April 30, 2013

Joberg2c Day 5: The Grind

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.


Day 5. We have the routine down now. 5am wake-up call. Whomever needs to drop the kids off at the pool first goes, the other stands in the queue for breakfast.

We dress, we pack, we banter and then we head to the line for battle. Where speed meets patience in this beautiful race across the country. We tow the line behind the Massey Ferguson. It’s a beautiful, moody, overcast morning.

We had it down. 1.5km in and right near the front of the entire pack – somewhere I have not been comfortable until this morning.

“Dude, your partner has stopped.”

“Raoul, Nic is calling for you.”

I stop and Nic is approaching slowly. His front derailleur is poked. Proper. No big blade on a day that requires it ALL the way. Our collective hopes for the day are out the window. Now is the time to play smart.

There is no ego here. Zero. A very rare thing and something I know I find only in my best friends. No animosity at the lost hope for the day. We make a smart, calculated call to head back to the start line and find our trusty mechanic Calvin. It’s a complete freak mechanical. It takes 8-10min or so to get it sorted as I watch the guys test it, then make adjustments, then test it again.

I stretch my legs and ready myself for the long, steady time trial the day will be.


My moment is here as the call from my partner comes.

And so, as the finish line is being packed up, the cars are heading out the gate towards the next overnight stop and the bemused onlookers gawk at the two guys in full elite-level balleur kit heading out the start gate…20min late…we make our way out of Winterton. 98km lie ahead of us and so do 700 riders we need to pass.

15km in and we hit the first single track. It’s a 10km rolling tight single track and we still have 600 people in front of us. They are not fast in the single track, so we have to bundu bash around them giving pleases and thank you calls for an hour while we negotiate the wilderness of the grasslands.

Familiar faces urge us on as we keep the pace steady on and on. We collect so much grass in our derailleurs we have to stop to clean them before we mission onwards.

At the first water stop, we skip the queues and we I estimated we are around 400th now. The rollers start to take their toll as we have done a lot of work so far. Nic is far more proficient than I am in the rough stuff and accelerating past 300 riders, 2 at a time, starts to bring the buzz to my quads.

After around 2h30, my head starts to get the better of me. My pace starts to drop and I have to make peace with the chase. That we are still moving smoothly and that is counts for something. Into the top 200 as we get to water point 2, up a hill called “Steepest”. My body is not playing along but some banana bread sorts me out.

Through farmlands and open field we head towards the finish. I find a bit of mojo again with 20km to go and the last 20km go by smoothly. Just like that.

C’est la vie. We are not sure where we finished, or what our time was. It wasn’t about that at all today.

Nic and I got through this as a team today. Smoothly without any animosity or ego. We fought smart and will be back tomorrow with a little more vooma.

One must not try to trick misfortune, but resign oneself to it with good grace.


Yesterday, we spoke with the lovely Xandile from ITEC about being Pro. We joked that there is more to life than mountain biking and if we have a bad day, it’s still a good day in the grand scheme of things. We are here to raise money, to network and connect so that we can create a prosperous future for others.

Around 50km into the day today we sped past Twitch, one of the kids from Songo who is riding the race. We have him earmarked for something great and we believe he has an amazing future. He is riding with a head cold, battling on. We raced in our Rhino Raid kit today and this was in a game farm where rhino are a part of the package. Rhino Raid is part of a new movement, which essentially comes down to raising awareness through gaming. Songo + Rhino Raid in one moment, right there. Both causes are important to me.

It reminded me why we are out here. That racing is only a part of it.

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