Winter is approaching. As I fly over the snowy peaks from Cape Town to Durban on a very crisp morning on my way to SA marathon champs this weekend and then a month long holiday. First I think it’s about time I report back on my last month of traveling and racing both locally and internationally.
I set off sometime last month to do the popular Sappi Karkloof classic. I had been out of the racing circle for a few weeks and was rather excited to race the local chicks again to see exactly where I stood. But of course being Bianca Haw nothing ever goes 100%. Firstly, I flew in from Cape Town round 5pm Saturday evening. With my bike unassembled and unwashed (its bad luck to start a race with an unwashed bike… well my father’s theory anyway) but that’s beside the point. Secondly, riding to the start line 2 minutes before your batch is meant to leave is always a bad idea. Thirdly, never ever try jump onto a veranda like a pro if you are not a pro!
So to cut a long story short my bike was really not feeling the racing vibe he flatted on the veranda, refused to be fixed, and only after a new back tyre was replaced and 10minutes late for the start he was half satisfied. During the race he protested again snapping his chain. So honestly I believe he’s become a real capetonian- soft. It’s a lesson learnt, you need to be prepared, being unprepared can cost you a lot.
Congrats frankie and Alex on such awesome results.
The following week was sani2c week. Even though it is in my back yard and I have ridden its flowing trails hundreds of times I was not allowed to race due to being underage. I had a plan. Beg my parents, the organisers to let me ride unofficially. After a long training session on my own near Underberg and stressed parents not knowing where I was. I found myself on the start line of sani2c the following day. Racing unofficially was great no pressure but some really fast racing amongst strong riders. What an experience and reality check of how fast I will need to be one day. I had a little fun over sain2c and was lucky enough to ride the last 3 days. The scenery and people were awesome. I found it really motivating too. Competing against some of the strongest ladies in the country was inspiring and sure gave me a boost for my next stint in Europe.
The young pinner Tyron Bird showed me some of the ropes of how to be an incredible bike rider on your back wheel.
After Sani I set off to Europe to race the 3rd and 4th round of the UCI world cups held in Czech and Germany in a back to back weekend. I chose to go to this as it was the only opportunity this year I could go to compete at this level in a back to back weekend. And was the level high alright! These girls are quick, its incredible how amazingly fast the human body can really be.
Oh and there’s me… the big one on the right. number 5
I was lucky enough to travel with 2 of the most genuine people you will ever lay your eyes on Candice Neethling who raced as well in the u23 category and Chris Nixon came along to be our Supporter, Mechanic, mentor, and super advisor.
It’s a different ball game. Easy and racing in Europe cannot be put in the same sentence.
Czech, Nova Mesto was first up; with 60 girls on the start line from 32 different countries it was a sight not to be missed. The course was rooty, bumpy and an enormous amount of fun. The start loop was like the start of an F1 grand prix. What a shock to the system! I could not believe how fast I had to ride off the start line. Nothing like I had ever experienced before. We were out the start gates at an incredible pace, holy smokes. I ended a solid 10th.
Germany, Albstad was steep, slippery and steep again. I started a lot faster this week as not getting boxed in at the start was critical as the course was so tight and not much space to pass. It was just up, down and around, and up, down and around, again and again. Some of you may have watched the race on TV, the TV lies! Those hills looked flat I got multiple messages saying “it didn’t look to bad” I had no comment. I ended 14th, sounds worse… but I was more satisfied with that one believe it or not. The times were all so close. Yet the general public only look at the end result which is acceptable. As in the end that’s all that matters you can win by 4 minutes or half a split second but that’s still a win. I went out there to ride my bike, just ride it like I always do. So that now I can see exactly what needs to be done to improve. This is cool because I now know that there is a lot of room for improvement. I’d be a little bored if I knew I had no space for improvement and that’s the best I’ll ever be. Hey, I was happy, 2 minutes closer to the lead this week. Two more races and I should be on the podium. Right?
Never fear dear people there is always space for improvement! “The mind will give up 1000 times before the body does”
thanks Cherie Vale for the great pictures!
I’ve recently uploaded kindle onto my phone which allows me to read books electronically and buy them for cheap cheap (yes rather Jew of me, but the less money I spend the better I feel) I’ve been reading a beautifully written book… strange hey because I am not one for reading. And even worse feeling emotional about a book. It’s called ‘Fault in our stars’ the movie is also coming out really soon so I’m going to try get to the ending before I cheat watching the movie. But my point is it’s about a young girl with incurable cancer. And we all know cancer is becoming one of the biggest illnesses in today’s world. 1 in 4 people will get cancer in some stage of their life… now I know what you doing looking around at the other people in the room thinking: ‘ok, I only have to beat 3 of these buggers and I won’t get it.’ But this is really happening you may fall ill tomorrow or I might never. But for now you need to take a step back have a good look at yourself and be thankful for what you have. When my day comes I want to lie in my death bed and know I did everything I possibly could to live my life exactly how I wanted. It might have not gone as planned or maybe I followed many other paths. Sometimes you just need to forget about all the noise around you and not focus on making people happy but instead what makes YOU happy because at the end of the day it’s about you. What do you want? Tell me what do you want!?
Lastly I’d just like to thank Johann Wykerd for making my dreams come a reality and never for one moment doubt my ability, thank you sir. To Velo life and all the crew for always being there to help put my scattered life into place before each race. My family and friends for all the incredible support and encouragement you guys are truly the greatest. And of course my fellow adventurers, Candy and Chris. It was an honour and I was fortunate to travel and live with you for 2 weeks. I truly appreciate all your words of wisdom and encouragement. I hope to be back to do it all again sometime soon.
Till next time just ride your bike