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
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
thank you, Gadget, for the entertainment provided :)
Good luck, all ye Freedom Challengers! Two weeks to go!