Posts Tagged ‘Dylan van der merwe’

Caveman wins XTERRA Mountain Champs in Beaver Creek


XTERRA run course- Beaver Creek, (near Vail) Colorado. I pre rode the bike and run courses 2 weeks before the race and snapped these pix I’d like to frame one day when we have a home.

I havent blogged about it yet, but last weekend I raced Boulder Peak 5150, 6 days before my 1st Beaver Creek XTERRA Mountain Champs. I raced 4 or 5 pain & adrenaline filled XTERRAs on the dazzling (in many ways) ski slopes of Keystone ski resort- between 9000-12000 ft alt -the kind of place where Ned Overend roams free.


On the drive up from Boulder, Liezel (jokingly) modeled her new Suunto Core Alu Pure White and Oakley Immerse sunnies on top of Loveland pass CO.


With only 6 days between races, recovery training is obviously the order of the day.  Did a fair bit of scenic Boulder riding with Liezel on her new  Ruby.  Our friend and Specialized mechanic Dylan joined us for a coffee shop ride to the town of Hygiene. No pun intended.


Husband and wife training camp – Flatirons CO.

We drove up in the Specialized Team truck 3 days before the event and once in Beaver Creek we did the usual pre race routine:

Pre ride the course with friend/colleague/boss/mechanic Dylan van der Merwe:


Drove the Specialized truck up the 3200ft climb to avoid wringing an hours’ climbing at 9000 ft out of my legs. We then rode the downhill one last time. (On the drive up we got pulled over by a guy in a pick up truck for a “Super Fan” photo of the Red monster)

This course is not technical, but has a nice 5 minute singe track section: Click here for YouTube video of the one single track section from Caveman perspective:

More things to do during taper:

Have a braai (BBQ) at your #1 opposition Josiah Middaugh’s house. Lots of Avia shoes in the doorway. Pretty much open party.- the camaraderie says a lot about the XTERRA family. (the brownies werent even laced with laxatives…)


Josiah is a fearsome competitor as it is. But this course is just 2mi from his house- meaning he’s used to breathing fake “air” and more importantly, he knows how to go uphill fast! Oh, and just seeing his “Josiah Face” during a race is enough to trigger the “Fight or flight” response!

– Entertain VIPs: We were much honoured to have Specialized road triathlon mega star Ben Hoffman make an XTERRA cameo:


Who knew tires could shine that bright? I think the product is called “Sonfagun”. Seriously.

Watch the local Rodeo.


The 3 man Burro barrel race was almost as spectacular as the bull riding.

Back to business:

For Specialized Racing mechanics Dylan (Boss) van der Merwe and Joe (Spider Monkey) Devera “getting the bikes ready” is not what triathletes are used to. Its not a quick wipe with the hotel towel, chain lube and tire pump. These guys come with a Mountain bike World Cup approach. Full Team truck- Full Monty. Every bike gets stripped and rebuilt- fresh parts where needed, fresh tires, fresh cables, fresh grease, fresh Lock-tite, fresh alles. For the massive amount of climbing I switched to lighter grips, lighter tires, no Command Post, but after weighing pedals and shoes decided to not go with the road shoe /pedal combo.


Dylan van der Merwe in blue (Stellenbosch, South Africa) works with Specialized triathletes and Mountain bikers at events around the globe and is going to the London Olympics to support our athletes. To top it off and used to be quite the triathlete- on and off road.  Joe Devera “Spider Monkey” used to be a full time sponsored rock climber (often living in a VW van), worked on various road cycling teams, including the Mavic Neutral Support Team before wrenching on Specialized MTB and Triathlon teams.

Spend some time on and see why Specialized Racing is the best racing team across all disciplines.


But if your hotel has no garden hose, a good bike wash starts in the shower. Dylan washed 3 bikes as part of his pre race prep. Here is my version in Spain 2011: Bike Shower.

The race:


After getting pounded in the swim by 2,40 at Boulder Peak, we unleashed “DefCon 4” swim training, ok, in 6 days I only had time for 1 DefCon 4 session- but half the speed is attitude anyway – by XTERRA time I was good to go. Swam with the leaders no problem. Craig Evans, Branden Rakita & Ben Hoffman. The new Blue Seventy Helix wetsuit and Vision goggles helped get the job done.  Note the looming ski slopes in the back ground. Intimidating stuff.


