Monthly Archives: August 2016

Team @GarminSA race report of the @glacier360

Following the BIKE Transalp, the inaugural Glacier 360 was the next event on Team Garmin SA’s calendar. This event took place from the 17th to 19th of August in one of the most rugged and raw places on earth, Iceland.

Glacier 360Instead of trekking all the way back to South Africa, it only made sense to extend our stay in Europe for 2 weeks and travel North to the land of the midnight sun (or to the land of the Vikings and the Aurora Lights, and puffins and volcanoes and geothermal electricity and…well, you get the picture…).

The Glacier 360 is a 3 day stage race circumnavigating one of Iceland’s largest glaciers called Langjökull, located in the west of the island. The race started from the iconic Strokkur hot spring at the Geysir geothermal area and finished at the renowned Gullfoss waterfall a mere 10km away. Of course we took the long way around and covered 290km over the 3 days of the event. In between we stopped over at the lush Húsafell glacier valley and the remote Highland refuge at Hveravellir (yeah right, pronounce that while sober!). What made each of the race villages unique was the beautiful and unspoilt surroundings, delicious food and having access to natural geothermal pools which aided in the important rest and recovery process.

Much to our (pleasant) surprise the organizers registered us in the luxury package which included very comfortable accommodation at Laugarvatn the night prior to the event as well as accommodation for the 2 nights of the race. On the first night we stayed in a cosy room about 15min from camp but on the second night we opted for the tents as Hveravellir on the Icelandic Highlands was too beautiful to leave behind. The price we payed was one of our coldest nights ever in a tent, but the sunset and sunrise over the dramatic landscape was worth wrapping up in ALL the clothing we had in our bags.

The mixed category again proved to be extremely competitive and the 3 leading mixed teams finished every stage with only 4 or 5 men’s teams ahead of us. Team CBC’s Stellenbosch based Swede, Jenny Stennerhag (SWE) and Craig Gerber (RSA) took overall honours whilst Capetonians Carmen Buchacher (AUT) and Tim Ellerbeck (RSA) from Team Velocity Sports finished in 2nd place with Team Garmin SA rounding out the podium. Each stage started as a fierce battle with all 3 teams doing their best to drop the others, but ultimately the route showed who was the strongest during the event.

Although happy with a podium finish we felt slightly disappointed in our result as we believed our result did not reflect what we are capable of. In an attempt to improve we did some introspection and realized a big part of athletic performance relies on getting into a routine and controlling the controllable as much as possible. While on the road it’s always a challenge to stick to your normal routine and one has to be highly adaptable with regards to training, sleep, diet and just about everything else. It felt as if all the travelling finally caught up with us in Iceland leaving us slightly fatigued for the event.

Of course the result is only one aspect of the experience and choosing to see the silver lining of every cloud we feel extremely privileged to have been part of the inaugural Glacier 360. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity which very few people were fortunate enough to experience.Glacier 360

Prior to the event we were extremely excited to visit Iceland and looked forward to the adventure of racing on Icelandic territory.  Glacier 360 surpassed all our expectations and it is impossible to convey our entire experience in one race report but you can look forward to reading more about it in the Mountain Bike Magazine later in the year.

Congratulations and a big thanks to Made in Mountains (MIM) for organizing such a unique and challenging stage race. Their passion and energy permeated through the event giving the race an atmosphere which made you feel like part of a family upon completion of the challenge instead of just another participant.

To conclude our trip in Iceland was the ‘ice’-ing on the cake! (cheesy, we know, but this was written on a long haul flight back to South Africa) We feel very fortunate and proud to represent Garmin South Africa who continues to #BeatYesterday in so many different ways.

 

@GarminSA mapping – the essential travel companion

20160822_184832By far the most used Garmin feature during my European trip is Garmin’s mapping function.
Imagine the days when exploring the globe must have felt like an unfathomable expedition. How things have changed since then and thanks to technological advances the world is becoming smaller each day.

Maybe the biggest way technology has shrunk the world is through the internet. It is almost inconceivable when you think how accessible the internet and GPS devices have made the places that once seemed the furthest away.

I have experienced this first-hand and it has become a practical reality as my cycling career continuously involves a lot of traveling. My first trip to Europe saw me traveling to the Flemish speaking part of Belgium back in 2004.  I had just turned 19 and the reason for my visit was the acceptance of an invitation I received from the Belgian professional ladies team, Topsport Vlaanderen. The team took notice of me at the previous year’s World Championships junior race in Canada and wanted me to join them for a stagiaire (try-out) season.

The team manager arranged for me to stay at a local university sport hostel and being there during their summer holidays meant I was the only resident in the entire hostel apart from the caretaker and his family who lived there permanently.

Staying alone also meant training alone and having no intentions of getting lost, I would simply stick to riding out-and-back alongside the region’s main canal. Looking back now it seems like I barely explored the area but back then I felt very adventurous as I followed the meandering waterway.IMG-20160807-WA0004

In 2006 I returned to Europe and raced for the British ladies team FBUK. The team was based in a small Belgian village called Tielt-Winge, located just south of Brussels. I lived there for the entire summer racing season (6 months) and decided it was worthwhile to take some of my hard earned money and invest in a map of the area.

Goodbye out-and-back rides along the canal and hallo route scouting. Suddenly I could plan countless training loops and if I did get lost while out on a ride, my map would only be a pocket reach away to navigate me back home. Oh what freedom!

In 2007 I signed for the professional Belgian team Lotto-Belisol and in my 2nd year on the team I arrived in Belgium with my first ever Garmin training unit. Adios to my pocket map and howdy to my GPS device.

I still remember my first training ride on European soil with my Garmin unit displaying maps right there on the screen. I decided to zigzag around the neighbourhood to put the device to the test and then pressed the “Reroute back to starting point” feature. To my amazement the Garmin retraced my steps, navigating me right back to where I started.  In that instant my little Belgium suddenly became a very big place. From then on I could ride in any direction my heart desired knowing that I’ll be able to find my way back home.

The last two years I’ve been back racing in Europe but these days it’s on fat tyres with my Garmin Edge 1000 as guide. My Garmin has taken my European training routes to a whole new level with it’s in depth mapping functionality. By mapping courses on Garmin Connect (Garmin’s online training platform) I’ve been able to explore on-and –off road routes, repeatedly impressed with how well the software maps out bike-friendly routes.

I mainly use Garmin’s mapping function to design fun and scenic trails in an unfamiliar area or country but there is plenty more navigation features Garmin has on offer through Garmin Connect and their GPS devices. A good example is the “Round Trip Routing” feature which enables you to simply tell the unit how long you want to ride and it’ll automatically suggest three route options. Then there is also the option to simply enter an address, or look up a point of interest (i.e. food, tourist locale, etc.) like you would normally do on your Garmin automotive GPS device. This is quite handy when the caffeine tank is empty and coffee is needed.

Regardless of your navigation needs you can be sure that Garmin will have you covered and to this day Garmin’s slogan rings true for me – “You’ll be lost without it”