I went to visit my parents in my home country Czech Republic and to my luck there was a major race happening in my home town. There is a small mountain range called Jestrebi ( Hawk) mountains where my parents stay and that’s where race took us.
KoloProZivot is a big series of marathon races across the country. It’s quite commercial so some old school hard core mountain bikers don’t like it because the route isn’t the most technical usually more gravel roads than single tracks. And the organizers try to pull as many people in as they can so they want to have the route not too hard.
This one race though is known as the hardest of all the series with 1800 climbing meters on 65km as well as most technical.
I know the local organizers so I managed to get Wild card to be able to start in 3rd chute and not right at the back of the many riders.
People must ride their seeding up as here. So there I was standing at the chute with my dear dad again. It’s been a while since that happen as I was pregnant and had my daughter. My dad was so kind to lend me his super light Specialized Stompjumper Hardtail 29er. I usually ride soft tail so it’s was a bit bumpy on the downhills but I felt really good on the climbing and was usually passing people. There was steep climb right from the start and then some gravel roads where people went pretty fast pace. We hit great single track called Cizkovy Kameny which is near town Trutnov and it’s been built to attract more tourists and they are still building more and more awesome trails which includes roots and rocks and built berms and bridges too. There was bit of bottle neck which was the only negative of the race. The rest of the race was up and down with some steep rocky technical descents and back up steep hills with beautiful views on green fields and woods.
I have finished in 4th place in my age group which was a pity but still a good result considering it was only 2 days after my overnight flight there where i got no sleep at all. I also managed to give my dad almost 10 minutes which he didn’t take very well at first. But it had to happen one day. It only took me about 20 years to beat my very competitive and fit dad! He said thought he isn’t giving up just yet!
One very cool thing about Czech races are their top up stations. As rider is approaching the water table person shouts at him water or energy drink. You shout back your response and while you pass him he hands you full bottle and you hand him your empty one. So you don’t have to stop and loose momentum.
Another thing is children. There are 6 categories under the age of 13! It starts with push bikes race and in each category there were from 50 to 70 participants! Amazing numbers!
There is a big kids zone at the finish area as well as little pump track for kids. Showers and choice of 6 meals for participants are included in the race entry fee.
There are also lot of stands should you wish to buy new gear.
It’s like a little bike festival. Well done and I hope South Africa can learn and put together more often races like this where there is lots to do for whole family.
I was happy to be on the start line of a race again after few months of no racing ( my husbands schedule didn’t allow me to race).
New experience was a ladies only start. With Jennie Stenerhag and couple of other very strong ladies in the front it was bound to be tough start. It’s much easier to start with the guys and hang in the bunch for a while. So that didn’t happen. There was a bit of flat patch and then slowly the climbing started. That day was seriously windy! I tried to keep up with some fast ladies but soon went my own pace alone in the wind. The climbing started pretty steep with beautiful views on the surrounding.
After the proper climb we were rewarded with world class single track called Inferno with switch backs and tight corners which was lot of fun.
From there we were heading more toward Stellenbosch and the old Hellshoogte pass and another steep climb up Botmaskop and again stunning views with amazing single track called Skyfall. The name says it all. Lots of tight switchbacks and if you don’t make it right you gonna fly down a steep hill. I kept my speed there rather bit conservative as sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry.
From there we went to Banhoek Valley which is beautiful and as far as I know not normally open to ride. So it’s quite a treat to get to ride there. Slowly riders were getting tired and I passed few on the switchback technical uphill followed by rocky and sandy up and down 20kms. Which started to get enough and I was also getting tired but kept my mind positive and pushed hard all the way to the finish. I was happy to be at the finish in 4 hours of serious exercise and even more happy to finish 3rd in my age group.
Awesome route that was lot of fun and challenging. When I got home it was another challenge to look after my little one with my sore body for rest of the day:)
9th of April
99er MTB Challenge 45km and shorter routes
9th of April
Fine Breede MTB Challenge, 60km
16th of April
Philadelphia MTB Fun Ride, 63km and shorter routes
23rd and 24th of April
Cell C Arabella MTB Challenge 50km
30th of April and 1st of May
Houw Hoek MTB Tour 50km
7th of May
TRU CAPE MTB Grabouw
15th of May
Gravel Travel in Wellington 50km and 25km
21st of May
100 and 50 Miller
21st of May
Willow Creek Computer Mania 60km and shorter routes
28th of May
Montagu MTB Mania 80km and shorter routes
18 June 2016
Greyton Classic 65km
2nd and 3rd of July
Knysna Cycle Tour, various mtb and road routes
31st of July
Die Burger MTB various routes
I have registered for the race in February on the day when the entries have opened. I was highly pregnant then. But I felt I need to have something to aim towards after my baby is born.
