News and Races 2011

   

 

 

 

 

 

Week 3
4-07-2011

On Monday morning I got picked up by Kevin and David giving me a lift to Innsbruck. Then another 2 hour train trip and I was in the real mountains around Saalbach. I checked into Hotel Conrad, a biker hotel that offers great packages to mountain bikers in summer and also helped out as one of the guides for the week.

The sun was out and I was convinced that this time I would be spoiled with good weather for the whole week but no luck. On Tuesday and Wednesday we were still cycling in short sleeves and on Thursday and Friday I had to put on all the kit I had to survive the cold and wet.


It is just unreal how quickly the weather can change in the high mountains, 30 degrees the one day and then 10 degrees the next. But to be honest both is special. One day you sit shirtless outside the “Alm” and drink a coke and the next day inside making fire and drinking coffee.

Being a guide is not easy and if you have 15 guests that came to a hotel to ride their bikes you have to come up with something. So on the rainy day we did technical training in the parking garage. From balancing acts, cornering, braking and bunny hopping we managed all of that without getting wet. Then as the rain calmed down a bit it was rain coats on and out to the mountains.

The 5 days ruched pass in no time and  on Saturday I was back in the train on my way back to Germany where I planned to race the Singen Bike marathon on Sunday.  Unluckily all the travelling and the weather differences got to me.
I woke up on Sunday with a cold and new what was the right thing was to do, not to start. But how many athletes have been in this situation thinking, I am one of the favourites, must I start, how will I feel, what will the people say, what will the organisers say…….but at the end is it worth risking your health?
I did start and after only 8 km I decided it was not worth risking my health and quit the race. Not a nice feeling for any athlete. On my way back home I just realized that it was the right thing to do and hope I can recover before Saturday when I will do my last race, in Albstadt, on my Europe trip 2011.

 I also realized again how hard it is to be at the top of your game in a sport like cycling. The commitment is just massive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marathon World Champs
27-06-2011

On Tuesday morning my journey to the south started and I would like to thank Friedemann, the manager of the Bulls team, for the lift in there team camper. For once there were just about no traffic jams all the way down to Trento and it took us just over 7 hours to get to Montebeluno. A cancelation in Hotel San Marco also sorted my accommodation problems and that again showed that it is not always necessary to book months in advance.


On Wednesday I did scouting of the route with the Bulls as well as Kevin and David and my first impression was not good. Having so many mountains to choose from they bring worlds to a small little hill and chase you up and down from all sides, just like a cross country, a long cross country. I decided not to race international cross countries anymore but now we get forced to do it in my beloved marathon discipline.

With the first 10km on tar leading to the first single track it was a drag race up the 6 km climb and that’s the last time I have seen the main bunch. I tried my best to get back but on the down hills but passing in the single track was just not possible and I knew I was in for a long lonely day in the saddle.

Another big thanx to Friedemann for offering to supply me with water at the feed zones but that also turned out into a survival for me as he had Tim in the front of the race and not really time to wait for me. I did manage to get water at 4 of the 8 feed zones and I even stopped to pick up one of the Italians bottles just to get me to the next zone.


I kept passing riders and a couple withdrew and in the end finished in 45th position. David crashed after one of the first single track sections hurting his hip and when Kevin suffered a puncture Dave was there to give him a spare wheel. Kevin finished in 38th position with the other SA rider Erik Kleinhans in 69th place. Christoph Sauser took the win, with Cross country, yes cross country, team mate Jaroslav Kulhavy in 2nd and Italian favourite Mirko Celestino in 3rd.


On the brighter side the Italian coffee, pizza,
Parma and gelato is just something special and to have pit girls in bikinis was also typical Italian. Just wonder where she was when I needed her most…

Now I am on my way to Saalbach, the weather looks good so hopefully I can spoil you with some great pictures next week.
Mr-african.

 

 

 

 

 

Blackforest 115km 3150H

It’s been 7 years since my last participation in this memorable race. The Black Forest Bike Marathon was the first marathon I won in Europe back in 1999 taking the title from none other than Germany’s Mike Kluge. I also won it in 2000, and placed 2nd and 3rd in 2001 and 2003.


The past week, leading up to the race, my training was all according to plan until my rear derailleur got stuck in the spokes. The hanger as well as the derailleur was in pieces. Riding without any tools it was a bit of a mission to get the derailleur off and try and make a single speed.

I managed just that and was able to finish the 50km back home. Luckily it was not raining and the moral was high.
That changed though on race day. The moral was still high but the weather did not look to good.


7:30 more than 5000 riders (a new record) started the 14th edition of the Black Forest Bike Marathon in 5 different distances. It was not raining at the time but that changed 20km into the race.


The pace up the first long climb was just too fast for me and I followed my own tempo. Later I heard it was David setting such a blistering pace, thanx buddy but well done.

Temperatures kept dropping as we climbed up to 1200 metres and with a low of 2 degrees and an average of 5.5 degrees,this was one race for the hard core. My mind set was positive and even riding without a jacket or raincoat I kept pushing along on my own.  Not only did I keep passing riders but some, shivering like mad, jumped in the car.


This must have been one of my coldest races here in Europe and everything was a mission. Eating, drinking and even shifting took full concentration. I kept the engine fuelled up and finished strongly
in 7th place again.           

Luckily I make my way down to Italy on Tuesday for the marathon World Champs and hopefully the sun will be shining on us there. The week after that I am on my way to Hotel Conrad (http://www.hotel-conrad.at/) in Saalbach for some more nice trails, a couple of Weiss beers and kaiserscmarn.

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/93614683

 

Mannie's Bike Mecca

 

NEW NEW NEW. You dont need to look like this. Rather put your bike on a diet.....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Update- Europe
It was this time of the year again for me and luckily I left Namibia for Europe just before the “real” winter came. With temperatures around -5 degrees and snow in the South of Namibia I was happy to land in Frankfurt and for once it was not raining here. But that changed quickly and two days later I was riding around in the rain with temperatures around 12 degrees and then I knew I was back in good old Germany.


I will be here for six weeks and I will also be doing five marathons. CRAZY. First on the cards Willingen Bike Festival, then Black Forest Bike Marathon in Kirchzarten. From there it’s down south to Montebeluno for the marathon World Champs then to Austria for the Kitzalp Bike Marathon and last on the cards back to Germany for my favourite, Albstadt Bike Marathon.


Willingen 126km 3550Hm

It’s been six year since I last did the race in Willingen. I remember it like yesterday because I came to Europe that year with a knee injury I got from pulling my partner through the 2005 Cape Epic. I was the defending champion of the Ultra marathon but this year, due to a lack of training, I could only manage a 2nd place in the middle distance.

2011 Race

For once the race here in Willingen was dry but still cold with temperatures hovering around the 10degrees, sometimes a bit more, sometimes dropping below. I was joint on the start line by Kevin Evans and David George as well as some other familiar faces like Bart Brentjens and Erik Zabel to name a few.

I was not feeling too comfortable on the first climb dropping just off the pace of the leading bunch but on the first downhill made my way back to the front. I could feel that the pace was just a bit too hard for me and decided to ride at my own pace with 100km to go knowing this is a long and hard marathon.


The other problem is that riders can decide in the race if they want to do 58km, 96km or the full 126km. That’s something David realised as he chased after two riders that got a gap from us. Just as he decided their pace is too fast for him they turned off right for the short event.
That did get him a lead on the chasing pack though and he kept it together till the end to win the Ultra marathon and bring the title back to Africa- Thanx Dave. Kevin was struggling with a rear wheel puncture and at the end finished fourth overall and third in the elite category being piped by master rider, Stephan Danowski, just before the finish line.

