Monday, 20 April 2015

The Pragmatic Richard Murray

Keeping it simple, dosing effort and Cape Dutch architecture

With less than a week remaining before the Cape Town stop of the ITU World Triathlon Series, several international athletes have begun descending on the Mother City and surrounds. Rounding out their final preparations at various training venues and camps, one could be forgiven in assuming that the event occupies their every thought – who is racing; what is the best position on the start pontoon; will the weather be favourable? All important factors indeed although this notion of “total consumption” does not necessarily apply to all.

“I haven't actually looked at the start list,” admits South African contender Richard Murray. “I don't like to worry about things I can't control. Stressing about who is there and who is not is a waste of energy. I prefer to not over think or over analyse things; it is just part of my personality I guess.”

Friday, 17 April 2015

Comrades-bound with Kerry-Ann Marshall

Orange orchards, Lynotherapy and Comrades Silver

The Comrades Marathon is a special race.

Engraved in the psyche of most South Africans, the annual footrace between Durban and Pietermaritzburg is an integral part of the Rainbow Nation’s heritage. Whilst the sharp end of this event has – and continues to – produce sporting icons, interesting stories abound in the upper echelon of finishers, the 2014 edition being no different.

If one takes a closer look at the top-fifteen finishers of Comrades 2014, an unfamiliar name pops up in thirteenth position. Amid the more established athletes competing for the various elite clubs and professional teams, it does beg the question: just who is the unheralded athlete in the colours of Cape Town-based ATC Multisport?

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Two Oceans 2015

For the Love of Adventure

A week has passed since Two Oceans 2015.

Seven days and each one of those bearing forth a little progress in the recovery department, both physically and mentally. My fourth consecutive participation (six if you include my "crash-and-burns" of the late 1990s) in the thirty five mile adventure was no easier than any of the others, my “trashed” legs last Sunday testimony to that. The cumulative effects of hard asphalt, unrelenting climbs and descents, and the sheer distance are hard on any athlete, whether gold medallist or back-marker. But then Two Oceans is not classified as an ultra-marathon for nothing.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Living the Dream with Carsten Bresser

Enjoying Life after Pro Sports

Carsten Bresser is living his dream.

Whether at home in Germany or in the rugged landscapes of South Africa, the twice Olympic representative certainly knows how to enjoy life.

After a professional mountain biking career spanning over a decade, the amiable Geman has continued to compete at a high level in a variety of sports, including mountain bike stage racing, marathon running and triathlon. A regular visitor to South Africa, Bresser was back in the country recently competing in the ABSA Cape Epic with German cyclo-cross star Hanka Kupfernagel.

“We had a lot of fun,” says Bresser of his pairing with the multi-talented Kupfernagel. “Hanka got stronger and stronger has the Epic progressed and it was a great experience for her.”

Thursday, 26 March 2015

In a Rush with Gavin Memper

Gavin Memper is a professional chef with a difference. Having developed his craft in such far flung destinations as the French Alps, Kenya and New Zealand, Gavin now divides his time between private catering and developing the RUSHBAR.

Working at the 2015 ABSA Cape Epic as chef for Team Topeak-Ergon, the multi-talented Memper’s own passion for preparing healthy meals consisting of whole foods sparked his desire to develop an energy bar of natural ingredients. Enter the RUSHBAR, a product consisting of such Superfoods as Spirulina, Quinoa and Chia Seeds, to name but a few.

Not a fan of refined sugar coating, Memper reveals that finding a manufacturer was difficult, eventually striking a homerun with a factory in Cape Town. Given that the RUSHBAR was originally developed and wrapped in his own kitchen, retaining the home-based recipe and natural contents is critical to Memper, thus ensuring an authentic and healthy product.

Now available in Dischem stores, RUSHBAR’s product range includes Training, Endurance, Pregnancy, Monkey and Berry Burst options.

The Balanced Alice Pirard

Compromise, Cycling and chasing UCI Points

Whilst the sharp end of the ABSA Cape Epic consists mainly of full-time professional riders, there are a few exceptions.

Alice Pirard is one such example. Hailing from the Wallonia region of Belgian, Pirard divides her time between World Cup MTB competition and her civilian profession of osteopathy. Having first entered local consciousness at the 2014 Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek, Pirard returned to South African shores this year as part of the Team Meerendal setup. Paired with the legendary Esther Suss, the Belgian-Suisse combination completed the eight-day trek in a respectable fifth place overall, in a race dominated by the Team RECM duo of Ariane Kleinhans and Annika Langvad.

As her professional qualification suggests, there is more to Pirard than just cycling. In fact, the articulate Belgian reckons that having a career outside of the sport is beneficial to her results, providing her with an optimal academic and sporting balance.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The Caring Rudy Bergmans

Of Connection, Rapport and Classic Massage

Rudy Bergmans has seen it all.

A professional soigneur since 1965, the well-travelled Dutchman is a veritable encyclopedia of all things cycling. Having worked with cyclists spanning multiple generations and on such super-teams as PDM, Bergman’s knowledge of the sport and rider-care is perhaps unrivalled, especially given the progression of equipment, training techniques and even management structure over time.

Having cared for the likes of Bernard Thevenet, Sean Kelly and Raul Alcala, Bergmans has worked with Dutch mountain biking legend Bart Brentjens since the early 2000s. A regular visitor to South Africa since the inception of this partnership, Bergmans was back in the Western Cape recently for the ABSA Cape Epic. Accompanying Brentjens and a large contingent of Dutch riders for the eight-day trek around the Western Cape, his job entailed taking specific care of the Atlanta gold medallist and teammate Abraao Azevedo in their quest for the prestigious and highly competitive Masters title.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Rolling Recovery

Of morale, headphones and Metallica

It is a windy Monday afternoon at Oak Valley Wine Estate in South Africa’s Western Cape. With the first stage of the 2015 ABSA Cape Epic having concluded a few hours earlier, Rudi Van Houts is still cycling, albeit on a stationary roller in the back of a truck.

Having finished third on the 113km leg with Multivan Merida teammate Jose Hermida, the amiable Dutch rider is spinning his legs for around half an hour. This is an active form of recovery and part of a greater rejuvenation process that began as soon as Van Houts crossed the finish line.

“It is sometimes hard to do but is really just an extension of the recovery process,” says Van Houts. “As the race gets longer, I might give the rollers a miss on the odd day but it is definitely a beneficial tool in performance enhancement.”

The Versatile Erben Wennemars

For the Love of Sport

Erben Wennemars loves sport. He also likes to have a good time participating in whatever challenge he sets himself and the past week is certainly no exception.

As a first time participant in the gruelling ABSA Cape Epic, Wennemars and teammate Rob Harmeling have traversed some of the toughest mountain biking terrain that South Africa has to offer. Combined with extreme weather conditions, the former Olympic speed-skater spirits were high throughout the eight day trek around the Western Cape. Part of a large contingent of Dutch riders spearheaded by mountain biking legend Bart Brentjens, Wennemars and former Tour de France stage winner Harmeling crossed the finish line at Meerendal Wine Estate in a highly respectable 65th position overall.

Given that Wennemar’s elite sporting background is that of a sprint specialist, it is fascinating that someone with a fast-twitch muscularity can excel at endurance events. In a sporting world that is becoming increasingly specialised, the Dalfsen native’s sheer versatility is the exception to the rule stating that long distance events are not suited for those whose athletic talents lie over short bursts.