May 10, 2016

Feeling the Burn

Nissan Trailseeker

No, I am not referring to Africa Burn, so sorry if you clicked the link and this post is not what you thought. What I am actually writing about is the first round of the Western Cape Nissan TrailSeeker Series held at Boschendal, Stellenbosch. Yes, it burned!

The Nissan TrailSeeker Series is a marathon series, that being plus minus 70km of testing terrain held at varios venues around the Western Cape. In other words, 20km further than I am used to racing at this point. Boschendal as always was a challenging course. We had over 2000m ascent to cover which lead up and around the Simonsberg mountains, as well as through the Banhoek Conservancy which included some amazing singletrack that is not usually open to the public. The field on race day was stacked, but every rider’s main contender for the day was going to be the wind. We were faced with 50km/h plus winds which definitely made some of the sections harder than they needed to be. At least it was the same for everyone.

After having done some focused structured training over the last couple of months, I found myself comfortably in the ┬áchase group. Lourens Luus, Erik Kleinhans and myself were smashing the climbs, railing the descents, and basically having a blast trying to hurt each other all around the mountains. As we neared the 50km mark, the outcome was starting to not look so bright. This is the point where I started to regret my laziness. As a coach, one of the rides I get my athletes to do on a weekly basis is a recovery ride called an IMTG ride (IntraMuscular TriGlyceride). This is a fasted ride usually done in the morning drinking only water. The purpose of this ride is to develop your body’s fat burning mechanisms so that when you get to that stage in a race where your body can’t keep up with the carboyhdrate intake, it’s ready to use its own source of high energy, fat! This exercise is also particularly useful for riders who don’t have the time to do long riders during the week and can help you get through long races more efficiently.

Understandably, getting up and not eating breakfast is not everyone’s favourite way to start the day, including mine. Not having anyone to answer to but myself, I have tended to skip them lately. Mistake. As fate would have it, the last 20km included A LOT of headwind and tricky singletrack. As I fumbled my way through the last 20km the 5 minute lead we had built up on the next group was eaten up and I was passed by Nico Pfitzenmaier and Justin Tuck in the last few kilometers, finishing 9th, 17 minutes back on winner Gert Heyns. Matt Beers and Waylon Woolcock rounded off the podium with Lourens Luus and Adriaan Louw completing the top 5.

As they say, onwards and upwards. This gives me some great insight into what I need to be doing ahead of the next big race on my agenda, the 1 Zambia MTB, happening early June where I will be racing with young gun Tim Hammond. Here’s a video to wet your appetite.

Until next time,

Keep it Rubber Side Down!

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