Friday, 27 March 2015
Race to Cradock
As I sit at my desk back in my Johannesburg office I am not sure how to blog the 63 hour adventure I shared with Casper Venter. There is no merit is doing a day by day account as it ran as a non-stop film strip. There were no days as such. It was just light then dark and then it got light again and sometime later it got very dark and wet and we spent a few hours snuggled under a bush before it got light and then the sun peeked out briefly before it got dark and very wet and we arrived at the finish having covered a few kilometres short of 600 kilometres in just over 63 hours.
I knew very little about Casper Venter before the race but it was no accident that he had been assigned a last batch start which is typically reserved for riders wanting to race the event hard.
We arrived in Rhodes in appalling weather. The roads were snotty and everything looked and felt bleak. Walking into the building I met Casper for the first time. Apparently he had spoken to Glenn, the race director, and Glenn told him I wasn't fast but would just keep going so he should look to tag along. The big guns of Alex, Tim and Robbie methodically readied their kit while I flopped on a couch in front of the fire. Casper and I made some polite conversation. Just before lights out I spoke to Casper and asked him what his race strategy was. He said he had none but would like to ride with me. Generally I like to ride alone but Casper struck me as particularly congenial and I was immediately up for the company.
The rain fell off and on during the night and by the time we got up at 4am it had stopped raining. I coaxed down some food and joined the other 4 at the low-key start. Glenn looked at his watch and as it said 5 o'clock wished us well. The race had started.
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- Johannesburg, South Africa
- Just an ordinary guy who started riding in 2005 at the age of 45. I started with the ambition of completing the local 94.7 Cycle Challenge (94.7km). This is an annual road cycle race in and around Johanesburg. Some where along the way it become a race and not merely a completion excercise. I clocked a 2h54 in my first attempt only 6 months from my first trundle down the road and back. I was hooked and then discovered the magic of MTB. While my efforts on the road were credible, MTBing humbled me. Having said that, over the last 24 months I have competed in 9 multi-day events. I'm a very middle of the field rider, but I enjoy every minute of it.