Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A pure lifestyle!

It has been 3months now, 3months living at altitude - approximately 1600m above sea level over 6000ft and it has become my training MECCA, it has everything a multi-sport athlete requires to be at his best. It truly is an amazing place with lots to offer... Quality air(healthy living), breath taking views (pleasure), hills/mountains(get the heart rate up), dams(for open water swims), miles of dirt road (for mountain biking of course) which mostly lead to The Sani Pass i.e. Lesotho and other great areas like Giants Castle, and Kamberg. Some tranquil rides and scenic trail runs.

This amazing landscape is where I find solitude and simplicity in life. If I need to BreakAway, I simply put my kiks on and off I go, "ah today I will climb this mountain"...!
The beauty of life is all around us, we've just become so accustomed to people, cars, buildings, noise and we forget that the finer things in life are at our door step...

Random story...
For some time now Ive been dreaming of bigger things...One particular dream that comes to mind is a journey. I try to imagine what it would be like to ride my bicycle from Durban up the East coast of Africa until I can go no more, Why you ask? Well just to get lost, explore, meet new cultures and experience life from a different perspective. I would look forward to the Mozambique coast for the most part because of its tropical terrain and I have heard great stories. But Why Start in Durban? Considering where I am situated on the globe,  it is the closet city on the coast and it would seem practical for me to start there. My goals first and foremost would be getting away from everything and heading into the unknown..Just me, my bike and a back pack with the bare necessities. Who knows I might not make it far but if I dont try I will never know what is out there. Another immediate goal would be to get as far up the coast as I can before I turn and head home. It would be an epic adventure possibly over several weeks, months, however as I sit and type this two movies come to mind... "Into the Wild" and the "Legends of the Fall". Perhaps I pursue this journey in my sub conscious mind. Im sure I will return like Tristan (Brad Pitt) after his adventures in Africa. Maybe not with a rifle slung over my shoulder but the picture would tell a thousand stories...

To my sponsors, a big thank you for the support through the later part of this year.. I would not be where I am today without you. Thank you Mr H....(Wayne. H. Scrap Metal)

Thank you Kieron Phillips @ Xtreme Nutrition, branches in Pietermaritzburg and Hillcrest check the link under "MY SUPPORT". With out the supplements my performance would be lacking.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Need Motivation...?



Have you ever found yourself in this place (above video)  far to often, "a little boy lost in his own world, surrounded by the negatives" this damn place where outside influence is the cause of a psychological battle many of us face daily and a negative battle within our own minds, unnecessary bullsh#t if you ask me. Its enough, enough to set the tone for a good part of your day. For someone or anyone who is striving to achieve anything in life, if you haven't already adopted the attitude -"screw it", now is a good time! I often say to people, why focus your energy into something negative and out of your control...

for example: You in your car cruising along and you get cut off by another car, yeah for sure flip him/her the signal but move on, there is nothing more you can do to control the matter! I think the old saying goes..."Build a bridge and get over it"! Or we often hear people complaining about random things, people most of the time, I usually tell them, "stop, wait, can you control the situation"? Almost 9 times out of 10 the answer is NO. So if something negative happens in your day to day activities, ask yourself, is there anything I can do to control it??? If the answer is No then "screw it", look for motivation and move on.


There are too many critics in this world and not enough drivers... Like the coach in this clip(video above) If you set your mind to it you can achieve anything... Shoot for the moon and Even if you miss you will land among the stars. yeah!!!
Set your goals so high that even if by any unfortunate circumstances they don’t work out you will still be flying among the stars which is not bad at all. Cut the doubting and quit watching mistakes of the others and concentrate on your own existence and get the best of life.
In the video below you will see exactly what I mean about the critics...

Now even during my training sessions I reflect on these videos... My Garmin file from yesterday... Im actually starting to enjoy the hurt during hard sessions...








Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hi Tec SA

 I recently joined a page on Facebook, the Hi Tec SA shoe company and a week later I was in a competition. A competition against 100 others to be in the Hi Tec SA trail running team, this would then be short listed to 30 competitors and then finally we would fight it out for top honours, 15 of us would make the V-Lite Infinity Challenge. We are going to be given Hi Tec apparel and carteblanche to put them to the test.

It has been a bundle of fun trying to recruit votes and fans. The competition ends this evening the 16th of December and if you still would like to vote for me you can on this link http://apps.facebook.com/bethejudge/
 I am currently sitting with the nelson figures 111 votes/fans but a little more never hurt. If you want to become a fan and skip the voting phase you can follow this link and "like" the page http://www.facebook.com/HiTecSa


I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who voted for me and I will do my best to keep you updated on proceedings...





These are going to be put through some intense testing on some rugger-ed terrain.



Some radical colours if I do say so myself.... 


Some results from a day or two ago


Olympic distance Triathlon - Compendium

 
On the 5th of December I made my way down from altitude,  near Sani Pass, I have been based here for several months to gain the benefits of altitude training, I made my way to Durban where I participated in a pre-season Olympic distance triathlon. It consisted of a 1.5km ocean swim(mass start), a 40km bike and 10km run. It was a chance to wake the sleeping giant and get rid of those off season cob webs, clean out the engine room so to speak.




Walking over to the 1.5km swim start race briefing.... Pointless really because I could not hear a single word uttered over the crashing waves... It was a smile and nod the head type of gesture when race organizer Damien Bradley asked if all was understood. As we lined the shore break I could not stop wondering if I were the only one thinking of the "Johnies" that might be spectating from the ocean floor. But when the gun goes all that falls away and the race face is on.
Setting up my transitions and messing about with my TT helmut, the bike was fast and furious, the only time I went under 40km/h was at turn around points and entering the transition.

I finished the day in 31st overall from a field of over 300 strong, and now as I reflect back on the day I can be satisfied with my result with a week of relaxing after a longish season I really had no leg to stand on.
Then its feet up and back to Altitude to recover...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Triple Challenge Race Report




Triple challenge MultiX
11th overall and 4th in Cat
4h30min

Looking up at yet another challenge/mountain!
(thats the "oh shit" expression)  

 My first Triple Challenge and I will be back to do it again next year. A grueling event that everyone should consider doing in the future, this event raised the bar for me on all levels, physically and psychologically . Plan accordingly and do the mileage, it will offer more enjoyment with the hint of  suffering for that added flavour. 21km trail run, 56km MTB, 7km run or 20km paddle.
Gareth Harrington giving me the Hairy eye ball,
while Raoul smiles for the camera
The start of the run was fast and furious, almost reaching boiling point but just holding back to limit losses. I went into this 21km trail run not having done the full distance during training. I was concerned it would cause havoc in the later part of the run but to my surprise and to boost my confidence I felt GREAT and strong getting onto the bike. My split for the run was 1h33 min. I was aiming for 1h30 but was satisfied with my time. The Mountain bike leg was a real African experience. Literally through the heart of Kwa Zulu Natal, from Pietermaritzburg to Inanda Dam, dodging dogs, goats, cows and even little kids while also sitting wheel behind taxi's. Towards the 4hour mark of the race I could feel a significant drop in energy levels, at this point it became a mental test for me. It pushed me to and beyond my limits but also has paved the way for my future training and racing. I know I am capable of so much more and next season I feel with better planning I am going to achieve so much more on a personal level as well as on my results... Bring on 2011!!!!!
Head down power up


Check my GARMIN stats from the race.... http://connect.garmin.com/activity/56117526

TILL NEXT TIME.....OVER AND OUT!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

BSG Triathlon

The BSG Triathlon this last Sunday posed as the perfect opportunity to gauge my form leading into this years Triple Challenge. During My training over the last few months I have purposely neglected my swimming to provide me with more time for the Running and Riding Disciplines for Triple Challenge. So at the start of the swim I was a little nervous. I went into the water with the main focus of maintaining a perfect stoke technique to minimize my energy loss but maximize my efficiency. There was a time during the 600m swim when I looked up and thought gee that slipway does not seem to be getting closer at all. Stuck my head down again and got back into those long gliding pulls. I exited the water in 9min and in the top 30 elite men. Not bad at all considering I did two quick swim sessions the week before.


