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Winter training

27 May

Great training weekend.100km with @jackblacksa and co in Megalies & 60km today at Van Gaalen with Benj and @GregoriousB — Jody Forrester (@Jo_Fo)


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Panorama Tour

02 May

I was fortunate to secure an entry into the 2012 Panorama Tour in White River for myself and Larry Levine, a member of our largest MTN Branded dealer – Cell Network. An added bonus was that my wife Tash and her good friend Doreen Espley-Jones would be joining us for the ‘lite’ version.

The Panorama Tour is a 4 day 350 off kilometre road race through the extremely mountainous Nelspruit area. These climbs gave me the perfect Freedom Challenge block training, even if it is on the skinny wheels.

Day 1 – 115km’s, and 2213m altitude gain


Day 2 – 80km’s, and 1192m altitude gain


Day 3 – 113km’s, and 2055m altitude gain

Day 4 – 27km Time Trial



We had a fantastic 4 days, a big thank you to MTN and in particular Fiona Coward the race organiser for hosting us. I had a great partner in Larry who was immense, flying on the flats and digging deep on the very challenging climbs. The wife also did an amazing job, after not riding for 6 months to focus on her running, to then bosh out a proper two days was incredible – good genes my love!

Now back to the fat takkies!
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One of the farm owners in our Megaliesberg training area kindly agreed to host us for a braai on his property to talk through the current trail and how he could explore turning this into a commercial venture.

Mike opted to make this outing an evening affair to test out our night skills and clock up some mid week mileage. The rest of the crew (Dawn, Dave, Gadget, Fiona, Ben) are old hands at night riding but this was my first attempt. The route is mostly singletrack so got a chance to really test my ‘owl vision’ especially as Gadget and Mike love to go dicing off hurling encouragement to follow them at break neck speeds.

I faired ok with no off’s, but my head torch failed early on in the ride leaving only my Hope LED 1 to light the way from the handlebars – the lumens given off are sufficient but given that you need to look into a corner but your bars are still pointed straight ahead, some blind swinging of the bike did unsettle the nerves.

I have since upgraded the headtorch unit to Black Diamond Icon torch – 200 lumens and extended battery life:

A big thanks to Mike and co for including me on this little adventure, clocked up a nice 48km – not bad for a Wed night.

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Freedom challenge is a daunting task at the best of times, but setting off purely based on web research is borderline lunacy. Fortunately though Jacques Swart (aka Jack Black) he arranged for me to join two FC fundi’s on a mid week training ride.

I would be riding with Mike Woolnough (multiple Freedom Challenges including on a tandem MTB !) and Alex Harris (Freedom Challenge winner and current record holder). I was rather intimidated at meeting these experts of the trail, but they very quickly showed the community spirit that embodies the FC. Not long into the ride and I was already getting tips and tricks that have greatly improved my chances of finishing.

The route was from Valley Lodge in Megaliesburg and took us for 100km around neighbouring farms, valleys and passes. I have never explored that area but the route these guys had very clearly mapped out after years of exploring the area was excellent. The first of many rides in the area I suspect.


What a novelty to be out riding mid week – this corporate life is for the birds I say!

A big thank you to Mike and Alex for letting the newbie tag along – much appreciated fellas.

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