I wasn't planning on doing the dash again this year, I wanted to stay home and be a mom.
I'm a sucker for a challenge and rarely say no to an invite, so one month before Dash a friend asked me to take her place in this year's Desert Dash.
Once again, I was off to compete in this never-ending dirt road race.
Luckily I opened the spinning studio in August, this was all the cycling workout I got. Thank goodness!
I only managed to go on three rides outside for the year...
1 in September for 24 km road bike
1 in October on my road bike for 20km
1 in November, the first one on my mountain bike, prep ride 93km
My whole dash was dependent on my spinning classes. Before you think I do all the classes on my own, I don't. I do the 5:00 am every day and 4:30 pm (somedays)
So basically I did 1 hour every day of the week and THAT'S IT!
Side note: I did this from Aug till Nov (4 months)
2 weeks postpartum vs 8 months
So what I learned is, spinning is great for you! Not only did I lose my 'mommy' body but I was able to beat my previous stage time by 37 minutes. That's insane!
You might think I wasn't fit the previous time, or I cheated this year. So let me give you some details of what it's like on the bike doing dash and you decide for yourself.
The Previous Dash... 2020
I worked in the gym and trained for about 1 - 3 hours daily (weights, BootCamp, spinning, yoga)
Spent most weekends on my bike or running
Trained with my husband and friends and did numerous rides outside and stuck to an eating plan...
Stage 2 - 76km
Time - 4:42
Avg speed - 16
Avg heart rate - 162 bpm
Weight - 62kg (More muscles, lean, and felt great)
Afterward: super tired, could not push harder on the bike, and struggled the last 15km, a lot...
This year 2022
I only started spinning in Aug
Basically eat when I'm hungry, not too focused on calories just watching what I eat but very open to anything.
Did 3 training rides.
Stage 2 - 76km
Time - 4:05
Avg Speed - 19
Avg Heart rate - 176 bpm
Weight - 62 (Fewer muscles, more defined and feel great)
Afterward: Was totally ok, eyes just full of sand, but my body was fine, my legs great, felt I could have gone harder.
I think some praise has to go to my experience and my better nutrition plan, in 2020 I did not stick to my nutrition but in 2022 I tried my best to stick to it and it showed.
But every dash is different and that's what makes it so special.
How this year went:
Firstly I have an 8-month-old baby doing this whole thing with me. My husband drove support with my mother-in-law.
Waiting for my race partner to come in at Kuiseb is such a nerve-racking experience, you never know how that person is feeling or doing and the wind is always tough. It kind of felt like musical chairs, everyone waiting for their partner to arrive so they can have a seat. As the lights got fewer the nerves got more, hoping he made it, he was ok, and that he was coming!
Finally, around the corner, he came! So my stage started up the hill I went. Few cars left and so many rear lights lighting the way. I knew I had to make up time otherwise we won't make the cut-off.
I started a bit hard, I could see the one ladies' team and wanted to catch her. We played a bit of cat and mouse but later got into the groove and sat together. Before I knew it we reached halfway in 1 hour and almost 30 min we were flying, it felt so good. We took a quick rest and some fuel and headed back up the mountain.
If you have or ever want to do this stage, there is this little mind trick they play on you.
If you notice it from the start that's great, but from halfway it really starts to make an appearance a small little guardian star, about 20km from the end the guardian angle has revealed a light on the top of the mountain at the end. When you get to the end it's a huge Christmas tree that you can see from miles away.
This little light got me in 2020, but this year I knew it was coming. It's so demotivating seeing that light all around you and it just keeps staying so far away and so high in the sky. This picture describes the road best...
At 30km left, going up a hill I wanted to start gearing and realized my gears were missing...
They fell off! Just like that hanging on the cable, the whole thing came loose. (I never even realized that its only one screw holding all of that together)
I tried using my hair tie to hold it up but I could not change the gears, I lost my group and hope at that time.
Cycling another 5km I stopped by another cyclist who stopped along the road begging for tape or a screw, I managed to get some duck tape (Thank you Adriaan) and another cyclist stopped ( I did not get his name, He had an orange shirt and big beard if someone knows him please tell thank him)
He literally saved our dash!
He had a whole roll of tape and I could strap the gears so they had some resistance so I could use them. (On next year's list is definitely tape)
I stopped a support car and asked them to please inform my team I have a technical.
I was a bit deflated and drove slower but I thought even with one gear let me just see how far I could go... I did not put my baby through all of this for nothing.
I cycled 25km with 3 gears and made it all the way to the end. I was so determined not to let my team down and to get to the end, I felt so good and knew my legs would make it! I just kept on pushing and tried so hard to get back to my group I lost. In the end, I missed them by 5 minutes. (Seams a lot but to me that was a victory for all the time I lost)
*Little over share but, with all this going on I did not have time to stop and blow my nose. So in cycling, it's normal to do a snot rocket, I find it revolting and have never done it. I ain't no pro so I stop and use a tissue, but with limited gear and time to makeup, I went for it! This saved me so much time, I laughed cause at the end of the stage I became a pro. I do try and stay a lady but sometimes we must make sacrifices.
The whole time cycling I just kept hoping my team did not give up on me and were ready when I came in at the end, I was so anxious that I would get there and they would be chilling... Thank goodness they believed in me, they were ready and waiting.
Thanks to Mannies Bike Meca and the technical support at halfway my bike was fixed it drove like e dream the last 46km all the way to the finish line. I still however kept the tape with me just in case...
Crossing that finish line and helping a team reach their first dash finish was amazing.
Thank full to our sponsor Montego Pet Nutrition for making this dash such a success.
Thanks to my team for sticking with me and making the experience unforgettable
Thanks to my husband and mother-in-law for taking care of us and my baby girl
To my baby girl thank you for changing my life