Friday, March 27, 2009

Day 7 Stage 6 – A Real MTB Race Track

Johnny Kritzinger and Tinker Juarez near the finish of Cape Epic 2009 Stage 6

Day 7 Stage 6 – A Real MTB Race Track

Today was a good day in the office. What a beautiful office, too! The course was filled with lots of single track, rocky descents, and it was quite technical. I love fun single track and gives you time to enjoy the ride, just cruising along and enjoying the race. There was a super rocky decent. I went slow like Grandpa and didn’t care. I couldn’t afford a flat – too early in the race for that right now.

We had a fast group of guys and we tried everything to stay with them. The two guys that got away finished really well. They stood away and we were not able to catch them. The two Trek Check guys were with us for a little while but they had a flat and bike issues or they would have finished ahead of us. That is the way biking goes. Sometimes you get luckier than others. My Scalpel was working excellent, thanks to Leroy from Tiger Cycles. The shifting was excellent. The Gore cables are so nice - thank you Gore for your sponsorship. The cables are nice to work on, too. They have a Teflon sheath and works great.

At the end, Johnny went ahead of the two MTN guys and I was behind them. Then one of them slipped a gear and I was able to get past. His partner slowed down to wait so I got past him, too. Johnny and I finished 8th place today. We are reported as me being the Top American with my South African partner Johnny Kritzinger in 14th place overall.

What a difference good rest means. I even got up before the daily 5:00 AM horn blaring the wake up call. I am racing a lot harder than I anticipated before coming to this race. My intention was to take it easy and use it for the season training, but Johnny is super strong and doesn’t even seem tired after 6 days of this grueling punishment. But we are having a great race, and we made it to the last day within the top 15 – an excellent finish for a race like this.

Tomorrow is the last day and we will be finished. The week has flown by and it hardly seems like we rode as much or as hard as we have. I have already decided to return to South Africa to race again soon. Like I already said, this is an awesome way to see this beautiful country.


Tinker hugging Joshua at the end of Stage 6

Tinker Juarez and Johnny Kritzinger - DCM-Mona Vie-Cannondale

The two DCM-MonaVie-Cannondale Partner Teams: (L to R)
Johnny Kritzinger with Tinker Juarez & Jacques Jansevan Rensberg with Benjamin Sonntag

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day 6 Stage 5 - over the hump to Oak Valley

Brandon Stewart and Max Knox Stage 5 near the finish

Jock Boyer at the start with the Rwanda team

Looking at results

Ben in the morning

Another fun day in Africa.

For a race like this you need three main things: 1) Dependable equipment; 2) your state of mind (positive attitude); and 3) fitness. Not necessarily in that order. State of mind is the most important.

Johnny needs a set of shocks, too. A hard-tail is so much lighter and easier going up hills and stuff, but the full suspension bike is worth the weight.
Johnny said that the first 5 k was the most fun and even though they made a big deal about it the UFO climb did not seem that bad. The last 5 K sucked. After the last water point there was a hell of a climb and we were out of water, hot, and tired. I don’t know where the route profile was tracking, but the little blip on the profile did not predict what we rode on.

My outlook was a little different. Today was not such a great day for me. I felt really tired most of the ride. This morning I felt nervous and tired. Somehow my legs didn’t have anything and they felt like cement. We started in a big group and my legs felt really heavy. I was getting dropped on the UFO climb but it was so early and I knew I couldn’t give up. It was only an hour into the ride. But I realized I had to think positive. I rode through it and I started feeling better. When I started feeling better and hung with the group, I focused on not doing too much pushing and hung on. I felt better enough to give me enough confidence to push a little harder and stick it together. The group stayed together and I remembered all the guys were tired too. We ended with a strong finish, in 12th place.
I am not even thinking about tomorrow yet. For now I need to rest, get cleaned up, and nurse this golf ball size lump on my shin where a rock hit me.
In this race you go through hard days. I gave a lot of effort yesterday and paid the price today. Sometimes you really have to dig deep and today was one of those times.
Rest for now.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cape Epic Day 5 Stage 4 - The Grand Canyon Day

