Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Random memories from 21 Arguses

2253 km in 88:22:53; 25.5 km/h.

Sunday was a most glorious day with stunning weather - cape town at its most beautiful.

Steel, cro-moly, carbon and aluminium.
Mountain bike, roadie bike and tandem.
Tackies, toe-clips, roadie cleats and MTB cleats.
Knobblies and slicks.
Well-trained and racing; injured and touring; undertrained and overseeded and dressing up as Hermione Granger (from Harry Potter, complete with life-size broom and cat) or a fairy, or just decorating the borrowed bike with balloons to celebrate 21 incident-free years

Rain, sunshine, wind, stronger wind and gale-force winds. a few gloriously beautifull days.
A particularly hot year over ou Kaapseweg where the race was stopped because it was too hot - and i was on a cro-moly rigid mountainbike with a harry potter full-size broom - injured, overseeded and undertrained

Finishing in Bakoven, meeting Bergleeu, Bones and some other cycling buddies on the beach for a quick swim afterwards.
Finishing in green point and not meeting friends afterwards because of hospitality-tent-duties.
Doing a personal best and all the buddies that year were somewhere else, so there was no-one who asked how the ride was.
Getting a massage after the ride, and ending up right next to where Weasul was getting his legs sorted out ... and then it came out that i've beaten him ever so slightly :P

There were some route changes: over ou Kaapseweg, then back to Chappies, then finishing at Greenpoint, then over Boyes drive
A draught in capetown where water restrictions prohibited the hosepipe-water-spray on suikerbossie - so they cooled us down with spraybottles.
Sounds of  'suikerbossie ek wil jou he'; a supporter on chappies cheering us on with 'i like to move it, move it'; a radio blaring just below kommetjie pass 'i really don't think you're strong enough'
Swiss bells moved from Chappies to boyes Drive. Loud cheers on Wynberg hill, baboons on Smitswinkel, the ever-beautiful mist at Misty Cliffs, breathtaking as usual up Chapmans Peak, Suikerbossie.

There were lots of friends along the way:
Vredenburg's Dok passing me on suikerbossie and a quick catch-up on the last years' events.
Michelle's dad passing me on smitswinkel for a quick chat.
Francois (the tandem partner) flying past me (with different pilot) too fast for more than a quick 'hallo'.
Brendan (ducttape), Estelle and Jan waiting for me & the knobblies
Chats with Calla & Louis's tandem when we shared the same starting chute - lots of other people & lots of other chats along the way -  all making the ride worthwhile and memorable

Waiting in the dark for the race to start. well trained, upgraded to cleats, looking forward to, and scared of the next few kays.
Riding a second lap - welll technically only a 3/4 lap extra after some flats - with gerard and wouter ... over oukaapseweg with loudly protesting legs

Trying to keep with the bunch up hospital hill - why do they always go so fast up there? - and losing them even before the timing mats that year that i had the broom on the bike.
The south easter blowing Francois & me off the tandem right at the start - and then dodging bikes that got blown over by the wind down Chappies.

Training rides - some years more serious than others
In Stellenbosch there were rides with my cousin Sonelle and buddies Gary, Johan and Nico to Jonkershoek after classes. Sometimes to Strand, and once to my parents' house in Joostenbergvlakte.
Solitary rides to Robertson and Rawsonville from Worcester.
In George, the whole crowd had mountainbikes. We put slicks on in summer, and immediately after the Argus the knobblies would come off for some singletrack 'till a month before the next Argus.
There were early-morning rides to the airport or Strawberry Hill (past Saasveld), afternoon-rides to Victoria Bay or Wilderness, and breakfast-rides to Knysna or Hartenbosch.
The geeky DF Malan computer studies teacher made the school newspaper for cummuting by bicycle.
Early morning training rides with Sebastine, the Dok, Calla & Co greeting the West Coast morning sun. Sometimes afternoon rides against the wind to Saldanha with Marida, and longer weekend rides to Langebaanweg, or from Cape Town back to Vredenburg.
Commuting to Unisa when I landed up in Pretoria, discovering the joys of lap-riding at Kyalami when I moved to Joburg.

A few times I was well-trained and underseeded, but more often i was undertrained and overseeded; on a few rare occasions seeded exactly right, what a joy.

A bike tour through Holland, where a random stranger started talking to me on a station, and when he heard I was from South Africa, knew about Mandela and the Argus tour.

Meeting unknown hubbers for coffee at the airport on the Friday afternoon before the flight to Capetown. Delayed flights, thunderstorms on Joburg international, and helmets and bicycle pumps sticking out of random hand luggage.

Leaving Gauteng with my cousin Herman in the dead of the night, and then pulling into a petrol station at dawn on a friday morning, with radio oranje blaring it out (to the tune of 'i did it my way') 'it's finally friday'

Lots of extra-ordinary people made the ride worthwhile:
Johan, Nico, Gary, cousin Sonelle - my first training buddies in Stellenbosch.
Alida, Dolf, Tricia, Elmarie, Wikus in George, then Calla, Dok, Chris, Oom Pikkewyn, Sebastine, Liesel, Frank - everybody from Vredenburg who made it worthwhile to get up in the mornings - you still are the best cycling-buddies i've ever had.
After I've moved to gauteng, my brother, who taxi'd me to & from the airport, to registrations, to starts, and fetched me afterwards. Who rode a few times on a tandem himself - other friends too - Johan Div, Bergleeu, Hylton - who looked after me more than they probably realise, Sebasting who always phone around this time of year.

The people I've met through cycling, the friends I've made ... those i've kept :D

Well done Rotary Club and PPA - superb organisation every single year.

Everybody say hopla!
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