I rode a steady pace the whole race and at the end it was good enough for 7th overall and 2nd in the master category, MASTER… So I was back on the podium again here in Willingen and with couple of Euros I won my budget for the week-end was in a plus. Hope it can stay this way.

Next up is Black Forest bike Marathon in Kirchzarten, 116km 3150Hm climbing. I will also meet up with Kevin and David and let’s hope between the 3 of us we can get another one of my titles back to Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WINDHOEK LAGER NAMIB QUEST

12-06-2011

It’s taken a long time but at last there is also a multi stage event in Namibia, the Windhoek Lager Namib Quest. And believe me, the inaugural event was just a special as my first Trans Alp challenge back in 1998 and the 1st Cape Epic in 2004.

The high volume of rain Namibia had over the last couple of months was a tester not only for the participants but also for the organizers and crew. Although there were some hick ups along the way and 10% not making it to the end, the rest enjoyed the beautiful Khomas Hochland and the Namib (mud) desert.

The Namibquest took place on the same time as Joburg2C, but I was fully committed to ride this true Namibian event, even giving up the chance to win R100 000,00 at Joburg2C.

The race started on Sunday morning on the outskirts of Windhoek and after a controlled start through the streets we headed straight to the Kupferberg Pass. We climbed to an altitude of 2060m before starting with some of the descents to the Friendehau dam for the second water point. Francois and I kept a close eye on each other and got to the first overnight stop on Farm Neu Heusis together.

Another heavy rainstorm that afternoon had everybody close together in the Windhoek lager chill zone. Deacon from Radio wave kept the music in the ears and after a bit of a delay, supper and what a supper was served. With Windhoek Lager the main sponsor, keeping it real was not a problem as it was all for free. Imagine...

Days two, three and four were just unreal. Mountain biking you can’t believe, hundreds of river crossing, all full of water. Climbs that had me and Francois on the ropes and descents that tested even my XTR brakes. It was still a ding dong battle between me and Francois and then on day 4, a rock popped up clipping my rear derailleur damaging it big time.

With some time in hand we stopped together to see how best we can fix the problem. First we used some tape to try and get some “spring” back in the derailleur, but that did not work. Then I ripped a piece of my slime tube of, attached it top the lower end and off we went. It lasted all but the last kilometre to Walvisbay.

Days five and six we crossed the Namib. With some flashbacks of the Desert Dash as the gravel roads just goes on and on. Only difference, this time it was wet, no dust but mud. Another big thunderstorm had as all back in the Chill zone again but this time like true Namibian fashion the sun came out again and we all sat around the fire waiting for our last special meal in the bush.

Francois came out tops at the end as I did not want to take any risks sprinting with my 'new XTR version' rear derailleur, and at the finish, waiting for prize giving, the riders and their supporters were enjoying some more free Windhoek Lagers.

Thanx to AEP, Russel and Tinus, for giving this a go. Thanx to all the sponsors especially Windhoek Lager and thanx also to all the riders that came and see why Mr African loves Namibia so much. See you all again next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SABIE MTN ULTRA MARATHON #4

26-02-2011

The 4th leg of the MTN Ultra marathon series took place in Sabie, one of my favourite places to go ride my bike no matter on or off road. Back in the old days this was the 2nd race of the season now it was my 5th and we’re not even done with the month of February.

Another first for me was receiving the MTN leader’s jersey 5 min before the start and I felt a little privileged to receive the jersey in Sabie my home away from home. I think sometimes the spectators don’t know if they must cheer for me or their local boy Max Knox.

On the cards was 110km with 3000Hm of climbing and this time no rain. The first 2 climbs we were like “gorillas in the mist” but by the time we started the last 40km Sabie showed its nice side, the sun burning down on us, and I even took some time to watch the magnificent views.