Did I say the bike climbed A LOT?! 3200ft straight up. (about 1000m of alt gain in 35min) Starting at 8100ft. Not 1 second of free wheeling (or even soft pedaling) in the 1st 35min. So pacing is crucial. The recent road tris helped me get used to the sustained effort (also called “pain”) of the TT effort- as opposed to the hit and run efforts on the “normal” MTB ride.


At least the course is really really scenic. That is if you can see past the black spots and flashing lights. Took this pic during pre riding when I could see and think and breathe all at the same time.


My dietician and chef (Liezel) has been mixing the “Power mix” a bit leaner the past few weeks- fewer M&Ms in the trail mix. The season of Flatland Racing is over and Climbing Season is officially open. (XTERRA Utah and Maui also climbs a lot) So power to weight is crucial. No point trying to take the weight off the bike – its light enough already- its gotta come off my backside.


Photos below by Rick Kimmel from Stumbling towards Greatness

Since the Luckstone XTERRA in Richmond, athlete tracking by GPS has been all the rage. You can see the GPS unit on my number belt. It doesnt swim yet, but people can track all the athletes live online. Pretty cool with todays’ social media & technology making the world  a global village.


Ben Hoffman is taking a mid season break (from IM and 70.3 racing) and gave XTERRA a whirl. Without pre riding the course he did great to finish 3rd behind Josiah. Expect to see him in Maui for Worlds…


Judging by my “Josiah Face”, you can see the run was really really tough- basically 2.5km vertically up – so steep, I walked 4 times- and 2.5km straight down. Twice.


Looks like I’m “parking a tiger” (throwing up) in the bushes- felt like it- but I was power walking up one of the steeper hills. I find walking the really steep parts is almost as fast as running, but your heart rate stays lower, so when I get to a flatter section I can run at a good pace right away.


Liezel looking down the trail to give splits- after the bike I had a 2;30 gap on Josiah, lost 50″ on the 1st climb, but then held the gap over the last 5km- winning by 1.20.

Results by JTL Timing:

   1  Stoltz, Conrad     :18:25    4   :00:42  1:08:15    2   :00:49  0:38:54    8  02:07:05    1
   2  Middaugh, Josiah   :19:24    8   :00:46  1:09:25    3   :00:46  0:38:03    5  02:08:24    2
   3  Hoffman, Ben       :18:31    5   :00:51  1:12:19    6   :00:52  0:38:07    6  02:10:40    3
   4  Henestrosa, David  :19:22    7   :00:47  1:12:21    7   :00:50  0:37:30    3  02:10:50    4
   5  Waite, Cody        :20:55   23   :00:47  1:12:04    5   :00:52  0:39:19    9  02:13:57    5
   6  Ignatz, Ryan       :20:51   21   :00:42  1:14:22    9   :00:52  0:37:20    2  02:14:07    6
   7  Smith, Brian       :23:28   61   :01:28  1:11:21    4   :00:57  0:36:58    1  02:14:12    7
   8  Rakita, Branden    :18:24    3   :09:21  1:06:22    1   :00:47  0:41:56   18  02:16:50    8


For one day Colorado’s second language was Afrikaans. The mountain was crawling with South Africans: Other than Liezel & Dylan (pictured) finished 3rd in the Sport race there was also a very vocal Melt Swanepoel (racing the US Marathon MTB series) Dewet Marais (from Squirt lube), Brad Weiss (DNF – says the altitude bowled him LBW) the guys from GU South Africa vacationing, and few families spectating.


6th XTERRA win this summer.

Race report from XTERRA’s

Trey Garman:

[For Stoltz, not altitude, not abear, not even Josiah Middaugh – a mountain master on his home course – could disrupt his perfect 2012 season.  Stoltz started the year with a win at the XTERRA South Africa Championship, then swept through the XTERRA regional championships in Nevada, Alabama, Virginia, & now Colorado to bring his unprecedented XTERRA all-time championship wins total to 47.

“I must admit it was a very pleasurable experience,” said Stoltz, who raced here at the XTERRA Mountain Championships in Beaver Creek for the first time today.  “I didn’t expect to come up here and have fun but it was a lot of fun.  The course is beautiful, and I was amazed at all the spectators even out in the middle of the forest. I saw a black bear up there while I was racing.  I heard some branches break and I could see it getting away and Josiah saw it too.  So, it was very memorable.  I was really surprised at my win. I thought Josiah was going to take it, because beating him on this course is really tough so I think I had a very special day.  I have to thank Specialized who put a lot of time and effort into my bike.”

