Sunday, 21 August 2016

TransBaviaans 2016 - Through the eyes of a noob.

What is the TransBaviaans ? 

Simple, one of the most grueling 1 day Mountain Bike races in South Africa. Riders have to cover 230KM in 24 hours. Starting from Willowmore in the Karoo and finishing in Jefferey's Bay. There is over 3000m of climbing, including the Baviaans Back Climb, the (in)Famous MAC (Mother of all Climbs), fangs, and the Never Ender.  Most of which you get after doing about 110km into the ride.

On the road we will cycle the following day

Route from Willowmore to Jeffrey's

Route Profile

Why do this ??

Once again a simple answer ... Because i want to and can :-)

Where did all of this start ?

It all started last year around November, when myself and my cycling buddy and best friend, Jeandre looked for a new challenge. Every year since we started Mtb'ing we look for a challenge to work towards. In 2014 it was completing the 30 KM, 94.7 Mountain Bike Race.( We started July 2014) The following year, i wanted to do all the Nissan Trailseeker races. 

Then was the "dare" lets do the Transbaviaans ..... that's how it started, almost like one of those "drunken dare's" , with the exception that we actually entered.

We entered in December our 4 man team, and called ourselves team BSG (Blood, Sweat and Gears) and so the journey to the Transbaviaans started.

The Journey to the Transbaviaans

From January we were all focused on the Transbaviaans, one of our original team mates decided very quickly that this endurance style riding is not for him. Fortunately, our fellow PEMBI and friend, decided he wants in . So there was our team to the end, Werner, Johan, Jeandre and Myself.

We all started training in earnest, some of us, more than other, i was the one doing less :-) I just got  new job after being retrenched and thus had to focus on that first.

I also arranged a Transbaviaans Info Evening at Centurion Cyclery (Thanks Gert) where we had Christiaan and Francois give us some tips and advice for the race, we also had Estie there from a coaching point of view and Vince helped us with some nutrition tips. 

We did long rides together, long rides with other people, rode 105 KM in pouring rain with some other tough PEMBI's. All in preparation of the TB. During the week, we went to the Power Studio in Pierre van Ryneveld, and sat on Watt Bikes to build Stamina and Power, to this day, i am 100% certain this was the thing that made me pull through.

We all also did some races in-between the normal training as well. All of this came with it's own set of issues :

  1. Cycling was done every weekend, very little family time. 
  2. At some point, being on the bike starts feeling like work, so the enjoyment factor is out of the window.
  3. Money spent on the bikes and accessories
    1. Lights 
    2. Services
    3. Clothing, like arm and leg warmers etc. (The List goes on)
  4. Doubt kicks in, am i doing enough, am i progressing the same as the other team members
  5. It's bloody Winter.... With the Race right after the winter, it meant spending many cold mornings on the bikes. Getting up was a mission.

The Big Issue

Early in June i was taken to hospital with a suspected heart attack, i thought , that's it, that's the TB down the tubes. Fortunately it turned out to not be so bad as originally though. Under the Dr's instruction i was to take it easy on the bike. Which was most likely one of the best things to have happened, because i started riding on my Heart Rate. I noticed when just slowing things down a wee bit, i could cycle much longer and still feel good afterwards.

Needless to say, at this point, my team mates was quite a bit ahead of me, when it comes to fitness and weight loss, Jeandre in fact , lost about 30 KG's this year :-)

There was some discussions after this incident, on whether it would be best, for the good of the team, if someone replaces me to do the ride. This did not happen, as the team felt there is still enough time for me to work a bit harder. This however left me with allot of doubt, on whether i should be still doing this.

The Race 

The day before the race 

So quickly the time has come for the race to start. Some tips below for the trip down to Willowmore, these are what i found worked for me and the team.

  1. We left Pretoria the Thursday morning, and drove through and slept over in Middelburg (about 700 km)
  2. The Friday morning before the race, we drove through to Willowmore (About 300 km) we got there refreshed but very nervous. 
  3. This is when our support driver and my sister in law, Thea helped us allot, she has been a support driver for a few teams over the years, and showed us the ropes. 
  4. Go to registration ASAP, it opens at 14:00
  5. Pack your crate for CP4 as soon as possible and go and hand it in. (It has be handed in before 20:45 if i recall correctly. Don't be late, they WILL leave without it.
  6. Have a early dinner. We ate before the race briefing, and walked to the briefing, helping with the digestion of food.
  7. ATTEND THE RACE BRIEFING, this is a must for first timers. They told us where to be on the lookout and which sections might be dangerous etc.
  8. try to get to bed, early-ish.

