Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Final Day

Today all we had to do was get through Stettynskloof and then make our way through to Wellington to cross the finish line. For those of you who are not familiar with the Stettynskloof portage, it is a completely natural 7 km rocky valley where there is no activity except the occasional team who come through to remove the alien Hakea that have invaded the valley. The natural vegetation includes millions of proteas, river reeds and a whole host of fynbos varieties. It looks beautiful until you start moving through it. There is an ill defined path that runs about half way up, after that you are on your own. The bush is so thick in places that it can take 20 minutes to cover 20 or 30 metres. We got off to a bad start when the rocky terrain disagreed with my gammy leg. I had barely covered 500 metres before being reduced to a whimp. Glenn did an amazing job today. He basically moved the tandem through the kloof on his own. He alternated between pushing it and carrying it on his shoulders while I limped along behind. Hauling it up the steep final climb was an awesome feat.
While in the valley we detoured to have a look at the Shackleton air crash site. To see all the debris scattered about is a bit eerie. People died here and the mangled remains of something built to fly lying in a remote valley is sad.
We exited the 7 km valley in about 8 hours 30 mins and took another 3 hours to the finish where David said a few kind words and Earle Wakeford ( I rode with him in 2007) presented up with our finishers blanket.
The race is over and a tandem record set. The job is done. We rode it a few days slower than we should have but perhaps that is better as the bar has been set low enough to entice the next pair to have a crack at beating it.
Glenn has been a great riding partner. It takes a special combination for two people to slog away at a race like this for 21 days. In our case it worked well as not a single word was uttered in irritation or anger over the whole race. They say that if you can ride a tandem in a race and remain friends afterwards then you are truely friends. After a 21 day race of this nature that makes your friendship really special. Thank you Glenn for making this possible.


StuBrew said...

Congratulations. Your acheivement in finishing is admirable. To finish it through your personal trials is outstanding. To finish it on a tandem and all that brings with it, is truly something to behold.

In finishing the RaSA, not only a unique thing to accomplish but to do it in the way you have and to dedicate time and yet still with with humour to your blogs,I thankyou for giving the race a new dimension that few could emulate.

I don't think the bar has being set low, it will require a unique pair of individuals to surpass your efforts and in the style with which you have set it. Simply superb!

Rodney said...

Well done Mike & Glen - a fantastic effort, and something that will be spoken of for many years to come. And thank you for the inspiration that you have given to so many.
Well Done!!!!

Bradley said...

awesome okes!!!
well done