 I knew I would make up positions on the bike leg and especially because this was a draft legal race. It meant time to recover and time to work. Anyhow thats how my thought process was leading onto the bike. 10min down the road changed everything for the day. Yup you guessed it, I punctured and lost contact with the top bunch. I was overwhelmed with that same sinking feeling a child experiences when he loses his favorite toy. had I not punctured I was confident of a top 30 placing over all and top 3 in my age group.
 As I entered the Transition (T2) I was greeted by my new mentor and ex Sharks rugby scrum half Hentie Martens, I knew my racing was over for the day and it was time to enjoy the event from a more leisurely comfortable pace.
 Even managed to give the camera a smile amongst the rain and damp conditions...Putting running shoes on in the wet is always a sticky situation but if there is one thing i have learnt about racing, you should always have time for a laugh... Check my garmin data from the race..... http://connect.garmin.com/activity/55346164

Monday, November 1, 2010

MOvember

Hey Guys just a quick blog to support the cause, I have decided to join in on the challenge for the month of 'Movember'. It will be a spectacle im sure especially when my auburn mousatche rocks it out under my nose. 


So if you are keen to join in this world wide statement for mens health issue's and cancer?  Check out the Cansa, Movember website here for more details: http://za.movember.com/ 


Its now or never so take a photo of yourself today clean shaven and post it on your blog, twitter or facebook and update the photo once a week to show the world your 'musties' progress. Dont be afraid to flaunt it even if you only muster up a twizzle. The ONE LIFE motto would apply here..


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnNsBz0tTjk


Also checkout my fellow friend http://www.barrylewin.co.za and his progress on the challenge...


I am yet to decide on my designer top lip but as time goes by it will come to me...


                                                                     My week 1 pic.


Here are some radical styles to choose from.. Enjoy.. 


Race report and photos from the BSG triathlon over the past weekend is soon to follow... Be sure to check back.


Ciao for now.





Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lynford Race Report

Lynford Clover Weekend

Race Report
10km Trail run- 3rd in Cat, 6th overall in a time of 52.12min

40km Mtb- 10th in Cat, 40th overall (mechanical failure) time of 2h25min

A chaotic start to a great weekend of racing. Friday night was a turn of events for me when my car was broken into with what looked like possibly an attempt to steal it! Not the ideal situation before a weekend of racing! With the lack of sleep clearly showing in my blood shot eyes the morning after, I set off for the race meeting on Saturday morning at 6am which was to be held in Ixopo Kwa-Zulu Natal @ Lynford Primary school.

A bitterly cold morning set as the back drop of the 10km trail run. Certainly conditions fit for trail running. The competing field set at approximately 150 athletes but with the chaos from the previous evening I found myself a little distracted. I set out to warm  up in my regular routine, a light jog followed by some stretches and ABCs. Getting my heart rate to rise steady, aiming to time the end of my warm up with the Start of the race by a few seconds is always a challenge. The key here is to make sure you haven't started burning valuable fuels that you  intend to use for the race, however, obviously making sure you are warm enough so that you prevent injury.

