Before I get to the detail of that, I should mention that Rob is not your regular vertebrae-crunching chiropractor. He takes a holistic view, and doesn’t start an adjustment without first releasing muscles, with needling being his go-to technique. The relief is monumental.
At the rear of Rob’s practice is a ‘gym’ area informally referred to as The Gunshow, where Derek Rau and Michael Watson guide their clients (some of them high-profile endurance athletes) through a series of exercises aimed at improving mobility, as well as a variety of strength-building exercises (core, upper body and legs). In the time that I’ve worked with Derek the frequency of my visits to Rob has dropped dramatically.
My time slot with Derek coincides with Michael (aka Miguel) training Mark ‘Zone’ Pienaar and his Epic partner, Oli Munnik. Contrary to the phrasing of the preceding sentence, Mark is not the reason for Oli’s claim to mountain biking fame, as you’ll discover by reading their Cape Epic team profile. There’s plenty of banter, much of which is mountain biking chatter. The Gunshow sessions are good for my body, but they’re also great at getting me into the right headspace for Epic. These guys are a big chunk of my Cape Epic journey.
Rob and crew are top of mind today, because I’ve been battling painfully stiff hips all week (don’t blame Derek – this is more work stress induced than the product of exercise). I soldiered through yesterday’s ride, but I’ve decided against even an easy spin on the road today. Rob’s needles are calling, followed by a massage on Tuesday.
On Saturday, I met up with the Daisyway gang for a look at some of the Wellington routes. The ride comprised the big climb on the final stage, followed by the main climb on the Time Trail route.
I was a bit apprehensive about Beulah (whenever there’s concrete on a mountain road it generally indicates extreme steepness). I’m happy to report that while Beulah is not an insignificant climb, the reason for the concrete is that the terrain is decomposed granite, which is very prone to erosion. It’s less steep than I expected. Plus, the concrete provides a nice surface for spinning to the top.
Directly after Beulah one begins the Hawequas climb, which basically goes straight up the mountain to just below Du Toitskloof pass. Yesterday we had the added challenge of a headwind blowing straight down the mountain. The final stage is not going to be any kind of gimme!
After this big climb we dropped into the time trial course, and basically started climbing all over again, except that we were no longer fresh. The Seven Peaks climb in the middle of the time trial is big and challenging. I understand that the cut-off is going to be double the time of the winning time for the stage. Four hours might seem like a lot of time for 39km, but given the terrain, for many riders this isn’t going to be a relaxed spin.
The work is all done. Now it’s just a case of ensuring that bike and body arrive at the start line in good mechanical working order.