after spending a week in jeju island, korea.i arrived in beijing on wednesday and received my first taste of the olympic vibe. as we got into the new terminal in beijing we were ushered through to a special olympic lane which made getting out of the airport easier than ever and we immediately had pictures taken with some natives.
a short bus ride later i got to the village and this was where my path split from the us mountain bike team,it was a sad moment indeed.as i got to the gate i had my only little hicup of the whole trip.i didnt know where the sa team was situated.a short phone call to cherise, who was already back home, solved my problem.i got in a little ups van that took me straight to the door of our olympic appartments.each buliding had like 9 stories,so yeah it was quite the spectacle even though im not a big fan of apartments.mallie, the sa mechanic built my bike in a jiffy and it wasn't long before todd,adam and i re-united for a little spin around the village to check it all out.it definitely matched all my expectations! thereafter i hit the shower and made my first trip to the dining hall.yup it has all you could wish for no matter where in the world you are from ,but the place with the golden arches again proved to be most popular among the worlds fittest athletes...
on thursday i woke up to pouring rain and didnt feel the urge to make an attempt to get outa bed until ten am.i had some breakfast and heard the bmx, which i was eager to go watch, had been postponed.so i hung out in the dining hall for awhile and then got plans dialed to head to the track.i caught one of the many buses that left to the loahsan mtb venue every half hour at mid day and got onto the track a short while later.at first the course seemed to be similar to the one i had o in my mind.lots of steep climbs ,but smooth and even in the mud not slippery or challenging at all.than i got past the first kilometer and that all went out the window.the course from here on out contained more of those steep pitches followed by crazy steep drops,tight turns and even the soil turned to clay by half way.the steepest chute on the track had me gasping for air at the bottom as i saw my games coming to an abrupt end before my eyes while i was on my way down.i decided to finish out the lap and return to the village intstead of trying to learn a muddy track that i was going to race in the dry anyway.the rest of the day i spent riding rollers and hanging out at the oakley safe house.the place was awesome.good food,fun games,supersport and offcourse the best athletes from around the world.i also got my race day radars made up while i was there. some sweet sa colouring was in order.after arriving at the village it was time for my massage and i also got to watch the 200m final from the table.all i can say is lightning!my biggest regret from the games was that i wasn't in the nest at the time michael johsons record fell.
on friday i woke up to the heat we had become accustomed to.also the skies were perfectly clear and there was a new found freshness in the air.after hanging in the dining hall i made it back to the international lounge just in time for the mens bmx final.it was super exciting seeing sifiso in the gate,i think i was more nervous for the run then my own race!after a solid start and riding in 3rd/4th ,skizo unfortunately hit the deck...or should i say tar.very dissapointing but still an incredible result! after a quick chat with mannie(mr africa)heymans i was off to the track to have a more solid run at the race track.as wellsy and i got on the dirt i was amazed by how quick the track was drying.however those climbs didnt seem any easier and when we got to the steep drop i had to stop and make some calculations...whilst i was doing this the affects of the heat became evident,my legs had a constant stream running down them and this for me is the sign that it was going to be a problem.after a few tries i had my line dialed and i carried on riding a few laps to learn the track.it was very important to memorize the course as being in the correct gear was vital at all times.after the ride i felt more comfortable for saturday's showdown and i could feel the excitement start to build.at the dinning hall the team sat down to discuss race plan.with the conditions we were in for, heat and a severely tecnical course ,the back up team would prove to be invaluable.for my race i had spare wheels in each of the two tech zones and in one i had spare parts for instance a deraileur,dropout,seat/seatpost,chain and even shoes incase i ran into some technical difficulty out on the track.mallie would man this post along with tony harding who would provide ice water bottles for drinking and spraying over myself and offcourse motivation!carol austin took up the roll of my main feed which i did through the slowest tech zone,i realy wouldnt want to drop one of these bottles as any colories i was going to consume came from these feeds.also before the start i would have her along my side with my start bottle and ice vest.after the meeting wellsy and i hung out alittle and had a chat about the village experience thus far.it wasnt all bikes i tell you what!as i got back to the sa house i got a package from tony that cherise had left for me.i was definitely inspired.
on saturday it was go time.i had breakfast and watched the womens race live.it was cool to see the track but made me alittle nervous.im sure i would have been anyway.at noon i was on the bus to insure i got to the track with loads of time to go over everything again.after making my bottles and checking my olympic edition gt zaskar i suited up in the green and gold.im not usualy the sentimental type but the moment was overwhelming.the feeling was even more exaggerated as i rolled out of the prep building and saw the massive crowd that turned out for the race.after my normal warm-up routine i saw my mother on the side of the track.she was all suited up in green and seemed as ready for the race as i was.(she would spend most of the 8 laps running from point to point to urge myself and the other riders on).the call up was swift and everyones ice vests got turfed with the one minute to go call.the adrenaline that pumps through the vains at this point is something else.prior to the olympics i had only felt it at the world champs each year.my hands went completely numb and my mouth dried in an instant.i was on the second row so i had to atleast keep in the top 20 for the first lap and try and move up from there.the gun fired and i was one pedal stroke slow in cliping in,but no one came by so i held a solid postion heading into the woods.the whole first lap was a blur.i cant say i remember anything from it.the front group stayed wheel to wheel and 25 odd riders came through the finish on lap one strung out in one long line.i was in 19th but only 15sec down.my start had gone as planned but i felt alittle uncomfortable with the pace.i manged to keep charging over the next few laps and made it up to 8th place by halfway.the medals however were kreeping away and i was already all tapt out.i fought the pain until lap 7 hoping to get comfortable,but this didnt happen and i started paying.i slid to 10th by the end of the lap and there was a train coming up from behind.its crazy how riders fly by you when you show even the smallest signs off fatigue when you race at this level.i ended the race in a satisfying 15th position and felt happy with my achievement as this was all i had to give on the day and was completely spent.the experience of competing here was something special and one that i will forever cherish.
after the race my mom and i got to spend some time together thousands of miles away from south africa.it was real nice to relax alittle before the celebrations.on the way back to the village i got lost on the buses.these two chinese girls i met spoke awesome english tho and lead me home.by the time we cleaned up and ate it was 11pm but we still felt up for a good time.so todd,adam and i holla'd at a cab and set off to the budweiser club.the place was incredible.pools,huge dance floor,good music and free bud made for an big evening.it ended off perfectly as we found beijing hooters for some chicken wings...
sunday morning my mom and i took to the silk market with avengance.i had my negotiating cap on and was ready to make some sweet deals.needless to say we left the place with R7000 worth of overweight baggage for my mom and some serious beijing bling...after some food it was time for the goodbyes as my mom was flying out that evening.i headed back to the village to go and get ready for the closing ceremony.walking into that stadium was the highlight of the whole games for me.,one realises that the games are about more than just sport when you feel the energy in that stadium.i think my mouth was hanging open for the whole duration of the show.it was a spectacular ending to one of the best weeks in my life....bring on london 2012!
id like to thank everyone for their support during the games.it realy motivated me to put on a good show.
i would like to thank a few special people for their support and helping me to be the rider i am today.
firstly to my parents and two brothers i owe a great deal.they have been the foundation on which all af my successes heve been built.to the rest of my family i also thank you for the incredible
to todd,you have been there with me since the start of my pro career,you are not only a team mate,having you at the races means i get to travel the world with one of my best friends.i would have cracked in that first year but you pulled me through.i look forward to many more good times buddy!
to cherise my girl friend, for being there for me in the build up,you understand me like few people do,your attitude towards life is an inspiration.
to my friends you guys are awesome!
to mohhamed and racheed at bobbys cycles for all the years of support.you guys made a young kid's dream come true and i always appreciate the help i still receive from you guys.
to alan and neal from omnico,without your help i would be able to do what i do today.
to the whole sa mtb community.its an honour to represent you guys.
to the south coast and bundu bashers.i feel blessed to call the south coast my home and ride alongside you guys.
to everyone on the gt team aswell.huge thanks.
id like to thank my sponsors aswell.without you guys none of this would be possible.