18 Jul 2010

Freedom Challenge Appendix

Every big event, like the Freedom Challenge and the Comrades and ...you name one...... have people acting behind the scenes or are part of the scenes that change the event from something just ordinary, to something extraordinary.
I feel I would like to name the people who just made this event extraordinary, special, memorable to me.

Ian Waddilove, for bringing out nice warm tea and cake 8km from the finish of day 1 to his farm Allandale. It was  allready  dark and bitterly cold and he arrived to warm my heart with his special act. Thank you.

Joe-Ray's friend, for bringing coffee and rusks. You brought your bike too and you cycled with the faster ones and you disappeared over the hill, but then you came back and you cycled with me, slowly, and then the hill became too steep and we pushed our bikes to the top and you told me to keep going and not to give up. Your words pushed me right to the end. Thank you.

Estelle and Errol for riding with me the first 7 days. You made it look so easy, and I believed then that I could do it. Thank you.

The lady of the farm "Sunnyside" who showed me which mountain was Stormberg mountain but was convinced that I should go back to the tar road, and that the person/s who was responsible for making me cycle where no roads were, might be irresponsible.... Thank you for your concern.

Alec from Coetzerskloof with your beautiful horse and 14 dogs. I was so totally lost and just couldn't seem to find the faint track. You didn't only offer to show me to the right road, you rode in front on your horse, dogs following and me following on my bike, making sure that I was on the right track. Thank you. I wished for you to catch 300 jackals.

Anthony for cleaning my chain with special chain cleaner. I only met you and you offered to clean my chain. Thank you.

Mr and Mrs Lord from Hofmeyer who invited me to their house for a cup of coffee and rusks, while I was waiting for the B&B to be unlocked. I looked absolutely scruffy, dusty, with holes in my cycling shorts, dirt everywhere, but they were convinced that underneath the dust layer was a tired mountain biker. They further entertained me with stories of the town and of their lives. How special was that! Thank you for being so kind to me.

Tim James, yes, the Tim James. The record holder of the Freedom Challenge who was prepared to spend a Sunday afternoon at Willowmore to help me with my back tyre. We super-glued, Stans, pumped, gator-ed, but nothing seemed to work. So we ended up back at square one, but knowing we tried everything. Your wise words, " stay with these guys and you will finish in time" Thank you Tim.

Thank you to Mrs Fourie at the back part of Laingsburg providing coffee and rusks to us. You were surprised to see us, you didn't know us, but you invited us into your house and listened to our crazy story of riding a bicycle through the country.

Johan Rissik, for waiting for me at Prins Albert, and as I came in, took my tired looking bike and changed it into a mean machine, ready to go the next day. Thanks for putting on the new tyre and the new chain and cleaning my bike while I was resting and eating and sleeping. And to top it, waiting for us at the top of Swartberg Pass in the cold wind with hot coffee and rusks. When I eventually reached the top of the pass I felt like a queen. Thank you!

The local cyclist from around the Rouxpos farming area, with your blue Raleigh bike and only 3 gears, keeping me company, talking to the tired "mevrou", making sure that she will take the right turn off to the farm, Rouxpos. He pronounced it Roekspos. Talking local stories made the end of my day feel a lot lighter and even brought a smile to my tired face. 

Thank you Jaco and Mike that I could phone you and ask for advice. Should I stay or should I push on. You obviously provided me with the right advice because here I am telling the story.

Thank you Di Thomas for your sms the night before Stetteynskloof.

Thank you to Keith and Leon who cycled with me the last 10 days or so. Helping me through difficult navigation and through some of the most difficult parts of the ride and leaving the rest for me to do at my own pace. You had a real understanding of the race.

Thank you people from my gym who constantly followed my progress, wishing me on to the finish. Lientjie, Andrea, Salome, Sorette, Jake, Maggie, Hano, Bertus, Karin, Andre, Annatjie and all my friends on Face book constantly cheering me on. That brought magic to my day.

Thank you Gert, my mechanic, who taught me about the bits and pieces of my bike. Thank you also for organising the cycle watch and the headlight and giving advice when I tried to attach all the bits and pieces to my bike. I had absolutely no other mechanicals with my bike, only flat tyres and that had nothing to do with you preparing my bike for this huge event. 

Thank you to my children Silke and Andreas for your wishes while Mommy was out cycling. It meant such a lot to me.

Most of all, a huge thank you to Rodney for making it possible for me to take part in this event. It was a dream and the dream became reality. Thank you for believing that I could do this, and for waiting at the end and for providing yet another tyre and lights and cycle computers and air tickets and and and.....You are the star of the event.

As promised I will give a summary of what happened and didn't happen and was suppose to happen at the different support stations. Stay close for that story.

2 comments:

Jake said...

Gerda please see the email below which I did send on to EcoBound:
Dear Team EcoBound
Attached please find proof of registration and payments made for entry. My original team mate has changed her plans and will not be riding. (She also did not enter). However Gerda Gruner has decided to join me as team mate. She has entered and will arrange with you to join my team. She will most probably request that we change the team name to Bullamakanka. I am quite comfortable with such a request.

Please let me know if you require any further action from my side.

Kind regards

Jake

Marnitz said...

Well done Gerda !!!

Isn't that what the Freedom Challenge is all about ?

It will be an everlasting experience, engraved into your heart and mind, a wonderful experience which will bring you back sometime, or at least inspire other to do it.

Keep experiencing the world, and remember " The body goes where the mind goes !"