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 Transbaviaans Aug 2009

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Andre Nel


Posts : 35
Join date : 2009-07-22
Age : 63
Location : Centurion, Gauteng, RSA

PostSubject: Transbaviaans Aug 2009   Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:31 pm

Sometimes you read something and think, Hi, this will be nice to do. Then you decide to step up your training and tackle the challenge. You start to spend some extra time on your mountain bike. A good start will be the GABRAN. Great Annual Bicycle Ride Across Natal. This is 300km plus, over three days. The training went well and you know the challenge will be tuff, but not that tuff. But then the winter step in and you get flue, not once but twice and before you know, four weeks off valuable training is gone in the antibiotics. Now you start to realize that you have a problem, a BIG problem. You only have 4 weeks to get some lost training back, or rather, try to get some lost time back in the saddle.

Time has run out and it is time to pack your MTB, medical kit, whistle, space blanket, light for MTB, rear red light and light for your helmet. While packing all the stuff you start to realize that you actually are a bit mad. Well, come to think of it, you actually lost your head and need a good psychologist. It is time and you start your journey down to Willowmore. Spend first night in Liela se Plek guest house in Bloemfontein. Friday to Baviaans Guest Farm but not before you register. See all the riders you know - this is why you decided to do this. Like minded people do what they love to do - ride their MTB’s. The Baviaans Guest Farm hostess is what you expect from a real boere meisie. Friendly and absolutely verbal diarrhea. You try to sleep but the butterflies keep you awake.

The Start
D-Day arrive and you get up early to get everything ready. Get to the start and see all the cyclist and the hustle and bustle, you start to realize that that psychologist should have been a dam good one because what in my right mind make me decided to ride 230km through the Baviaanskloof on a MTB and a great part of it in the dark. My head must have lost me.

There goes the gun and you know it is now too late to change your mind. Six hundred odd riders and me and my two team mates, my brother Martin and his friend Cornel. Two fit guys, they came 96th in the Cape Epic and that is a big achievement. All I know I had two good partners who can help me when thing’s start getting tough. The first 140km was very uneventful but then we hit the first of many climbs. We reached checkpoint 2 at 13:15 and I knew this is to fast and it is going to bite me very hard later in the race. The first one was bad but then we hit the mother of all climbs. My legs start to burn. Then I realize that my bum is sore, very very sore. No, it is actually absent. I can not peddle anymore and get of the bike, well almost fell of the bike. I decided to walk, it started getting dark and cold and I start to feel very sorry for myself. No wonder they say only 4x4 vehicles allowed on this part of the route. It took us 3 hours and 15 minutes for this 19 km. Twice as long as we estimated. If I can just make it to checkpoint 4, then there will be only 80km left. Mostly down hill, well, so I thought and hoped for. We reached check point 4. It is cold, very cold and I know I am done. I have had it. After a cup off soup, bread roll and a strong cup of coffee I realize that I can not stop, it is not an option. I put on dry clothes. No it did not rain, it is me sweating like no man else can sweat.

In the middle

We started of with a big descend but not long before I get my first flat tire. After some time we were back on the road. Well, not for long, second flat. Now this is not fun if you are gatvol, my legs are acing and the cold is not helping in the whole process. With some 45 minutes wasted on flat tires we reached check point 5. Only 50 odd km to go. After a nice boerewors roll, coffee, potato and Energade I got back on my bike. The first 10km was great but then we hit another climb. At this stage every hump and every little stone in the road felt if somebody poke me with something in the bum. I thought we were on our way to the coast but it seems that the coast was meters above sea level. Thank you, the climb is over and the descent was nice and my legs had a well deserved rest but then we started to climb again, and again and again and again. At this stage I knew that I lost my mind to agree to ride this race. I was thinking a lot of things that was not nice and some with a long “F”. Why do I do things like this. The climb was not that steep but it did not have an end and in the pitch black dark you can not see the end. I again got off my bike and almost threw it into the bushes but with my brother next to me I decided that this is not an option. We must complete this together. I walked just over a kilometer when it seems that it is the top of the climb. I got back on my bike and with a push from my brother and Cornel I got going again. Yippee, check point 7, last one appears in a distance. O yes, I forget to mention that some 30 minutes was lost to inflate my front and rear tires as they were loosing air.

I know that there is ONLY 20km left after check point 7. We stopped for a nice jaffle, coffee and lekker soup. I sat down on somebody’s chair. I shiver so much from the cold that the coffee spilled out of my cup. I moved close to the fire that the workers made. It was one o’clock in the morning. One of the locals told me the road home is not that bad. Only a short steep climb and then down hill all the way. Well, how bad can a small steep climb be? We started the last 20km with a very slow pace because my legs have left me or it stayed behind at check point??? hmmm let me think, did I had legs before I started. The short steep hill as described, hit me right between the legs because nothing else could describe how I felt. Now I actually felt nothing. I think I was half dead. I pushed my bike for 1.5 km up that little steep climb. What a relief when we got to the top and see the lights of Jeffreys Bay. But before I could get back on my bike it was again time to pump the blerrie flippen stupid freaking tires.

The last 10km was sort off OK because I got my 2nd breath – no, must have been my 101th breath. As we got closer to the coast the colder it got. It took us 2 hours and 30 minutes for the last 20km. As we hit the tar road and I know there is only about 2 km left I knew I will make it. Well, my body will make it because it is not me in my body. I did not know that one man can feel that numb, sore, dead, gatvol, moeg, klaar, op. When I reached the finish line and my brother took my hand and together with hands tugged together in the air, the only thing that I had left was tears running down my cheeks to know that I have a very special brother and I would have not be able to have done it without him.

The End

Total distance covered 230km. Cal burned 11870, Max speed 65.7 km/h, Ave HR 154 bpm. Total time wasted on flat tires 1 hour 10 min. Total raced 16 hours 33 min.

Conclusion, I was very stupid to do this but I feel very satisfied that I did do it and completed it. No I will not do it again. Got the T-Shirt and O yes the medal.

National Culture Guide
National 4x4 Trials & Overland Guide

Last edited by Andre Nel on Wed Oct 28, 2009 1:16 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Posts : 19
Join date : 2009-07-23
Age : 62
Location : Thohoyandou

PostSubject: Re: Transbaviaans Aug 2009   Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:48 pm

Please...we want pictures????
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Transbaviaans Aug 2009
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