ITS ABOUT THE WHEEL


jamie TT event and other stuff 187

I hate being late ……….. what I should say is HATE BEING LATE!!!!! 

If I am late for something/anthing I get into a sort of panic attack situation.  My throat closes, I start crying, my palms get all sweaty and I really just get very upset.  Its just really a hot mess if I am running late.

Anyway …….  On Saturday morning Jamie is riding in 2 man TT’s.  To the layman this is a road cycling thing where you have a two man teams, each team has their own start time and the team must go flet out for a certain distance and the fastest team wins.

We leave home well in time for Jamie to put his bike together and have at least a half and hour warm up.  Off we get to Greenbushes an area our side of Port Elizabeth.  And we simply cant find the venue.

We have a map and no phone call or studying of the map can help us find the place.  We even try following race arrow pointers and no way hoze can we find the place that should be quite easy to find because there will be hundreds of cars and even more cyclists.

I can feel my throat closing and the panic starting ……… I am in a mess ……. 20 minutes before Jamie is due to start we finally see a whole heap of cars in a totally random road.

We park at the end of the cue of cars and jump out of our car.  Jamie gets to the boot and takes his frame out the car.  He looks, double looks and his lip hits the pavement.

He says the dreaded words ………

“I’ve left my front wheel at home”.

Now if had just been Jamie at the race we would have packed our stuff and ridden out of Dodge.  But this was a team event, already Keith had been waiting patiently for Jamie to arrive ……….. and now to blast this on him just wasn’t fair.

There was just no way that we were going to let Jamie NOT ride this race.

I check down the road, there are loads of cyclists and loads of cars ……….. surely someone will have a spare front wheel for us!

I start running down the road loudly asking (read screeching) “Does anyone have a spare front wheel for us????”

Up and down I go ……. Lots of “no sorry”,  “I rode here” and “you dont have a helmet/cleat/ pump for us”.

Its beginning to look quite bleak.

I try again and run up the road, up the speedhumps, down the speedhumps and up up up the road.  People are beginning to look at me as if my own wheels have falled off.

Teams have already started racing.

About 1 km up the road, right at a speed hump a person says to me “I’ve got one”.

She hands me the wheel.

I stand on the speed hump and doing a sort of Mel Gibson Braveheart move, I hold the wheel up high and shout …. “JAMIE …………. WE HAVE A WHEEL”

Right at the end of the cars, very calmly, Jamie is getting dressed, Frans is mixing his energade …. all in the calm knowledge that Mom will sort this horrible situation out.

Frans looks up the road.

Jamie looks up the road.

Frans says nothing.

Jamie says, “I’m very happy Mom found a wheel but I wish she would stop screeching”

I cant talk anymore ………… I’m kaput!

The moral of the story ………… Well …………… when the wheels fall off shout for Mom.

The End.

Advertisements

ITS ALL ABOUT THE T-SHIRT!


steeltek 2013 380

With advertising by-lines like RIDE THIS ONE YOU WILL REMEMBER IT, and ARE YOU TOUGH ENOUGH?.  The annual Steeltek race at the Lurie Ruskamp promised to be at the very least a tough one.

Now Jamie and the Steeltek race have a history, and not a happy one ……… he has yet to finish a Steeltek with both himself and/or his bike intact …….. in fact …….. he has yet to finish a Steeltek race full stop.

Add to the mix this will be his last ride on his beloved Merida 29’er (its got to go up for sale on behalf of the sponsor to make way for the new …… to be announced).  Boy did he love this bike.

Add to this there is only one race this year, no kiddie dash, no family ride, no 30 kay – only 60 km and on a new course set to challenge the riders to their limits.  There is 2000 meters of climbing (more than the Karoo to Coast).  You are asked to check out the race profile before the race so that you dont start too fast.

Add to this ……. the Mountain Events, Fat Tracks and Steeltek have  dangled a once off cherry to the participants.  Finish the race in Sub-4 hours and you will get a special T-shirt.  Oh there was a nifty amount of prize money, but the T-shirt was the real cherry.

