Purple Group’s Justin Pearse and legendary mountaineer Sibusiso Vilane will be riding the exceptionally challenging Cape Epic mountain bike race in the Western Cape in March 2017. The super-fit duo will be sponsored by Purple Group, which is one of CN&CO’s clients. From time to time, Justin – aka Ultrabloke – scribbles a few notes on riding and running. Here’s his latest blog…

By Justin Pearse

I started penning this at the King Shaka International Airport in Durban one Friday morning in December, having just caught the red eye (not sure why but jeez I hate that stupid term) from Joburg. It’s been a little while since I hit the keyboard so thought I’d update all those that give a …….. on what I’ve been up to in months past as well as what’s happening in the near future.

The update contains a hopefully interesting mixture of stories about charity rides, sore bums, training, the importance of music in my life and what a Wahooligan is.

RHINO RIDE – 252 km MTB from Zinkwazi to Umfolozi Reserve

So why pray tell was I in Durbs? To spend 16 hours in the saddle for the Project Rhino UbhejaneX charity ride in support of rhinos that my Absa Cape Epic partner Sibs signed up for a while back. Once he told me he was doing it a few months back, our Cape Epic trainer Jaco Ferreira and I decided that it was a great opportunity to spend miles on the road, ass on the saddle and get to know my partner better under long-distance cycling conditions.

Some braver souls cycled an even longer 340 km, and in addition to Sibs and I there were a number of keen cyclists as well as some serious celebrities – ex-Springbok captain John Smit, ex-Natal rugby player Jeremy Thomson, renowned adventurer Kingsley Holgate (pictured left between Justin and Sibs) and long-time Tour de France commentator Phil Liggett (who cycled the final 30 km into the Hilltop camp to help raise awareness of the plight of the rhino).

It was an incredible day out. In fact, I’d go so far as to say the best endurance event I’ve ever taken part in.

TRAINING – two weeks “off”, back into the heavy workload

I’ve had a much larger cycling training volume in the past two weeks than any I’ve had thus far this year and maybe in fact ever. And that’s because it was always in Jaco’s plans that December / Jan thru to race day in March were going to be BIG training weeks.

The Project Rhino crew. Justin is in the very, very front (like he set the self-timer)

In fact, the kind soul gave me a full week off at the end of November, and when I asked him if it was at all possible to shift the specific designated week slightly to accommodate a few big end-of-year jols I had planned, he told me to take both weeks off. December and Jan were obviously going to hurt. BUT WOOHOO. I didn’t squabble and took what I could.

When I say off, I don’t mean sitting in my y-fronts in front of the telly with a beer off. Just no cycling. Instead, I was instructed to run and do strength sessions, with that being about as specific as it was. So I did. And it was very lekker not cycling for a while. Having not done much running for a long period of time, I got quite excited about the prospect, downloaded a few new albums on Deezer and took to the streets of Parkmore.

And what a joy it was to flex the old running muscles again. I had a few really nice runs, with one particularly great all-out run of 8-odd kms at an average pace of 4.39. Not bad for an old ballie.

And at the end of that period, having not cycled for two weeks, I was hellishly excited to climb back on the bike and get going. I think that’s what Jaco planned. He’s clever hey?

MUSIC – Macklemore great. Faithless kak.

The one great by-product of running is getting to catch up on some music.

I absolutely love music and have done so as far back as I can remember. That passion extended into my working life when I co-founded DJDownload.com (an online music retail platform selling digital music to DJs) with two best mates in London.

(Justin spoke about his passion for music and his foray into the music industry at CN&CO’s “Two DJs” ConFab session in October 2016.)

And because of that passion, it’s always played an essential part in my running to the extent that unless I’ve left headphones / player at home, I will never head out without it.

It’s usually the only time I get to listen to something without threat of interruption so I get excited when I’m able to find a brand new album or two that pique my interest. The modern-day convenience of downloading it to your mobile before you head out the door makes it even more exciting!

Music-wise, I had the pleasure of listening to the new Macklemore and Ryan Lewis album. Well not that new. Having looked it up now I see it was actually released in Feb 2016.

I loved their first album with the catchy radio-friendly ‘Thrift Shop’ and the rather large party track ‘Can’t Hold Us’ and the follow up just seems to pick up from where that left off.

What do I like about it? Luvverly catchy melodies, great beats and at times really profound social commentary and lyrics – most notably on the track “White Privilege II’ where he questions his role as a white rapper in the Hip Hop community – that just makes it a great listen.

Reading up on the group and the album, I discovered their newest track, the amazing ‘Wednesday Morning’, which he released in response to the results of the 2016 US Presidential elections. This further convinces me of his brilliance and will ensure I continue to listen to the group in future.

In keeping with the yin and yang of life, a joyful discovery is often offset by an unsavoury one. In my case, that the pain experienced in listening to the new Faithless album. In house music terms – a genre of which I am particularly fond – Faithless are legends. So I was uber-excited to find their new album but after about the fourth consecutive dull and lifeless track I bailed on that outing. I’m really at a loss as to how widespread the use of what sounds like autotuned chipmunks singing the chorus has become. I guess we may have to thank the bastards who created the Alvin and the Chipmunks movies for that one.

