Monday, May 25, 2009

Today in 3 weeks...

...we'll be well on our way to SS1 - Allendale. Its a bit intimidating but like most of us, I am ready to start. The 2lt boxes must be delivered to Snapper Display on Friday, then there is little to do other than check and double check bike, clothing and equipment.

Last week was a bit arbitrary in terms of riding but we ended up doing two great rides on the weekend. As always, the rides revolve around food and coffee shops. Maybe its because we know we'll not see the like on the trail.

I rode both Saturday and Sunday with a loaded back pack and felt the difference over the distances. This is when it is hard to keep positive. My back ached continuously (a chronic problem made worse by the extra weight) and no amount of gel in my saddle can help when you load an extra 8kgs onto it.

I envied all the natural strength of the men and would gladly have traded some of my fitness for more muscle. But I guess, within a couple of days of starting, the pack and its weight gets welded to your body and you become one entity.

This is the first time I have felt anything but positive and luckily, my co-riders are so supportive that I couldn't stay down for long.

Our Sunday ride (thanks Anton of Summit Cycles) was a great change in pace and routes. We rode harder than normal, all of us with loaded packs, and enjoyed seeing the Pretoria side of the world. After a stop at Smuts House (museum and tea garden), we flew back. Must have been something in the water. So despite the aches and lack of comfort, the legs are handling the effort so in the end, I finished feeling pretty high.

A recovery drink and enormous bacon, feta, avo and olive pizza later, and I was ready to tackle some of my tasks for the race. The afternoon was spent watching the final of the DLF IPL T20 cricket and laminating endless maps.


  1. Fiona,

    8Kg backpack is quite a lot for a woman to carry each day, but I have a solution...

    Buy the Topeak pannier rack that clamps to you seat post (MTX BeamRack). There are a couple of versions depending on the type of frame and size. This will allow you to take it off you back for a couple of days when the roads are longer and flatter.

    On the odd wire hopping you can quickly remove the backpack, throw it on your back hop over and if you want to put it back on the pannier rack.

    I'm going this route as I feel that saving my body is paramount on the 2300km route. I've tested the technique and all it takes is 2 elastic bands, tightly strapped on, and 2 minutes and you will most likely save hours trying to preserve your undercarriage and shoulders. Even getting out of the saddle feels easier than with the bulk on one's back.



  2. Thanks for the input Gawie - will have a look at this option. If it is viable, I will leave you a chocolate in one of my boxes!

  3. Boxes? What boxes?