A month in Stellenbosch

Sauser tests tires, practices being a film star and fights mosquitos

It's already been a month since I left my Swiss home and travelled to my second home here in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

As always, I was rushing over the last few days before my departure. I think all of this happens because my brain starts to spin about with what still needs to be done. With all that thinking, too much turns up, especially the "not so necessary stuff", but when I am in that "has to be done" mode, it feels important and I start rushing around.

Yet, as soon as I made the train toward the airport, all was cool, and I forgot about what I forgot to do at home!

Just before my departure to South Africa, I was involved in tire testing and development with Specialized. We were a small team of engineers and mechanics, so everything was super productive. I was glad the snow melted off the trails just a few days before testing kicked off!

We compared some of our Specialized tires against those of the company's top competitors on the trail and on the gravel plus on the road using a Power Tap to measure wattage. Three clincher setups were tested, and they felt great with low pressure over wet rocks and roots.

Sure you will not trust me to write anything here about the test outcome, since I am a Specialized baby. But all in all, you can believe that our tires showed awesome results, especially the Fast Track SLK and LK, plus my favorite one, our Renegade 1.8.

At the beginning of February, it was time for the Total Sport Challenge. It is a seven-discipline race, along the Indian Ocean's coast. Unfortunately, due to gusty winds the surf, ski and swim had to be cancelled. My start for the mountain bike leg kicked off close to a beautiful golf resort with a great bar equipped with awesome sofas, a good view over the ocean, plus it served strong, good coffee. It was the perfect place to hang out before my turn. The only problem was that I didn't have a designated start time, and I was depending on a phone call to tell me when to head over.

I never trust those guys behind the phone, since they like to get me out for my start time early, and they love to see me waiting in the transition zone. Waiting is better I suppose than being late. I've been late before!

I felt very good during my one-hour bike race, although Kevin Evans was still a bit faster then me. In the end, we won by a few minutes. No wonder considering our "all star" team name and team members including Burry Stander, Olympic triathlon champion Jan Frodeno and running legend Warren Petterson.

Last week was a little bit hectic, but nevertheless, very cool. We had a Specialized team camp, and that means lot of pictures and filming had to be done. During that period, I also flew up to Johannesburg to meet the "DCM mining and minerals holding" company, my personal sponsor.

For the team camp, Todd Wells flew down here from US with his wife Megan, though they left their dog behind. We filmed a movie clip, which I promise will be superb given all the filming we did. It will be online soon at the i-am-specialized.com webpage. The footage will show a lot of behind-the-scenes action and will give a very good inside view of us athletes training here in Stellenbosch. Scenes included breakfast time, exercising in the gym, performance testing, running, etc.

Why did it take me so long to buy a mosquito net here? My friend and apartment-mate Silvio Bundi and I were fighting every night with those little buggers. The fan did not really work, the special electrical plugs were a little bit too sketchy, and anti-spray plus ear plugs only kept them off for a few hours.

However, now my net rocks! Close it and sleep in it. Don't think now we are sleeping under the same net, though. Of course, since we bought the nets, we rarely see any more mosquitos in the apartment. While we were serving as their power food every night, they seemed to increase like popcorn.

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