TLC’s Rex van Schalkwyk shares his first-hand experience of riding the 2019 Safire Berg 100 mountain bike race.

How humble can a 100km Mountain bike race make one feel? Well, that was the recent Berg 100 ride, from Himeville to Nottingham Road in 2019. Don’t be fooled by the fact that it is a classified as a ‘gravel grind’, far from it…. In the days leading up to the event, the conversations begin to flow between your mates, with everyone watching the weather radar and all hoping for a drier race than last year. Questions begin to arise: am I more organized than the previous year, are our logistics in place, how will I feel on the day… all makes for a few pre-race jitters. That I guess is what excites a Mountain biker; it’s like a “Box of Chocolates” as you never know what the day will bring – there’s bound to be variability in terms of the elements, your fitness and more importantly the reliability of your Mountain bike. Weeks and Months of training are an essential ingredient to complete such a race.

On the morning of the event, we all gather in the cool and muddy parking area, greeting friends and doing those crucial last-minute checks of the bike and other gear. Starting relatively early while the air is fresh, the race route takes you off onto the winding gravel roads down into the Umkomaas Valley. Then, climbing for 14 km uphill straight to ‘Snow Top’ certainly allows one to ask the question, what am I doing here? But then the views are just breath-taking and the chit chat amongst the riders keeps a person motivated, and at times you can’t help yourself but stop and take a picture or two to post on social media about your ride. I guess if you are racing for personal best time or to be on the podium your mind-set maybe a little different to the weekend warrior experience of the Berg 100.

Gradually the miles slip away below your wheels and you settle into a rhythm, always keeping the mind focused on the destination, the end-game… Remembering to eat and drink along the way as the day warms up, to stay hydrated and do your best. Banter with other riders (those guys with the advantage of an e-Bike!), good Samaritans who stop to help when you have mechanical difficulties, and then – not a moment too soon – the final section along a tree-lined country road and coasting down the hill to the all-too-welcome finish line… and the pleasure of that well-deserved, first cold beer of the day!

TLC are proud to be one of the sponsors of such an enduring and special Mountain bike race. One reason why we have partnered with The Berg 100, is that as we see this event as a focus and sustenance on the journey. Much like a mountain biker preparing for an endurance event, have I ticked all the right boxes? Am I prepared or under prepared? At Training Leadership Consulting (TLC), we prepare individuals and teams with Coaching and Developing, to become High Performers and to create a changing mindset, leading teams through disruptive change and allowing them to embrace Lean thinking and problem solving as a common language. This enablement becomes a natural way of working to ensure the flow of value and respect within an organization.

Article written by Rex van Schalkwyk, TLC’s Sales Executive.