Into Europe

IMG_20130312_184235It’s been a bit of a shock to the system coming to the cold weather and snow in Europe.

The first race here for me was a tough one with freezing weather, wet technical roads, gutters, cobbles and a 200 strong competitive field all wanting to ride at the front. This first race, Ronde van Drenthe did not go well for me but I believe it takes a race or two to find my legs. Youcef and Johan did well by finishing, as only 32 riders completed the course.

IMG_20130310_085547The snow here has been a little different to South African weather. It is really cool to see the country side and towns covered in white. We have had two races that have been cancelled due to the snow and bad weather conditions. I am impressed with the race organisation when it comes to these decisions as there are no ifs and buts; they declare it unsafe with plenty of notice.The staff has been great here preparing us riders and the equipment for the races and during day to day activities.

20130312_113928The snow and ice outside makes it impossible to train safely on the road so we have training sessions on the indoor trainers with hard intervals prescribed by our coach. These hard sessions are to maintain our fitness. We also do core strength sessions as per our normal routine. Yesterday we visited the Centrum Ronde Van Vlaanderen Museum as a team to get out the house and have a change in scenery. This was a great team bonding experience where we saw many interesting things and shared many laughs.

I am looking forward to some good weather and the upcoming races.

Bring on 2013

 

It is still an exciting thought that MTN/Qhubeka Powered by Samsung has Pro Continental status this year!

 

The team training camp in December was the start of our 2013 season and it was a great week where we could meet our new team mates from Europe and Africa. It was also a busy week of bike setups, goal setting, nutrition meetings, physical assessments, understanding the team objectives and a Qhubeka bike handover.

 

I believe our December training camp was essential and has given us great momentum to start 2013 on a positive note. I myself am excited for this year, with its new challenges and adventures, not that it will be an easy year, but it is a step up, and a step in the right direction for African cycling. This is also a great way to tell the story of Qhubeka to the world.

 

 

The African riders will be based in Lucca, Italy for 7 months of the year racing an international Calendar including many prestigious events. These events are tough and the team will be running two programs. We have some of the best staff on the team to help the riders complete this step up to an international level.

 

Thanks to everyone for the continued support!

MTN_Qhubeka2

 

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!