Cape Epic Blog

23 03 2017

John and Joel finished stage 4 in 12.  They are hanging in at 11 in the GC.


Below is from the Mountain Flyer blog. Enjoy!


John Bliss Cape Epic Blog: Day 1 in Cape Town

Sparkplugs in their Mouths

The Morning – As Inspector Clousseau was fond of saying, “we have arrive –ed”. 19 hours of traveling from Denver through London’s Heathrow airport, a quick exit through Cape Town Customs, grab our bike boxes and we were met by a quiet middle aged woman with smiling, warm eyes, Leeny. She brought us to our driver, a GQ model like-looking young guy with rapid fire chatter, a tour guide’s monologue of what we were seeing, and into the traffic we plunged.

But this traffic was notably different – down the miles of cars inching along to work in the city, along the center divider, were hordes of black men in packs, meth heads, he said, slowly and methodically scanning each car. They walked with a swagger like they owned this highway. Our driver said they were looking for single woman with handbags in the front seat to rob. They do this in full view of the traveling masses, he said, in broad daylight, typically during rush hour when cars are moving slowly. “Too many of them and not enough police.”

“I tell my wife everyday to put her purse in the boot, but she won’t listen,” he says with a pained expression. “She says, I put it in the center console so they can’t reach it from the driver window.” He tells her, “But they break the front window and pull it right out.” He tells me to look closely at their mouths. “You will see a spark plug in their teeth.” I did. “That’s so when they jump on the hood, they press the spark plug to the window and it shatters.” We did not witness this, but he said he had. “Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore,” I thought.

On the other side of the highway were encampments, shanty towns. 20×20 ft. corrugated square boxes. No windows. District 9 without aliens.

The Afternoon – We walked around our hotel, the Southern Sun Waterfront, to get the jet lag out of our legs and found a bike shop, The Handle Bar, with an espresso bar. The bike owner, a skinny, narrow slope-shouldered dude that looked like a former pro roadie, said we could ride to the local mountain biking “tracks”, a national park called Table Mountain.  He said it’s a steep road climb and then you’ll hit “tar roads” and jeep trails. He wasn’t kidding on the steep road part. Thirty minutes of continuous climbing and 2500 feet of gain and we arrived at Table Mountain. A  breathtaking view of Cape Town harbor, a gentle warm breeze, 82 degrees.  It felt and looked like I was back in Hawaii where I grew up. Every rider we ran into was warm, helpful, smiling, interested in our story but quick to say they weren’t fit enough to do the Cape. Even a guy who dropped us on several of the climbs riding a single speed said he wasn’t up for it. Shit, I thought, what have we gotten ourselves into?

The descent back into downtown Cape Town at 4pm was in rush hour. It wasn’t for the faint of heart.  It required every ounce of street smarts. Cars coming at you from every direction and of course our instincts were wrongly tuned to driving on the right. When you need to make split second decisions, this isn’t helpful.

They had intermittent bike lanes, big green things, but they were effectively short term parking for many delivery trucks and cabs. Pulling around them in traffic was the gut check moment because it was one lane only in each direction. At one point, a car on my left and a car on my right wanted to switch in front of me, squeezing me down the middle with a foot on either side of my ergon grips separating me from their front car doors. At least one guy said he was sorry as he cut me off.  We managed to make it back to the hotel intact. I found myself pining for the safety of singletrack.

From shanties to Paradise, what a bookend of experiences.

Syd VeloWool Ad

10 11 2011

New Alchemist ad for the Syd in Mountain Flyer!  Soon to be in Velonews too.  As a reminder, pre-orders on sale for $129.

Syd VeloWool Trainer

Syd VeloWool Trainer Ad

Alchemist eats RATS for breakfast

16 05 2011

Numero Uno, baby!

Nice article in about the Desert RATS Classic  last weekend.  Alchemist’s, Jon Pulley, is quoted in the article, and Ken gets mad props as the men’s non-pro champ.  Stuart took second by less than a second.  Jon was 8th overall.  Ryn took home the gold medal with a time under 6 hours.   Nice work Team Alchemist!  Photo by Glen Delman Photography.

New website pic, magazine shout outs, Octoberberg

12 11 2010

Alchemist Threadworks home page

Sue and Claire enjoying the psychedelic fall colors

New front page for the website slideshow.  Sue is sporting the Alchemist merino wool jersey, Claire is wearing the women’s Green Machine.  Watch for the next edition of Mountain Flyer, in which we will be unveiling “Team Green Machine”.  Will post a copy of the ad when it’s officially out.

Also check out the gift guide and “One Cool Job” section in the latest Competitor.

Dirt Rag Magazine also has a nice product review.

I know it’s November, but I finally got around to uploading the photos from Octoberberg, which shockingly happened in October.  Todd, Jeff C, and I joined in the ride.  Following the tradition of the previous Hunterbergs before it, Octoberberg was epic and fun.  We started at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine.  Rode up Super Flagstaff (2000′ of climbing to around 7800′)  Continued over Flag to Gross, then onto 68J.  Turned left on Magnolia Rd and descended to Coal Creek Canyon.  Continued west to Peak-to-Peak.  North to Magnolia, East on the Dot trails. Back home on Magnolia.  Around 50-60 miles. 4 hours of ride time.  I’d guess around 5-6 thousand feet of climbing.  If anyone has better numbers, let me know.  The ages ranged from 12 to 68.  That’s not a typo, that’s Boulder.  Gotta love it.  We finished with beer and brats at BCSM.  Big thanks to Hunter and Steve, who arranged the ride, and stocked the aid drops along the way.

The Octoberberg Peleton

Cade (12) and Gino (68) pose for a mid-ride photo op

For more photos of the ride, check it out here.

%d bloggers like this: