Danny Vogel participated at the Joberg2c, a 9-day mountain bike adventure. The 36-year old sports nut, from Mainz in Germany, told us about his project in late January 2016, to participate at this big race. Hence, he was looking for high-tech bike wear.
Danny is not a professional cyclist, he just wanted to achieve his personal goal! To spice up the entire challenge he decided to compete with a single-speed bike. His objective was to show that it is possible to achieve something great, even with simple means. Considering the South African trails it was definitely a tough target.
The Joberg2c consist to 99.5% of off-road paths – on rarely used or yet even unused trails! The riders are covering 900km and 13’000m of altitude difference on their way from the start in the south of Johannesburg to the finish at the KwaZulu-Natal coast!
His idea to start at this tough mountain bike race just with a single-speed bike sounded adventurous to us and it was the perfect occasion to test our new X-BIONIC® TWYCE collection!
Day one - Karan Beef (Heidelberg) to Frankfort Sports Grounds
The first stage led from Heidelberg to the Frankfort Sports Grounds.
Danny had to accustom himself to the single-speed first. Therefore, it was challenging at the beginning. It took him 5 hours and 15 minutes for the 116km. His mantra “Do what you love and do it with a smile” helped him through the tough sections.
Facts Distance: 116km
Day two - Frankfort School to Reitz Showgrounds
It is more than 93km and about 1000m of elevation from Frankfort to Reitz through the eastern part of Freestate. Here, you’re still riding through South Africa’s granary. On these endless straight paths between enormous corn fields, you can get an idea of the country’s infinite wideness. The inhabitant’s warmth is perceptible along the way and you always feel welcome.
Unfortunately, the first two days of the Joberg2c on the single speed are rather tough for me as it is very flat and I just have to find a good rhythm pedalling quickly to ride, at least, reasonable fast. But day 3 should promise a hilly stage profile and on day 4 we’ll face the real mountains.
Facts Distance: 93km
Day three - Reitz to Sterkfontein Dam
With 122km and roughly 1100m of elevation, day three was one of the longest days. We rode from Reitz to one of South Africa’s biggest freshwater dams, the Sterkfontein Dam.
The first 100km of the day are quite easy and fast through infinite fields and magnificent stream landscapes. With the ascent to the top of Mount Paul, the stage’s difficulty only started after about 115km. After already 5 hours in the saddle, this was a real challenge for every participant, no matter whether with gearshift or without. But, on the other hand, the reward was waiting at the top: a stunning view back to the dam and towards the finish! Despite sitting more than 6 hours on the bike, this was one of the most beautiful days for me.
At day 4 the Joberg2c participants started at the big water reserve “Sterkfontein Dam”. The stage started with a steep climb at the Kerkenberg. Later on, Danny drove through real African bush land enjoying the Serengeti single-tracks.
Arriving in Emseni he enjoyed a scenic view with the Drakensberg in the background!
On day five the scenery changed significantly. So far, the temperatures have been warm and the landscape was mostly green and overgrown. Now Danny feels the mountain air. The thermometer only showed 13 degrees and rain was accompanying the riders throughout the majority of the stage. He really had to fight riding the trails on his single-speed. Children along the course gave him motivational boosts and mentally pushed him through the day.
Facts Distance: 122 km
Ascent: roughly 2241m
Descent: roughly 1757m
Day six - Clifton – Nottingham Rd to Glencairn Farm – Sani Pass Road
Day six was a very tough day!
The backcountry tracks and trails have never seen a rider before. They led through isolated regions, which are inhabited by Zulu people. These technical single-trails included as well the so-called “Gumtree climb”, which is the steepest climb at the Joberg2c. The stage contained everything: scenic landscape, breathtaking views, warm-hearted people and challenging trails. Danny recapped this remarkable day that “it is a real privilege to be able riding through this stunning landscape and experience the people in this region. Actually, it is priceless.”
Facts Distance: 98km
Day seven - Glencairn Farm – Sani Pass Road to Mackenzie Club
Yeah – rest day for the participants of Joberg2c!
Of course, not really. But nevertheless it almost felt like one after the previous stages. It was an easy ride for Danny and the other participants, as the stage was just 82km long. The trails were especially prepared for the race. The highlight of the stage was the crossing of a floating bridge. That was fun!
Facts Distance: 82km
Day eight - MacKenzie Club (Ixopo) to Jolivet (Highflats)
Day seven was just the calm before the storm, though. Stage 8 was promising to be one of the most exhausting stages of the Joberg2c! 1,705m of altitude difference had to be climbed and the sun was blazing. After the brutal climb, the riders dropped down 35km into the scenic Umkomas Valley. This scenic downhill section was followed by another tough climb for about 65km.
This stage was very challenging for Danny and he fought through agony. But the experiences and views along the course were compensating for all the struggle.
Facts Distance: 99km
Day nine - Jolivet (Highflats) to Scottburgh
It’s time to head to the coast! Compared to the previous days, it was an easy roll out. Nevertheless, with a lot of mountain bike trails. The day started with trails through sugar cane farms and ended with an exhilarating finish at Scottburgh Main Beach at the Indian Ocean. Here, at the finish line, families and supporters were already waiting for their riders.
Facts Distance: 84km
Joberg2c – a really tough mtb race with a lot of up and downs but also a lot of fun and happiness – Congratulations, Danny!
But, How did Danny feel in our X-BIONIC® TWYCE Outfit?
Danny answers by himself:
The TWYCE series was perfect once again. Especially under this constant strain over nine days with various weather conditions. No matter, whether heat, dust, cold, mud or rain. In particular, the cushion of the pants as well as the perfect fit were highly satisfying and I never felt uncomfortable wearing the X-BIONIC® TWYCE. I was neither overheated nor cold. And I also realised that they’re odour neutral. Especially at stage races you have to wear the clothes twice as you can’t always wash them after each stage. The clothes had to endure the training in Mauritius, the extreme Cape Epic as well as nine tough days at the Joberg2c, but, nevertheless, everything still fits perfectly as before. Nothing is worn through or frayed and also, the stitching still looks like new. I’ve worn various cycling clothes in my past 15 years on the bike and the high-quality X-BIONIC® clothes are without a doubt the best and most unproblematic I’ve ever tried.
Last month we met again some fans of X-BIONIC® at the Velodrome Swiss in Grenchen for another track cycling workshop. Like in our two previous events there, experienced guides showed us how to ride on a wooden indoor cycling track. Track cycling is a great alternate sport for the indoor season here in Europe when the streets are wet or frozen. The average temperature inside the Velodrome is always above 20 degrees.
After the theoretical part, the workshop continued at the cycling track. Each participant received a test set and the prepared track bike for the ride. X-BIONIC® TWYCE, X-BIONIC® for Automobili Lamborghini and X-BIONIC® THE® TRICK bike wear were handed over for the test session.
After some laps, each participant enjoyed the fun and could increase his bike handling the more laps he rode. The most important thing about track cycling is to be attentive what happens before and behind you. On a track bike, you also need to ride a minimum speed of about 25 kph to get through the stiff turns and not to slip downwards. This is the first thing you learn when you ride a track bike.
The workshop lasted three hours at the track and everyone enjoyed it. Special thanks to our guide René and his mates, who did a great job again for a safe ride. If you want to ride on a cycling track, you need to attend the basic lessons before you can join public training sessions, you can find more information here.
We will return to the Velodrome this year, stay tuned!
Every new years eve people make plans for the upcoming year and set personal challenges. In many cases they want to stop smoking, drink less alcohol, eat healthier or get fitter. All these personal intentions are hard to realise in the daily routine and most people stop with it short after they had a motivated start into the new year.
But with some simple steps it is easier than you thought and you can change your life very quickly. For example some training programs or challenges that are easy to realize and adaptable for every grade of fitness. Just try darebee.com challenges or workout programs and improve your fitness really fast. All these tutorials are for free and you don’t need a gym or other expensive equipment. You also don’t need to spend much time for it, just 15 to 30 minutes every day.
There are tons of such guides around the web, you can also browse such visual guides at Pinterest, just try one of them and repeat it regularly. All you need now is your personal motivation and some good fitness clothing, buy it directly at www.x-bionic.com and start your workout soon! Check out the X-BIONIC® crossfit crew members at their last workout session:
X-BIONIC® fan Irene Gambaro from Zurich is one of the most successful Swiss female triathlon athletes. This year she became the vice world champion of the Half Ironman and took part for the third time in the legendary Hawaii Ironman, the long-distance World Championship for professionals and age groups. Irene had her sights set on a top ten finish in this year’s World Championship. In spite of some difficulties, she ultimately landed a sensational eighth place in her age group – once again a top result this year!