The pace was fierce on our way to the King of the mountain with team mate Phil and Adrian setting the pace. Phil took it with ease building his lead in the king of the mountain category. Marc and I was riding at about 15 sec off the pace but soon caught up after the climb forming a leading bunch of 7 riders. It was then on the downhill that German rider Karl Platt showed his downhill skills, riding with his Bulls 29er, putting some distance between him and the others. Phil was the only rider that could manage his speed while I was happy to go a little bit slower and not risking a crash.

On the start of the second climb was the first feed/technical zone where we could refuel and prepare our self to suffer again. Boy and did I suffer. Just like last week from feeling comfortable a sudden lost in power also saw me loose 7 min and 2 places. I was confident, like last week, that my legs will came back and they did not disappoint.

The second downhill I was not thinking about crashing anymore only racing like crazy to see if I could make up some of the lost time. Like Karl would say I was going fullgass but on the same time I was also running low on water and the advertised 2nd feed/techzone came nearly 10km later than scheduled. Now not knowing where it will be I had to come down from fullgass to halfgass. Once the bottles were filled it was back to fullgass and with a time split of 5 min to the bunch and 2 and a half to Marc that was not to difficult.

I caught up with Marc as we started the last 36km loop and now I was riding in 6th place on the road. With no more mist but just the sun burning down on us hydration was of the utmost importance but again the tech/feed zone was 10km further as advertised and even my old diesel motor was starting to take strain.

I could only manage to catch up with Paul Cordes still to finish in 5th position. Up front Karl took the win in style followed by team mate Phil, who I must say rode a brilliant race and 3rd was Adrian N. Local boy Max finished a disappointing 4th after suffering 2 flat tires. Marc held on to 7th place with Francois making the podium in 12th position. Well done laaities.

Next up is the Grape Escape and Argus Mountain bike Challenge in Cape Town followed by the South African cross country championships.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLARENS MTN ULTRA MARATHON #3

19-02-2011

When race organizer, Wessel van der Walt tweeted that this is a tough course, bring your 29er dual, he wasn’t making a joke but I think not even he knew how tuff it could get out there with the amount of rain we had the previous night. But thank goodness we were out there in the Golden Gate reserve and not in Sandton with the chaos of the Tour of South Africa. And I gave up a party in Clarens to come and watch some live racing...

Back to the real cycling... Some times it helps knowing the route ahead like I showed in the ultra marathon, fighting back from 12th place finishing 2nd or like Brandon said, 'If I knew what was coming my way I would have stayed at home', maybe not.

The race reminded me of the 4th stage of the first Cape Epic to Swellendam back in 2004 that were supposed to be an easy day, but rain the previous night also turned the easy rolling roads into 'clay fields'. As if the grass climbs in the Golden Gate reserve wasn't enough the normal fast rolling district roads was a never ending battle for man and machine and the riders were tested as much as their equipment. Brake failure was the biggest problem and there must have been only a handful of riders that managed to finish with two working brakes.

Just after the first technical section of riding a group of 12 riders got away passing the first technical zone after 23km. By this time I realized that this is gonna turn out to be a real Ultra marathon. I still felt comfortable taking my turn at the front and being joined by team mates Marc Bass and Philip Buys. After about 40km Max picked up the pace, Marc comfortably on his wheel but then out of no where I could not follow any wheels anymore. As if someone had pulled my plug. I even struggled to pass the women we caught and I thought this is gonna turn out to be a hard day at the office.

I did not panic and kept going at my now “survival pace” hoping the legs will come back. After the next downhill section I started feeling better again and was able to push some bigger gears, making up ground on the riders just in front of me. By the time we came to the 2nd technical zone I worked my way back into 6th place with Brandon on my wheel. Out in front Marc, Phil and Adrian N. was sharing the lead with Phil out sprinting them for “King of the Mountain”.

With the toughest half still to come that’s probably not what Brandon wanted to hear from me and he let me ride alone in pursuit of the leaders. Next up I caught Thomas Zhand from Switzerland riding for DCM. Then I caught Nico Bell enjoying a good day out on his 29er.

