A little something about cycling

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I’d like to be able to tell you that I’m a magnificent cyclist. That it’s easy and fun. That I’m fit and fast and fabulous. That I’ve got dreams and aspirations of doing the 94.7 and the Argus with excellent times.

But out of all of the above statements only 2 are completely true. It is FUN and I am definitely FABULOUS 😛

As I mentioned before I started cycling earlier this year. I was beyond nervous to get on the bicycle when I realised it had been 15 years since I had even been on one, let alone done any sort of notable distance on one. Now that I think back I realise I was actually pretty good.  We lived in a very small town and I used to cycle everywhere.  To school…to the shops…to the dam…and on occasion even to a nearby (40km away) farm for a picnic and back (that’s 80km BTW)  I even did time trials and races.  I could cycle without using my hands and miraculously push start and swing onto the bicycle with incredible grace….Please take note that I can do none of this now.

But here I am roughly 5 months down the line and I’m STILL cycling. Let me take a moment to be completely and brutally honest.  I am unfit, I am slow and due to the butchery 2 years ago I also lack a lot of the core strength I used to have. It makes things hard and tough and a constant challenge. But I’m still here.

When we first started I refused to invest any money in cycling until I knew that I enjoyed it and was going to stick with it. So #TheGypsy (who has been an avid and super fit cyclist for YEARS) kindly allowed me to use one of his bicycles. A friend loaned me an old helmet and I managed to purchase a pair of cycling shorts on sale for all of R179. Fast forward 5 months and you’ll see that #TheGypsy bought me a bike of my own, I now have my own (pretty) helmet, I have both winter (pink) and summer (red) cycling gloves, sports glasses, 5 (!!!) cycling shirts and 3 cycling shorts.  And last but not least my darling parentals gifted me with an exercise bike once they realised I was actually genuinely into this cycling thing. The only condition is that I need to use it regularly (which I have been).

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She with the borrowed, old and slightly ugly helmet

The very first time we went we did all of 10km and I WANTED TO DIE. But we pushed on and I steadily went from 10 to 18 to 21 to 28 to 35 and finally to 46 (and I’ve been informed we will be doing a bit more this coming Saturday). My nether regions generally want to stab me by the end of it and my wrists especially have been having a bit of a tough time of it but the most surprising thing is I am really really enjoying it.

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We have our moments…in this case the bike bit me. 

When I started cycling it was because it was something that #TheGypsy really loved and I wanted to show interest in one of his hobbies. He had invited me and I had agreed…never thinking I would actually keep it up. These days we are both super excited about our ride when Saturday rolls around and it is no longer HIS hobby…it is OUR hobby and what we do on a Saturday.

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Yes…we are cheesy on a Saturday morning

I’m going to be brutally honest and admit that I am SLOW. I’d like to say that you have to remember that I cycle on the road with knobbly tyres while 90% of the other riders are on overpriced road bikes (all of which is true)…but the honest to God truth is that I am slow. I’m not particularly strong (which makes going uphill slow) and I’m not particularly fit.  But I’ve also realised that I’m not out there to compete with anyone else. I am out there to have fun, to be healthy and to enjoy myself. This was a major turning point for me. Now I compete only with me and I celebrate every time I manage to improve my time…something which seems to happen every week now, and I’m taking that as a good sign. I celebrate the fact that 5 months ago I could BARELY cycle 10km and I’m now doing 46 quite easily and considering adding more distance. I celebrate the fact that I no longer have to change gears to first the moment I hit an uphill but that I can now manage most of them between 6 and 8 and no longer have to stop and rest when I get to the top. I celebrate the fact that my core muscles are strengthening and I can now grab my bottle and drink water AND replace the bottle while cycling (THIS IS NOT EASY).

#TheGypsy has been an absolute trooper throughout the last 5 months. He has encouraged, given hugs and cheered me on every step of the way. He does almost double the distance I do in the same time on a Saturday morning but loops around me the whole time which means that we are more or less in sight of one another at all times. But it also means that he doesn’t feel short changed in terms of his training at the end of the day.

I have no aspirations of becoming a champion cyclist one day, but I do think that I might just tackle the 94.7 next year and, if I carry on the way I do now, I’ll probably be able to do it in a pretty decent time tooJ

Everyone keeps asking if I’ve seen significant weight loss.  Truth be told I haven’t. I have however noticed a change in terms of toning. I’m sleeping better. I feel healthier and I’ve been focusing hard on eating healthier and more regularly. So no…I haven’t lost a ton of weight (which would have been awesome). But I am healthy and I am happy….and to me those are the most important things.

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#DineInTheSky

A couple of weeks ago I received an e-mail from Diners Club International about a Dine in the Sky competition…..as per usual my attitude was “why the hell not” and I entered without giving it so much as a second thought. Then at the end of May, during my first few days spent on engagement in Cape Town I was bombarded by a bunch of missed calls from a number I did not know and a desperate voicemail plea to return a call as they “do not want me to miss this great opportunity”.  I did not recognize the details of the company calling me but I took a chance and returned the call and it turns out it was a representative of SABC3’s Afternoon Express.

What I had not realised was that the Diners Club International competition was hosted by both them AND the Afternoon Express and I was chosen as one of 3 lucky winners. <insert excited squealing and jumping up and down here>

The prize?  Myself and a partner was invited to join one of the Afternoon Express presenters, representatives from Diners Club and 2 other winners to enjoy a beautiful champagne breakfast high up in the sky at Val Bonne Country Estate one saturday morning.

Guys…it was amazing. The view…the experience…the people..the goodie bags:P and everything else was just fantastic.

We arrived early in the morning in order to ensure that our hair and make-up was done to perfection as it was all being filmed for the Afternoon Express in HD.  We were then strapped in and hoisted 40m into the air by crane where we dined, chatted, were interviewed and enjoyed the amazing view.

I had expected to be super nervous as I am normally pretty scared of heights.  But a few years ago I had adopted a new approach to things that scare me. How often will I be presented with the opportunity to do something again in the future? I guess the fact is my fear of missing out is FAR greater than my fear of heights and even though I sometimes want to DIE on the inside I insist on pushing through…simply because life is too short to be scared.

Surprisingly enough I was calm, confident, even slightly dare devilish…twisting around in my seat…leaning out to take selfies with most of the table and swinging my feet out of bounds of the platform. What was even more surprising is that the Gypsy, whom I took as my + 1, who is usually so chill and very rarely gets freaked out was a nervous wreck once we reached roughly 20m. The most entertaining part was that while they were interviewing him 40m up he was all calm and confident but the moment the cameras moved he was back to secretly gripping the table and glaring at me for carelessly swinging around in my seat.

We had an absolute blast though and were proper spoiled the entire time.  I have no idea when this is supposed to air and even if I did know I probably wouldn’t tell anyone as I’m fairly certain I sound like a complete chop:P But it was a truly fantastic and fun experience:)

Being totally silly post make up and before the big hoist
I loved this random photo i took by accident of our shadows….I’m keeping it!
Breakfast (40m up in the sky) is served…..this was also accompanied by bubbly which is sadly NOT featured in this pic.
Just one of many splendid views from the top
The crew doing their thing at 40m
Cause when you’re dangling 40m up in the air selfies are important
His smile is a complete lie I assure you….
Pulling faces when the camera crew can’t catch me:P
DON’T LOOK DOWN!
Half a table selfie….the camera man managed to take a shot of me taking a selfie of them taking a shot of me taking a selfie of them……inception at it’s best.
My size 4 feet look like they belong to a giant in comparison to the buildings and tables at Val Bon Country Estate

P.S. This is most certainly not a paid for or sponsored post.