If any readers enjoy music and haven’t yet subscribed to a music subscription service like Apple Music, Deezer, Simfy or Spotify (unfortunately not yet available in SA), then I would highly recommend it. For just R60 a month you can access huge libraries of music and listen to whatever they have without having to pay anything more on top of that subscription fee. It’s perfectly legit, with the money spent getting passed back to the rights holders depending on what you listen to. If you haven’t done it, don’t wait any longer. It’s a game-changer.

DERRIERES

I found it amusing hearing about the onsite bum clinic which Mediclinic has as part of its medical setup during the Absa Cape Epic, and how there is a regular procession of cyclists heading there each day for much needed medical attention.

The Cycle Tour of Hope was where the derriere troubles began…

Well, I had my own experience of how painful an injured behind can be when I finished the 190 km stage of my Cycle Tour of Hope a few weeks back. That particularly painful point on my posterior, required me to apply a very special thick Lanolin goo to minimise the pain on the final day, which I’m happy to say it did.

Thinking it was a thing of the past, the painful spot resurfaced a few days later on the trainer and after an embarrassing inspection by my lovely wife, we concluded that it must be an ingrown hair or something that was causing the issue.

And a not particularly ideal issue given the many saddle hours I had to spend.

After one or two more painful rides, I figured I’d just grin and bear it and see if I could shuffle my bum around the seat enough to stop the pressure on it and pray that it disappeared on its own.

And so I suppose I got used to the pain. Until one day I was sitting in the doctor’s rooms waiting for my full medical check-up for the Epic (something they require a doctor to perform on you before the race), at which time it thankfully dawned on me that I should have it seen to while there. But deciding I should have it looked at was the easy part. The appointment was not with the older doctors in the practice, one of whom had been our family doctor as a lighty. I don’t know why, but with him or the other older statesmen, I would have felt more relaxed.

Unfortunately, the appointment was with the youngest doctor in the practice, an attractive young lass I’d seen once before. Even though thankfully the wound was off-centre, it was going to be embarrassing to have to bend over and have her take a look.

After some polite small-talk and the customary pulse / stethoscope type tests, I raised the thorny issue. Thankfully she very kindly and graciously told me that I mustn’t worry and that it was part of her job to tend to things like that. I responded kindly and graciously in kind, telling her that I thought I would very cleverly pull my underpants up into a G-string to spare us both the indignity a direct view of my starfish would cause.

And so after pulling my panties up into a bunch, the good doctor instructed me to lie on the bed facing away from her with my knees pulled up into my chest.

After getting over the initial embarrassment, the observation was quick and a relative non-event in terms of other embarrassing things I’ve had to face in my life, but while lying there in the foetal position I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself as to how such a tiny wound could cause such pain I suppose, if it got much worse on an eight-day stage race how it could be one’s undoing.

Explaining to people that I’d had to retire from the Absa Cape Epic because of a saddle-sore is not something I’ll ever entertain and so to minimise the possibility of that ever happening, I’m currently planning the build of two “special” chairs.

  • For home to watch TV on
  • For the office for my stand-up work desk

If I can then maybe just apply a small vibrating motor to each chair to have the saddles simulate the same movement you experience while riding, I reckon I can hopefully enter the Epic with an ass as strong and hardy as leather.

Oh – the diagnosis. I almost forgot. Nothing that the twice-daily application of a little cortisone cream couldn’t fix. Sorted.

WAHOOLIGAN

I mentioned in my previous update how I’d finally taken the plunge in upgrading my old but faithful Giant static trainer to a fancy new Wahoo Kickr Snap.

Justin has his Wahoo Kickr Snap set up in front of the telly

Well after a lengthy period of investigation into the static trainer universe, I’m delighted to have eventually gone with Wahoo. I love the trainer. It’s easy to setup, functions extremely well and quietly (in comparison to my retired trainer) and I haven’t even begun to do any of the fun stuff like subscribe to a service called Zwift that will allow me to ride certain races / courses from around the world and will automatically control the resistance of the trainer to match the terrain in the virtual course.

So what then is a Wahooligan? Well to tell you the truth, I thought it was a clever name they’d given to individuals who owned Wahoo products and in so doing felt enough a part of the Wahoo tribe that they’d have something to call themselves by when singing the praises of the product.

Instead, it’s actually a very professional affiliate program that allows bloggers, coaches, athletes to earn commissions on sales of Wahoo products that came from their site.

In addition to that, it is a Twitter hashtag that loyal Wahoo fans appear to be using in the Twittersphere to share their love of the product.

I’m not sure if I’ll go the affiliate route or if there is even a local retailer I could link through to. But having used the trainer a lot over the past six weeks or so, I am definitely a big fan and so won’t get fussed with semantics. I am a #Wahooligan!

Watch Justin’s Cycle Tour of Hope videos:

Day one:

Day two:

Day three: