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Boyfriend, Exercise, Holistic Health, Love, Mountain-biking, Travel: South Africa, Uncategorized

Going down and dirty

I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden. – Ruth Stout

As we enjoyed our experience at the previous Nissan organised mountain biking event so much, we decided to enter for Nissan Trailseeker #3 Down & Dirty. What better way is there to spend Spring Day than out cycling and celebrating the sun with the one you love?

The Preparation

During our weekend away we had planned to cycle a 18km trail at Buffalo Gorge in preparation for this challenge but unfortunately (you can read the details on my blog post about it) we were unable to. We were still well prepared and feeling excited for the race though as we had managed to fit in a cycle that weekend and have been cycling really well at Northern Farm.

The morning of the race Wes made us some Jungle Oats and we ate some of the oranges brought home from our trip to Lookout Lodge. This time our race packs again contained some USN energy drinks but instead of socks – a tyre pressure checker; should come in handy. We arrived almost two hours before our race which is awesome because I hate being rushed! Again, there were so many cyclists everywhere and the nerves kicked in for both of us.

The Cycle

The race is described on the Advendurance website as follows:

There is no better way to celebrate the start of spring then by getting outdoors and having some fun. The NISSAN TrailSeeker Down & Dirty has become the stage for flirting with Spring. Warmer weather makes early morning starts for mountain bike rides a breeze. Add to that the challenge of 70 km, 40 km or 20 km trails that boast the best adrenaline boost that mountain bike trails can offer, and you are sure to become an addict!

Bring the family along and join in the fun and festivities at the Cornwall Hill College. Come visit the NISSAN chill area and relax after your ride, grab something to eat at the food stalls, or sip a beer at the beer garden while you share your hair raising mountain biking moments with your mountain bike buddies.

Jumping castle and kids’ play area sort out the kids and relaxing in front of plasma screens in the NISSAN chill area provide the opportunity for everyone else to watch world class mountain bike action!

Route description:

The 70 km route is a single loop and all 3 distances share the first few kilometres. The area is famous among mountain bikers for its legendary rocky outcrops! Fast jeep tracks, rhythmic short climbs and exhilarating single tracks through the forest make this route something to remember! It will be hard, fast and furious! Bring your family along and make them all experience the excitement of mountain biking!

It was definitely, “hard, fast and furious!”

This time we entered to ride the 20km route. This was definitely the most difficult cycle for both of us since we started and it was an incredibly hot day. Within the first kilometre I passed about 10 people who had blow outs on the rocky downhill, including Wes.

I got stuck in two bottlenecks during this race which was frustrating. The first came about 10km into the race, so basically as soon as I got into a nice rhythm and had overtaken everyone I could. There was a bridge over this river but it had broken so we all had to carry our bikes over which caused a bit of a delay, especially on the other side where everyone had to get back onto their bikes and get going again.

Again towards the end of the race as you hit the single-track there was a bad bottleneck and I had a twenty-minute wait. People were getting very irritable in the queue. For people’s reactions to the bottlenecks and the race organisers’ response, read the comments down at the bottom of this page.

We both cycled really hard: Wes managed to catch up a lot after having to spend some time changing his tyre and I definitely pushed myself too. The last kilometre is up the rocky downhill which started the race, I developed a severe cramp in my right calf muscle and literally finished the race cycling only with one leg, I had planned to finish off the race quite strong so this was a bit of a setback but I finished! Yay! USN had unfortunately run out of juice at the end and tasting water in the little polystyrene cup when you need that sweet kick was just not the same.

We were wrecked after the race and filthy! But on such a high too!

…Our official results

Date: 01 September 2012
Race Distance: 20
Category 1: Senior Men
Category 2: Senior Men
Overall Position: 173
Category 1 Position: 23
Category 2 Position: 23
Position by Gender: 124
Time: 01:43:41
Date: 01 September 2012
Race Distance: 20
Category 1: Senior Women
Category 2: Senior Women
Overall Position: 234
Category 1 Position: 29
Category 2 Position: 29
Position by Gender: 80
Time: 01:51:24

Some awesome pictures were taken by Photomarx and can be found here.

The Venue

The Down & Dirty is the third of the NISSAN Trailseeker Series and Cornwall Hill College in Irene hosted the event. Again there were stalls with cycling gadgets and gear for sale. As Wes had received a few new things for his birthday the week before and I had bought  a Giant cycling computer for myself that week too we didn’t do any shopping this time.

We love staying for the prize-giving as it is always interesting to see what the winning times are – we need to know what we need to start training for 😉 They also hand out “raffle” prizes where they ask questions and the first people to answer etc are given random gifts from the sponsors.

“Who still rides with normal tekkies?” – my hand shot up and I got an awesome set of cleats from the guys over at Buy Cycle. Now I will have to invest in some mountain-biking shoes.

The Food and Drink

The most exciting thing I probably had that day was this gel before and during the race. We had chicken burgers after the race and I found a big slimy piece of something in my patty… Enough said…

That evening on our way out we stopped and indulged in some sushi!

The Verdict

The race was exactly as the name implies – down and dirty. The fast cycles down hills were exhilarating but then the climbs were difficult. Definitely a good experience! If management can do something about the bottlenecks and the choice of food to buy afterwards (maybe a Kauai van?), next year’s race will be even better! It was an awesome day out in the sun and we have already decided to enter the next Trailseeker.

Click on images to view larger versions.
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Discussion

2 thoughts on “Going down and dirty

  1. Together makes most things worthwhile. Proud of you two x

    Posted by Elvira Nel | September 14, 2012, 10:56 AM

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