The Charity Cycle Tour Challenge Continueson March 11, 2011
Day 4: Monday, 7 March – Kimberley to Britstown
After a good night’s sleep, we rose early at 03h30 to a quick breakfast before setting off for the 260km ride ahead of us. It was dark as we peddled off towards Britstown, making our peloton look like an arrangement of Christmas trees with flashing lights. It was dark for at least the first hour of cycling, but we all felt safe and secure on the highway with our ever efficient support crew, ambulance, refrigerated truck and bike trailer.
We’re all in the saddle for 5 to 8 hours every day, no relays. This endurance tour (or any tour for that matter) is definitely something that should only be completed by those who are mentally and physically prepared for the challenge.
Our celebrity rider, Nicole Flint has been riding tandem with Johann Maré (from Beauty & the Beast) and hasdone exceptionally well to date. Nicole has only been riding for 2 months with most of her experience being in the spinning studio. This tour is something completely new to her, but you would never have guessed it. She is such a bundle of energy, keeping everybody in high spirits by making us laugh in times of exceptional strain.
We all arrived safely in Britstown at 16h00. For the first time during the Charity Cycle Tour, you could see all the cyclists were starting to show signs of strain. Thank goodness for our physiotherapists who were on standby to put us back together again. We enjoyed a good night’s rest after being treated to a buffet fit for a king; comfort food like real home-made Springbok pie was appreciated by all.
Day 5: Tuesday, 8 March – Britstown to Beaufort Wes
Another early start, up at 03h30 for a grab and go breakfast and a short prayer from our Captain, Ernst Horn (Dominee). We set off en route to Beaufort Wes, prepared for another very long day and a 250km ride. Fortunately we had a slight tail wind which enabled us to get to Three Sisters in very good time.
We were treated to lunch, and after a necessary safety briefing we set off along the dangerous N1. We were greeted with a “semi-gale force” wind which made things a little bit tricky, but our strong riders rode in such a way to absorb the wind while the rest of the cyclists remained slightly protected. We were approaching a total of 1000km ridden in the last 5 days, and the amazing camaraderie was now more evident than ever.
We all got in at 16h00 with shattered bodies. It was a gruelling day that seemed to stretch on forever. We stayed at the local Lodge and were treated to a superb “braai”. A spectacular thunderstorm covered the sky that night offering great photo opportunities for all. After a good massage from our trusty physiotherapists, we were in bed and out for the count by 21h00.
We’ve been travelling with a film crew and a camera man who have been taking great footage of the tour and doing daily interviews with the riders. This will all be edited into a 30 minute highlights package on Supersport. Details will follow soon…
Day 6: Wednesday, 9 March – Beaufort Wes to Laingsburg
We set out at sunrise for a 190km ride to Laingsburg; we enjoyed a lovely morning ride up until our first stop in Leeu-Gamka. Our fabulous support staff awaited us with milo, coffee and rusks, while our physiotherapists were giving all the cyclists leg rubs and sun screen. Some of the riders, especially the ladies were suffering from heat rash, but we all persisted with the tour and made sure we applied sun screen three times per day.
After the pit stop, we were off for the challenging drag up to Laingsburg. The sun came out and we all had to dig deep to survive the last 2 hours of climbing. This is what an endurance tour is all about. We all know the saying, “what does not kill you, will make you stronger”; nothing could be closer to the truth in this case. It was very challenging. Our Captain Ernst controlled the pace of the cyclists very well, allowing rows of only 2 inside the yellow line at all times.
We used a rotation system of 10 minutes, so everyone had a turn pulling the group from the front preventing us from dropping speed. This system has proved to be very successful and fair on the riders. We have 2 domestiques (a person in the team who supplies the rest with water and food) every day and it takes a special person to be able to not only fetch water for the riders, but to also push a little where needed. Top of the list for this demanding task are David “Rot” Van Heerden and Gary “Sea-biscuit” Needham.
We arrived at Laingsburg at 14h00 and were treated to a great lunch of fish & chips because after all, we were in the Cape now. Great food and accommodation were on offer that evening. With such hospitality we were all ready to rock and roll in the morning. At this point we all want to express our thanks to Johann & Julandé Maré for organising this amazing event. All the cyclists have gone through exceptional pain and suffering over the past 6 days, and with only one day left we are already feeling sad that the tour is almost over. The pain and suffering is nothing in comparison to what our beneficiaries have to endure in their daily lives; we are more than happy to do this for them.