Now standing on the start line next to some eager competitors. Enthusiasm was the order of the day with a comical start. The "gun man" holding a (double barrel shotgun) was "suppose" to shoot a milk carton(sponsored by Clover milk company) out the sky signalling the start of the event. After the famous "on your marks", "get set", "Bang" all that was seen was a floating milk carton without the explosion that was aticipated by all. It set the tone to the race and offered some laughter. After a lot of chatter amongst the front runners we found ourselves asking, "which way"?? A small group of us had taken a wrong turn allowing the  middle of the pack to pass by on the correct route. Now making us the back markers. I spent the next 10min trying to consolidate my efforts to reach the front again. At the end of the race I managed a 6th overall and thoroughly enjoyed the tricky terrain. See my GARMIN file for Stats on my race... http://connect.garmin.com/activity/48894576


The 40km mountain bike race the following day was also a great race with the heat of the day close to 40C it proved to be the biggest challenge. I also suffered a mechanical failure when I bent my front Rotor(disk brake) on a tree stump in the single track. For the rest of the ride I was accompanied by a little mouse, with every rotation of the wheel I heard "SQUEAK", "SQUEAK", for the Stats on this race please see my GARMIN file...
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/48894549

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Its a science


Its taken me time to learn a few things about sport, specifically endurance sports. Well its all good to get out and push yourself to achieve your goals there are certainly a few more things one needs to consider. For me, its about maintaining a balance whilst applying variety where you can. This variety should be found in the kitchen. Everyday is a new opportunity to experiment with different foods and equip your self with perfomance by fueling your body. Keep it simple, the saying goes," if you can pick it from the ground, pluck it from a tree or if it swims or runs outside and has four legs or two" its good for you, if it comes in a bag or a can stay away from it!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Progression


Race Report

Multi sport

Time Freight series Race #4

5th of September

Albert Falls Dam

1h37min

“Ring ring, ring ring”, I hear the noise in my subconscious mind, as I open my eyes like a vice on a work shop bench- slow and steady, I start thrusting my arms in an attempt to navigate my alarm clock. Hitting the button – I suddenly remember in an abrupt manner today is race day. Having packed my bag the night before it’s a matter of eating my nutritional breakfast, getting dressed, jumping in my car and bee lining it to the race venue.

I forget about the radio device located in the car and plug into my IPod. I scroll through the list and select a specific type of genre to aid my concentration and thoughts for the race. Even though this is only a Cat 3 race in my calendar of events (5km run, 20km ride, 2.5km run) I still treat it as an important one. Using this to practice for those Cat 1 races (22km run, 56km ride, 7km run) I am more than focused and ready for the task at hand.

I arrive at the venue and scramble to the bike pen (transition area) to find a convenient location for my bike and riding gear. Usually slotting it in close to the entrance or exits of the pen as this makes finding the “needle” in the haystack with over 200 other bikes much easier during the race when my heart rate is high and vision is blurred.

My warm up this time around is longer than I had anticipated. Having completed the first 2.5km lap with some fellow competitors whilst deep in conversation the same questions start to rise, a cat and mouse game between myself and I - have I started using race fuels already, was this warm up too long? Then the answer to self, you have done the training you will be fine. Go and get on with the job!

Its seconds before the gun, I am standing still controlling my breathing, I glance down at my heart rate monitor, its 60bpm over my resting rate sitting at about 110bpm, a good sign, who knows? I feel immortal with the adrenaline rushing through my veins. “Bang” the gun goes and immediately there is a break forming, two groups where I find myself running comfortably in the later. This time relying on my experience I ease into a steady pace and notice a few of the guys up front struggling to hold the pace. One by one they drop off gasping for air. They had done what I set out to avoid and we were yet to reach the first climb of the day. Boosting myself with reassurance that I had made the right move I make a decision to slowly pick up the tempo and surge forward on the first climb of the day to stay in contention with my race. The 5km run over and I find myself back in the transition changing shoes and fixing the protective bike gear on my head, a wise move when reaching speeds of 60km/h.

