Life in the life of Caveman. Dealing with XTERRA Grabouw & build up to XTERRA NZ

This is my last year racing as a professional. I’ve known it for a few months, but somehow avoided putting it on paper or ether. It all started with sponsorships imploding, but that is a story for another day.

Our next chapter is very exciting: A baby girl – any day now!

Also, a unique new online coaching business, a unique racing series, Caveman Racing & Adventure training camps, Caveman Skills Clinics, an autobiography, building pump tracks, single tracks, riding motorcycles, less travel, more family time, more home time, (even) less swimming,  slower lifestyle, training for fun. And my first winter home.  More about that later.

Missing XTERRA Grabouw due to a lung infection was a great disappointment. Watching my last “home” XTERRA from the sidelines was really really hard.  If you’re not in the know, XTERRA in South Africa has really taken off in a big way. The Grabouw race has become a significant global event, with a legion of foreign athletes, big prize money, big media, and for a home boy, big King of the Hill points.

Conrad Stoltz Caveman Berg Adder snake eating mouse

My most memorable experience at XTERRA Grabouw was during course practice. Watching a rare Berg Adder eating a mouse. (easily confused with the more lethal and much more common Puff Adder)

In the weeks after Grabouw,

To get my mojo and health back, I made sure to hit the “fun button” :

Conrad Stoltz Caveman Fatboy Fatbike tire change with 2L Coke bottles Specialized

Raced #PrincessHotstuffs’ Fatboy at Perdeberg Winery Fun Ride. After being told the fatbike tubes “never flat” I did the #Caveman test on them and the result being… they’re not #CavemanProof. (for Swartland goat head thorns, you need to go tubeless- or inject  some sealant into the tube & patch the syringe hole)

Conrad Stoltz Cavemanstyle fatboy tire fix with 2L coke bottles

Fitting six 2 litre Coke bottles in the wheel instead of a tube seems plausible. Given more time and desperation I think I could have made that wheel tubeless, and the ultimate desert crossing machine… 12L of water per wheel,  plus 3 bottles on the frame and a large Camel Back  =  30L or 7.5 gallons of fluid. Thats a lot of pedaling.

Conrad Stoltz Gspot trail Stellenbosch Suunto Ambit3 Specialized XC Lite glove

Made sure to hit the legendary Gspot Trail in Stellenbosch regularly! My Specialized Enduro bike with 160mm travel, dropper post and gravity geometry allowed me to push the boundaries of my skills- and work on my lacking flying capabilities.

A video by Spanish pro, Roger Serrano, chasing me down Gspot.

Conrad Stoltz Songo Champions Race Kayamandi roasted goat heads

Racing past Road Side Roasted Goats Heads. (not the thorns) I love racing the Champions Short Track MTB race (XCO) in Kayamandi. For sure one of my more memorable racing experiences. The fastest riders on the planet racing through Kayamandi Township, cheered on by thousands of kids- all for charity – makes for good vibes. Health wasnt 100% yet, but getting good work done.

Conrad Stoltz pump track day 1

Also tackled a project I’m passionate about: Building a pump track in Kylemore township in the beautiful Banhoek Valley near Stellenbosch.

Conrad Stoltz Pump track build

After building a 25m swimming pool by hand, this was child’s’ play!

Most people in South Africa dont fully understand “pump track”. Check out the following 2 videos to see what I’m on about:

Big boys (Lopez, Ropelato & bros) & fast girls (Beerten & Kiltner) racing on a crazy fast pump track- you have to see it to believe it!


I like pump tracks because:

1) Pump tracks are accessible to everyone. The 5 year old who has just learned to ride his bike can safely ride on it. But, an experienced racer like myself, gets huge amounts of fun from trying to go as fast as possible. Using skill, timing and strength we try to go super fast – all by moving your body weight. No pedaling at all.

2) You dont need a fancy bike. In fact, BMX’s  are some of the most fun and nimble bikes to shred (or learn) with. Also, only a few people can ride at the same time, so you only need 3 bikes and a pump track to keep a big group of riders busy and entertained.

3) Pumping makes you REALLY tired really fast. When I’m going as fast as I can, I can only go for about 90 seconds to 2 minutes before my glutes and quads blow up. Its a full body workout – arms, core, legs & skill! In fact, I had to avoid the pump track in the days leading up to quality rides so my legs would not be trashed. Great off season sport specific (and FUN!) strength training… (Unless you like watching yourself picking up pieces of iron in the mirror)

4) Pump tracks are a fun way for kids to learn to love cycling. Its a social gathering place and is a breeding ground for budding MTB or BMX riders. Kids like being challenged, learning new stuff, being active without feeling like its serious “training.” When kids have fun on bikes they tend to stay “off the streets” and out of trouble, which is the main reason I built this track.

However, building a good pump track is not just making some piles of dirt. The spacing and size of the rollers and radii and steepness of the turns are a mathematical equation. I got this pump track plan from my skills coach, mentor, and track & trail designer Lee McCormack from 

Conrad Stoltz ClifBar Embrace the uphill

Of course, I had to get the real work done. I had to “Embrace the uphill” – like my ClifBar package says in its #MeetTheMoment campaign.  Of course, the photo makes the big hill look flat. Table Mountain and my #Diverge in the back ground.

Conrad Stoltz DEFCON 4 MAP 2min hill reps Power file

Thanks to my humble genius coach, Ian Rodger, I’m faster at age 41 than than I ever was before. (at 2min hill reps, anyway)

Above is the “Defcon 4* MAP* session” which comprised of 10 x 2min Hill reps. I knocked it out of the park and clocked best ever Peak Power for 2 min of 590W. I remember a couple of years ago, I was happy to do them all at 500W. Just shows you the magic of structured, scientific training, progressed over a number of years…

You can check out Ian’s colourful description and the whole  TrainingPeaks power file here.

* “Defcon 4” I’m told, is a futuristic nuclear war movie reference. Something to do with when the whole world is about to explode in a giant ball of fire. Ian uses it to describe certain, rare training sessions.

*MAP = Maximum Aerobic Power.



Conrad Stoltz open water swim

Swim training has never been this scenic. I did maybe 75% of my swimming in this stunning piece of open water. Cant ask for a better view! I just found out this past week, something I suspected all along: I’m allergic to pools! (with chlorine, anyway)

Conrad Stoltz nappy motorcycling elephant

My in-laws is a large, very social family. The long weekend before my departure for XTERRA NZ and Australia, the whole Wium clan gathered in the West Coast hamlet of Britannia Bay. We celebrated Pa Pieter and Ma Marietjie’s 70th birthdays and my brother-in-law, Willems’ 40th. To cap it off, they surprised Liezel and myself with a baby shower! The picture above is of a toy elephant riding a motorcycle made from nappies (diapers) and baby toys. (Headlight is a bottle and Ouma knitted quite a few pairs of baby socks)

Conrad Stoltz Fatboy Fatbike Wheelie Specialized

Cant go to the ocean and not take the Fatboy. In fact, I had so much fun on it, I didn’t touch my Epic till I had to pack it for travel.

More Fatboy adventures in another blog.

Conrad Stoltz beach running

There is something I just love about running and riding on the beach!

My last quality run on the beach was a good one. Due to old war injuries from ’09, my running training has typically been haphazard in volume, speed and consistency – this year however, after much body work & physio, my running fitness started rounding the corner.

Conrad Stoltz Liezel Stoltz beach walk Britannia bay

It was tough to say goodbye to #PrincessHotstuff and baby bump for a whole 2 weeks! Especially on a trip to her 2nd home (and Netball stomping grounds) – New Zealand and Australia.

To be continued…


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[…]Life in the life of Caveman. Dealing with XTERRA Grabouw & build up to XTERRA NZ – Conrad Stoltz XTERRA Triathlete[…]

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[…]Life in the life of Caveman. Dealing with XTERRA Grabouw & build up to XTERRA NZ – Conrad Stoltz XTERRA Triathlete[…]

Reply 25-08-2016, 08:11

I was suggested this website by my cousin. I’m not
sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such
detailed about my problem. You are incredible! Thanks!

Christo Wentzel 02-06-2015, 08:10

Hi Conrad,

Ek sal graag wil weet kostes van jou Buffelsdrift MTB Skills kliniek 20 Junie.
Ek sal hoor of Gertjie Harmse nie saam my wil kom nie, as hy nie iewers race time nie..

Christo Wentzel

Robert 19-05-2015, 16:05

Conrad and “Princess Hot Stuff” I am sure you are going through some life changing moments now with the baby due any day now or if not already made her way into this world. Priorities shift and what seem as more concerning events in the day, seem less important.

However remember who the two of your are as a team and as ambassadors to your sport.
Conrad your are a legend with lots of people following you as fans. This last year of competing will bring on challenges and opportunity’s.

Hell raising a family on minimal and less than stable sponsorship doing what you do is a challenge!

You are right to focus on your new family and what the future might bring, however do the research into retirement, talk to Ned, talk to Xterra etc.. see what they have to offer and prepare a plan “B” that involves your passions. “Follow Your Passion”

I am just a fan however we all want what is best for you and will miss following you in Xterra and other events.

And know this….. I am sure it has been less than idea two three years since your father has passed and sponsorships dwindling, however maybe take a mini break take in the birth or your new addition regroup and see what comes out the other end.

You have a great wife life partner who has supported your all these years and now it is time to support her and your new baby girl.

A lot is coming at you and you need to be in the moment for your new daughter and your wife.

I am sure your father is looking down on the three of you now and will be giving you guidance in your new chapter of your life.

Look forward to seeing pics of the one you are probably going to be coaching in the near future.

Robert Ferguson.

Conrad 02-06-2015, 08:53

Wow. Thanks for the wonderful letter Robert!

You hit a number of nails on the head there. Most notably how amazing parenthood is!

Thanks for reminding me of fans like you out there. It encourages me to write, share knowledge & stories. Its feels nice to know that I sometimes enrich peoples lives. Even if its just a little – it feels great!

All the best!

Conrad 14-07-2015, 11:25

Thanks so much for the kind words Robert. You’re right, fatherhood is fantastic!

I hope to stay active in the sport and maybe see you at the races.


Jason Bailey 13-05-2015, 13:07

Looking forward to autobiography!

steve 11-05-2015, 10:02

Conrad, get your compass out, we’re going to get you bitten by the adventure racing bug! –

Conrad 11-05-2015, 11:05

Looks beautiful! Caveman’s compass already built in…


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