Start to the Second Half of the Season

I am feeling good and really motivated after the first few races of the second half of the season.

Norway, Tour des Fjords

Norway, Tour des Fjords

I competed in the Tour de Fjords last weekend, a three day tour in Norway through some beautiful landscapes. It was tough racing but I

felt the benefits of my focused training. We raced through the valleys of Norway and encountered rain, climbs and tough racing. We finished the tour with two top 10’s. It was great to be back in the racing again after a month of training back at home in Johannesburg over July.

Coppa Agostoni

Coppa Agostoni

 

 

 

I went from Norway to Milan, Italy, to compete in the Coppa Bernocchi and Coppa Agostoni. It was fast racing from the start as these where also selection races for the Italian World Championship team. Our team had a specific plan for both of these races and we carried out our tactics well. It is always a pleasure going to races with the team as we are all friends and we ride well together, each giving 110% to do our part. It is also nice to see the interest and support that our team has as we race for change in Africa, one bicycle at a time, through Qhubeka.

As an athlete I am always working for improvement. I have been working hard to improve my riding through very hard training, working closely with Dr Austin, and improving my body composition together with Dr Child. I love riding my bike and enjoy the challenge of cycling.

I am looking forward to my upcoming races! Every race is an opportunity to grow stronger in the sport.

Thanks for the support!

Team MTN/Qhubeka at the World Team Time Trial Championships.

This was an event that was mentioned a while back and it was an event that I was particularly excited about. I put it down as one of my goals along with a few other goals that were needed to help qualify the team for this prestigious event.

The Team Time Trial is a special event for me as the team aspect of the sport is one of my favourites. This is probably why I find myself most of the races sacrificing for the team’s success doing the dirty work but feeling mighty happy at the end of the race seeing my teammate with the result we were aiming for.

Since our goal setting the World TTT had faded away a bit behind other major team goals and the results obtained in our earlier time over April May in Europe but was brought forward into the spotlight of everybody’s attention with a few months to go to Limburg 2012.

The team has been staying in Ninove, Belgium this year, but not in separate houses. Our team has been staying under one roof, which in some ways makes our team unique and gives us an extremely good understanding of one another, both in our personalities and how we ride our bikes. The team has stayed together in the house for about 3 months this year, training together, cooking together, cleaning together and finding time to socialise together.

The whole team from staff to rider was involved in the preparation for this goal event on the team’s calendar.

The training for this event was very focused and involved, science like aerodynamic testing, power output needed for certain speeds, what power is each athlete capable of achieving and what kind of speed would he be contributiong. The SRM power system was key to this data along with Dr Carol Austin our team coach.

The team also had pre training stretching and some mornings core strength exercises. Training days consisted mostly of double sessions which meant training simple through and off time trial power in the morning and more explosive power and technical riding thinking under pressure and problem solving training on a technical route in the afternoon to develop the team into a smooth and beautiful train.

To be a part of the team for the event was not easy though… The team had more than six riders to choose from and every one of us riders could have been in the six man team, every one of the riders was good enough and up to the 52km TTT challenge. So as per normal sport there was a selection process and everyone was pushed to their limits mentally and physically to be selected.

The day of the event was a special one and felt like it was over way too fast! The team was smooth and everyone in the team was proud to be racing through the streets with fans cheering, “Go Africa!” The best part was to be able to sit in the hot seat as having the fastest time over the course which lasted a few teams.

Thanks for all the support!!!

Great Team Work at The Vasbyt Challenge

The Vasbyt Challenge was always going to be a tough and challenging race being it 150km over some lumpy terrain and on the day the wind decided to blow. We were however quietly confident, having trained hard and having a team that is always such a strong unit.

The race started out with a few attacks which thinned down the bunch a bit. We had Adrien and Loto in the first break with a few other riders after about 40 km of racing and waited to see what the other teams would do. After this came back Songezo Jim (MTN/Qhubeka) and Pieter Seyffert (Westvaal) went away, we played this cool and calm having confidence in Songezo’s form over a long race such as the Vasbyt. The teams not represented in the break eventually started the chase with about 70km to go, and the break was caught soon after with a strong chase by Tyler Day (Bonitas).

I countered after the bunch had regrouped at about 50km to go forcing a move of 6 riders off the front, 3 Westvaal, Dusty Day, Dylan Girdlestone, Pieter Seyffert and 3 MTN/Qhubeka, Songezo Jim, Calvin Beneke and myself. This group worked well together establishing a good gap on the rest of the field.

With about15km to go MTN/Qhubeka riders went on the attack again isolating  Girdlestone . I managed to slip away with 8km to the finish and was happy to take the win after such a strong team performance.

Thanks for all the support!

End of Season Catch Up

Jayco Herald Suntour 2011

The team had a busy final two months of the season with travels to the Jayco Herald Suntour in Australia and the Tour of Hainan in China. We also had two very important races upon our return to South Africa from our international tours.