Now sitting in a top 8 position coming out of the bike transition my aim is too real in other competitors whilst banking on my skill levels on the bike. Using the single track to my advantage and paying tribute to a World champion I remind myself of this saying, “If you not pedaling you should be pumping”. As I look up and glance through the shrub I notice now and again a flash of colour only meaning one thing, im gaining time and pulling back other athletes. The 20km bike course was definitely enjoyable, a well balanced course offering variety and the reason I love to race, to break away from society and be alone in a surreal environment. At the end of it I find myself actually rather disappointed that it has come to an end but never the less I still have a job to do.

Now lying 5th I head out onto the last 2.5km run http://connect.garmin.com/activity/47682763 where I will try to maintain my position. A good race and satisfaction paused across my face, happy with my new race tactics I cross the line in 1h37min some 12min off the podium position. With lessons learnt and experienced gained I head back to the drawing board to plan and train for my next attack.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

This aint the fox trot.


Another furious weekend of racing, taking this series to #3 out of 4 races. A distance of 5km run, 20km mountain bike and 2.5km run. My results have been satisfactory but there is certainly room for improvement. A 10th place @ Port Edward after arriving back from a year in the US also suffering from the horrid flight friend "Jet lag". A 6th place @ Albert falls dam and another 6th place @ Baynesfield dam where the field was over 200 athletes strong. See more images @ http://www.maxcluer.com/

This season i have been experimenting with my nutrition and to say the least i have learnt a great deal. I have had highs and lows while dealing with various nutritional sources and at some points along the way i have had to back off a little because i could really feel the effects on my body and mind, having said this i have come to a conclusion.

If you can "pick it from a tree", "pluck it from the ground", if it has legs and runs around outside or swims in a body of water its good for you, if it comes in can or packet stay away from it! Further more keep it simple apparently less is more according to a minimalist approach. Other key issues that highlight performance for me have boiled down to a key factor, this being variety! Dont be afraid to experiment with new foods and keep it clean.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hearts will go on...Home bound

I just spent over three weeks in Texas. Time i can say was well spent, relaxing, training, traveling and enjoying the bonding opportunities i had with my new beauty, Kyndell. She is possibly a lost piece to my puzzle, this puzzle titled "LIFE". We met in the first few weeks i came into America but as it was then, bad timing. We started a random conversation several months ago and the flame was lit. Enough said!

I can say now that my travels in America are done. I am satisfied with the 16 states and the vast amounts of cities Ive visited over the last year. Now its a case of filling my pockets and making haste for the exit. However for the rest of my time here it becomes mind over matter. My heart is telling me, "be done with America and change your navigation system via home bound status immediately". My mind on the other hand responds differently.

Recently i finished reading this book (The Power of One). Inspiring? Yes. Mystical? Yes. Passionate? Yes. This list will go on and on. The point I'm making is the peculiarity of reading a whole book and only embracing one line from it. Perhaps the attempts of every book. Who knows? The one i remember and now use in my everyday life is purely, "First with the Head, then with the Heart". That's why i cannot depart on the next plane out of here. I have business to finish, especially in this case my mind will be put first.

P.S. Not sure if it was due to frustration or the balance of rest and training but i ran my PR 10km time today. Still lots of work to be done.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Many rivers to cross

I have found my place in this world. This place where i can be alone, be at one with nature, away from the hap-hazardous life style we as humans are faced with on a daily basis. While at the same time i can push my body physically and mentally to another level. A level not found in a gym or in a class room. This is different. Its an exhilarating burning sensation that occurs deep within my body, i hear the screams that come at me, an attempt to say STOP but my mind says, NO, the push continues! There is a sensation that drives me everyday. A thirst to feel it more often, a pathway to a dream i am currently following.

Xterra, this is my new home in the field of endurance sport. After in depth research, from nutrition,equipment and correct scientific methods of endurance training, i finally feel that my body is set in the right direction and now its a matter of dialing it in correctly to get the results i want. On the 23rd of May 2010, it marked my first Xterra event, in Waco Texas, this consisted of a 1.6km open water swim,30km mountain bike and 10km trail run. Having been in prep for 7 months, although a short period in an endurance athletes life, i felt ready. Having done the necessary training under difficult circumstance i felt well prepared and would have to wait and see when i crossed the finish line.