Race Day

  1. Get up at a reasonable time, we got up at 06:00, and this gave us enough time to have coffee, breakfast and a shower before getting dressed. 
  2. Thea dropped our other crates with our goodies in at the collection point, leaving us carefree to leisurely finish our dressing and packing of our stuff into the support car.
  3. Start check in is at 09:00 be there as close as possible to that time. There is allot of riders trying to check in.
  4. If you are a first timer, take it easy at the start and enjoy the moment, there are hundreds of people in Willowmore's streets cheering you on at the start. I felt like a bit of a TDF rider :-)

The ride

The first 25 km or so is uphill, take it easy, there is a long day ahead. As an experienced back marker :-) don't fuss too much about your position at this stage, there are always riders going harder than they should, during the first stretch and it is guaranteed to catch up with them later.

From around 25 km it is "downhill" for about 80 km or so. Don't be fooled by the downhill bit, it is a bit more of rolling hills with a downward slope. 

CP1 is not a check point, but rather a hydration station. We had roosterkoek to eat there, with some First Choice flavoured milk.

CP 2 is the first official Checkpoint. Here you have to enter and exit as a team, after receiving a little colored sticker on your checkpoint lanyard thingy 

After CP2 is where it all starts, you hit Baviaans back climb, which is breathtakingly beautiful. Do stop for pics and enjoy the view. After Baviaans back there is a nice downhill, the first proper one, at this point i must caution and mention that you check everything is securely strapped in. I lost my bloody IPhone somewhere on that decent. Now stuck with a el-cheapo android :-(

CP3 is right after the downhill after a small water crossing. Very nice Sosaties await you here. Take your time, not too much though, as after this point is the Fangs and MAC. Rest a bit, eat and hydrate and fill up. We had to switch on lights from this point on.

We started with Fangs 1, which is ride-able but very steep. For a big fellow like me, it meant walking a bit, the other team mates managed to ride it to the top. Fangs 2, is a different story, the road surface made it difficult to choose and stick to a line, especially for a slow climber like me. Once again, i walked most of it. 

After the second fang, you get to the bottom of MAC. I must say mentally it is a toughy, when looking up , and very far above you, you see the lights of other riders that is almost done with MAC.

The first part of MAC i found more steep than the second-half, thus again, i did quite a bit of walking, but fortunately i was joined by Johan, it was nice having some company on the long walk to freedom.

The second part we rode, to the top. Then just as you think you are at Bergplaas, they throw in a 4km drag to the turnoff to the Bergplaas check. Make sure you know the route, ask the Altech Team, they missed it and lost their lead because of that.

To me Bergplaas was the nicest checkpoint, the Soup there is to die for. The fireplace is dangerous though, don't go and sit too long next to it, you might not want to get up again. Here we also changed clothes, dry, socks and winter kit, like arm and leg warmers.

I said to myself before the ride, if i can get to Bergplaas, and still feel good, i know i will finish. And i did still feel good, as a matter of fact, the entire team did. There was allot of riders that fell out at this point. Some injured, mechanical issues, and some just plain gatvol.

We left Bergplaas for the big dipper down, this is quite a downhill and should not be taken lightly, be careful, the surface is rough and there are some 90 degree turns. Focus is key, here. Once at the bottom you have some rolling hills for about 18 km to CP5, the first place where you see your support driver. the last 3km before CP5 is tar road, it is heaven :-)

At this checkpoint we met with Thea, Dedrei and Lientjie. Was so awesome to see them there, in the cold night to support us. We had a chip roll and topped up our drinks and left for CP 6, which is an unmanned checkpoint. 

This stretch is also home to the Never Ender, roughly a 12 KM drag, not steep but it lasts longer than Zuma's reign.  It is very ride-able just loooonggg.

 It is here where uhm, i had to use the loo .... not sure how many of you had to take a "veltie" on a ride, whilst wearing a bib.... It's a mission i tell you. Basically had to suspend myself between a wall and a fence, and pull away the bib with one hand :-) I know it's TMI but just had to share it. 

Fortunately i did not kak in my bib, i think that would have made for a nasty ride home for all. 

Just before CP6 is a split in the road, and it is here were some other guys went wrong, we had to stop and check the map, to make sure we weren't wrong.  We we right, we checked in and headed for CP7, the last one before the end. 

Here we had some jaffels and coffee and milo and fillled up the bottles for a last time. From this checkpoint you have about  10 km downhill before the last nasty is thrown at you, in the form of Mini-Mac, short steepish climb, just enough to piss me off. So i walked a bit of it, the last walk i may add. 

From there is nothing major till you get to the freaking single track a few km from the end, this part was the first piece of the race i hated.

