Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Freedom of the South African singletrack

Magaliesburg Breakfast ride

"Oooh you going to love these trails", Dawn said as she put her armwarmers on.
"Tall order", i thought to myself as i fastened the helmet. I was still on a high from the van Gaalens Daggapad/Greek church trails the previous day, and didn't think that better trails existed.

Studies kept me out of riding for a few weekends, but 3Towers is getting closer and when the invitation about a Magaliesberg breakfast ride landed in my inbox, i couldn't resist.

I forgot what a cool crowd these Freedom Challenge Friends are. Once you've carried your bike over mountains through snowstorms and into gale force winds - once you've blogged and tweeted the race experience back to the impatient news-hungry followers - there's nothing that you can't do. It's bad enough if you do this once - but in Sunday's group there were repeat offenders, people who went back as guardians, one who finished FC with a broken wrist, another who should have stopped in Rhodes due to knee injuries, but continued - almost all of them already on the list to do it again next year.

Maybe it's the type of person attracted to these types of rides - or maybe I was just extremely lucky to get to know this particular crowd. They never seem to be in a hurry, they never make you feel bad that you're (again) the slowest rider, always there to help, to support, to encourage without even being aware of it - sharing dreams and trails, discovering new ones - and a sense of humour above all.

But I digress.

So - Dawn said i'll love the trails, and I was sceptical, but i wasn't there to play (I had my fix the previous day at Van Gaalens) and I was quite willing to tolerate a boring ride for the sake of training.
We parked at the Zennex garage on the Hekpoort road, freewheel down the hill, and then onto singletrack. The morning was a mix of dirt road, gentle climbs, surprise-singletrackies that would have Dawn emerge with a big grin - and some fast downhills for even bigger grins.

After Wimpy 'brekkie buns' in Magaliesburg we climbed a steep hill, then more singletrack, a quiet dirtroad that might have been uphill - to provide the training for the day - with Dave, Doug and Dawn babysitting me and talking me up the hill - until we reached some more singletrack.

Dawn was right: I did love the trails. I would love riding anywhere with them, but it's always a bonus to ride spectacular trails. Hoping to have more free time next year for many more of these rides :)
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