Monthly Archives: January 2017

#TeamGarminMTB report on @attakwas. @GarminSA @benmelt

For those of you that missed the good news, Yolandi du Toit and I are now Team Garmin MTB full time in 2017 after a successful 5-race partnership last year. Despite being very unplanned we had our first race this past weekend and it’s my privilege to write our team’s opening race report for the year.1

In a country as endurance sports mad as South Africa, any event with the word ‘Extreme’ in its title is sure to live up to its billing. The Attakwas aka ‘The Hell of the South’ is a prime example.

Named after the Attakwas kloof (gorge) which is the signature section of the race course, the 121km journey from Oudtshoorn to Groot Brak can be divided into 3 distinct segments. The race starts on the Chandelier Game and Ostrich Show Farm where jeep track cuts through Karoo Fynbos making for some high speed riding. The first waterpoint 25km into the race signals the start of the second phase with tough riding on unspoilt tracks through the Doringrivier Nature Reserve and finally the Attakwas kloof.

A technical descent to the 3rd waterpoint marks the final part of the race with wide open and wind exposed district roads taking riders to the finish on the coast.

It is a tough race and not for the fainthearted, especially as it comes so early in the year when race fitness is an unknown to most. As much as Yolandi and I wanted to do this race the travel and logistics meant it was a tough ask for us.

Cue a last minute invitation from race organisers, Dryland, to co2S6A0240me and do their race along with the help of some friends who could offer us a lift and help with the logistics of a race which starts and finishes in 2 places, and we were on our way! (It obviously doesn’t take much to lure us into adventure!)

Being so last minute and with no specific preparation Yolandi and I decided to be conservative and view the race as a long training ride. Obviously it had the added benefit of deflecting any pressure so we could focus on the basics. Our game plan was to start slow and ride stronger towards the end of the race when start-of-the-season nerves and first-race-of-the-year adrenalin can easily entice one into spending way too much energy early on.

Of course these best laid plans went to hell as soon as the starter’s pistol fired and the wheel
s rolled in anger. Both of us had a strong race up until the 70km mark, after which we basically hung on and made sure we finished the race. I was fortunate to maintain most of the gains I had made through the Attakwas finishing in 6th while Yolandi was caught by some groups on the windswept roads towards the finish, dropping down from 6th to 8th. It just goes to show how fragile any lead was going into that final sector and how much experience counts in this event.

Despite the customary suffering that accompanies the opening race of the season we are happy to get one under the belt, along with some decent race intensity miles.16142739_1232567616830076_3645571980655099432_n

Travelling with friends and seeing the weekend and the event through their eyes was also very rewarding and made us realize why we started racing our bikes in the first place. One of our companions’ mother was the last competitor to finish the Attakwas inside the time cut, crossing the line with a mere 3 minutes to spare after suffering several mechanical issues and walking some of the technical downhills. Witnessing her tenacity and the joy of her friends and family when she beat the time cut was worth all the effort!

Photo Credit

A ‘new’ Team Garmin to focus on Africa in 2017. @GarminSA

9 (2)Before looking to the year ahead it’s impossible not to reflect on the year gone by and what a year it was!

In 2016 I competed in numerous high level events both nationally and internationally thanks to the unwavering support of Garmin. Being able to travel and compete in these events all across our beautiful South Africa, raw Iceland, historic Europe and tropical Mauritius was rewarding on both a professional and a personal level.

[The gift of travel is that the experience gains value with time shaping one’s perspective with each passing day.]

Adding some spice to an unforgettable 2016 was being able to race alongside another Garmin Brand Ambassador and sharing these experiences with someone likeminded.

This ‘Team Garmin’ initiative was instigated when Walter Mech, Garmin MD for Sub-Saharan Africa had the vision of a mixed team representing Garmin at mountain bike events. I have been with Garmin since 2014 so all that was missing was a male partner to complete the mixed duo. Fortunately my partner in life happens to be a pretty handy mountain biker and with the blessing of his sponsors we competed as Team Garmin at 5 stage races in 2016. Being partners in life and cycling partners are two different things and we were obviously cautious of how this new dynamic would influence our lives both professionally and personally.

Needless to say, Walter’s idea was a success and the Garmin Mixed Team dynrr2amic of myself and Ben Melt Swanepoel turned out to be one that flourished. We make a great team on and off the bike which is evident looking at our results in 2016.

Building on our success from last year Ben Melt and I will officially form Team Garmin in 2017 with increased support from Garmin and an extended race program. To add to this exciting news we’ll be focusing on mountain bike stage racing and other Garmin cycling related events throughout Africa.

