Saturday night after the race we headed to Vereenining (pronounced fre-ena-hgen) for a potjie (pronounced poiki it’s like a camp oven) and a bit of a party, we lit up the bar area at the house with the usual pool and darts then finished off with some good ole South African 2 step. Had a great time as always!
Kiwi was having some trouble with my camera and ended up accidentally taking a couple of video snippets, here they are in a high NRG compilation!
On Saturday Kiwi and I headed to Logwood to participate in a cross country race, Kiwi has only just started to get into mountain biking and a bit crook so he was there for moral support, poor Zetty had to work so could only support via phone.
These days I qualify for the sub saggy balls class (sub vets 30 – 40 year olds), surprisingly this was one of the most contested categories with a good dozen competing.
I knew I had my work cut out for me seeing the current national sub saggy balls champion was there (the little guy with the white jersey in the pics). As expected I only saw him for about half of the shakedown lap then he was gone and finished first.
I was 3rd at the end of the shakedown and managed to only hold onto 4th by a fraction at the end of the 1st lap… I’d gone out a little hard and started paying the price, huffing, puffing, spitting and snotting. I got knocked back to 5th just past the line.
2nd lap I settled into a more maintainable pace and the the body started to realise what it was supposed to do. I was constantly checking what the 6th place guy was up to but he dropped further and further behind so I figured 5th place was mine.
I was in the "zone" for the next couple of laps, actually felt pretty good, had to throttle back a bit knowing there was another lap to go, then I started to realise I was reeling in old mate 4th, then I see Mr 3rd as well and he wasn’t looking comfortable at all, by the end of the 4th lap old mate 4th and I were both past Mr 3rd who had blown his phoofer valve,I was hot on old mate’s heels.
I caught right up to old mate through the first twisty section of burms and bumps of the last lap, had a couple of sniffs at the inside line but he was covering the corners so I couldn’t pass.. he certainly knew I was there though.
In the "Zombie Birdhouse" (cool twisty single track section through saplings and in and out of some swamp flats) I was again stuck behind him, taking him in the corners wasn’t an option and I was loosing my speed advantage in this rough tight section, I waited for a "straighter" section put the hammer down and made my own line through the bush taking him for 3rd about a third of the way around the last lap.
A couple of cramp twinges told me to not get carried away so I settled back into my previous pace, thankfully the swearing from old mate a little later in the lap confirmed that he’d blown and posed not further threat so I cruised home into 3rd place.
During the presentations "Aussie Geoff" raised an interesting point, that South African mountain biking is mostly centred around the marathon events, they prefer to stomp out 100+ kms on open dirt roads rather than mix it up in the trees. That’s certainly been my experience so far, it’s good to see there’s a small community hosting some proper mountain biking competitions, let’s hope they can build it.
Unfortunately that’s the last event in the provincial (state) comp, I’ll definitely look at participating in more next season, got a bit more work to do but I might actually be competitive!
Thanks to Kiwi for driving me out there and hanging out for the day, it was good fun.
Apparently it’s renowned for trout fishing, one guy that Zett works with referred to the fishing there as "easy as clubbing baby seals", we weren’t there for the fishing, we had our bikes in the back of the Paxmobile (Zett’s work car has been upgraded with large yellow and orange decals).
Unfortunately with the mountain biking our one contact fell through so we had to find our own trails, our first attempt was a bold one as we headed off blazing our own trail through a rough, rocky grass field with a big hill on it. The hill turned out steeper than expected and the terrain tougher so we ended up lugging our bikes the last quarter of the way.
As the pics show, the view from the top was worth it, we got a nice vista of Dullstroom and the surrounding area. The goat track we found down was pretty extreme, we ended up walking a fair bit of that as well. After that it was down to the pub to catch the super 14 semi final and reward ourselves with a couple of beers before heading in to the centre of town to see what else was on offer.
It was a fairly standard touristy affair, a few cafes, pubs and art shops, pretty nice all in all. That night we headed to this strange little restaurant called Fibs, it was a family run affair with even the family cat roaming the restaurant floor. The food and wine were good, we were entertained by this one large group of obviously old friends, reminded me a lot of this one group of mum and dad’s friends when they get together, we actually labelled a couple of them with their Australian aliases (the Maz, Rusty, Alan and Balley were standouts).
After a night cap at the pub on the way back to our cosy little cottage we settled in by the fireplace for one last drink before hitting the sack.
The bed was mega comfy, I think we did a good 10 hours sleep each night which well and truly recharged the batteries. A good thing too, as we ended up doing a pretty tough fifty odd km ride on the Sunday morning, 10k of steep rough double track descent then 40k gradual climb back out… all at around 2000m above sea level.
A great little weekend away.