people work on their skills development more. Skills are also something that gets built up over a long time as confidence plays a big part there, but once you have it you

Coach Pottie explaining the levels of stoke the riders would shortly experience.


PULLING G’S WITH POTTIE will have it always. Look at all our top XC racers we have as an example, the late Burry Stander as well as our latest sensation Alan Hatherly. They all raced downhill as young riders before they specialized in their current disciplines. Now I am not saying you have to race downhill to be able to make it, but they built their skills as young riders and now as established athletes they have those skills

we started getting more people entering the downhill and enduro races which obviously helps the sport to grow. So for 2021 my goal would be to build my camps to have more events nationwide and thus also helping to grow the sport to get more riders into it. I will also be racing locally and internationally once again next year, so I will always be in that start gate trying to do

“ONE OF MY BIG GOALS DURING THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS WAS TO HELP THE SPORT GROW.” dialled and can perform at the top level. For those of you who don’t know, I have been doing mountain biking youth skills camps for the last 10 years. During the course of the last couple of years I have had many cross-country riders join the camps and a lot of them had so much fun during the skills sessions and runs down the hill that they started to do more trail, enduro or even in some cases downhill riding after the camps which is of course really good for developing their skills. Then I have noticed, because there are more kids joining the gravity scene,

the best I can. But one big priority that has come up the last couple of years is my team mate, Erik Irmisch and I, having been working closely with our bike brand YT-Industries with development and feedback on the bikes and parts they use. It is super interesting work and you learn a lot in the process as well. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts here with you guys. I am looking forward to the next time. Until then, keep safe and happy riding!

Johann Potgieter

JOHANN (POTTIE) POTGIETER is a multiple national downhill champion. He loves to rip, stay caffeinated and share his skills and knowledge with new gravity riders. Follow him on instagram @johannpotgieter_downhill

Little Rippers getting ready to for their shuttle ride.


disaster

lessons from

COAC H

2020 WAS WEIRD BUT IT TAUGHT CYCLIST TO BE INNOVATE AND APPRECIATE THE PRIVILEGE TO RIDE THEIR BIKES. RESIDENT COACH BEN SHARES HIS THOUGHTS. WORDS BY BENOIT CAPOSTAGNO very year that passes is unique in some way, but 2020 has surely been unique in its uniqueness. From a global pandemic that kept us locked indoors for weeks to earthquakes in Cape Town, 2020 has been a year we will remember for some time. As a year comes to a close it is sometimes useful to look back at the year that has passed and take stock of lessons learned. Cyclists were certainly challenged this year to think out of the box in terms of training and racing and in this article, we will look at three key lessons that 2020 taught us.

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TRAINING INDOORS VS. OUTDOORS It is well established that training indoors “feels harder” than training outdoors. The likely causes of the elevated perceived exertion are the increased heat storage, the reduced amount of freewheeling and the lack of a change in scenery. Virtual platforms

like Zwift have helped reduce the boredom and allowed cyclists to perform group rides despite their geographical locations. However, despite industrial sized fans, airconditioners and training just in your bibs, heat storage is still a challenge when training indoors. Cyclists produce heat as they pedal and, when outside the air flowing over their bodies and the evaporation of their sweat helps them lose heat to the environment. Unfortunately, these heat losses are reduced indoors and as a result our bodies store more heat and the exercise feels harder than it would if we were doing the same amount of work outdoors.

“ENDURANCE ATHLETES CAN IMPROVE THEIR PERFORMANCE BY THE CORRECT APPLICATION OF STRENGTH TRAINING.” The increased perception experienced when cycling indoors has resulted in the misconception that a shorter session indoors is equivalent to a longer session performed outdoors. A new study conducted on professional cyclists in Spain1 shows that a reduction in training volume due to training exclusively indoors is not a successful strategy to improve endurance performance. The cyclists in this study reduced their weekly training volume by ~33% during a

seven week lockdown period. The reduction in training volume was accompanied by a decrease in both five and 20 minute mean maximal power. The authors attribute these decreases in performance to the reduced training volume, specifically highlighting the reduced amount of time spent and low intensities, as well as a reduction at high intensities (above threshold). At the time of writing this, countries in the Northern Hemisphere are considering or have already imposed a second lockdown in an attempt to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Should you be faced with a second lockdown where you will be forced to train exclusively indoors, pay attention to your weekly training volume and ensure that you do not decrease it by too much, or try to substitute volume for an increase in intensity. THERE IS NO EXCUSE Success in endurance sport requires athletes to sustain the highest possible speed or power output at the lowest energy cost. In certain situations, athletes will be required to accelerate to break away from the pack or sprint to the line to take the win. In these situations, glycolytic capacity and maximal speed become important determinants of success. Endurance athletes can improve their performance by the correct application of strength training. Strength training has been shown to improve a variety of factors associated with endurance performance in


