Cory Takes on a Tour…
As someone who is a confessed adrenaline junkie, it might seem odd that Cory Schmitz is taking on a long, slower-paced ride… Cory, our official Tour astronomer, tells us why he’s excited to swap downhill racing in order to ride the Nedbank Tour de Tuli.
I ride bikes downhill.
I didn’t always, but for the last couple of years, the longest rides I’ve done have been around 25 to 30 km.
After the early days of playing in the woods on my bike, both trail riding and long-distance riding, and then XCM as an adult, I discovered the exhilaration of racing downhill with enduro and downhill MTB. I haven’t looked back since…. that is, until the Nedbank Tour de Tuli came along…
I’m one of those baggies-and-protective-gear-wearing hoodlums that zips by you on the descents and loves the jumps on the Spruit, but struggles like a beast on the climbs… that is, until the Tour de Tuli came along.
I’ve spent full days on the bike often enough, but downhill is a diﬀerent animal — spending my time standing on the pedals with my saddle dropped, sprinting downhill in full body armour for about 3-5 minutes at a time.
Over the last couple of months, I’ve set aside the adrenaline-seeking short rides for some long, dreary, training. I admit getting my mind around it has been tough, but looking toward the goal of the Tour has been all I’ve needed to keep going. I was reminded, again, that part of what gets me on the bike is the ability to get out of the hustle and bustle of humanity and into nature. The hills are now much easier to climb and I ﬁnd myself enjoying the extra endurance I’ve built up.
Training for the Tuli has mostly consisted of cradle loops and extra-long rides, holding myself back on the descents, and focusing on keeping my legs spinning instead of sprinting. I even traded my heavy double-thick sidewall super-knobby downhill tires for some lightweight and fast rolling rubber. I’d forgotten how much diﬀerence in eﬃciency a good fast-rolling tire can make on the ﬂats and climbs.
Have I learned to love the XC marathon style of riding again? No — I’m not giving up my 14 kg enduro bike with its 160 mm of suspension — but that’s not what the Tour is about. I cannot WAIT to ride and I’m even doing the Tuli on my enduro bike!
I’m also stoked that our training loops are finally coming to an end and that we’ll get a reward for all this saddle time… During the Tour I will also have the opportunity to talk to you about the cool stuﬀ in those beautiful night skies. Speaking of those dark and starry skies — if I can wangle it, I might need to borrow a few of you nice people and your bikes to be models for some nightscape photo ideas I have!
I think I’m ready. Bring on the 80 km day! I’ll ﬁnd some natural jumps to session. So… will I need my full-face helmet for this Tour? No? Are you sure? Fine… I’ll get over it. See you all there!