But Still, Bumblee Remains.

At the beginning of my triathlon career, my husband bought me a shiny fancy new road bike. It was yellow and black and we called her ‘Bumblebee”. Being a complete novice cyclist I had no idea if she was a good bike or a bad bike. All I knew was that she didn’t weigh nearly as much as my prehistoric concrete mountain bike, she had thin fancy wheels and clip in pedals. I mean, could you get anything more professional?

Bumblebee saw me through many races, including Half Iron Man, without so much as a puncture. She was super.

It was only later when I learnt more about bicycles that I realised she was by no means the most expensive bike on the block, nor was she the most fancy or sought after. But I loved her and her no-drama attitude.

Robbery 1

About a year after we got Bumblebee we were broken in to. It happened one night when we were both fast asleep and we only woke up to the guards at our complex telling us that our front door was wide open. At that stage we lived in a ‘security estate’. They stole a whole bunch of stuff, except Bumbleebee.

The next day we bought a terribly ferocious guard dog by the name of Rupert.

I mean, how scary?
I mean, how scary?

Robbery 2

Fast forward to Christmas 2013 and we were broken into yet again. This time they hit the garage and literally cleaned us out. We only noticed a few days later on Boxing Day when I happened to go into the garage to look for the vacuum cleaner (Side note – the reason I never went in to the garage was because I’m married to a triathlete, and every woman married to a triathlete knows that cars sleep outside, and bikes sleep inside).

When I say they literally cleaned us out, I mean they took pretty much every single thing in the garage. Except Bumblebee. There she lay, mounted to the walls, between empty spaces that used to be her much bigger, better and more expensive bike cousins (husbands bikes).

We laughed the robbery off (bitterly) patted ourselves on the back and said the usual “at-least we weren’t home/hurt”, submitted yet another insurance claim and laughed (bitterly) at the irony that we LIVED.IN.A.SECURITY.ESTATE.

A few days later I turned round to my husband and said to him. Fuck this, If we keep getting nailed in a complex, let’s move.

We moved. To our glorious house in the ‘burbs.

At this point, ferocious guard dog 2 – Bella – had entered the mix

Super scary dog.
Super scary dog.

Robbery 3

(Are you sensing a trend here, dear reader?)

This one happened 3 days after we moved in to our new house in the ‘burbs. They managed to take a lot of stuff before our security company arrived on the scene and/or the alarm scared them off. We were both at work and laughed (bitterly) about our luck, but also reminding ourselves just how lucky we were we weren’t home. Garden beams and CCTV were added to the mix, we claimed from insurance again and kept looking forward.

Bumblebee, if you’re wondering, was safe.

Robbery 4

Yesterday as I was packing up to leave the office my phone rang. It was our security company notifying me that a panic had gone off and would I like them to go check it out. Yes please, I would like that very much. I immediately called my husband to find out if he had set it off accidentally, and when I got no reply I popped him a Whatsapp asking if everything was alright.

I jumped in my car and left the office.

5 minutes late I got a phone call that left me cold. My husband had arrived home at 4 pm and let himself into the gate and then garage. 30 seconds after parking he walked back in to the garage to hang up some washing (it was raining). In our garage he was confronted by a man with a gun to his face who made him lie down. There were others too, although at this point not visible to my husband. Luckily, he had his gate remote on him and he activated the panic button. Unluckily the alarm went off (not silently as it should have). The frightened thieves punched him in the face, grabbed his keys and left on 3 bicycles.

Almost 6 months pregnant and stuck in bumper to bumper traffic I was unable to get home and felt utterly helpless. Luckily my best friend and her hubby raced over to be with Barry until I could get home.

When I got home I was met with what felt like hundreds of cars, police, armed response and neighborhood watch. Our house was a hive of activity. My husband was (thanks a million stars) OK and the situation under control.

Fast forward to a day later and I am angry and sad and shocked and tired and so upset that this keeps happening. I’m devastated that there was a weapon involved. I’m apalled at our armed response for taking 20 minutes to arrive and I’m absolutely appalled that they phoned me when they should have gone straight through. I’m tired of hearing about crime riddled areas and how one can arm oneself to the hilt, but if these guys want in, they will get in. I’m relieved my husband is OK and I’m desperately emotional at the though that perhaps the only way to avoid living like this all the time is to leave my country.

I’ve also come to realise that riding expensive bikes is a very dangerous sport. Because all our bikes were stolen, except Bumblebee who still hangs on the wall, now very much alone.

Tonight, I’m convincing my husband to take up golf.

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#GLAadventure Weekend

When Mercedes Benz South Africa invites you to be a part of an adventure weekend featuring the new GLA, the bush and some mountain biking, it’s impossible to say no. In-fact, it’s impossible to not jump up and down and squeal like a stuffed warthog (at least not in front of grownups), which I totally didn’t do, of course.

