Thursday, September 8, 2011

There was a day six

Yes, there really was. The Ride2Rhodes is all of six days but this rider got so caught up in the drama of the Race Across South Africa (RASA), I completely forgot to finish off the saga. But finish it I must as the most significant sports event so far  this year in my personal calendar. I'm about to embark on the next Event so I have to clear the decks.

I'm scraping the barrels of my memory now.  For possibly the first time in two R2Rs and one RASA. I hit the snooze button twice that morning in Vuvu. I felt drained. The polite knock on the door by our hosts galvanised me at last and @gadgetrules and I trekked back to the school to collect our stuff and push through the final day.  I knew it wasn't going my way when there was no hot water for tea and the kettle didn't boil in time before we left!

Last to go, the usual four suspects, Derek, Andries, Pawel and I, plodded out the door into a strong wind. Its 8km to the turnoff to Lehana Pass and the wind seemed to grow more ferocious, the closer we went. At times, I couldn't move forward into its teeth and I was standing still unable even to push let alone ride.

Having experienced Lehana twice already and once with strong winds, I was seriously fearful that I would get blown off the narrow path that wound its way up the ridge spine.  A long and complicated debate with myself ensued and in the end I succumbed to the fatigue which had sapped my mental edge and took in the sites of Mount Fletcher by road.  The two hour doze helped and I hopped on my bike on the other side of the mountain and rode back to meet the team.

I felt less bad about missing out when two of them said they would not have been able to help me if I had got into trouble. They were so busy trying to keep their own footing on the mountain in the insane wind. Some of the other riders opted for a longer route around hoping for a break from the pounding but all it meant was longer exposure, less recovery time and more exhaustion and for some, race ending injury.

We rolled into Rhodes with our own paparazzi - multiple RASA finisher, Trevor Ball - and celebrated with a wide range of drinks and huge plates of crispy chips. "Our" two RASA riders from FNB had a quick bike service and parts swop with Andries and Derek and were set to go the next morning on substantially better performing bikes.

I thought I might be envious of them setting off for the rest of the adventure but I was happy to have finished. Lack of long rides had taken its toll but the awesome cameraderie of our group had more than made up for the efforts of the previous six days.

And I can't close off this chapter without singing the praises of our guardians - Dave and Dawn. Nothing was too much trouble and when the going got really tough, they brought out the banana bread or fruit cake!  Its worth going back just for that. You guys rocked.

To the group - muchas gracias. I hope to ride with you again.

Posted via email from Go Cycling

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