Incredible scenery of the Western Cape, South Africa

Day 5 Stage 4

Today looked like it would be the end of our race. I took a bad line and there was a 5 foot across ditch with vertical walls that was about 4 feet deep. The ditch was next to the fire road we were turning on to. I was committed to save a bad crash since I was coming down the hill about 30 mph so I had no choice…I jumped it. My front wheel just cleared but the back wheel hit the brim and stopped me. The impact crunched and put a big ding in my back wheel. It was unbelievable- the tubeless tire was still on and intact, even after I jumped on it. But I thought the race was over with.

At that point, I put a tube in, straightened the wheel as much as I could, and we watched as all the people were passing us. We were on a flat road and people were grouped up and we lost any hope of finishing as well as we had in the last few days. The wheel and tire worked and we made our way to the neutral support zone. We just wanted to finish so we went carefully and luckily it wasn’t too rocky and when we made it to the neutral zone, the leaders and our teammate was there. We expected Brandon because we had just passed Max. Max and Brandon were working with Christoff and Burry hoping to help them finish and keep them in good time. Max and Brandon, after all, are just riding and using this as a training for the Sea Otter next month.

Anyway, Christoff gave me a wheel and we were set. We later got another flat on Christoff’s wheel and when I was fixing it I found a gel pack inside the tire and a plug. He had used a gel pack and plug to repair a tear and left it in there!! Ha!

Johnny and I were in about 40th position or back further. I was not telling him but was thinking in my head that this was a good effort to get to this spot in the standings and we needed to get it back. Maybe he just knew it but somehow we had to make up a lot of time. I put the hammer down and Johnny kept up. I depended on him to be there and I knew he could do it. We slowly passed team after team. We passed at least 18 teams and finished 18th today and 15th overall. We really put it together and kept back in the game. Anything can happen in this race.
So, it was a great day. For the disaster it could have been, we had a great day.

I feel like every day has been tougher than the last, but thank God we have an excellent Physio and motor home. I would be dead if I didn’t have the luxuries! I am tired but I came into today with power. Different from the last couple of days, which is a good sign. We will focus on pacing ourselves and staying consistent.


The last downhill at the end of the Stage 4

Stan's Rims rock! The Kenda Karma tubeless tire stayed inflated. We will be able to repair this rim.

Johnny, Tinker, & Josua at the end of Stage 4

Cape Epic Day 4 Stage 3 - Dr Evil lightens up

Day 4 Stage 3

Yesterday Dr. Evil hurt us. It was a mere 73 km race – short compared to the last two days – but brutal because of the hiking. It started off with a really steep climb we could ride. When you got over the climb there was a little bit of rolling stuff, but then we got to the really steep climbing. All I remember is stretching out my whole body length of the bike to push it up the loose rocks. The rest is sort of a haze since I am writing this on the next day.

We actually did quite well. We were riding with Christoff and Burry and the rest of the top ten but they literally walked away from us during the hike a bike section. When we got to the top we took in the amazing view. You could see the whole valley. South Africa is amazingly beautiful and this is such an awesome way to see it.

Most of the ride was just sitting in a really fast bunch of riders flying along. The last 10K had a lot of really steep ride able climbs and then there was some really fast single track descents through some orchards. Then 3km of fast fast downhill straight to the finish. We were unbelievably happy to see the finish. We had a good ride. Finished 14th but decided not to sprint for 12th place since we all finished in a big group. I will try and post the video of the finish.

The photos here are of Rebecca Rush, Christoff Sauser and Joshua, Johnny’s bloody elbow, and Johnny’s leg during therapy.

Cape Epic - Stage 2: Dr Evil 2: Tinker & Johnny 0

Here is a story from my partner Johnny Kritzinger's about Stage 2. It has been so busy I haven't had time to keep up with the blog stories. But I couldn't have written a better story than this one...
Some of the race leaders

Johnny leading our pack

Tinker hanging in the middle of the pack
Vantage Point 2 was at the BC Wines winery

ABSA Cape-Epic Day 3 Stage 2

After a well deserved rest it was all action again at 5 o'clock in the morning. Feeling good and keen to make up for some lost time Tinker and myself set our bottoms on our saddles for what was to be the 3rd day of the untamed African race.

The start greeted us with a fast and flat 6km section of tar. Great to get the legs warmed up and move up in something that looks like the peleton you'd see in the Tour de France. On the top of the small hill the arrows sent us right and into the mountains. This section of downhill was just crazy! What made it even harder than the tons of rocks sticking out was the enormous dust cloud that was being created by the riders. The dust made it impossible to see where you were going! A big crash in this section saw other DCM Chrome Monavie rider Jacques Janse Van Rensburg go down hard as another riders' bike flew in-front of him!

We made it through safely and putting the hammer down to try and catch the small bunch ahead of us. Tinker was flying! I just had to keep up on the downhills,my hard tail not the best option for untamed Africa. ( I did not tell Tinker, but he had a massive rear wheel puncture when his rear tire met a sharp used a lot of sealant but sealed perfectly!) Stan's Sealant is the best invention in mtb!!

Sitting pretty in the second big bunch of the day we were happy as our company were the two leading masters teams for the day. They did some big pulls on the flat roads and one could feel the tension build between them as the finish line drew closer with every pedal stroke.

The cooler weather definitely helped us today. The body does not fatigue as much like it does in the ridiculously hot weather like we had on stage 1. Our goal of trying to make up some lost time was a sure thing and we were feeling great as we rolled along the fast open roads towards Villiersdorp.

Like it was not hard enough forcing our bikes and bodies through the sand and undulating rocky terrain. Dr. Evil had something special for us for the finish....a steep 5km climb to the top of a mast tower on a koppie (small mountain/rise)! This sting in the tail sure did hurt! The climb also gave us our first sight of wild animals,weird because we had apparently rode through a private animal reserve along the route. Nonetheless we were happy to see some cows! Tinker makes an awesome cow moo and he can even make them stand up and walk out of the way.

The fast single track downhill was a real treat after the hard climb and knowing that it was only another 5km to the finish made it even better. Swooping through the vineyards and onto the tar road for the last 1km to the finish we were really happy with our 14th place on the day. A brilliant ride on anyone's terms!

Tinker and Johnny finishing Day 3 Stage 2
Our goal for the rest of the ABSA Cape Epic will be just to keep it smooth and consistent. That should see us shape up pretty well!

All in all....another great day in Africa!

Leroy Geldenhuys the team mechanic for the trip (top notch - See Tiger Cycles here is SA to find him) and Joshua cheering us on

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cape Epic Stage 1 - Dr Evil - 1 : Tinker & Johnny - 0

Day 1

We started the day today at 3:45 AM and were on the road with the convoy by 4:30 AM. The stage started at Gordon’s Bay. I felt normal at the start. Not tired but I knew it would be a long day in the saddle. We had a good starting position so it was a nice neutral start. Everyone was shuffling around and got into a comfortable place. The first climb was 8 miles from the start and I started having a mechanical problem. This was when I realized how technical and hard the course was going to be on the bike. The next neutral support area didn’t have anything that we could use. Johnny waited for me and we hammered when we could. Your mental status is so important to performance and on this first day I knew I had to get over it. After three hours of struggling I almost cracked. It was just a matter now of just trying to survive the rest of the ride and finish.

We rolled across the line in 22st place and 24th overall. Not bad after a day like today.
Oh – lesson learned today: Pick a small kid on the side of the road to do the high five with. The teenager I saw today almost knocked me off my bike!

Ben and Jacques had a great day and made up some time from yesterday. They finished 10th and are in 15th place, overall. Ben said, “It was definitely tough. It was bumpy and hot. The hardest part was after I lost my water bottle and I bonked a little. I am so happy we got a good finish.”

Will try and post daily. I just know that if the rest of the race is like today then the Cape Epic will live up to it’s reputation. Untamed.

Should be better tomorrow. Good sleep will help.


Johnny and I at the start in our new DCM-MonaVie kits.

At the finish line

Oh God Yes Ice me please

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cape Epic Prologue

The Cape Epic started today with the 19 km prologue. Johnny Kritzinger, 22 years old South African and up and coming champion, is my partner for the next 7 days. We are riding on the DCM-MonaVie-Cannondale team and had a great race today. We are in the open Men's category and started somewhere around the 360 spot or something. It was a fast and fun course with just the right amount of climbing. But we lost track of the number of teams we passed and ended up with the fastest lap time for much of the day. Overall, we finished 19th. An excellent start. Johnny and I worked well together and I look forward to this race with him. Here are a couple of photos for now. More later. We should have more down time to blog once we are on the road.
Standings for half the day.

Johnny and his biggest fan - Dad Kim

Joshua and Ian Van der Walt


Cape Epic Prologue - Ben's Story

Ben Sonntong wrote up a great story about his team race today and I wanted to post it since it was such a tough way to start this incredible race. Ben and Jacques have an excellent attitude about it though, and recovered tonight with a good massage, pasta, and rest after this hot frustrating day. What Ben didn't mention is that after the end of the race he spent almost two hours in the clinic - he was one of the three random drug tests for the day... And after this day he still had a great attitude. Good luck tomorrow.

"Cape Epic Kick Off

Ok, there would have been much better ways to start out the Cape Epic, than breaking a rear dereilleur and running instead of riding 80% of todays prologe. But stuff happens, and we, Jacques and me, are both positive that the during the next days we can make up this mishap.

Both Jacques and me started very excited into today's prologe. After we went through the twisting start/ finish area, I passed the lead to Jacques, who is known to be one of the best climbers out there. The rumors were right and he put the hammer down. We were off to a fast start and after just 5min into the race we were passing the team in front of us.

Yeah, we made up a minute on them that quickly. The plan was to make Jacques push on the climbs and than I would lead the downhills pointing the line to Jacques, who has more of a road background. We made it save down the first downhill, but soon after at the start of the longest climb of todays prologe, I just heard a horrible noise behind me. First I thought it was just the chain which dropped from Jacques bike, but his reaction sounded more dramatic and soon I realized that his rear dereilleur was in parts. No chance to fix this mishap! I took a couplce seconds for both of us, we were both shocked, but we realized that we need to keep going.

Jacques ran up the hills and on the flats and rolling sections I was pushing him. It took a while before teams start to pass us, we were going strong before, but soon one team after the other came by. It was a frustrating situation, nothing we both could do. Our only goal was to finish todays stage and limit the losses.In the end, after 14lkm of running and pushing, we finished todays stage 24min down on Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser, who took the 1st victory of 2009 Cape Epic. Of course, we are dissapointed, but maybe this mishap will made us a stronger team for the following days.

There is lots of racing ahead and we will try to prove that we belong to the strongest teams in this field. We didn't asked for this "team bounding" extreme situation, but we will go positive into the next stages, since we still want to find out, how fit we are compared to this world class field! Tomorrow, the real Cape Epic start, which means for us, waking up at 4, drive 1 hour to the start and hitting 180 heart rate at 7am sharp! The starts are early and for tomorrow Jacques and I have to be right awake. After todays result we have to start in Block E, so we have to make our way through the field quick to catch the lead group, because that's where we want to be in!!!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Table Mountain Burning

We had a great journey here to Cape Town South Africa and are posting all the back scenes part of this trip on our family blog: Terri and I will post all the race updates and prep stuff there. Here is what I've been up to to get ready for the race.

I got a short ride in yesterday after putting together my bike. Today we went up to Table Mountain and went to Shan's bike shop and had some coffee. I will update the name later. We had coffee and a nice danish roll, discussed the bikes, the course, and the race.

When we headed out this morning we found out that Table Mountain was burning. We were not sure if it would be closed but headed up anyway. It was pretty smokey since it had burned through the night and over 150 homes were evacuated, but they let us ride. Shan - one of the locals knew all the trials.