Garmin’s Sub-Saharan footprint includes 25 countries beyond the borders of South Africa. In light of Africa’s rapidly expanding fitness industry it only makes sense for us to compete in South Africa and Garmin’s other African markets where events exist.

In addition to the races in South Africa we as Team Garmin are currently scheduled to compete at African events such as the Namib Quest (Namibia), the FNB 1-Zambia (Zambia), the Rift Valley Odyssey (Kenya), the Kalahari Challenge (Botswana) and the Southern Tropical Challenge in Mauritius.

Join us and share in our exciting African adventures by following our facebook page –

We look forward to another bumper year in Garmin colours filled with experiences way beyond the ordinary making it a challenge to #BeatYesterday!



Team Garmin’s review of Garmin Connect. @GarminSA

Slice 3Owning a Garmin device is only half the story. Unlock its full potential by using the Garmin Connect Mobile App and/or Online software.

Garmin Connect offers a whole range of training tools to assist you in planning, tracking and reviewing your workouts. The software includes features such as joining team challenges, beating other cyclists’ best times on local routes and more to help you improve your fitness. It can help you become a better athlete or just improve your health in general whilst having fun.

We’ll be sharing the Garmin Connect App and software features in various posts, so make sure to keep following.

Let’s start off with the Garmin Connect Mobile App features before heading on to Garmin Connect Online software.


When you open the Mobile App Snapshots is the first data you will see. If you swipe across the screen you’ll be able to see a daily review of all your data such as steps, sleep, workouts to name but a few. In a word – a snapshot of your daily activity.

Sleep Tracking

Most Garmin devices include the sleep tracking feature. The unit will automatically track your sleep metrics, including the time you fall asleep and wake up.

What does a good night’s sleep look like? If you slept like a baby and wake up refreshed your chart will show a steady wave of peaks and troughs.

How do I benefit from sleep tracking?

When I haven’t recovered sufficiently from a training session (over tired) or ate something that didn’t agree with me or even if I went to bed late, the chart will show an unsteady or unfamiliar graph in the morning.  This indicates that I have to change something in my daily routine to return to normal sleeping patterns.

Next time we’ll have a look at the Step Count and Calendar features

Following on from last time we look at the Step Count and Calendar features.

Step Count

Garmin Connect works with your device to create a daily step goal that’s customized to you and your lifestyle. The goal adjusts up or down depending on your previous step totals, always keeping you challenged and encouraging you to be a bit more active than the day before. If you prefer, you can also set your own daily goal with the Garmin Connect App.

How I benefit from Step Count

The day before and of an important session or race, I will use the step tracking feature to make sure I don’t accumulate any unnecessary daily steps. A fresh pair of legs delivers a better session and subsequent recovery assures maximum benefit from the session.


If you want to look at a specific training session or view any previous info or activities just head to the Calendar tab. Here you’ll be able to access and review all captured data for a specific date. The Garmin Connect App splits steps, sleep, heart rate, runs, cycles and golf data. You can tap a day and then the type of data you want to review.

Next time we’ll have a look at how to review your sessions and editing your data.

Following on from last time we look at reviewing your training sessions and editing your data on the Garmin Connect App.

Review your sessions

Any individual session is best found via the calendar. If you want to get more of an overview about your performance head to the Running or Cycling Snapshot. From there tap the graph at the bottom and you can then filter training sessions over 7-day, 4-week or 12-month time scales. You can then see averages and totals as well as personal records.

Another great place to find stats is in your profile. Head to Settings > Profile & Privacy and scroll to the bottom to see your activity class designated by Garmin and your average VO2 max score.

Edit the data

You can edit any activity by heading to the item in the Calendar, tapping the three dots in the top right and choosing Edit Activity. From here you can name the activity, add notes and even change the type of exercise, if it’s been mislabelled.

Next time we’ll have a look at uploading Garmin data to Strava and joining a cycling or running group via the Garmin Connect App

Following on from last time we look at uploading Garmin data to Strava and joining a cycling or running group via the Garmin Connect App

How to upload Garmin data to Strava

First, go to the Strava app on your phone (or on your PC) and make sure the Garmin app is installed (Garmin Express for PC/Mac users). You can then choose Settings > Link Other Services, and choose Garmin from the list. Enter your details and as soon as you pair your Garmin unit with Connect, it will automatically send the workout data to Strava as well.

Join a cycling or running group via the Garmin Connect App

The Garmin Connect Mobile App works mainly as a tool for reviewing your activity, but it also lets you search for groups to join. The groups come in various flavours from clubs to distance challenges all over the world.

Once you’re in a group you can see how other members are tracking towards their goals, whether that’s in terms of kilometres run, calories burned or total steps taken. The info comes in the form of a league table for an added dose of motivating competition.

More about Garmin Connect Online and its features in the next post.