Ag, man, what a crappy day.


A cross country mountain bike race.
A cross-country mountain bike race. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ag, man, what a crappy day.

Firstly, our very good friend of my hubby’s father passed away.

Let me give you the background – our friend is a twin, born on the same day as my hubby but a year older.  So, every year, we would be invited to be part of the birthday celebrations as the one twin lives overseas.  Their mom would say my hubby is her twin by proxy.  We looked forward to this every year.  And although we loved seeing our friends and catching up, sometimes I think hubby and I enjoyed the company of their parents more.  They were such welcoming people and their house was always filled with so much laughter.  And the father was just this most amazing down to earth person.  I feel so sad for his wife – they must have been married at least 46 or 47 years (the twins are now 44 years old).  How do you even begin to live your life without someone who has been by your side for so long?  And who passed so suddenly, so unexpectedly?  It is so sad.

And then hubby gives me a call – his one highlight of the year, the Transbaviaans Race will not be happening for him this year.  And I know how much he looks forward to this race every year.  The Transbaviaans race is a big race that totals 230 kilometres, starting in Willowmore and ending in Jeffrey’s Bay.

From their website, here is a bit about the race:

Time to transform into the ultimate mountain biker!

Why dance all night, when you can ride all night!

As one of South Africa’s premier mountain biking events, this mountain bike marathon creates the perfect combination of extremely challenging cycling amongst spectacular scenery through exquisite mountain ranges, right into the heart of the magnificent Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area, all in a team format.  Since its start in 2004, it has been growing annually, deserving its place on many mountain bikers’ wish list.

This initiative started on a family holiday in the Baviaanskloof.  Being a family of mountain bikers, and wanting to share the Baviaanskloof experience, they decided that what better way than having a mountain bike race.  It took them seven years to finalise the concept of how to go about such an event – one that captures not only the essence of the Baviaanskloof, but also to be a true test of endurance and a unique challenge.

This event had the title as the ‘longest single stage team MTB event’ in the world for six years, and emphasized that the focus lay on whether the route is rideable, unique, enjoyable and most of all achievable.  Because this is a team event, consisting of two, three or four cyclists per team, the concept is very different to that of an ordinary MTB race.

The event is also unique as the entire route is unmarked and tests the orientation skills of each rider.  This ensures teamwork amongst everyone and brings out camaraderie, making it an unforgettable experience.  Teams have to check in and out at the checkpoints strategically placed on route, so their whereabouts can be traced.  The late start (10:00) forces all the riders (even the frontrunners) to use lights for night-time riding, for some this will be a much larger portion of their ride than for others –  truly a test of character and endurance.

With a great race, come great rewards!  Due to the night-time finish, the first 10 teams home are greeted with the firing of a rocket.  Every team that finishes receives a commemorative medal that completes a puzzle that fits into a shield after the completion of five events – motivating riders to complete the Trans Baviaans at least five times.  The distance of 230 km from Willowmore to Jeffrey’s Bay must be completed in 24 hours to qualify for a medal.

So you think you have what it takes to conquer the Trans Baviaans.  This is an event not to be taken lightly.  However, with a well-planned approach, a fully charged night-light, good orientation skills and loads of energy, it is a very achievable challenge that will definitely transform you into the ultimate mountain biker!

And the reason why he is quitting the race is because his race partner has been going through a terrible time of late and just cannot get himself to train.  At the moment, he can barely ride 40 kilometres, never mind still doing 230 kilometres.  His brother died a couple of weeks back when mountain biking and although hubby has asked him a few times whether he can go on with the race, he always says yes, that he wants to do this race.  But he doesn’t train and he just isn’t in a good space at the moment.  And you see, this would have been my hubby’s fifth race and he would have completed his puzzle for his medals.  But, I think my hubby is doing the right thing – I am hoping that somewhere along the line, one of the other teams need a good rider and will ask hubby to join them.

His current partner will never finish the race and perhaps he needs to take some space and some time out to grieve his brother and mourn his loss.  But, riding 230 kilometres through the Baviaans in the dead cold of winter, when you’re not prepared and when you have not trained to do so, is probably a very dangerous thing to do.

I really hope it works out for my hubby though – he has already trained so hard, and it would be so nice for him to get all five his medals.

Here’s hoping it all works out – for all concerned.

 

English: A stitched panoramic image of the Bav...

 

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