What a surreal sight - you could still feel the heat from the ground and the burning scrub. From time to time you could feel the water drops from the helicopters. The wood was still smouldering and the helicopters were flying all above. I was thinking we would got to jail today Wow.

Back to the ride. It was a tough ride. It is steep with loose rocks, sand, and broken up roads. There are big rocks in the decent and the turns are slippery. I was really happy to have my Stan's wheelset set up with my Kenda tubeless tires. It is so easy to pinchflat. I was happy to have the Scalpel - I will definitely need the full suspension for this one. For the rest of the week - I have no idea what to expect - but I am glad I brought the gear I did. Yes - this is a tougher prologue than most.

I don't have photos of it but it looked like the sun was rising because the fire was so hot.

It was a perfect beginning for the toughest mountain bike stage race in the world.

2009 Team Expansion Announcement

The 2009 Team Press Release:

2009 Expansion! March 21st, 2009 Posted by Bart Topic: News

Salt Lake City, UT – (March 18, 2009) – Building on the success of the 2008 season, the MonaVie-Cannondale Cycling Team announces powerhouse additions to the team roster and a rigorous event schedule to focus on “epic racing around the world.”

MonaVie-Cannondale welcomes the following new riders in 2009: current US Short Track and Marathon National Champion Jeremiah Bishop, two-time US Collegiate National Champion and former ITU Winter Triathlon World Champion Benjamin Sontag, and Utah-based rider Alex Grant. In addition, Burke Swindlehurst (of the Bissell Pro Cycling Team) will be crossing over from road racing on a part-time basis.

“Joining the MonaVie-Cannondale Team presents an opportunity to focus on my favorite form of racing — epic racing — and meet the challenges of the world’s toughest mountain ranges and top international competitors,” says Bishop. “It’s an opportunity I couldn’t resist! I’m proud to join MonaVie-Cannondale and look forward to a fun season with all the great riders on the team.” Bishop also plans to compete in the US Pro Cross Country Tour and select events of the Kenda Cup East series.

Returning to MonaVie-Cannondale are the legendary David “Tinker” Juarez, Bart Gillespie, Susan Butler, Mitchell Petersen, Bryan Alders and Leana Gerrard. Complete rider bios can be viewed at

In their efforts to conquer the world’s epic races, MonaVie-Cannondale athletes will rely on MonaVie ( to support their bodies’ antioxidant needs. Introduced in January 2005, MonaVie develops and markets scientifically formulated, premium quality products, specifically for person-to-person distribution. Developed with a philosophy of Balance-Variety-Moderation, MonaVie brand products deliver phytonutrients and antioxidants to promote and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. For more information about MonaVie brand products or how to join the MonaVie family, call 1-866-217-8455, or visit

Epic mountain bike racing is a torture test for the body, mind and bicycle. The team’s weapon of choice will be the MonaVie-Cannondale Team Scalpel equipped with Kenda Tires, No Tubes ZTR Olympic Wheels, Crank Brothers Pedals and Scrub Component Rotors. For better performance strategies, the team will rely on the science of Kinetic trainers, Wobble Naught Fitting Solutions and the visual expertise of Myo-Facts/Dartfish.

With the team now boasting nine professional riders, MonaVie-Cannondale racers will compete in epic events around the world, including the Absa Cape Epic, BC Bike Race, Intermontane Challenge, Brek Epic, La Ruta de los Conquistadors, and the Sabie Experience. The team will also attend select US Cup and NUE100 events.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My Chariot for the Cape Epic

I spent the last week making sure my bike was ready to go to Cape Epic next week. It is a good thing since I had a little trouble with a few things but it is running like a champ now. I can't wait to race it! Just in case anyone was curious about the Cannondale Carbon Scalpel - GO GET ONE! The ride you get from this thing is incredibly plush and considering 8 days in the saddle you cannot ask for a better bike.

I picked Stan's wheels not only because I love these wheels but because they will be the wheel sponsor for the team in 2009! Nice!

