17 Melina Street, Rosendal, Bellville, ZA
Tel: +27 (0)21 910 - 0441 
Cell: +27 (0)83 273 - 1986

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020 Argus Cycle 2002 Tour Tips

Argus Cycle 2002 Tour Tips

2002 Tips: Know your limits

To ensure a smooth ride during Argus 2002 over Ou Kaaps, the following aspects are provided for aspirant and seasoned entrants.

Registration: Avoid disappointment

Get your registration in early. 40,000 entries are expected. Keep an eye on the newspapers and check out the Argus web- site regularly from August of every year. Pay your registration fee early (about R120.00). Make sure your PPA membership is paid up to date. A late registration means you are out of the Argus for practical purposes. Only a cancellation at a late stage will ensure entry- this does occur. Obtaining a seeding from PPA makes a huge difference. Thus, avoid late registration. Consult Ride magazine and Life Cycle.

Bike Set- up and Service: Avoid Breakdowns

Don't ride the Argus with an unserviced bicycle. This will result in a breakdown. Have it serviced two weeks before the Argus and run it in. Also fit new tyres and tubes if you want to reduce the incidence of punctures. Perished tubes just blow out at the most inconvenient times. Tyres should be fitted a week before the Argus and run in. Make sure the brakes work properly. This is especially important for the descent of Ou Kaapse Weg. For expert advice consult Francois on 9100441 or 0832731986. Pop in at his cycle shop at Rozendal (near Tyger Valley Shopping Centre).

Get Fit: Avoid sore legs

Cycle training before the Argus helps to reduce cramping and burning muscles. Stiffness after the Argus will also be reduced in recreational cyclists. Learn to eat and drink during cycle tours. Unfit cyclists suffer after the Argus-cycle and training is valuable. Dehydration causes cramps, fatigue and exhaustion. Learn to drink fluids i.e. sports drinks. This prevents electrolyte imbalances. Learn to stretch. Failure to follow this simple advice will result in unnecessary aches and pains. Tendonitis will increase. Speak to Francois du Toit about your bike setup and saddle height.

Bunch Riding: Improve your times

Drafting in bunches has advantages and disadvantages. Speed can be increased and total time reduced. Battling on your own in the wind just slows you down. It also makes you tired, which leads to despondency. Bunch riding preserves your strength. There are two sides to a story. If the bunch falls, you usually also fall. The result is a road rash that burns and pains (elbows, knees and hips). You must be awake and concentrate if you ride in the bunch. Avoid talking and fooling around. Keep your line. Learn to ride in bunches, by attending fun rides months before the Argus. This is how you get experienced. For a real fast time you will have to learn how to slipstream. Avoid a fall at all cost. Learn from Francois how to position yourself before jumping other cyclists.

Over-training: Avoid chronic fatigue and disappointment

This is a major problem. It results in over-use injuries and chronic fatigue. Train scientifically and with a definite plan in your head. Don't forget to get plenty of rest in the week before the Argus. This will preserve your legs and keep them strong. Fatigue will also be reduced. Supplementing is critically important but must be done scientifically.

Eat correctly: Avoid collapse

Poor nutrition will result in an awful Argus. Underperformance is the result. Also, motivation will drop. Carbo-load if you want to, but don't change your diet the week before the Argus. All that will happen is an upset stomach, cramps and diarrhea. Plenty of pasta is what is needed. Energy drinks are important including supplements and magnesium. Get plenty of fluids in the week before the Argus to stave off dehydration. Fluids keep the kidney going and prevent cramping and dehydration. Be smart; ensure a high intake of fluids. Drink a minimum of 2 litres of pure water daily.

Saddle adjustment: Avoid knee pain

Saddle height is critical as well as the knee bend. Young women cyclists suffer severely. Pain in the knee will occur with a low saddle. The hamstrings will also start to pain. A saddle too high will result in inefficient pedal power. Chaffing on the saddle can also occur as a result thereof. Avoid saddle adjustments the day before the Argus. This could lead to muscle strain and pain. A minute adjustment over weeks is what is recommended. Anterior knee-pain is demotivating and demoralizing.

Riding Shoes: Avoid painful feet

Buy proper riding shoes and increase your speed! Foot pain can be reduced if correct cleats are used. Your grip is much better. Riding with "takkies" in the Argus will result in fatigue, sore feet and legs. Obtain foot ware advice from Francois on 9100441 or 0832731986, or pop in at his Rozendal store (near Tyger Valley).

Wear Cycling Gloves: Avoid pins and needles in the hand

You have a better grip by wearing gloves. The padding absorbs the shocks from the road. You have a better control of your bike when going down Ou Kaapse Weg. A nice pair can be purchased from Francois, Rozendal Cycle Store (near Tyger Valley).

Muscle and Joint Pain: Avoid consuming anti-inflammatories

Regular cycle training is harsh on the body especially in veterans, seniors and masters. The knees, calves, quads, back and neck suffer the most. The discomfort can be agonizing and result in reduced performance. Motivation and mindset of the cyclist can be adversely affected. Continued hammering of the body results in burn- out, over-use, and chronic fatigue. Recovery becomes slower and interrupted. Tendonitis follows and the cyclist is forced to stop cycling or drastically scale down the training schedule. Cyclists grab at forbidden drugs (EPO, anabolic steroids) to counteract the agony. Knees and ankles pack-up. It helps for a while- then they are blown away permanently, as the body rebels.

Drinking anti- inflammatories, to reduce chronic pain is often abused by cyclists. These pills help, but do not enhance performance. On an empty stomach, dangerous health hazards can occur. They include:

Bleeding stomach and bowel ulcers
Stomach pain and discomfort
Heartburn, reflux of acid and severe constipation
Kidney failure (in hot weather and if the cyclist becomes dehydrated).

NB NB. Consumption of anti- inflammatories and creatine supplements together can cause severe hypertension. A stroke and cardiac failure can occur. This can be a lethal combination for the cyclist, especially in the older age group. Avoid this abuse of self-medication.

Advice for veterans and seniors:

Have your blood pressure and cholesterol levels done before the Argus. Respond positively to abnormal readings. Do not ignore or disregard elevated levels.

Sharpen up speed:

Participate in fun rides and join PPA. This is more comfortable for you and provides for organized cycling under controlled circumstances.

Last minute cycle adjustment:

For professional and customized service always consult an expert. Francois du Toit is conveniently sited to provide for your personal needs. Visit him at his Rozendal Cycle Store that is a stones-throw away from Tyger Valley Centre. The shop is just off Old Oak Road in Bellville. Expertise of a high standard is available for the novice, seasoned or veteran cyclist. Call Francois on 9100441 or 0832731986. Last minute adjustments the day before the Argus can be arranged. Francois will ensure the correct bike set-up that is needed to address the challenges of the Argus.

Quick cycle upgrade before the Argus: This is possible at a late stage.

To ensure a sub-4 hours you need a fast, reliable, light road bike. Like the champs, consider upgrading to a Pinarello(c). These bikes are on the floor at Francois du Toit's Rozendal Cycle Store for rapid dispatchment. Call him on 9100441 or 0832731986 for an upgrade. Only the top cyclists, including Jan Ulrich of the German Telecom team, ride on Pinarello's.

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