His and Hers
It’s 2019 FNB Wines2Whales Shiraz race week and Joanne and Sean Badenhorst of Team TREAD had a rather chilled training week ahead of their big test! They’re a married couple with full-time work and family commitments. They have been cycling for over 30 years and are tackling some mid-life bicycle riding challenges together. This won’t be their first stage race as teammates; but it will be Joanne’s first Wines2Whales. Sean has done three previously.
I planned to ride more this past week but my work commitments put paid to that… Nevertheless, I didn’t have a bad week, with two outdoor rides and two indoor sessions. I also did a fun ride with Cade, our 13-year-old son. My first indoor session at Power Lab on Tuesday was a tough one (73 Suffer Score), but also the first full session I have been able to complete in months. So that was motivating.
Then, Saturday’s 50km ride at Northern Farm with Joanne was superb. We rode at Joanne’s steady pace and she felt strong throughout. It was certainly a confidence boost for her personally – and for me as her teammate.
We have no illusions though. Wines2Whales is going to be damn hard. But we feel that physically, Joanne is as ready as she can be. I’m not in my peak condition, but I’m not too bad. I’m excited that race week is finally here and that I’m going to get to experience one of the world’s best mountain bike events with my amazing wife!
She’s still really worried about all the climbing, but I have reminded her that there are many cool descents and fun sections and the only way to reach those is by doing some climbing. Actually, quite a lot of climbing when you compare it to the KAP Sani2c and the Grindrod Bank Berg & Bush Descent, both of which we have completed together.
Popular three-day stage races – average % gradient:
|Distance||Ascent||Average % gradient|
|FNB Wines2Whales||198km||4 600m||= 2.32%|
|Grindrod Bank Berg & Bush Descent||212km||3 554m||= 1.67%|
|KAP Sani2c||265km||2 270m||= 0.85%|
Tuesday: 37.1km 1hr11min Power Lab Session
Wednesday: 14km 1hr12min Ride with Cade
Thursday: 35.7 1hr11min Power Lab Session
Saturday: 50.7km 2hr57min Ride at Northern Farm
Sunday: 43.1km 2hr28min Ride at Big Red Barn
Total distance: 180.6km
Total time: 8hr59min
Mine and Joanne’s training for the past nine weeks:
|9 weeks to go||115km/4h25m||172km/10h14m|
|8 weeks to go||135km/5h15m||177km/10h43m|
|7 weeks to go||85km/4h2m||159km/9h42m|
|6 weeks to go||273km/11h2m||205km/12h05m|
|5 weeks to go||211km/10h55m||210km/12h59m|
|4 weeks to go||165km/7h5m||128km/8h9m|
|3 weeks to go||109km/5h52m||200km/10h45m|
|2 weeks to go||153km/8h23m||162km/11h08m|
|1 week to go||181km/8h59m||130km/8h27m|
With one of my easiest weeks of training, I managed to finish my Saturday training ride feeling really strong. We started our ride nice and early, as a heat wave was predicted. But it wasn’t long before the heavens opened and we got caught in a morning thunder storm. Very little makes you feel more alive than riding your bike in the rain! The downpour was over in about 15 minutes, and it made the trails at Northern Farm slightly tacky, and settled the dust perfectly.
I actually loved the ride from start to finish and it didn’t feel like a chore. Seeing as I mostly like riding my bike for fun, Saturday’s ride was an important one, as the fun outweighed the suffering that training for an event can bring.
On the gear front, with the addition of a second water bottle cage to my bike last week, I replaced my saddle on Friday. For the past four years I have ridden with a LIV Forward saddle – it just works for me. I spent a good few hours and consumed a fair amount of fuel searching for a replacement. It’s amazing what we do for the sake of familiarity and comfort. The new saddle looks so very different from my old one. Harder, sleeker and a fraction longer, but I can honestly say it’s super comfortable after 1 hour and after 3 hours of riding.
I also replaced my gloves. Another contact point where comfort is vital. If I tell you I have tried on 50 pairs of long-finger gloves, it is not a lie. Some have too much padding, some too little. Some the fingers are too short and some are too long (mostly). Some have too much material in the palm of the hand, others I can’t get my hand in them, and so it goes on. So, I went back to my familiar supplier, who’s gloves I have also been using as long as I can remember. The Specialized Body Geometry Grail Women offers me the perfect fit.
With a taper week ahead, I am going to focus on proper sleep and supplements to give my body and mind the best base to tackle my first Wines2Whales stage race.
Monday: REST Day
Tuesday: 27.08km 1h02 min Power Lab Session
Wednesday: 14.37km, 1hr14min CLAW Outride at Modderfontein (easy)
Thursday: 27.89km, 1hr03min Power Lab Session
Friday: 10.74km, 1hr00min PWC Bike Park
Saturday: 50.31km, 3hr06min Northern Farm
Sunday: Rest Day
Total distance: 130.4km
Total time: 8hrs27min
Entries are now closed for the 2019 FNB Wines2Whale, but you can find out more about the event for 2020, which will have a reversed route, at http://www.treadmtb.co.za/2020-fnb-wines2whales-the-switchback/