I also have this gear and components:

ODI grips
Fizik saddle
Gore cables
Exustar bottle cages & seat bag - I will also use their hydration pack, gloves, and other stuff. They have a lot different gear and bike components - check them out on their website.
Crankbrothers Candies
Kenda tires - a couple of different types just in case
Sram xo trigger shifters & derailer
Magura brakes
USE seatpost
Diadora shoes
Tifosi eyewear - several different lenses and frames - there will be a custom MonaVie-Cannondale styles in 2009! Nice!
Nutrition will include Honeystinger bars and chews

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

2009 MonaVie-Cannondale Website and News

The team is getting ready to release the 2009 roster and race schedule on the new website. We have a stellar team this year and it is an honor to be part of it.

Bookmark and add it to your feeds for all the team news, blog stories, and links to our awesome sponsors.

You can keep track of all our races, riders, and send us notes.

Keep sending in the notes! We love to hear from you.

News: Cape Epic 2009

Got the first news release just now about MonaVie-Cannondale pairing up with DCM Chrome at the Cape Epic next week. Check out the MTB Race News story here where you can follow the race on line. Also check out the TV schedule:

This is going to be fun!

More later...



U.S. mountain biking legend Tinker Juarez will be competing in the upcoming Absa Cape-Epic in South Africa. Juarez will be competing on a composite team that will pair him with a South African rider. This will be the first time at Cape-Epic for the rider although he is no stranger to endurance racing. Juarez has competed in just about every major endurance race in North America. In 2008, he tackled ultra-endurance events like the Dirt, Sweat, and Gears, 24 Hours of Moab, and BC Bike Race.

Cape-Epic is billed as a magical and untamed African mountain bike race. The race begins on March 21st in Cape Town South Africa and ends 8 days later in Lourensford. The Cape Epic is the world's largest mountain bike stage race with 1,200 racers rolling off the start line each morning. The route features 425 miles of off-road riding. Other mountain biking greats scheduled to take the start of this year's Cape Epic include World Champion Chritoph Sauser and Burry Stander (Specialized) as well as fellow mountain bike legend Tom Ritchey.

You can follow Tinker's progress and all 8 days of the Cape Epic right here on March 21-28.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Singapore Bike Asia & Eneloop MTB Race - a soggy dripping success

Start of the Eneloop MTB Race at Tampines

I headed to Singapore for the 2009 Bike Asia show and Eneloop MTB race last week, only a little more than a week after the 24 hours in the Old Pueblo. I still had open wounds from my crash at OP. But the flight there and back was in Business Class - NICE! What a huge difference it makes for such a long flight. But the extra stuff and amenities do not stop GERMS. I ended up with flu like symptoms that started a couple of days after I arrived. I didn't even get out of bed on Wednesday before the race. Thursday was relaxed and I went to the shop and show. The Thursday night group ride was a soggy mess so for the whole time I was there, I only got about one 20 min ride before the race. What a bust.

The good part was that Chris Bray (Cannasia Cannondale) is such an excellent host. He took good care of me and I had no stress about anything. All I had to do was be ready when he told me to and I did. He arranged for some interviews with newspapers, magazines, and ESPN. We also had a couple of interviews with Gary Fisher and Mario Chippolini. The Bike Asia group had an excellent venue and provided a good time for us all. It is so nice to be so well taken care!

She's a Princess!

Canasia Cannondale Booth - busiest in the whole BikeAsia show

Chris Bray, me, and Gary Fisher

An honor to meet the best sprinter of all times.

Gary Fisher, Chris Bray, and Mario Chippolini
So even though all of that, everything went well ...except the race. The competition was excellent and there was no room for fault or excuses, including the flu. These guys were on their best game and I gave it all I had...too bad I only had a half full bucket of whip ass. Theirs were full! I ended up proudly in 3rd place and happy to be there. Oh and the race had to be called off early due to the severe lightning and rain. We still had about an hour of racing left so who knows if I could have done better but no matter. Glad to have the opportunity to be there and I look forward to next year to make it up.

God Bless,


Happy Birthday Tinker!

Hijacking Tinker's blog to wish him a happy birthday! -- t

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