What an awesome feeling when you cross the railroad tracks again and you see the finish, all our wives were there, Dedrei, Lientjie, Marlize and Bianca. Also our support driver Thea and Klaus. If it wasn't for them, there would have been little fanfare, as we got there in the break of dawn, 20:48:23 later.

An ice cold craft beer is shoved in your hands to start the celebrations, along with a spur burger. 

So what did i learn ?

  1. Make sure you start your packing well in advance. Understand what you will need to pack them in crates. The crates is not big, but it was big enough for our 4 man's teams needs.
  2. Travel there over 2 days, do not show up on the morning of the ride. Some of the people that did that, did not finish the ride. Same with Travel back, rather split it up in 2 days.
  3. Make sure that you know and understand the strength and weaknesses of each team member. 
  4. Chamois Cream or "Hol Room" in afrikaans, is king, use it often.
  5. Look after each other, like we did, support each other. banter, joke, laugh, it all helps ticking off the km's.
  6. Always believe in yourself, no matter what people said, and how badly the odds are stacked against you. Always have an awesome support structure around you, your husband, your wife and kids, and remember them whilst pushing that bike up MAC
  7. Make friends, help other riders on the route, where you can, share water, share something to eat with a fellow rider, it might just help them to push through
  8. Lastly, enjoy the ride, enjoy the scenery, stop to take a photo, watch the pace. 
  9. Stay positive, especially beforehand. Stay away from negative people telling you, you cannot do this. 

Will i be back in 2017 ?

Hell Yes. Now i know why there are people out there whom has done this 13 times already. Go on, give it a try, remember, the harder you work beforehand, the better you feel on the ride.


Thanks to my Team Mates, Johan, Werner and Jeandre. It has been an epic adventure, we had up's and downs, flats , good times and a lifetime of memories.
Also thanks to my wife Dedrei, for believing in me, when i doubted myself the most. Your support and love has helped me through this.
Thanks Thea, for being such an awesome suport driver for us, you were more than that, your were our TransBaviaans Mammie :-)

Some Pics


Between CP1 and CP2
At the finish

Jeandre at Packhouse

Johan at Packhouse

Myself and Johan at Packhouse

The finish

My greatest supporter

Check daai wors

Bianca at the finish

Marelize at the finish

Jeandre @ Finish

The team at the finish

The full gang

Friday, 13 May 2016

Managing Documents with SharePoint Document Center

We recently dealt with a client that had a very specific requirement regarding document management in the SharePoint environment. Most of this was due to ISO requirements.

They had a current SP environment running on SharePoint 2010 with custom dev for things like UID's for documents etc.

We went in and installed SharePoint 2016, (There was other requirements as well). I create the site structure as before, but this time used a SharePoint Document Center.

Very important to note, or just a tip, before creating the site collections, activate the Document ID Feature in SharePoint. It can be done afterwards, but it seem to take a while, or not work always. For more info on setting that up, have a look Here

I added some Custom Content Types and Columns as per the clients Request - Results can be seen below :

Note the UID next to each document. This is auto generated by SP, no need to custom dev or columns with calculations etc. :-)

One of their other requirements was to have some of the SharePoint Columns appear as Information in their templates, and populated as a new document is created from a Content Type. This was the fun part to figure out, as some things are not as obvious as it may seem.

Above image shows how i have edited a Word Document's header, added a table with the required descriptions on the left. Now we have to insert the actual values on the right.

Select the cell in table where you want to insert the value, go to Insert Tab on the Ribbon, and Select Quick-Parts - Document Property. A list of available properties. The custom columns appear in the list, Document Creator, Document Type and Department (Custom - Using Managed Metadata)

There were 2 fields i had issues with, initially the Document ID column was not available. What i did was save the template to a document library, which forces the updating of content types and the creating of an initial Document ID. I could then find the Document ID Value from the list. 

The second one i had issues with is the "Version" field. For some odd reason, it is just not available to insert, but i found a workaround.

Go into the document library where the documents will be stored - Library Settings and then click on Information management policy settings.  

 Click to Enable labels and put this into the label format box : Version : {Version} \n . Then click to save. 

Go back to the document in Word , or it might need to be saved and re-opened. If you now go to word, you will see under the document properties, there is a field called label, that will now allow you to insert the version number.

The end product will look like this :

This document can now be attached to a content type for easy access for the end user, using the "new file" option from the Document Library 

If you have questions let me know by using the comments. Will help where i can. 

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

AvePoint - DocAve Accreditation Obtained

Hey all followers,

Just a quick note to "show off" a bit.

I have spent a few months working on and with DocAve 6, and have done some exams that i have passed.

Shows that hard work and dedication does pay off !!