Stoltz came out of the mile-swim in the 66-degree waters of Nottingham Lake on the heels of leader Craig Evans and Branden Rakita, with Ben Hoffman directly behind him and David Henestrosa and Middaugh a minute back.

By the three-mile mark, and after the first of nearly four-thousand feet of climbing from the lake which sits at 7,400-feet, Stoltz led by a minute with Hoffman and Middaugh chasing together.  At mile 10, Middaugh moved into second but hadn’t closed the gap and by the bike-to-run transition Stoltz, who had the fastest bike split of the day in 1:09:46, had more than a two-minute lead.

“When you put together a good race and get beat it’s not because something went wrong, it’s just that you’re not fit enough,” said Middaugh, who has now finished runner-up to the “Caveman” in three of the last four races.  “Conrad had an awesome race and kudos to him for having that fitness and power that I’m going to be looking for in the next few months.”

Ben Hoffman had an incredible race in his first major XTERRA, and by the looks of his post-race grin it seems certain not to be his last.

“It was awesome today, I’m fired up, had fun out there,” said Hoffman, who had quite the support crew with the Specialized team in full force.  “I think most people hear XTERRA has a little more laid back vibe and fun atmosphere and being here definitely confirmed that for me.  Seeing it firsthand; the volunteers are psyched, it’s a well-run race, well-marked course, and super challenging but fair, an honest course.  There’s no hiding here, it’s what you got on the day.”]


After his 3rd place in the Sport race Dylan slammed a gallon of Chocolate milk and was back on the job cleaning bikes.


I learnt another wrenching trick- when washing the bike with degreaser, cover the brake pads with paper towel to avoid fowling the brake pads.


The day after the race Hoff and I went for a recovery spin on the mountain and did some hunting gathering while we’re out there…

SA TT Champs

conrad stoltz ian rodger south african time trial champs 2011

Warming up for SA TT Champs while coach Ian Rodger deftly wields the microphone and spray bottle. I will have to wait for the TV show to hear what he said- Jack Parow was pamping in the iPod.

More pix from

I was quite disappointed in my ride.  Like I said in the previous post, we needed a few more weeks to sort out pacing, position and most importantly more sustained efforts. (as opposed to relatively short intervals) A warm up race or 2 would have helped. I started conservatively,  but when I tried to build from 10km, the hammies started catching fire- I turned on 415W avs, but on the way back my hammies were raging and I had to back off the pace till about 25km- losing a lot of time, confidence and combativity. (ie I psyched myself out and gave up. Not the usual Caveman routine)

At 30km Daryl Impey (winner) caught me by 1 minute. By then my hamstrings had recovered a bit, and I rode with him relatively comfortably till the finish. 390W avs at end. Pretty pathetic considering what we’d done in training.  We learned a few things and will come back stronger and better prepared. (probably US TT Champs)

2nd to 5th was only 20sec apart and I was only 2.5sec out of 2nd. I’m sure I could have puckered up and found a few seconds. Like I once heard a French coach yell at a youngster: “You do not think DURING the race, you think AFTER the race.” Old guys still learn lessons.

Results from Cycling SA website.



5,4,3,2,1, partez*

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More Specialized Team camp


TV interview for Photo by Gary Perkin

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Specialized tire testing video on i-am-specialized


Specialized tire specialist Frank Stacey and I talking tires at the Stellenbosch testing in January 09.

Photo by Gary Perkin.

I have been incredibly busy since my arrival in the US 2 weeks ago. Moved to Reno NV from Bend OR, did 3 days’ tire testing with Specialized and I bought a car. (yes, the legendary Red Rocket fizzled and died, now I have a 95 Toyota Previa- I like last centuries’ cars)

Of course there is training too.

And the 112 unread emails! As I plowed through most of them this morning I bumped into this great video for our Specialized Tire testing camp in Stellenbosch, South Africa earlier this ye

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Conrad and Amber says goodbye to Africa. For a while

Amber and I are about to get on the plane tomorrow and celebrated our farewell with good friends, good food and good training in some of the most beautiful settings in the world…


The Republic of Hout Bay in the background, and two tired cyclists in the mirror. Taken from one of the sharp turns on Chapman’s Peak Drive.

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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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