Monday, June 1, 2009

Cycling with FreedomChallengers

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!


Gadget said...

Genade sussie dis 'n brak met 'n snor wat aan droogte gely het. En die arme ding het by sy nek van jou handlebar af gehang al die pad oor die berg en terug - sies vir jou! Kry tenmunste vir die brakkie 'n bungie harnass.

Mike said...

Those guys just have baloons in their packs and they probably weight less than your 2 litres of water. Looking tough is more important than being tough and they have the image sorted out nicely. On the trail you are going to be racing past these guys when they have thir "real" packs on. Happens every year. The Ride to Rhodes guys and gals are always at hand to welcome the RASA gang at the support stations. And the annoying thing (from a RASA rider perspective) is that the R2R gang are always clean and happy looking when the RASA riders arrive hours later.

Doug said...

mmm really not sure about you cat... I think it suffers from an identity crisis.