A singlespeed adventure during the 2010 Freedom Challenge.
Go right to the beginning by clicking here, or to the start of the adventure by clicking here
Friday, July 2, 2010
Driving back from Cape Town yesterday, through the vastness of the Karoo, I began to appreciate the scale of the ride. At the start, your focus is very much set on the first few days and in effect that's the best way to tackle such a big event - break it up into little chunks and slowly nibble away at each piece until pretty soon you're there. Each little chunk comes with it's own surprises and challenges and learning to deal with them is a big part of this race. But even though it sometimes feels like you're all alone out there, there are many friends and willing helpers along the way. A few of them bear mentioning: Jim at Ntsikeni - I was dead on my feet when I arrived here just after sunset on day 2 and feeling the pressure of being a bit behind schedule but Jim, a veteran of many Cape Epics, calmly advised me to stop, rest and regroup and that there was plenty of time to start charging later. Thanks Jim, you were right, the rest worked and the easier day afterwards gave me more valuble recovery time, just the platform I needed to start pushing harder. My hardest stage was definately the stretch through the Moordenaars Karoo from Willowmore to Prince Albert. 14 hours of toil and sweat later, it was a welcome sight to see Johan Rissik at the side of the road with coffee, rusks and encouragement. The remaining 2 hours flew by and while I caught up on some sleep in Prince Albert, Johan got busy tweaking the chain tensioning setup and effectively sorted out the niggling chain problem for me. Thanks Johan for your expertise and for taking the trouble to help me out. Mike Woolnough, my tandem partner from last year's race, was always just an sms away and kept me informed of the weather and what the other racing snakes were up to - thanks Mike for your help and encouragement, especially through some of the longer pushes. And then there was my bike... I came to depend on it every day to carry me over great distances and it tirelessly did just that without so much as a creak, crack or moan. A trusty companion, an impressive machine, it really opened my eyes to the benefits of the 29er platform - thanks to the guys at Dragons Sports for the Giant XTC1 29er, a bike I would happily use again and would recommend to anyone looking for a solid 29er machine. Last but not least, thanks to all the followers of the blog and tweets and to all those sending me SMS's of support and encouragement - knowing you guys and girls were watching meant I was never alone and I drew comfort and motivation from this. If this is starting to sound like a goodbye, don't worry, there's still much to tell and over the next few days I'll also report back on what kit I used, what worked or didn't and also some backgound info and responses to the questions I've received.