If you are looking at DocAve look me up, or have a look at for more information.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Archiving completed Projects in Project Server 2010 or 2013

Closing a completed Project on Project Server This is bit a process, so bear with me on the lengthy Post.  Before we can start the Archiving of completed projects, there is a bit of work to be done, on existing projects. This will have to be done, otherwise the process will not work.

First Things First :

This post requires a new custom field to be created on Project Level using a lookup table with
 " Registered, In Progress and Completed" as values.

Once the field and lookup has been created follow the steps below.

Please do the following for ALL Projects on the PWA environment.  Navigate to Project Center and click on a Projects Name :
Figure 1: Select Project from Project Center

This will then open the Project Basic Info PdP (Assuming no customization has been done) if there was customization done on the PDP's the field needs to be added to the relevant PDP

Figure 2: Set relevant Project Status

 You will notice a new field at the Bottom labelled “Project Status” For EVERY project the correct value needs to be selected, either, Registered, In Progress or Completed. If this has not been done for all projects the rest of the process becomes Null and Void.

To correctly archive projects please follow these steps :

1.      Open Project Schedule in Microsoft Project
2.      Insert the remaining work column into the current view.
3.      Remove ALL remaining work on the schedule for all tasks (so there must be Zero remaining work on all tasks)
4.      Change to the Resource Sheet view  and Insert the “Booking Type” column
a.      Change the Booking type for all resources to Proposed (This will “release” resource allocations to the schedule)
5.      Change to the Gantt Chart view – and Insert the “Published” column
a.      Change the value of all tasks (Summery Tasks will not change) in the Published column to “No” (This will un-publish all tasks from resources Timesheets)
6.      Open the “Project Information”  Dialog Box from the “Project Tab” on the ribbon.
a.      Change the Project Status field to “Completed” – Click Ok
7.      Save and Publish project as per normal.

If you now navigate to the Project Center and have a look on the ribbon, there are 2 new Views:

Create 2 new views (or 1 new view for the archived / completed projects) You can always edit your existing (All Projects View or Summery view) to show only In Progress and Registered by filtering out "Completed" projects.

Add the "Archive / Completed view and filter out both, In Progress and Registered Projects. (If your security is setup in such a way, you can make this Archive view available to a certain category only like the PMO.

Below is an example of 2 views that has been created.

·        *All Completed Projects (This will show all Projects that have been completed)
·        *All In-Progress Projects (This will show all Projects with the status of “Registered or “In Progress”) Completed Projects will not be displayed in this view.

Figure 3 : New views

trust this well help with the process. If you have questions please drop me a comment on the post.

Monday, 11 January 2016

IT Change Control - But Why

This is not be a huge post on the topic, a very simple post (Rant) on why it is important, for all parties involved. For the purpose of the post, i will break it up into 2 different categories, IT Importance and Client (Business) importance.
Let's start with a scenario, You get a support call from a client, that they cannot create Projects, nor Project Workspaces, in Project Online, after the December holliday break. No one really worked during the holliday's but there are issues on the environment.
So now the consultant has to go out to observe the error and all the broken items in the environment. Once you get there and start troubleshooting, you find it is a feature on a SharePoint Site, that has been de-activated.
The client themselves could not do it, they do not have this permissions, we did not do it, so that leaves, a 3rd Party vendor, in charge of their O365 deployment. Apparently they did n "clean-up" and security activity during the holliday's, and though the Limited -access user permission lockdown mode is Unnecessary and can be switched off!
This deactivation of the feature caused all of the issues in the environment. After switching it on, it works again.
The impact that this unscheduled change had :

IT Impact

  1. 4 Hours of on-site work
  2. No starting point for troubleshooting
  3. No idea why something was changed (the logic behind the change)
  4. No documentation of implemented or proposed changes
  5. No discussion of possible impact to other systems, on change implementation
  6. Unnecessary disruption of service and unnecasary time and cost spent
Yes we can bill for the work, which is not the major issue, but rather the impact on the business affected :

Business Impact

  1. Unnecessary disruption of service
  2. Unnecessary cost impact
  3. No idea of any changes that happened in their environment
  4. End user time impact, their work falls behind which mean projects could potentially be delayed.
  5. "System Confidence", sound rather minor, but a bunch of incidents like this, could very quickly cause users to "dislike" or not "trust" a system, due to the frequent down time. 
So please, for everone involved's sanity levels as well as cost and business impact, follow some sort of change process, and document any changes made. 
To finish off, please find below a good description of a change:
Change control is a systematic approach to managing all changes made to a product or system. The purpose is to ensure that no unnecessary changes are made, that all changes are documented, that services are not unnecessarily disrupted and that resources are used efficiently. Within information technology (IT), change control is a component of change management. 
Happy Changing :-)