11 Oct 2009

Travel to Cycle and Cycle to Travel number 1

I never know what the real reason is for all the cycling I'm doing, but while I'm doing it I'm having fun and seeing the country. Or is it that I want to see the country and just taking my bicycle along to complicate the luggage and packing for every trip. This is a post about the last 3 months' cycling and travelling.

Ride to Rhodes Dry Run

Rodney enjoys a challenge, so when he decided it was a good time for a new challenge, he decided to go BIGG. Doing the Ride to Rhodes is not for the fainthearted and a lot of preparation had to go into it. From making your own maps to trying to read them and understand them and stick them on your bicycle and make them weatherproof. That is only the maps we're talking about here. Then it was the shoes, soft sole, hard sole, cleats, a second pair just in case. Well the participants were fortunate enough to have a 100l container each to pack and repack their belongings, and pack they did! Rain jackets, snow jackets, breathable jackets, warm tops, beenies, balaclavas, socks for all weather, thick socks, thinner socks, thermal socks. An indepth study was made on the internet of all possible sites that might sell anything  usable for such an extreme event. I'm not even talking about all the technical stuff, disc brakes, chains, links, tubes, squirt and then there were lights too. Head lights and bike lights. I think the 100l was not big enough. So before Rodney could do the real Ride to Rhodes, we decided to do a dry run, just to see if he had everything for the event.

So we set off to Pietermaritzburg where the Ride to Rhodes would be starting. So much were added to the bike that it was going to be a huge effort to keep pedalling for distances of between 80-100km per day. We were in training.
With the heavy laden bike we started up and down the road and up and down, like roads do when it is mountainous terrain. Up, and up we went, past rural villages where children were looking on in wonder, clearly in awe of all and sundry strapped to the bike. It was beautiful nature, pine forests, rivulets, birds gliding high above the tree tops. It was really tough cycling but beautiful and it was wonderful to be out in the country. We had to stop often to catch our breaths but also to enjoy the scenery. Looking down from the mountain  onto the valey below. We could see the trickle of smoke from the cooking fires. We also had to stop often to consult the maps and the narrative which accompanied the maps and then we also had a GPS. To complicate matters? Well we did a few wrong turns and realised that to have a map does not mean you know how to navigate. It was going to be a tricky business.

We soon realised that not all roads, tracks and ways were going to be ridable. So we tackled the portage part. How to carry your bike in three easy steps.... maybe in three steps but not easy!
Remember all the bags and tyres and tubes etc strapped to the bike? Try and carry that up a mountain through tall tall grass. I didn't get to the carry part, I heaved and pushed and stumbled, but eventually we reached a grassy jeep track that lead us to the top of the mountain and to a lovely view.  That was absolutely worthwhile getting to the top and to be able to sit down and rest and have the valley at our feet. The downhill back to the car was a lot easier and quicker. This was day one of the dry run and we had a whole new mountain to cycle up the next day. 

1 comment:

Jake said...

Congrats to Gerda and Amanda for their WOW performance on the Crater Cruze. Well done ladies the spinning guys are proud of you. Jake