We received feedback from our brave cyclists riding for Christine Revell Children’s Home. Although the Cycle Tour is done and dusted, we thought you might enjoy reading about their experiences along the way. We started receiving the feedback from Stage 3 of the race.
Stage 3 / Day 4
We are halfway – cannot pretend not to be more than a little pleased… This is definitely a case of an event one enjoys in anticipation – and then again in retrospect – but while you’re in it you constantly wonder why people do this to themselves and each other. The day they strap that participants armband on your wrist, it does look a little like the admission band to a mental hospital – maybe that’s why they do it!
For those who are interested: some of the seriously famous people who are participating this year are Alain Prost – him of Ferrari motor racing fame, Michael Mol and Vanessa Hayward, Tiaan Strauss, Corne Krige and my all time forever (sports) hero: Joel Stransky and then there’s the local heroes like 63 year old Henry Fagan.
The first water point of the day was at Skilpadrug – a patch where dust took on a whole new depth – even the pine cones were frosted. Met some ultra dedicated fans : there was a little old lady with a walking stick who battled her way through the field… And then there was the donkey who was dying to get back to his field… Only problem there was a constant stream of cyclists between him and his patch.
At Theuniskraal conditions were v-e-r-y civilised… This is the way one should run a water point. Lots of lawn chairs and tables under shady trees and umbrellas, with fine food stalls and a wine tasting going on, on the side. Here a tribe of ducks lined up to watch the procession. Had a wonderful chat with a lady from Getaway Magazine. As always – amazed by what locals do not know about an event with this much international exposure… Its being broadcast on 175 international news stations into 500 countries.
Today it is HOT – although the car says its 36.5c – it is hell out in the open. In Namibia they used to say “as die son jou aleen vang, brand hy jou dood“. This is about the size of it: the sun and heat is relentless – there’s not whiff of a breeze. Tiaan was heard to tell the interviewer that the race only really started after water point 3 ( there was no spectator access to that point). Apparently this last bit re-contextualised heat and dust for him… Makes you think.
A curiously hard part of being the fan caravan is managing all the STUFF : there is stuff you need, stuff you want, stuff you might need, stuff you should need, stuff you definitely won’t need but have to schlep just in case – many of the spares may never be needed, but if you don’t have them…
The difference between being on the inside as opposed to being on the outside this year, is the tremendous ‘presence’, the absence of Burry Stander is proving to be. His dad and brother are riding – they are nowhere near vaguely star performers, but they are in it and doing it. His wife (Cherise) is also riding, but with Burry’s other brother – they are obviously much higher up the field – she is a champion in her own right. It is sad beyond sadness… and the spectators have been speaking of little else – the incredible respect and high regard he enjoyed overseas. But while his family and friends are grieving, they are celebrating his life and what he stood for.
Interesting thing when one looks at the riders – there are many, many stories of desperately horrible things they have been through – stuff happened to most of them that one only imagines in your worst nightmares, and yet they get in there and keep going… Maybe it is those trials that make them strong – make them brave and resilient.
Spotted the Dawn Wing girls only once today: when they flew across the finish line looking as fresh as slightly dusty daisies can look. Their finishing time today was an hour and a half ahead of the lads – but since they started half an hour earlier, their lead today is just an hour. We’re not mentioning the overall lead yet – its a slightly sore point right now…
Pieter’s computer tells us he only consumed 4470 calories today – its an American cycle computer – it does not do kilojoules. Total riding time today was a whisker under 6 and a half hours – not bad.
For now its over and out from a hellishly hot Saronsberg… Tomorrow we fight again!