After 36 hours on my bike I appreciated the low-key finish that is typical of endurance cycling events. The field is stretched out so far that organisers and supporters watch the trackers and time their trek to the finish to welcome in their specific 'gladiator'. I returned the following day to see in the balance of the finishers who, having all slept over in Heilbron, managed to finish within a short while of each other.
Finishes like this, devoid of fanfare and blaring music, as well as the absence of a paid hype-master on the microphone, are just my cup of tea. It means you know everyone who has come to see you finish. They are not there by chance and they are all genuine in their praise. I was moved by the number of people that took the effort to schlep down to the finish line to see me finish my race. I won't list them, but you guys know who you are. I extend a hearty thanks to one and all.
So what did I make of the race? It's hard, but probably not hard in the way you would imagine. The cycling is not the hard part. The hardest aspect of the race is staying awake.
If you have never done a really long ride you might think that riding nonstop for 36 hours is an insane idea. It's actually not that hard, particularly if the weather conditions are okay. People often ask how I do it. The answer? You must just have the desire to do it. Once the thought has been planted and desire takes root the rest flows from there.
Riding nonstop is a choice. If you want to do the Durban Dash, Up or Down, then you can opt to stop over once or twice and enjoy the hospitality of a B&B host and let the darkness pass while snuggled up in fresh sheets with your head cradled on a soft pillow. And what's not to enjoy about that?
To Andy Masters, thank you for your unwavering commitment to getting events of this nature off the ground in SA. They are interesting and a lot of fun. They also attract a great bunch of likeminded cyclists.
Lastly, the million dollar question - would I do the Up ride again? 36 hours is not fast enough. I think I can do it in 32.