Shortly after her finish on Big Island, she gave us an interview and told us what it was like for her crossing the finish line. In her personal race report from Hawaii, she further details the difficulties she had to overcome during this year’s tournament. You can see her impressive report from Kona after the interview in the info box. Enjoy the read!
Irene, what was it like crossing the finish line in Kona for the third time this year?
It was by far the toughest race there: waves, a strong current, a tropical storm with gusts of wind, heat, the like of which has not been felt for decades – Peter forgot the tailwind or has saved it for next year!
What was your goal when you travelled to the Hawaii World Championship this year?
Very ambitious: top five if everything went well, otherwise definitely top ten. Thankfully I achieved the second objective!
What is so special about the World Championship in comparison to other triathlons?
Hawaii is always full of surprises, and driving on a highway through the lava desert is spectacular. The wind comes from all sides and is completely erratic and the finish line pure goosebumps!
Did you do any special preparation for Kona?
Yes, once I qualified at the start of June, in particular with long runs for the marathon and 5 to 6-hour bike rides.
How long have you been doing this sport, and how did it come about?
I was always a runner, eventually I progressed to marathons, then to Gigathlons as a pair with another lady. Then I wanted something special for my 50th birthday, an Ironman, which I did in Taupo, New Zealand, and where I also qualified for Hawaii.
What role does equipment play for you, in training and in competition?
Clothes are the be all and end all, if they’re not right, then the entire competition will suffer. The bike must be well-adjusted, pedalled by the athlete, and the shoes – they also are extremely important and must be worn in well.
You wear X-BIONIC® during your training sessions, what has your experience been so far?
I love wearing clothes, which adapt to the body, don’t flap but at the same time don’t restrict you. X-BIONIC, therefore, fulfills all my requirements, I am very satisfied!
Which X-BIONIC® product do you particularly like? (…will end up shortly in your wardrobe?)
Long-distance clothing is at the top of my wish list, I love long-distance running and good trousers in particular are very difficult to find. I have a few from different retailers, but none fit me properly – they always slide over the bum! What I like about X-BIONIC® in addition to the great fit is also the large choice of colours!
What other sports do you also do? What hobbies do you have aside from sports?
I also do cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, mountain hiking and diving. Other than that I love photography, ornithology, and I am committed to marine mammals.
What are your sporting goals for the next year?
I wanted to defend both my European Championship titles for the short distance and Olympic Games, but as this competition is already in May, I can’t participate in Lisbon due to holidays. I am also unable to defend my Half Ironman Vice World Champion title as Mooloolaba in Australia is too far away and quite simply ridiculously expensive.
I will definitely participate in some long distance competitions, some Olympic triathlons, and almost definitely in the Half Ironman in Luxembourg, and then of course there will be other unplanned races. I will definitely also take part in the Swiss Championship again, ultimately I will participate in far more competitions than originally planned! I just really enjoy it and I am the competitive type! I will definitely compete in the circuit (which is seven Olympic Triathlons) and I also hope to win them again.
What advice would you give triathlon beginners?
Competing in three disciplines one after the other is incredible fun, regardless of whether you are fast or not. Taking part is the motto and age does not matter. It is important to master the crawl to some degree, breaststroke hinders other athletes and requires too much energy from the legs, which you of course need afterwards for the cycling and running.
Thank you very much for the interview!
Irene's achievements in 2015Her personal review: Ironman Hawaii 2015Links
Swiss champion 10k street running
Winner Triathlon Wallisellen (CH), short distance
Winner Aix-en-Provence 70.3 Triathlon / Qualified for the 70.3 WC
Winner short distance in Genf /European Champion
Winner Kraichgau 70.3 / Qualified for Hawaii
Vice World Champion at the 70.3 Championships, Zell am See (Austria)
Yeeess, the big day, 10 October 2015, is over! An unforgettable and tough race with many highs and lows! Let’s start from the top!
At 07.10 am a cannon shot announced the start of the women’s race. As I am not one of the fastest swimmers, I went towards the back. This enabled me to find a good rhythm without fighting and scrambling. As always it was quite turbulent and beautiful colourful fish accompanied me. I was with women of roughly the same strength and soon reached the turning point at 1.9 kilometres, but I was not as fast going back. The current was quite strong, to the extent that I took nearly 10 minutes longer than usual.