The next 10km I passed the women again as they did a shorter loop, this time much much faster than back in the reserve. Sorry if there were some close calls but my brakes were also not working 100% anymore.

With 23km to go I came to the 3rd technical zone and for the first time got a time gap on the leader. Not knowing who was in front, I kept pushing believing I could still make up a position or two. I first caught team mate Phil, then 2km later I was riding with Marc. He encouraged me to keep pushing hoping that I could catch up to a strong riding Adrian.

But that was not to be and an emotional Adrian won his first, and I believe one of many to come, MTN ultra marathons. I came in 2nd just over 3 min behind, Marc held on to 3rd, Phil 4th and Swiss rider Thomas Zhand 5th. The winning time for the 113km of 5 hours 45 min is proof of one very tough outing and congratulations to every one finishing. This is just a taste of what a tough European marathon can be like.

See you all in Sabie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

African Cross Country Champs

13-02-2011

All I can say- Well done to my team mates, Marc Bass and Philip Buys for a consistent race at the African Champs finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively behind u/23 world champ Burry Stander. You guys made me proud, are on the right track, and with more hard work you will achieve those goals.


My own race started bad then it was good, maybe too good and then my wheels came off in the last 3 laps.
The cross country starts are just too fast for me and as we hit the first bit of the 3.8km single track, jip maybe 400m was open road, I was stuck behind some slower riders. With just about no passing places in the difficult sections I had to wait about the whole of a lap to get past these riders.


As we started the 2nd lap I had some clear track and tried to make up my lost ground. I worked my way up to 4th behind Burry, Marc and Phil but that cost far too much and I started paying for my efforts.


The last 2 laps I went into survival mode and first got passed by Rwanda’s Adrian N and then by Erik Kleynhans from SA. With all the rocks, loose sand and twisty turns I was more than happy to finish in one piece, not breaking anything.


Congratulations to Marc and Adrian qualifying Namibia and Rwanda a spot at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Together with South Africa, Africa will be represented by 3 Nations in the 2012 MTB event, a first ever. And if South Africa accumulates enough UCI points they might even be able to enter 3 riders so it’s time for the rest of SA to help Burry getting those points.

 

Also well done to all the other Namibian riders that finished their races and to Herbert Peters and Vera Adrian for finishing 2nd in their categories.


A note on the course-Some riders say it’s one of the best courses they ever raced on in South Africa. I would like to differ from that. The course was tough and so it should be but I can’t see a World cup being raced on it. By far not enough passing opportunities. For a small field like yesterday it can scrape through but with bigger fields, there will be chaos. That’s just how I see it.

 

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/67985898


Next up is the MTNUltra marathon in Clarens and then Sabie, one of my favourite events the end of the month.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barberton Ultra 120km

31-01-2011
Normally this was the first race of the new season but having already suffered 2 weeks ago in Oudshoorn at the Attakwas Ultra event everybody had an idea of who is on form and who not.


Normally we also do this race in the rain and mud making it one too remember. But after so many days of rain and bad weather we were treated to a super day out on the bike with conditions actually to “easy” considering there was no mud.


But like always the racing is as hard as the riders make it and after a 10km relaxed stretch to the first of 2 BIG climbs of the day the action started. Max Knox is the 2 times defending champion at his “hometown” event and when Brandon picked up the pace on the first climb I knew Max must have brought his climbing legs with.


On one of the steeper sections I had to drop back from the front but was just happy to follow my pace with Phillip shadowing me and Marc keeping Team Garmin present in the front. Halfway up the climb Phil and I got back to the front and then I went to the front and set the pace. Just before the top David accelerated and once again I had to let them go but as we started the decent I was back in the front.


On the very next climb it was again Max to attack leaving me and Marc behind with Phil riding in the front. The last 20km of the first big loop we entered the Game Reserve and the riding became a bit more technical and I could see the leaders not far in front. A slow puncture had me of the bike the same time as David had a problem with his chain and then the two of us worked our way back to the lead before we started the 2nd loop with one more mother of a climb.


