Monday, June 1, 2009

Cycling with FreedomChallengers

So.
I signed up for Ride 2 Rhodes.

The kindergarten-version of the Freedom Challenge, complete with a guardian to look after us :)

Gotta do a bit of training. Even though this is the novice-version, there would still be hills to climb. But when Dave suggested on Saturday that we go for a ride with Fiona and the Freedom Challengers, I was a bit wary ... these people are going all the way to Cape Town, and they probably trained accordingly - if their blogs were to be believed. Intimidating!

But I allowed myself to be talked into riding with them ... they would be cycling with full kit and apparently were tapering, and who could resist a ride in the Magaliesberg area anyway?

An early start on a coldish morning.
Dave lead us down a tar-hill to test the buff's ability to keep the ears warm, and to find out where toe-freezing-point is. Then up again, through the gate, and heaven. This is why i cycle. For dirt and pretty views and rocky climbs with gnarly downhills. On towards the dam, then down, another little singletrackie through grass, and coffee.

Then a portage - 'cos the Queen Bee said so, and even though i was gonna do the kindergarten-ride, i, too, will have to go over Lehanna. That's what they said, so I went with them.

'they' also confirmed a few other things for me:
  • the ride 2 rhodes is 6 days, not 7 - so i have enough cycling kit (the luxury of not having to carry everything, therefore being able to take clean kit for every day)
  • the 20 litre bag will be big enough, even with travel-size makeup and other unmentionables in the bag
  • thank you Fiona for all the tips on navigating! i'll see how much i can remember
  • apparenlty my pet cat looks more like a dog, but in the end they admitted that maybe it could pass for a lion-cub, which is feline, which makes it a cat.
  • my lift back from rhodes was in fact riding with us in the group (i only had email contact up till then)
  • blue is a very good colour for a camera - now it must just arrive in time, otherwise i'll have to take the SLR
There was a race at van Gaalens, so we couldn't ride my alltime favourite singletrack :(

The Freedom Challengers quickly replanned the route, and we went up the vegetable farm, a short climb, a nice downhill (the bike loved it!) then up some gravelroad, and then up a stunning little rocky climb. heart rate monitor's battery is flat, but i'm sure with the last remnants of last week's cold it would have been a ne max heartrate. All of them with backpacks approaching 40 kg's, way up ahead on the climb, and me trailing a km or 2 behind them with my 2 litres of water in my bag. (That's why I do the novice ride.)

Did I ever feel left out of all their talk about ice-cream boxes that had to be packed and sent down to capetown, or about their final preparations, or about parts of the route that i wouldn't do? Not at all. Just very thankful for a few things:
  • i didn't have to climb that rocky bit with a backpack almost as heavy as fiona herself.
  • i know people who know how to connect all the juicy bits in the mountain in the best possible way, creating a stunning ride :)
  • happy to be on my bicycle -the bike absolutely loved the ride
And mostly a little bit sad that the preparations are nearing it's end, and that their may not be repeats of a ride like this one :(

thank you, Gadget, for the entertainment provided :)

Good luck, all ye Freedom Challengers! Two weeks to go!
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