Add to this the weather has been playing up as normal.

All the riders wanted that T-shirt.  Top local and not so local riders started entering the race.

As we set off, Frans shouts to us, still under the comfort of his downy duvet.  “There is enough petrol to go 120 km – it will be plenty”

IT WASNT

As we hit the J-bay turnoff it was as if the petrol tank started sucking its own juice.  50 kays left it said.  Crossing the Gamtoos – 30 kays (impossible! its not 20 km from J-bay turnoff to Gamtoos.  By the time we hit the Thornhill turn off it said 10 km.  We limped into Lurie.

Now,  Lurie is cycling heaven, all the names are there.  Lots of really nice bikes.  Lots of bike talk.  Eventually the cyclists set off.

Did I mention that Lurie Ruskamp is in the middle of nowhere, except, close to Lurie.  To my horror I find out that Lurie does NOT have a petrol station and somehow I must get petrol in Hankey .

“How far is Hankey?”  I ask .

“20 km” the oke says.

“Oh dear”  I say “I only have enough petrol to go 10 km”

“Ag then its about 10, but dont worry its all downhill”  He retorts.

I decided since its a four hour wait I will try my luck at getting to Hankey, and if I get stuck I will phone a friend at the race.

Off I go, as I start the car the light starts beeping ………. 0 km’s it says.  I decide to see it through.

Now next time someone says to you “Its all downhill”, dont believe them.  I have never been so happy to see Sarah Baartmans grave in my life, I think I made hankey on fumes in the Ford.

Anyway …….. The car and I get back armed with 300 bucks in the tank and now I can relax.

The race has started claiming it first victims.  Last year, at this race I saw one oke limp home with s SQUARE wheel, I kid you not, it was square.

After 2h31 mins Jason Meaton flew in ….. “Shew that was tough”

Ten mins later Conrad Viljoen ….. “Tough”

and a mere 4 minutes later Jason Reed ……. “Toughest Ever!!!!”

And these guys are top top riders at the peak of their game.

More casualties came in, and still Jamie and his friend Nick are out there.

The riders start dribbling in, each of them heaving a sigh of relief as they come over the finsh.

At the 3 hour 40 mark I see Jamie in his Custom Bike shirt comming up the big finish hill.  He had made the 4 hour cut off AND he had got the T-shirt.  A few minutes later Nick came in …… he also got a T-shirt.

steeltek 2013 229

The last sub 4’s dribbled in, and then the wait began for the rest of the field.  The question on everyones lips as they rode in was “Did you get the T-shirt?”

The T-shirt was important, 4 pieces of white cotton sewn together with some printing on it became a major aquisition at the Steeltek.  I proved that you were Tough Enough.

Which all got me thinking. Sometimes we need these physical reminders that we are good enough.

Rosie and Jamie gave Frans  a mug which says # 1 DaD,  he knows he is a good Dad, but boy does he love his mug.  Many years ago ……… many many years ago, Jamie painted Rosie a mug saying “MY BEST SISTER”, that she is his only sister is irrelevant, after he gave her the mug they were nice to each other for about two minutes and then the bickering started again.  I keep the mug in memory of those two minutes.

Mug 001

I have a sticker …….. yes a sticker saying “MOMS TAXI” ……….. mmmmmm, I wonder …. does this mean I am tough enough?

THE LIVING ROOM


NINON BIRTHDAY 2013 001

We have a living room.  This living room is exactly what I DIDN’T want as a living room, you know the type of room that no-one ever sits it ……… I remember going to friends homes when I was young and there was this room in most of my friends houses (we didn’t have one).  It had cream carpets, a cream lounge suite, beautiful cushions, tasteful drapes, lovely lamps and works of art tastefully placed in carefully thought out places.  Amongst all this beauty there was always a sense of loneliness in these rooms – this was the sitting room kept for special occasions – to me, it always felt like a “left-out” waste of space and I vowed I would never have one if I ever owned a house.

Homes are meant to be lived in, they are not museums they are houses where memories are made and every inch of space should be used.  Anyway, we don’t use our sitting room – it isn’t hidden away behind a door it is there in the openplanness which is our home ……… it just doesn’t get used …….. ever.

So in this unused space Jamie saw an opportunity.  He gets home from training one night and enters the house – bike and all – through the front door.  Now at the best of times a cyclist chomping around in full kit with cleat shoes pushing his bike is not a pretty sight.  For one thing the shoes make them walk like ducks,  a cyclist in full kit walking is a bit Borat-ish, a bicycle inside a house just isnt great, add to this when Jamie finishes his daily ride everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is full of mud.  The bike is caked in mud, his body is full of mud, even his face is full of mud splatters.  It can be the warmest, sunniest day and Jamie will come home full of mud.

Back to the opportunity.  Jamie calmly minces in, bike and all and parks the bike in the sitting room.

Frans sits there looking to and from Jamie and myself like a spectator at a tennis match ……. his mouth is wide open doing sort of fishy movements – no sound comes out.

I sit there looking just at Jamie.  My mouth is wide open also doing sort of fishy movements   – no sound comes out.

Rosie on the other hand will never let an opportunity go by to point out to Jamie what he is doing wrong – 100% normal 12 year old sister behavior.

“Why are you putting your bike in the lounge????”  She asks just loud enough for the whole of St Francis to hear.

“Get a life …………”.   He answers. 100% normal answer of a 15 year old boy to his sister.

Frans’s fish mouth is the first to find words, “Jamie why don’t you put your bike in the garage?”

“The garage is too dirty”  replies Jamie, “I am trying to look after my bike”.  He has calmly forgotton that his bike is full of mud, he is full of mud, man, even his riding glasses are full of mud.

Now I am really finding it difficult to take a boy seriously who is dressed in full muddy cycling kit, still in his cleats, sunglasses and helmet I am wondering what alien has walked into my home.

Jamie also seems to have calmly forgotten about the other 3 bicycles that he owns that are safely and quite happily living in the garage.

So now I am beginning to see method in Jamies madness.  The sitting room is unused.  No memories are made there.  There is a little voice in my brain saying “why not”

Before I know it the words spill out before the brain has time to process ……. “why not?”

Frans looks at me …… you know that look a husband gives to a wife when she is treading on uneven kid ground.  Its a sort of look, the eyes narrow, the head gives a little shake, and then the eyes move in a sidewards upwards direction.

What he is actually saying is ….. “That is the most idiotic thing I have ever heard, STOP TALKING NOW!!!!!!, come upstairs so we can discuss this without the kids hearing”

But OH NO!  mouth is in full swing here and brain has shut down.

“Frans, I seem to remember you actually building a boat in our living room once”,  what he has forgotten in those days we only had one place to sit, no TV room, no seperate dining room – just one place ……….. and he built a boat in it.

The shakey head is going a bit stronger here, Jamie and Rosie are looking on with interest – I can actually see their ears flapping.

“We dont use the living room ……… so why not?”

The brain starts catching up ……. I know my kids, once you give them an inch – or in this case 1.8 meters x 65 cm – they will take a whole room.

I can hear Rosies mind calculating how fast she can get a horse, hay and water in the room so we can have a new addition to the family.

Jamie is checking out the space and mentally working out where his workbench can stand, and how he is going to fit a personalized bike workshop in there.

Frans is pondering how much bigger this living room is and whether or not he should start construction of another boat.

Me on the other hand is punching myself in the mouth!!!!!

In that one single moment I realized why my friends parents had this “room” in their houses.  We all need a sanctuary.  A place of beauty, serenity and peace.  A place where the word cluttered doesn’t even hit its stratosphere.  I have it in my unused living room and I was just about to throw it all away – I need that unused space of beauty in my house.

So the end of the tale is ……. Frans doesn’t get a new spot to build a boatie thingie, Rosie must realize that horses belong at Homestead Estate and that is it.