COAC H novice to well-trained endurance athletes. Strength training sessions should be tailored to the athlete’s needs based on their experience and current strength level. Strength training should be viewed by endurance athletes as an additional tool in their goal to improve performance. Many strength and conditioning experts moved their gyms online and classes were given using online platforms like Zoom or Facebook Live. Classes were kept basic and required little to no equipment but were still effective enough to allow cyclists to perform resistance training. Many of the athletes we work

with have continued to include strength training in their programmes due to benefits they experienced during lockdown. The lockdown demonstrated to many cyclists that there is sufficient time to include strength training and you don’t need access to a gym to perform strength training. MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS One of the biggest challenges to performance in 2020 was getting the timing right. Races were cancelled or rescheduled which meant training plans had to be adjusted accordingly to peak

later or sometimes earlier. The lack of “tune-up” races meant that often when cyclists arrived on the start line, it was their first race for quite some time and their form might not be at a level they would expect. Managing expectations appropriately due to changes in race dates can help reduce pre-race anxiety and deal with the disappointment if the race didn’t go as well as they had hoped for. It was certainly a challenging year, and 2021 may have a bumpy start too, but we can always learn from the past and apply that knowledge to future endeavours.

BENOIT CAPOSTAGNO currently works for Science to Sport in Cape Town. He is currently completing his PhD at the University of Cape Town and is investigating training adaptation and fatigue in cyclists. For more info: www.sciencetosport.com


EVENT CALENDAR

JANUARY WESTERN CAPE 2 – Windpomp Sjerrie Challenge 13 – GRINDER Pass Thru #2 15 – Attakwas Extreme – South Africa’s

toughest one- day mountain bike race. This is an extreme race through the desert and mountains of the Klein Karoo.

30 – Race to the Sea

EASTERN CAPE 23 – Trans Baviaans 30 – Trans Baniaans Repeat

GAUTENG 24 – The Fast One

MPUMALANGA 5 – Noon to Moon 29 – Barberton XCM MTB Challenge

– This “not so delicate” race will be a rude awakening for those who over indulged in eating all the Festive Season treats rather than spending some time on the saddle. The race is open to cyclists of all ages, shapes and sizes, unfit, fit and super fit! The race will consist out of five routes

KZN

FEBRUARY WESTERN CAPE 5-13 – TransCape MTB Encounter 4-7 – Tankwa Trek – A four-day stage race

with breath taking trails through the Bokkeveld and the Witzenberg are. This race features some of the most unique scenery South Africa has to offer.

13 – Leopard Crawl MTB Race 20 – Imbuko Big Five MTB Challenge

EASTERN CAPE 4-7 PE Plett – The Eastern Cape’s Premier

MTB Event. The trail will take you along the Garden Route of the Eastern Cape. The previous Lite and Tough routes have been combined this year to make one route for everyone.

12 – Ride the Karoo 3 Day Stage Race

KZN 23-25 – The Berg and Bush Tour –

For those who want to ride in a less crowded environment you will be able to negotiate worldfamous singletrack without having to be in a hurry. 27-28 – The Berg and Bush ‘Two Day”

MARCH

KZN 5-7 – The Berg and Bush ‘Descent’ 16-22 – X-Berg Challenge

KEY: CANCELLED POSTPONED SCHEDULED

14 – Herald Cycle Tour 19 – Ride the Karoo 100 Miler

GAUTENG 26-28 The Bridgestone Route 66 MTB Experience – Back for it’s 11th year in a row

this is a tough and challenging 3-day stage race. There is a 2-day option as well for those lessexperienced or who want an easier ride.

30-31 – Euro Steel Drak Descent

PHOTO CREDIT ANTHONY GROTE


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Our weekend social media post has solicited quite a response. We have decided to make it a regular feature – not only on the socials but we will also publish the best pics in the mag. To add some incentive we will choose a winner in each issue and they will receive an exclusive Full Sus embroidered cap!

So post your pic, tag and share to enter! Our first winner is: HAMISH KNOWLES 1- Hamish Knowles in Welvergenoegd (Winner) 2- Chantelle Bosch at Groenlandberg Conservancy 3- Shaun Peters at Pearly Beach 4- Marita and William Openshaw in Strandfontein 5- Fabio Venturi at De Hoop 6- Deaon Visser on the road to Doornbaai 7- Fanie Van Biljon at Table 58 Brewing 8- LeRoux Roussouw on the road between Elandsbaai and Lambertsbaai.

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