Saturday, 17 November 2012

Training and Preparations...

Feeling pretty confident
So here I am, no experience on a bicycle whatsoever and I have decided to take part in the longest cycle challenge in the world, namely the Tour da' Afrique.

Well, go big or go home, I always say... Once I set my mind on cycling though Africa the fun part started... 

Training and Preparations!!!!

Waiting at the start...
Firstly, I arrived home after being overseas for almost 3 years and I was ready to start my training, but my biggest problem was that I actually don't own a bicycle. The only "interaction", one could say, that I have had with a bicycle was when I won a blue BMX bike from a lucky packet competition when I was 11 years old. My auntie, took my cousins and I to the movies in Vredenberg and as a treat we each got a Lucky Packet. In this packet you find the usual cheap toys, sugary sweets and a leaflet adverting silly things for kids. I for some reason studied these leaflets and found a competition one could enter. At the time I don't even think I knew what the potential prize was, but I entered it anyway for the hell of it. And then a few weeks later a blue bicycle was delivered to our farm as a prize.... I must have been the only kid that entered, cause I'm usually not the lucky one in the family. I rode this bike until it got it's first puncher, and then it sadly sat in the shed to rust. We live on a farm called Doornfontein - direct translation Thorn Fountain - so not the most bicycle friendly environment.

However, the problem of no bicycle was quickly solved when cycling enthusiast and family friend, Rudolf Gruber, offered to lend me his old mountain bike and so I had wheels to begin training. My dad took off the front wheel and placed it in the back of the car to take back to the farm from Cape Town. The next morning early I am awake and excited to begin my training, but the wheel was still off the bike... Too embarrassed to wake someone and ask for help, I attempted to put the wheel back myself. I was quite pleased when I seems to be successful, and thought to myself "well this isn't too difficult, I don't know what all the fuss is about". Little did I know... My brother in-law, Micheal, stepped outside and saw me playing around my new toy and upon inspection, he burst out laughing and pointed out that I had successfully put the front wheel on backwards and failed to connect the breaks... Well "A" for afford!! And so from then on I got idiot proof lesson on everything Bicycle and Cycling. One must understand, I truly had no clue about anything bicycle related and now a few weeks ago I made the decision to cycle through the African Continent from Cairo to Cape Town... I can see why some might think I'm a little crazy, but these nothing like a good challenge to keep me focused and get me motivate.

The Langebaan Lagoon Cycle Challenge
Our farm is absolutely perfect for training proposes, it's got plenty sandy dirt roads that go on for miles and miles with little traffic, but lots of snakes. On a daily bases when I get up for my morning rides I see at least three snakes en route on hot day, mostly the black mole snake and other times I get the surprise of coming across Cape Cobra or Puff adders, which get the heart racing. I have scouted out a good 55 km cycle which provides a long stretch of difficult off road conditions, few climbs, sandy patches as well as the baking heat from the South African sun. I like to think I got most of the African terrain and weather conditions covered in my training, but nothing can truly prepare you for Africa, and that excites me. I cannot wait to be challenged physically, mentally and emotionally and I believe the African continent will put my character to its biggest test yet.

I participated in my first ever bicycle race, namely the Langebaan Lagoon Cycle Challenge. At the time of this race I had only been riding my newly borrowed bike for about a week. I entered the 80 km challenge and to my surprise and everyone else's too, finished in 3 hours and 30 min. After the race when I chatted to fellow riders and told them I only started cycling a week ago and the next cycle challenge I'm planning to do will be the longest in the world, namely the Tour da' Afrique, they all thought I was joking or crazy. This reaction is my best, because I'm far from crazy, I'm just bored of doing whats expected. I thieve off the unknown, unexpected and searching for the next exciting adventure.

My legs feeling a little sore after the 80 km cycle, but it's my most rewarding pain...

No comments:

Post a Comment