The race was everything i had imagined, having thought about every possible incident and the variables that could occur. Mental preparation had been key to my success, i had learned about this in my early days of racing bicycles. The race was like clock work, smooth as it could be for a "first timer", i did my bike to run transition in 9 seconds. This consists of racking my bike, taking gloves off, taking helmet off and switching shoes. Having not practiced this much in the months pre-race i was anxious to see how it would go, needless to say i was satisfied. I did the swim(see below) in 25min holding back to have stores for the later legs of the race, i biked in 1hour20min and the did the run in 50min. A result i can be pleased with, finishing 3rd in my age group, 13th in the pro division and 41st overall.
video
Chatting to a event organizer after the race, she asked, how old are you? 22 i replied, she gave a smile and said, "you just the puppy of this event". It was enough said to give me immediate relief knowing i have time to prove myself.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Getting you up to speed!


Amongst a year of adventure, challenges iv faced and a deeper appreciation for life ,i thought now would be a good time to inform you all of my done and doings over the past year.

In a few brief but detailed paragraphs i will attempt to tell you...

While my initial goals @ heart for traveling abroad would be to find myself, get to know who i really am, where i want to go in life and where i came from, whilst i strive to maintain my dream of becoming a pro athlete, the other goal is purely financial, having completed my 3rd year in Architecture, juggling training and racing in Durban South Africa, living from hand to mouth for 3 years, enough was enough and i needed to get out and make some decent money to boost my dream. Being brought up by some terrific parents, where, working hard for what you want in life was installed at a young age, i was faced with an immediate understanding of this! My mind set changed dramatically, no longer in the school boy mode i hit a realization that if i wanted something so bad i was going to have to sweat nails to achieve it.

So i applied to work at a summer camp in the USA as this was the "step in the door". 3 Months over the summer of 2009 i worked as a mountain bike instructor teaching kids and parents the basic skills and being a positive influence in their lives. A priceless experience i would do again at the drop of a hat, i walked away with new friends, a pocket full and memories for a life time. I then traveled with my new friend, a beast of a man, 6foot 3 giant 240 lbs Welshman, Connor McDonald! We traveled from Maine to Philadelphia, Phillie to Las Vegas, Vegas to Miami then to Orlando Florida and then from East coast to Los Angeles on the West coast all in a month. Memories every man wild at heart desires. I cant even calculate how many thousands of miles we did but i would do it all over again with him. Sleeping on our bags in airports, taking shifts so that we would not get robbed of our stuff. Times like these you can call living!

Connor had left after the month but i stayed on in LA. Trying to find work, using every method possible. Difficulties struck left, right and center as my visa only allowed for specific work. I received an email from a family i met @ camp. They had found me work for a family who needed an Au pair. It was ideal, i could train, make money and be fed for no expense. Back on the road i headed to Virginia DC after spending my birthday in New Jersey with my sister who was also Au pairing. Time flew by and i faced many challenges. Snow being the biggest. Trying to train in below freezing temperatures was not fun but i had the right state of mind to do so.

7 Months was the window i had to get fit for my first race. Xterra South central champs in Waco, Tx.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The beginning, when!


It has been a year now since my departure from South Africa to the USA, i thought id start a blog now and share all my experiences ,also the experiences that changed my life over the past year, the people, the places and the people skills that come with travel. Priceless. Where the saying goes... "you will grow as a person", clearly stands out in my mind.


My reasons for starting this blog is simply:

  • Share all my experiences, the whole truth!
  • Keeping a reference of all my travels, archiving!
  • Allow you all to understand me on an emotional/physiological level.

I have lost the nerve to keep writing in a book. I lost the nerve along time ago, however with the digital world it certainly makes life a lot easier to keep record. The convenience of technology has it perks, when it works.