Once again I was happy to set the pace knowing that there will be action soon. Max did not wait to long before he made a motorbike like attack. David tried to respond to that but Max was on a mission of his own and rode away from all of us winning for the 3rd year in a row with David in 2nd.


Brandon sat my wheel until about 1km before the top of the climb and then as I was having a bad time he opened a gap of about 1 minute. I recovered on the decent and came out strong in the last 15km again. I spotted his red shirt between the backmarkers of the 75km race and with 5 km to go I caught and passed him to finish in 3rd place.

 

Now it's back home for a week before leaving for the African Championships in Cape Town.

Misty valley day 2

23-01-2011

A rain storm 4 o clock in the morning had me worried that this is gonna be a wet day but by the time breakfast was served all was well and we all looked forward if 2day’s route could be better than yesterday. And we were not disappointed.


Another 90 km http://connect.garmin.com/activity/64797518 was on the program with a lunch stop at Komati River Lodge, 40km into the ride. I had enough Garmins on me to make sure we find the right route and we even nearly missed the thunderstorms as well. But 10km from home it did happen but at least our  muddy bikes got a free rinse by the time we got to the lodge.


After a nice hot shower I made my way to the restaurant’s bar for a couple of pancakes and a cappuccino that will get 10 out of 10 in Italy. 2 and half hours later I was back in Pretoria and already planning when I will go and explore a bit more around Misty Valley Lodge.


Will keep you updated and feel free to join me next time.

 

 

Misty Valley Lodge

 

22-01-2011

After some good training in and around Pretoria, I decided to leave the hustle and bustle and made my way to Misty Valley Lodge just 2 and a half hours drive from Pretoria. Will do this more often.....Friday morning it was clear to me why it is called Misty Valley Lodge. Luckily I could take the day off and enjoyed some well deserved rest.


Late afternoon I did join the participants of the training camp for an easy ride on the farm enjoying the sight of zebra, springbok, hartebeest and “blou wilde bees”. Supper was great and the red wine even better.


7 o clock was breakfast time and the mist was much less than the day before and by the time we were done with breakfast, the sun was done with the mist and 86km was on the cards for the day. What’s different from this ride to the norm is that you start at the top, 2050 metres, and descend into the valley with fast down hills, forest single track, technical downhill sections but also nasty short climbs in between.


At 60km we had a lunch stop, refuelling for the climb back up to the lodge. As if the climb was not enough a Mozambique spitting cobra kept the heart beat in the higher zones. Luckily we decided to go different ways.

Back at the lodge the bikes went to the bike wash, some were lucky enough too got booked for a massage while I just enjoyed the sun as well as a 061. Jip, a Windhoek,  but only one.
More 2morrow.......

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attakwas

15-01-2011

The 2011 MTN ultra marathon series started with the Attakwas Ultra Marathon.  It’s a first time for me as it is difficult to keep myself focussed during the December holidays and be prepared for 121km through the Attakwas mountains. But with a lot of races in the first 4 months and the fact that I decided to do the dash again last year I tried to keep some of the form and don’t try and consume all the 061’s the Namibia Breweries brew.
I surprised myself although I did slip up once or twice in and around New Year.


Unfortunately my new Merida 96 arrived a bit late and had to do all of my training on my trusted onine hard tail. I was happy to do that but consulting with my team mates that’s done the race it was a no-brainer to race the dual suspension.
I managed 2 rides before the race but still did not feel as comfortable on the dual. A big field lined up just outside Oudthoorn, not only with some new faces, but also with some old ones from Europe in the form of Karl Platt and Stephan Sahm.


An easy nervous start soon turned into a race up every climb, rocky downhill and slippery corner. I did not had the best of starts and soon was of the back of the leading bunch while my team mates were forcing the pace in the front. I just could not get my rhythm on the dual suspension but after 2 hours of struggling and fighting I started to get the feel and then the terrain was out and out full suspension terrain.