 

The Jayco Herald Suntour was a great experience with some extremely tough sections. There were some strong teams represented including Saxo Bank Sunguard and Garmin Cervelo. The team worked really well together and gave 110%. We achieved great results with Reinardt Janse van Rensburg taking a stage and finishing 4th overall.

 

The Tour of Hainan was a little less controlled than Australia which produced some unpredictable racing. This meant that we had to be present in all the moves which proved to be difficult and made the tour very challenging. We remained however a strong unit amongst other well-known teams such as Saxo Bank Sunguard and Skil-Shimano. We finished 2nd overall in the tour with Reinie.

 

We returned to South Africa with some good racing in our legs and a great confidence for our final two races of the year being the MTN OFM Classic in Bloemfontein and the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge in Johannesburg. These were important local races on our calendar for our sponsors. We managed to win both races with careful planning and great team work. Reinardt taking the OFM and Arran Brown winning the 94.7.

It feels great to end the season off on a high by winning the final race of the year. It makes our 3 week break that much sweeter.

 

2012 Planning

The team is currently busy with 2012 planning and bike fits. Planning and goal setting is one of many important key factors in the team’s success.

 

Will post again soon…

 

 

Team Work pays off at the MTN Zoo Lake Crit

Start of the MTN Zoo Lake Crit

The MTN Zoo Lake Criterium is always a big event for the team, with MTN being the title sponsor. This comes with a bit of pressure to pull off the win which the team did so successfully with Arran Brown outsprinting Nolan Hoffman and Hanco Kachelhoffer who were 2nd and 3rd respectfully.

The team had ridden the laps in the week leading up to the event and had discussed the race in detail, so that every rider knew what was expected of himself. We knew we would be outnumbered and knew we had to dig deep and work hard throughout the 2 hours of racing to set it up for Arran to sprint.

I felt good during the race and tried to save for the sprint to leadout Arran but had to change my mindset and step in and do some hard work earlier on. There was some aggressive racing coming from the other teams which we had to bring under control and make sure no dangerous riders slipped up the road.

The team  for this event was Arran Brown, Jacques Janse van Rensburg, JC Nel, Adrien Nyonshuti, Charles Keey and myself. The team was great in the race and everything came down to what we had planned with Arran taking it in the sprint.

The staff is also important in a high pressure race like this one and they were also very involved with keeping us calm and creating a relaxed atmosphere for us under the MTN gazebos.

Thank you to everyone for the support!

I am very proud to be a part of this team!

Happy Team!

Success at Dome2Dome

The team had a successful race at the Dome2Dome Classic on Sunday with Reinardt Janse van Rensburg taking the win.

It all started with the usual early morning start, waking up at 4am to get to the race which started at 06:15. The Dome2Dome route is a challenging one, going up Maropeng, around the Cradle and finishing at the top of Sterkfontein. The team had done a pre-race ride during the week to discuss the plans and to make sure everyone had the right knowledge of the route.

The race started out fast with many attacks being launched all the way up Maropeng. I managed to slip away just after Maropeng and established the first real gap on the bunch. A few riders came across before and in the Cradle including two of my team mates, Arran Brown and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg. We knew Reinardt was riding strong as he is preparing for the World Championships, so Arran and I took the responsibility to keep the break’s momentum up and save Reinardt as much as possible for the finish. Reinardt still had a big kick at the finish and managed to sprint Hanco Kachelhoffer and William Bush who were 2nd and 3rd respectively.

The team is really happy and enjoying their riding. We all motivate each other which makes being a part of this team a real pleasure!

The Tour of the Freestate with a Polka Dot Surprise

Tour of the Freestate
The Tour of the Freestate was a new race on the calendar for 2011. The team had discussed the tour and came up with a few goals and a plan to achieve these goals.
The majority of the stages were fast and flowing with the exception of the tour deciding stage 3 that finished in Golden gate up a climb with gradients reaching up to 30%. Knowledge of this final climb was essential to a tour winning result. This stage decided the General Classification with Johann Rabie (Bonitas) in the leaders orange jersey, Darren Lill(Bonitas) in 2nd and Dennis van Niekerk(MTN/Qhubeka) in 3rd.
Stage 2 of the tour, a 120km route from Bethlehem/Fouriesburg/Clarens/Bethlehem was the most rewarding for me. After I slipped away from the bunch with Christiaan Kriek gaining a gap up to 3 minutes, I managed to pick up both King of the Mountain hot spots putting me in the lead of that competition and eventually winning it overall. My first Polka Dot jersey Win!
The Team work hard together and are very motivated to win and sacrifice for one another. Stage 4 on Pakisa Raceway proved this when we all sacrificed ourselves to bring the break back for a bunch sprint for Reinardt Janse van Rensburg.
Overall the Team had a successful Tour with Reinardt winning the Points Jersey, myself winning the Polka Dot Jersey, Arran Brown winning the final stage in Bloemfontein and Dennis van Niekerk getting 3rd overall.
Thank you all for the support!