Category: Training

Training Technology: The Caveman eats his helmet.

After nearly 2 decades of being a pro triathlete, the Caveman finally stumbles out of his grotto, knuckles dragging, to discover the wonders of training technology!

I know I’ll get a lot of flack for this one.  (Ga Von Twitt– give me the best you’ve got!) Especially after this blog post about how backward the Caveman really is about training technology.

I used to rely on roughly on Time, Heart rate and Feel. Using my trusty Suunto t6 for swim, bike and run.

Now things have changed radically: From now on, technology will play an integral part in my training. Does that mean my admitted “loafing” and fun days of being “self coached” is over? No, to me, using this amazing new invention (ha ha) is a new challenge to rise up to. For all you techno geeks, stay tuned if you like numbers, watts, repeats, resting heart rate, calories burned, power to weight ratio and all the things the Old School Caveman shunned before.

Here we go:

– Power

Barely 2 weeks after resuming “training,” I was subjected to a lab test by Ian “Numbers” Rodger– my new trainer.

I reached out to Ian via FaceBook in a panic  2 weeks before XTERRA Nationals 09. I somehow conned him into a bad situation of injury and under training, only 6 weeks before XTERRA Worlds. For such a clever guy, you’d think he’d know better.  I met Ian where he lab tested me before the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. I was impressed by his extensive knowledge for Wattage numbers which, very importantly, he combined really well with the non scientific aspects of racing. (pacing strategy etc) Successfully combining the Science of Physiology and Art of Training is a rare gift and I look forward to exploring new frontiers of performance and cleverderness with Ian.


The good photos are by Gary Perkin. The bad ones are by me!

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Champions’ training. Different strokes for different folks…

Gavin Noble

In search for the holy grail of sports performance, Irish National Team ITU member, Gavin Noble (Dublin Triathlon Champion this past weekend) cranks out the Watts in the lab. This kind of lab testing will give Gav and his coach all kinds of numbers they can play with in training. Tests will be repeated often, charts plotted and if all goes well, high fives given.

These delicious little numbers makes the guy in the sweater with the clip board’s toes curl. Race times can be projected, tactics formulated and athletes can be compared to each other even before the starters’ gun bangs.

Read more about Gavin and Aleksandar and my swim sets on Igor’s blog.

Will Clarke

Our other team mate, Will Clarke (British ITU Triathlon member and National Champion) really winds it up on the track. Looks like fellow GB Team mate and Chicago Tri winner, Stuart Hayes hanging on for dear life.

Bigger than you can imagine group track sessions typically forms the mainstay of their training. (they train up to 40hrs a week) These are blood and guts sessions. Coaches needs to be impressed, fellow athletes intimidated, but most of all, the times they do around the carefully measured 400m serves as building blocks of confidence and self belief to be drawn upon at the next race.

Enter The Caveman.

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Rest day fun activity- Caveman style


When it snows outside, you have to stay sane somehow!

For the past 11 years, Friday is my day off. Usually I’m quite broken by then and I’ll be dragging most of Friday- till energy slowly returns in the late afternoon. I try to use the rest day to catch up on admin, get a massage, run errands, work on my bike, dress normally (ie not lycra) and importantly- do something really fun. Like taking the new puppy (KTM 450 exc) for a spin in the snow!

Of course I justify it as “skills training…”  I found the dirt bike makes you concentrate 110% all the time. If you dont- you’ll get really hurt, really quickly. I treat this thing with more respect than a loaded gun. With XTERRA racing, you only have to concentrate (even with lactate coming out of your ears) during parts of the race. Single track, technical run sections, turn buoys in the swim… The rest of the time you just take the hurt while your brain freewheels. Mine anyway.

Apart from the mental training it really makes me feel alive. My cousin Johan has a KTM 360 – a gnarly 2 stroke beast- and Johan is only 130lbs and cant reach the ground! He did his PhD on blood parasites on reptiles- (ie catching snakes all day) a hard job. When he gets frustrated, he takes his KTM out and thrashes it- even if its just up and down the track – and comes back with a big smile and pressing with his forefinger on his chest, say: “it feels like my “refresh button” has been pressed!”