By the time I got to the halfway mark I have worked my way up from 20th position to about 10th. I was confident that I would make up more places and soon I was racing in 6th place with Brandon Stewart in my tow. Unfortunately there was no more rough stuff to enjoy the dual suspension but just long stretches of open roads into a gruelling headwind.
At the end I just got piped into a disappointing 7th place by Brandon.

The race was won by David George racing for their new Team 360life somehow outfoxing Stephan Sahm and Karl Platt (BULLS) into 2nd and 3rd respectively. Still don’t know how he did it but I can just imagine.  4th and 5th went to Max Knox (DCM) and Adrian N(MTN).

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/63603753

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desert Dash

19-12-2010

My 2011 season started already in December as I decided to do the Desert Dash, a 340km race from Windhoek to Swakopmund. It was the 6th time the race took place and it’s becoming one of the “must do “ events on the mountain biker’s calendar. But the same problem here is that entries are limited and sold out in no time.


Luckily as winner of the SOLO event in 2008 I still got a wildcard entry 6 weeks before the start of the race. Rumour had it that there was a 4 man team that were challenging to complete the race in 12 hours and that also became a challenge to me to ride with this team. My winning time in 2008, and still the record, was 13 hours 13 min and I did not think it was possible to go much faster than this because on that day conditions were perfect. So if I could stick to this 4-man team I could easily bettered my record.


The local press got a bit confused and thought I was challenging the 12 hour mark. But in a extreme race like this it’s about getting to the finish and not chasing time. I did however calculate how I could better my time and stay with the 4-man team and changed my tactics accordingly.


With the race going through the night good lights were also essential to be able to ride on the smoother parts of the corrugated gravel road and I approached Super Nova, a German light company, to help me out here.  They supplied me with the M33, a small light with big power.  1400 lumen on full power and the dark Namib dessert wasn’t that scary anymore.


Zimmerman Garage supplied me with a new VW kombi for my backup team, which are just as important in a race like this and I once again got fuel sponsored by Riverside Service station. Thanx Nick for the support.


A record of 99 SOLO riders, 56 2-man teams, 34 4-man teams and 2 tandems lined up at the Windhoek Golf Club for the 15H00 start. Conditions turned out to be nasty with the west wind pumping from early in the morning. This means a head wind until the wind drops down, if it drops down.
After 10km we were 5 riders in the front, but no sign of the 4 man team, and as we hit the Kupferberg pass it was only Uwe Schmidt, a 50 year old x-pro from Cape Town, that stayed with me. I knew he had ambitions to stay with me so I decided to drop him while still on the climb. This then became a 2 man pursuit after just 20km of a 340km race. I kept him at 40 sec to 1 min for the next 30km and then steadily started to pull away.


At the checkpoints my stops were quicker than it used be. I did however had to visit the “porta loo” after 100km, changed my shoes after 170km and warmed up with knee warmers and a extra long sleeve shirt after 240km. Other than that there was just time to quickly eat some pasta, filled up my pockets with more race food, exchanged my M33’s battery pack, clean the glasses, lubed the chain and of you go.


The 12 hours now got stuck in my head and I had lots of time to calculate and recalculate if it was possible to break the 12 hour margin. As I got closer to Swakopmund I realised that I was much quicker than 2008 but that it was not possible to go under 12 hours but I still pushed myself to the end. I ended up 13 minutes short of the 12 hour mark to finish the race in 12 hours 13 minutes, one hour faster than 2008. Maybe if 2011 there is a big prize up for grabs to go under 12 hours I will try again otherwise I will have to be happy with the R4000,00 I won.


Uwe got caught after 200km by the first 2-man team and they covered the last 140km together. He finished in 12 hours 55minutes and I take my hat off for him. Well done Uwe. The sub12 hour 4-man team struggled from the beginning and at the end won the category but way of what they had hoped for.