The weekend was part of a series of adventures throughout South Africa to showcase the new GLA and to put this (my new favourite) car through a series of challenges. I was invited to attend the inaugural adventure as blogger and social media person (do we have a word for us? if so, share please). I also happen to know how to ride a mountain bike** which must have helped with their selection criteria somewhat.

The first #GLAadventure took place last weekend in The Pilansberg and I (In very bad wifely form) left my husband at home to unpack and move into the house we had moved in to THE DAY BEFORE to join an amazing crew in the bush for a weekend which promised to be spectacular.

I got to hang out with the Captain of the Mountain Biking SA team, Justice Makhale (possibly the nicest guy in the world. I may just have a bit of a sporting hero crush now). Mzingisi “Ziggy” Ranaka, the winner of the adventure weekend (Ziggy is awesome friends, this man could bottle his energy and sell it), Khaya Dlanga – social media influencer of note. If awards were given for selfies, Khaya would be on the receiving end of many of them. Look!

I call this one ‘The Sunflower”

 

 

The Sunflower

The rest of the team, headed up by Director and Producer Peter Heaney (The man has pet chickens people!) ensured we got to hang with a ridiculously great bunch of people for 2 days.

I arrived at Pilansberg National Park on Saturday, just in time for lunch and a glimpse of the yet-to-be-seen Mercedes GLA. It’s one hot little vehicle that packs a serious punch. I particularly loved the way the seat-belt squeezes you just a little bit tighter – which apparently is the norm for most Mercs – but I’ll take it where I can I suppose.

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The Saturday festivities had started with a sparrows poep hot air balloon ride, so after lunch we were given a few hours to relax in our tents. Sorry, yes, I said tents. This was my style of ‘glamping’ though as the tent had a bed, a fridge and a plug point so my needs were pretty much sorted. I even got to game drive from the comfort of my duvet – as the animals came to us. I spotted these rather cute pyjama donkeys from my door and a sweet little dung beetle on the road.

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Dinner that night was held in the lodges restaurant which was lovely and chilled…and an early night as we knew there was a cracker of a start on Sunday at 5 am.

Sunday morning started off early and misty – and only the GLA looked good in the cruel early hours of the morning. Showoff.

#NoMakeupSelfie
#NoMakeupSelfie
Just chilling with Justice Makhale in the boot of a GLA. As you do.
Just chilling with Justice Makhale in the boot of a GLA. As you do.

I don’t mean to brag or anything but I Got To Drive My The GLA All The Way To Sun City and it is glorious!

We arrived at the Sun City Adventure centre and after a short briefing session “If you see a rhino you must just ride faster, OK?” we set off on our bikes while the rest of the crew jumped on 4-wheelers and disappeared for hours. I suspect up to no good, but who can say.

Riding with Justice is bucket list kinda stuff and he could not have been nicer about it. he even hid his laughs when I fell off (3 times… mud, OK!) and helped me climb on my bike and clip in when my cleats were too full of mud to do so myself. Yes, he literally held my bike in place while I got on, and pushed me off. No, he didn’t make me feel like the loser I was. Yes, I am a little bit in love.

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The 3 of us rode around the most gorgeous bushveld for a few hours and were more than happy to oblige when Peter requested we cycle at deathly speeds through huge muddy puddles and rivers. Anything for a good shot you know, and also, Justice was far too clean and I needed to get him to match my hot look. Look:

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At the end of the ride we were shattered, and filthy and happy and I could not stop smiling. I still can’t believe that I had the opportunity to ride with Justice Makhale. Best weekend ever right?

Unfortunately, being in the middle of the bush, there was no place to clean – so after a brief hosepipe shower (Kearney, keeping it classy) we set off on the final adventure of the weekend, and undoubtedly the most important; Lunch.

Lunch, however, was to take place on the top of a mountain which meant conquering my ridiculous fear of heights and climbing in to a cable car. Cameras were rolling the whole time so I tried to hide the vomiting and screams as much as possible. Thank goodness for my sweet cable-mates who held my still muddy hand and promised me a pizza if I was a good girl. I was. I got delicious pizza.

Oh, we're going in that thing? Aw-sum.
Oh, we’re going in that thing? Aw-sum.
Ziggy. Laughs  in the face of danger.
Ziggy. Laughs in the face of danger.

That whole thing about “conquering your fear”? – totally true. The view from the top of the Harties cable way was worth every anxious sweat drop. It was incredible and not even the photos do it justice. But I’ll try:

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I even made a funny and pretended to jump over the ledge. Because I’m such a nerd I cropped out the deck below. I’m pretend hardcore like that.

Look ma, no hands!
Look ma, no hands!

Lunch on top with this view was an incredible way to end a very special weekend. A huge thanks to the team at Mercedes Benz South Africa for inviting me to join in on this epic adventure, and to the entire cast and crew who made it all happen.