Ice Head Conrad Stoltz enduro bike

Ice Head pressing his “refresh button…”

Stoltz Racing’s 1st XTERRA training camp…

“It was a dark and stormy night…”

No, just kidding!

“It was a bright and sparkly morning… Six of us – all friends and family- got together for a little informal XTERRA training camp on our farm near Lydenburg, Mpumalanga. Uh, thats South Africa.

These guys are all relative newbies to sport. Sorry Gustav- rugby (even provincial rugby) is still a “game”:) Over the past few months while I was in the US I have been peppered with training questions, equipment questions, diet questions, I instructed on converting tires to tubeless and I even ferreted some Suunto t6 watches out from the US. These guys had a thirst for knowledge even the Encyclopedia Britannica couldnt quench. So once I landed on the farm they were onto me, and we had this fun impromptu training camp. It went so well, we’ll have some more in the future. (MTB camp end of Feb 09) Check shortly


L to R: Gert Stoltz (aka Tarzan)- also my dad. Werner van der Merwe,  Johan Pieterse, me (aka Caveman), Shelly van der Nest, Gustav Klingbiel.

I did quick bike fits, suspension tune ups, lectured on tires (a dangerous topic!) and helped one person put their

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Epic long ride over McKenzie pass, Oregon.

I did a 4 hr ride with a short hard run off the bike. I started in Sisters, just outside my home Bend, Oregon. I rode up and over the lava covered McKenzie pass and dropped down to the green lushiousness (its my blog, I can make up words if I like)- of the west side of the Cascades to almost sea level, (500m) before turning around and climbing back up and over the arid 1600m peak. Nothing but climbing or descending for 4 hrs- great training mixed in with soul riding. About as much fun as road riding gets…


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Story Time

Cavegirl on the way!!!

Cavegirl on the way!!!
Liezel and I are happy to announce our baby girl on the way! We are 23 weeks in, #PrincessHotstuff is fit and trim, and for me, time is not moving fast enough!  Due date 15-5-15. Suuuuper excited prix viagra en pharmacie! With these genes, she’ll be shooting hoops while wheelie-ing at the age of 3. […]
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Being the Caveman is hard work- have been busy…

Being the Caveman is hard work- have been busy…
As you all know, its easy to overindulge and pack on the pounds during the festive season, so Cross Training is a key ingredient to keeping the Caveman fit and flexable. Gotta keep on top of skills training too. Breakfast sure wasnt pretty. But its all part of the food chain… Like I said, being […]
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Caveman wins in mountain region of Scanno at XTERRA Italy

Caveman wins in mountain region of Scanno at XTERRA Italy
XTERRA Italy has the most amazing course! Parts through the old mountain town of Scanno. To the tune of "eye of the tiger" (thanks DJ Jack!) Caveman wins XTERRA Italy by 4 minutes. XTERRA Italy made is debut in the idyllic mountain town of Scanno, in the province of Abruzzo. In terms of the culture […]
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Caveman’s specialized equipment choices in quest for 7th World title

Caveman’s specialized equipment choices in quest for 7th World title
#aeroiseverything #soisfattyres #dittohorsepower ITU Cross Triathlon Worlds 2013 Long version Cross Tri Worlds Highlights. (Short version- 2.40) Racing through the dunes, stairs and sidewalks of Holland proved a fertile ground for innovative equipment choices.  From the video you can get a feel for the course- but the real test was the long sections of deep, […]
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a Caveman car for a Caveman situation…

a Caveman car for a Caveman situation…
Caveman’s Stellenbosch Kelfords Ford Fietsta Ambiente 1.4 [Open letter to friend and owner of Kelfords Ford and Mazda in Somerset West, South Africa] Dear Tristan, Thank you very much for the use of your wonderful little Ford Fiesta. We love the fuel economy, (5.9L per 100km) the nippy handling, the voice activated, hands free phone […]
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Cheers to a remarkable 2012

Cheers to a remarkable 2012
18 races, 1 World Title (ITU Cross Tri), my 10th XTERRA USA Series title, 10 victories, 16 podiums and many many special memories. My sporting highlight was winning my 2nd ITU Cross Triathlon World Title in Pelham Alabama, USA. a Personal highlight was sharing the entire year and all the remarkable experiences with my gorgeous […]
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