Long story short I have been able to ride much less than I thought I would have. Not just because of time and breastfeeding but as well because I want to spend time with my daughter. And when I’m on bike I think of her and I tend to do short ride and rush back home. Yes motherhood changes you!
The closer the time of W2W came the more I was thinking what did I get myself into? Am I being a bad mother leaving my 7 month old baby at home? I registered to race with my good friend Lara Woolley and that was a motivation not to pull out of the race. I haven’t seen her much since I have had the baby so I wanted to ride with her at last.
We started in E group which was bit below our league but since we haven’t done any races this year we haven’t gotten better seeding. We were excited to ride together and the aim was to have fun. The start is quite tough with long steep climb on gravel road. We managed to get away from the bunch with few more guys and then had the single track for ourselves. Once we hit the portage section we realized we are bit stucked as the pace was much slower than in the front groups.
Anyway we enjoyed the beautiful views from Sir Lawry Pass and joked around with the other riders. Once we reached the top it was little bit of a fight to get ahead of some of the slower people so we could enjoy the single track in fast speed. We got to Oak Valley on a high from an awesome day in a saddle and finished 4th in our very competitive age group.
This day is always lot of fun even though the start is not easy as your legs are tired and you have to push hard from the start to get a good position for the single track later. 85% of the route was single track heaven this year. But don’t think its easy. One must be able to master switch backs, riding between trees in forest and over A – frame and lots of bridges. Me and Lara had lots of fun. I was just a tad bit weaker but managed to hang in there. We finished 4th again and realized we wont reach the podium with all the pro ladies ahead of us. Which we more less knew as the competition is every year stronger.
The afternoon is spend by chilling around with friends and telling stories from the bike. I had to pump the breast milk also! Which isn’t so much fun but necessary if you want to keep breastfeeding. It can be done and its so good for the baba. So if you are a new mum you don’t have to wait to stop breastfeeding to ride a race!
I was bit worried how the legs will feel as I haven’t done many long rides. From the start I could feel the racing legs are not there but I could go reasonable speed and I just kept positive attitude which is very important. Once you start thinking negative that you don’t feel good or that you are the weaker link in the team you are finished. So there we let the C bunch drop us and had the single track and roads to ourselves. Which was actually awesome. We enjoyed the views of coming down towards Himmel en Aarde and first glimpses of the sea. We absolutely loved the single track there. My racing legs were suddenly back. Yes bit late!
This is an awesome race and definitely on your to do list if you haven’t done it yet. But remember don’t forget to practice your mtb skills. Thank you ITEC for support and Concept Studio for getting me ready and lastly my amazing husband to letting me go and looking after our daughter so well.
- Practice race nutrition before the race
- Find out what they will have at water points so you don’t have to take everything in your pocket
- Pace yourself – don’t go all out in the first hour of race – especially for the boys!
- Practice carrying your bike for the portage section – your lower back will need to be strong – do some core exercises during your training as well as uphill walking or running so that your calves don’t cramp once you are on the top
- Practice switch backs, riding over rocky terrain, sand, bridges and A-frame
- Drink enough water during race and after
- Have lunch as soon as you have finished
- Have few massages before the race if you have booked your massage package
- Practice how to plug a tubeless tyre and fix broken chain
- Have fun!
Are you new to mountain biking or want to improve your skills? Join our training sessions and you are sure to learn new skills swiftly with the right doses of fun.
- Saturdays and Sundays 14h00-17h00
- Weekdays can be arranged
Note: We do offer transport to trails. Pick up in Sea Point, R50 petrol allowance)
- Private lessons R800 for 2 hours
- Group sessions (2 pax) R650 per person/2 hours
- Group sessions (3+pax) R550 per person/3 hours
- Kids Clinics (2+pax) R400 per child/2 hours
- Kids Clinics (4+pax) R300 per child/2 hours
Basic single track flow and cornering, practice of braking and shifting gears, balancing and different positioning on bike, practice of easy switchbacks
INTERMEDIATE 1 & 2
Learn how to maneuver around tight switchbacks, mount and dismount pavements, how to track stand, how to ride steep rooty inclines and how to negotiate your way through rock gardens. Ride smaller drop offs.
Training sessions are run by Kate Slegrova who is a certified cycle coach, and Katja Steenkamp, an experienced Cross Country and Enduro rider.
You will be fueled by Hammer Nutrition
TO BOOK YOUR SESSION
Contact Kate on firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Katja on email@example.com or call 082 795 5878.
We want to use our passion for the sport as a platform to create awareness of and support Qhubeka and World Bicycle Relief in their mission to mobilize children with bicycles. Please join us by donating R40 for each lesson you are taking with us. Follow this link to make your contribution: Qhubeka