You can follow Mercedes Benz South Africa on Twitter @MercedesBenz_SA, Facebook and Instagram 

The end result? A wicked cool YouTube video!

** Although apparently you forget how to when riding with a professional and fall of and cant get back on and in general just look and act like a complete noob. 

That's A Wrap!
That’s A Wrap!
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The Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge

‘Bloody Cyclists!’

‘Stupid Road Closures’

Argh – I HATE 94.7 for doing this to me!’

I’m pretty certain I’m not the only person around Joburg who, yearly, moans about the road closures for the 94.7 Cycle Challenge, curses the inconvenience of being trapped at home or moans about the irritation of having to plan your day around tens of thousands of shaved-legged-tight-jersey-wearing athletes taking over our roads. Right?

Well, as they saying goes – if you cant beat ’em, join ’em. So I did, and let me tell you that I have a new found respect for anyone who has ever taken part in this race.

First off, it’s crowded. This year 27000+ riders took on the challenge. Secondly, it’s bloody hot. With temperatures reaching over 30 degrees the 11km infamous Krugersdorp highway feels more like a crossfit session on the face of the sun. It’s also windy, long, exhausting, and hot. Have I mentioned hot?

I was hoping for a time of 4 hours – to fit in with my Half Iron Man training and preparation, but as luck would have it I got my first ever puncture on said Highway. Twice. That wasted us (and by us I mean Barry – I watched him fix them, while eating the potato stand out of all it’s stock) a good 45 minutes, so by the time we finished the race we clocked in at just under 5 hours. Considering the break, we still managed a ride time of 4:15 which isn’t too far off my initial goal.

So, having broken my 94.7 virginity – here’s what Ive learnt :

– You will hit a wall. Anticipate it and push through it. Mine happened around 70 kms. Just as this photo was taken. Gents – this is what ‘faking it’ looks like.

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– Eat! A lot – I burned over 3000 calories – which will have an impact if you dont refuel. I favour potatoes and bars over sweet gels – but do what works for you

– Keep hydrated. At times it feels like you’re being slow roasted – and if you dont get enough liquids you will suffer.

– Wear sunblock – otherwise you will look like this :

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– Take a moment just before Krugersdorp highway to look back and congratulate yourself on where you’ve come from. That Joburg horizon seems very far away from where you are. It’s an achievement – be proud.

– Feed off the energy of the supporters – the vibe is amazing!

– Dont (as I did) drink the day before. Or do – but keep the self induced complaints to yourself 🙂

– There are some people who ride it twice. I call them bloody lunatics. If you see them – buy them a beer or donate to their charity – they deserve it.

– Lastly, enjoy it! Make friends with riders, chat, joke and laugh. I promise it eases the pain slightly.

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PS – Thanks for the gear Biogen – Rupert approves!

 

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Sleek Geek and Half Iron Man

To make up for doing absolutely nothing that was even remotely interesting in the last few weeks, I have decided to repent with a bang and challenge myself to probably my biggest event yet. Somehow between a bottle of wine last weekend and a bit of heckling from 15 post Comrades runners I committed to doing the Half Iron Man race next year. After a small vom (nerve, not wine induced) I pulled up my big girl panties and decided life’s too short to say no to a challenge and decided to give this my best shot. I also reckon the biggest reward at the end will be looking slim and sexy in spandex, not an easy feat.

The Half Iron Man race consists of a 1.9km swim, 90 km cycle and 21 km race. I am so lucky to know a few awesome people, doing this race and have 2 fabulous training partners for most of it, Barry and Eryn.

The training seemed to start almost immodestly, so I was literally thrown into the deep end on day one (hello swimming pool mid winter). I am lucky enough to have a boyfriend with several Iron Men under his belt – gosh that sounds rude – and his trainer who is so specialized he makes chuck Norris look like a janitor. Their input into my workout plan has been invaluable.

My training at the beginning consists of the following :

Monday : 1 km swim
Tuesday : 1 hour spinning class
Wednesday : 1 km swim
Thursday : 3 km run and an hour Bootcamp class
Friday : Off day. This means the heaviest lifting I will have to do is pouring my wine into my glass.
Saturday : 2 hour spinning class
Sunday : 8 km run

So far week one has gone pretty well, but I am nervous for the weekend part. Acknowledging that my morning lie-ins are now a thing of the past has cut me deep. I also know I better suck it up because this training is apparently very basic, and it will only get worse going forward.

I’m also hoping this exercise will pay off with regards to the Sleek Geek change I’m currently taking part in. The diet has been going well and I’m surprised I haven’t yet tripped and fallen into a family sized pizza considering this shite weather. Wait, when I say well I mean I haven’t gained any weight. I still however weigh exactly the same as I did 3 weeks ago. FML.

The below pics are of me full of joy upon acceptance of my quest. And also my heart rate – how not to do it – monitor, after lasts nights Bootcamp.

Happy Weekend!

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