Jamie on the other hand is still putting the bike in the sitting room ……. but …….. when he does, it is clean and shiny – lets face it a Merida Big Nine is a thing of beauty after all.

KAROO 2 COAST


You all know that cycling Ad ……. yip you do know!  It starts with this plumpish oke looking longingly at a group of cyclists, they are all in club kit, and they are cycling in a pack as only cyclists can do.  Next thing plump oke is sweating it away on a bike, not in club kit and definitely not as cyclists do.   But as in all good Ad’s plump oke overcomes all obstacles, becomes one of the cyclists and gets his club kit – and all in 30 seconds.  It can’t actually be a particularly good ad because I have no idea what the ad is for but the story is good.

Now this is Ad is playing out in my house in real time.

Seven days ago Frans announces that he is going to cycle the Pennypinchers Karoo to Coast Race.

The Pennypinchers Karoo to Coast is a particularly gruelling Mountainous Cycle race starting in Uniondale and finishing in Knysna – 100 km’s of pure hell.  From what I have heard there is even a farmers truck or two which are dedicated to the many cyclists who fall and break bones and bikes – these trucks are called the “meat wagons”.

The blurb on the dedicated website states:

The Lions Karoo to Coast is a 100km offroad race from UNIONDALE to KNYSNA via the Prince Alfred’s Pass 100 km offroad Race and is not for the faint-hearted !!!

Now whilst I have the deepest respect for my Husbands sporting ability, all of his achievements have happened on water, all of them have happened whist he is sitting on a yacht – he is a respected YACHTSMAN, cycling however a different kettle of fish.

I also know he will do it.  He does these things and once he sets his mind on something little will come between him and his goal (hopefully not a vehicle named the Meat Wagon)

In the past his Yachts have been masterpieces, they are primped and tweaked, Banjo he built and finished building himself ………. so lets see what he is going to ride the K2K on:

Bike – A twenty year old Gary Fisher with no shocks or suspension of any kind.

Helmet – Bought at the same time as the bike – it doesn’t look the same as Jamies helmet.

Kit – None

Cleats – none

Pump – one

So off he goes on his first 30 km training session ever.

On his twenty year old bike, with his twenty year old helmet, wearing a “Mykonos offshore Race” T-shirt, baggies  and running shoes.  In  his hand is his handheld GPS – last seen being used in the Simonstown to St Helena Race on Banjo.

“Ummmmm, Sweetheart whats that for???”   I ask.

“Gonna use it as my speedometer”

Will someone tell the man he is cycling and not sailing!!!!

He Loved it.

Now Jamie begins to see the benefits in his Dad being bitten by the cycling bug.  Our dinner table has been taken over by cycling chatter – mostly about how the two of them are going to tackle this gruelling experience.  Frans sees the K2K as an experience – Jamie only has one speed on a bike – FLET OUT!  Jamie is talking about all the kit they need to do the K2K – Frans is adamant he can do it with what he has on hand.

Jamie wants a sponsor – Frans tells him he already has one – DAD!

Jamie is talking about camel-packs, Go-Pro’s, 29’ers, tubes, kits, more tubes, energy bars, when to drink water, arm warmers, leg warmers, Borat looking suits and training programmes.  Jamie is talking about how to tackle the hills up and down – Frans is working out how much heaver a bike is than a back-pack for the push-to-cycle ratio  – Frans is thinking about survival rates.

Both are totally ignoring each others K2K bubble of expectations.

My boys are bonding on a level I never would have imagined.

On the 23rd of September my boys are going to be at the start-line of the K2K, along with 3000 other riders.    Rosie and I will be there to cheer them on at the Start and the finish.

The St Helena Island yacht race was our “mid-life crisis” thing.  I am not sure what this is.

I am loving this common thread of cycling that is starting to weave its way into our lives – Jamie, Rosie and myself all love our cycling and it looks like big-bad-Dad might just join us.