Nevertheless, I had managed the first 3.86 kilometres and I looked forward to the bike course. And off we went. Cheered on by the many people, I shot up Palani Road! I felt so fit during the first 50 kilometres. Great, I thought, I’m going to make great time. But it was not to be.
Soon a different wind was blowing, a headwind: from the side again more headwind – but not from behind, clearly Peter forgot that at some point! After about 70 kilometres the climb to Hawi began and then it happened: A tropical storm with rain, it was pelting down, and add to that wind, wind, wind, rain…it was hard work up until the turning point in Hawi, I could barely stay on my bike. Then finally, the 90 kilometres were completed and I was looking forward to the return leg. The asphalt quickly dried, I still believed I could achieve an acceptable time, but I continued to battle the long, unending 60 kilometres with a strong headwind, just headwind! Hellooooo, tailwind, where are you?
It got hotter and hotter, the heat was extreme, like it hadn’t been for decades! The asphalt reflected incredibly strongly onto Highway K, it felt like 50 degrees. Although I fed myself well and cooled myself with the water from the aid station, it just wasn’t to be. I pedalled and pedalled and lost an incredible amount of time, the altitude of 1772 metres and the180.3 kilometres appeared endless. But I finally reached the goal.
I dismounted from my bike, just about managed to stand straight and realised that I was unable to jog. So I walked into the transition zone, grabbed my bag to move over to the running track, went into the changing tent, sat down and then it happened: an incredible pain in my back, I could no longer move.
Helpers rushed over and asked me what was wrong, whether I had had too little salt. I said no, but they still gave me three salt tablets. Then I wanted to stand up, but my left leg let me down. I could no longer move, the pain in my back was so great. Three of them held me up as I did not want to go to the medical tent. I thought that this would lead to a disqualification.
So I tried to march off but my left leg failed me once again,and I fell into the arms of a helper. Three of them dragged me to the medical tent and tried to ease my cramp and back pain with a massage and physiotherapy. After an endlessly long 30 minutes I ventured out onto the running track, inspired by all the many helpers and spectators, with a huge ice pack on my back. Our youngest daughter was shocked when she saw me limping. I reassured her that I wanted to finish even if it took a long time.
After approximately 2 kilometres I attempted a jog, it got better and better so that I was finally able to run the marathon to the end, never stopping, thinking only of the Ali’i finish line. There I then enjoyed the spectacular and wonderful finish line and in spite of all the obstacles I made the top ten, 8th place, in my age category!
It was a race of superlatives and a roller coaster of emotions! But at the end I was so proud to receive my third finishing medal!
The worldwide best paraglider and X-BIONIC® athlete has won the Red Bull X-Alps, the hardest Adventure Race in the world, for the fourth time in a row.
Chrigel means eagle in the dialect of the Bernese Oberland, and Christian Maurer has had this nickname since his youth. The triple World and European Champion and fivefold Swiss Champion managed to win the Red Bull X-Alps race again this year. In only 8 days, 4 hours and 37 minutes, with a lead of 110 kilometres over the runner-up, he covered the adventurous route between Salzburg and Monaco without any breaks. (Note by the Editor: This international competition was first held in 2003 and has been won by Swiss people only.)
5 questions to Chrigel
When did you discover your passion for paragliding for the first time?
My father started with paragliding when I was 4 years old and it has fascinated me from the very first day. I took off for the first time when I was nine and was captivated right from the first moment.
What was the greatest challenge in this year’s Red Bull X-Alps Race?
A good and reliable team and suitable equipment are most important. During the race, I try to concentrate on my capabilities so that I am not subject to any external influence, i.e. stress. As the race continues without any breaks, I had to fight to keep awake since the middle of the race. I had to muster all my concentration to make the right decisions.
How do you prepare yourself physically and mentally for the X-Alps Race?
I prepare myself with a specific power workout programme and several hours of walking carrying a 10kg rucksack.
How important is your equipment during this Hike & Fly Race?
The equipment is a very important success factor. I depend on highly functional clothing because of the extreme physical challenges, like walking uphill at great speed, and the flying at an extremely cold high altitude.
Will you be on the starting line again at the next Red Bull X-Alps Race?
There is nothing that speaks against a participation in the next competition in 2017.
Adventure Red Bull X-Alps 2015
In 8 days from Salzburg to Monaco covering 1500 m ascent by foot or flying over the Alps. A 100 minutes lasting multimedia show about the ups and downs during the way to the 4th victory presented by serial winner Chrigel Maurer.