It’s the second running of the Ride2Nowhere in the tranquil small town of McGregor in the mountains of the Western Cape and part of the Langeberg Municipality in the heart of the Breede River Valley. As in 2012 the experience did not disappoint as the local community jumped on board to make all participants feel welcome.
Picking up my mate Thinus Crafford on Thursday we headed off to McGregor for his first stage race, arriving in the small town we quickly settled in at The Barn (http://www.thebarnmcgregor.co.za/) where we were staying. Now what could be scary or daunting would be that the locals recognised me from last year when I went up to the race village, the scary part is that it was the lady from the local pub (Overdraught Pub) and the people from Lords Wines. Having donated 20kg of my whale fat for whale oil production in Japan, another great thing for me was when some of the riders from 2012 (yes, there was woman too that picked up on this) could not believe that I the same person from last year being in the pristine physical shape I am in. Being 20kg lighter seems to be noticed.
Now let’s stick with Lord’s wines for now as the first evening developed into a fruitful tasting of the Lord’s Shiraz (http://www.lordswinery.com/) as we were the last to leave to race village the night before day 1. But that is what this event is all about, about catching up with old friends and making new ones in the laidback atmosphere for this mountain bike race. I won’t name names of all the culprits involved, but Mr Paul Valstar was involved…
Up early on day 1 and consuming Future Life for breakfast at the race village, off we went. This day is one of the days I suffered most on a mountain bike physically as I only sweated (or is that perspired) out all the Shiraz from the night before drinking the Breed River dry in trying to rehydrate. But it was a good day out as myself, Thinus and Andrew Rogers from HPF rode together in what turned out to be a great day…except for receiving the “Idiot Award” of the day. Now being famous one must always be prepared for when paparazzi is around, thus when we saw the photographer myself and Thinus had to pose (we were wearing JAG Bullyproof kit supporting the cause – http://jagfoundation.org.za/?page_id=669).
You know, for a good cause, to create some PR. Note to self, when riding in synchronised swimming style touching each other, make sure the road remains smooth and don’t suddenly become rugged. Touched handle bars and crash, boom, bang eat some dirt 3km form the start. I will upload the photos once I receive it. Other than that, good day with great people riding your bike.
Day 2 dress up day. Now Thinus’ wife, Loriaan and their best friend Geraldine (Gerra) Fourie arrived late Friday to witness our “Idiot Award” and were forceful the next day in us dressing up. See image below. I need not say more, other than totally out of character for me. What one wouldn’t do for friends, talking of friends – thanks Vanessa (http://vanessahaywood.com/category/blog) for tweeting this glorious photo of me to your 14,000 followers ;).
Day 2 was a bit windy but turned out to be perfect for riding and I only got taken out nearly once when Thinus decided to slide his front wheel in the sand into me. I missed riding over his arm just as for some reason I decided to swerve. That was my first near death experience of the day. Now followers of my blog will know about my blood donation to a dog in Constantia a few weeks ago. Imagine this, I’m peddling as hard as I can to keep up with flying Thinus and Andrew when suddenly a vicious Fox Terrier come from nowhere chasing them in front of me…and then not being able to catch them turned his grinning snout around focussing on the approaching mountain bike – me! Needless to say no animals were harmed at the Ride2Nohwere as I went into survival mode swerving and peddling at the speed of light, not to injure the innocent animal (SPCA take note). Imagine I hit the poor dog; fell and he started gnawing away at my calves as I lay trapped under my bike. Anyway, back to the ride, another great day with Andrew and Thinus (who fell another time, sorry bud) on the bike whilst making new friends along the way with Vicky and her husband, all the way from Durban as well as the two girls all the way from Bloemfontein. This is what the Ride2Nowhere is all about, rekindling old friendships and making new one.
After day 2 formalities we got home realising we were locked out. (Now to protect the innocent, Lolla I won’t name names) Fortunately for us the door to the outside shower was unlocked otherwise I would not have been able to start day 3 without cycling kit and a good night’s rest. The wind was howling through the night and we knew a tough day would be ahead. Rain and wind gusts up to 33 knots are what we experienced on day 3. Now, being challenged by gravity a climb of 9km into the wind was not the greatest way to start day 3 as I had to dig deep to keep peddling into the wind up the mountain. My slight body frame of 115kg got moved around in the wind so I don’t know how the 60kg racing snakes coped. But toughed it out I did as I didn’t even have time to swear at being out riding in non-fair weather conditions. My toughest day on a bike yet, conditions wise as I normally run inside and jump on the couch if there is a light breeze around.
Now a signature part of the Ride2Nowhere is the dam, yes damn dam crossing. Now imagine not being a rower and having to cross a dam in gale force storm conditions, I lived it and survived it. It was actually great fun. Thanks to Nicole Walder who gladly took my iPhone across in the rubber duck boat. Was not prepared to risk losing all the weekend photos in the dam, apparently if you go diving in that dam you might find a phone or two after yesterday. Anyway Nicole, I’m glad you decided not to ride day 3 and were there. In appreciation I will book that must needed massage for my tender muscles (http://showme.co.za/cape-town/lifestyle/advanced-therapy/). Having waited in the freezing cold for my bike to brought across the dam, the challenge went on towards the finish line. I was determined to finish, there was a hot shower waiting.
Thanks to Con Viljoen for putting the routes together, for some reason the hills were easier than in 2012. No, but seriously, it is a fantastic event. On a personal side I took off 54min of day one’s route (day 3 this year), 1 hour 7min of day 3 and 1 hour 9min off Day 3 (day 1 this year). My hard work and commitment for winter training in Virgin Active paid off it seems.
A huge thank you to Jan du Toit that is always there in support and no task is too big or small to handle. You are legendary Jan! Great vision from Greg James to establish the event in McGregor after the 2012 Absa Cape Epic went through the town.
But a HUGE thank you must go to Eulogy van Dyk and Maritza Terblanche from Cycle Lab Tours who put on a terrific event that captures the essence of mountain biking without the added pressure of it being a too serious race. You girls did a fantastic job and all the hard work and effort you put in it is much appreciated. I am sure you I speak for everyone in saying that the Ride2Nowhere will go from strength to strength – I will be back in 2014.
Well done Thinus on finishing your first stage race.
Until next time. I will create an album on Facebook for Ride2Nowhere
Still a Fair Weather Cyclist
My next event is the Arabella Challenge this weekend