Ride 2018 Blog 9 Day 9
It is not the end, and probably not even the beginning of the end!
Blog Crew: Tony Frost and the team
The Last Day and The Arrival:
Most of us were up early on this last day of an amazing tour! An excellent Continental breakfast and then it was face-painting time with Donné being the artististe and a great job she made of it! Unfortunately time, as usual, ran away from us and so there was only time to get two full faces painted and some sketch work on two others and then we had to leave to meet our time obligations to be in Queenstown by 12:30.
Between Hazelmere and Bailey there are two good climbs but the rest is sweeping downhill and this crew made short work of the 35 kilometres including our final tea, pee and coffee stop of the tour at 20kms.
Waiting for us in Bailey was a contingent of young Queenians saddled up and rarin’ to go. As well as a covey of motorcyclists led by Andrew Taggart (Thanks Andrew) but including 1965Ride tour veterans Bruce Raasch, Andrew Nel, and Adie Peltenburg. It was lovely to see them!
Then onto Queenstown at what felt like a pedestrian pace but it was also a very welcome not be chasing time, or a stop, or distance. There was time to chat and admire the magnificence of the Eastern Cape, the soaring mountains and green-golden grasslands.
Over the hill at the quarry and there lay the hill-girt town before us waiting to welcome us home. Great support and protection from the Lukanji Metro Traffic Officers and soon we were clambering over the nasty railway line hill and cruising onto our destination stop at the Queen’s College Parry Davies fields.
It wasn’t long before we were given the call to “Arrive” at the Rec. As we started to leave Katiso punctuated the day with a last minute memorial puncture. Thanks to the generosity of Queen’s College teacher, Jason Stydom, who accompanied the young Queenians on a bicycle from Bailey, Katiso was able to use Jason’s bicycle to ride with us onto the Rec. He did look very different on a MTB without cleats and one which was somewhat too big for him but at least he was there and enjoying every minute of it. I don’t think I saw a bigger smile on his face all of 9 days than during the two-lap tour of the Rec!
Then it was time for the formalities:
- Official welcome by new Queen’s College Headmaster, Janse van der Ryst
- Our thanks to him and to Queen’s College for hosting us and for arranging the magnificent welcome
- Thanks to our Sponsors, especially Life Hospital Queenstown and Alderson Ambulance for their support during the whole tour and at the finish
- And finally it was time to acknowledge the amazingness of the 2018 1965Ride Crew.
To say that they are an extraordinary bunch is to understate the true depth of the statement.
They got stronger and stronger
They became closer and closer as a team
The bonded more and more as family
They shared more and more in so many ways
They laughed and laughed and laughed
And sometimes cried.
So let’s salute each of them:
Mark had the unenviable task of taking of the BIG space left by the departure of Mike Warren. He more than filled the big shoes! He tended to our every need way beyond the call of duty even to the extent of carrying bags. Yes, he did do rubbing, massaging, strapping, supplying painkillers for aching backs …..and so much more. He also had the unenviable role of always travelling right at the back except for two laps of the Rec. Imagine watching the moving backsides of 7 cyclists for 850 kms travelling at sometimes as slow as 9 kms/h! He never moaned once and, man, has this guy got a wicked sense of humour especially when lubricated!
“We arrived and met as strangers and departed as a family! No-one knew what to expect and what challenges lay ahead; nor did anyone know their own inner strengths but everyone pushed hard and sometimes beyond where they thought they could. Together. As a team. For one goal –EDUCATION!”
Pam, or Her Royal Highness Queen Winfred, as she is sometimes known, was deservedly awarded, by popular acclaim, the Give It Horns trophy, for her unstinting, quiet and determined manner in which she ensured the safety and well-being of all of us. She was always there looking for some way to make things better for everyone. It was wonderful to have her on the tour for the first time and we all hope that it will not be the last!
“The 2018 1965Ride was so much more than a physical experience for the cyclists. It promoted the development of a team in which perseverance, respect and camaraderie was so evident. It was indeed a pleasure to be part of the support team”.
Colonel Lennox was his usual irrepressible self. Always very present, always looking for the laugh, always trying so hard to make sure that everything was perfect for the cyclists. At times I guess he thought he wasn’t going to win but quality always comes through and Ian epitomised this notion in the way he stuck to the task like a real leader. He reminded us often and we, of course, reciprocated by reminding him that we expected nothing less from a Captain of the unbeaten 1964 Queen’s College Second XV!
This was his second tour and would have been his third had he not snapped his Achilles tendon two days before the 2017 edition. Great to have you back Colonel!
“It was an honour and a privilege to be part of the support team for a wonderful bunch of special people partaking in the 2018 1965Ride. Each person with their individual character and personality created a wonderful spirit of fun and laughter. The friendships we made will be imbedded in my heart forever”.
Andile has long been fascinated by this tour. He was infected by a bunch of Old Queenians who have done the tour and with whom he is friendly and told us a few years ago that he would like to do it. Final commitment was made towards the end of last year and this year the work started in earnest. He did struggle in the early days but he faced his demons and conquered them. A sign of a warrior hero! He can now count himself amongst the veterans of the 1965Ride. He also involved his company Momentum as an important sponsor and has some great ideas for the future and so we are looking forward to his input to the future of the 1965Ride.
“‘Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light and not our darkness that most frightens us’ (From a poem by Marianne Williamson). These are the words that drive me every day and during the ride they were particularly relevant”.
If you want laughs (and tears) it would be good to stay close to Donné! Even if you were not part of the story when you hear that laugh you cannot help but laugh along with her. Her infectious enthusiasm for life and for the school she teaches at, Queen’s College, are great lessons in the power of sheer enthusiasm. She faced this tour with huge trepidation and at times was doubtful that she would be able to complete the distance. The opposite actually occurred. As the tour progressed Donné just became stronger and stronger and she ended the tour right at the front of the Parlotone in every way
“This tour was life-changing in so many ways. It proved that determination can win any fight. My determination was fueled by the fact that I was doing it for such a good cause and for the thing I am most passionate about, which is education”.
Duncan’s strong quiet presence made itself felt more and more as the tour progressed. He too had to tackle unexpected challenges from early in the tour. A very sore lower back and later a damaged Achilles tendon had to be nursed and strapped as the tour moved towards its final stages. His grit and determination up Penhoek is something that all the young people we try to support with our efforts should see. It is not how much power and determination you start the tour with it is how you use what is left at the end that gets you through.
“To be involved in a cause that develops kids to further their education and future>>>> a future that will grow them personally and our beloved country – we strive only to ensure the best. To realise that our bodies are capable of doing so much more than we imagine. We discovered this on climbs that pushed us over the edge and still we went to places we never knew existed. An education does the same – it makes us stronger and stronger as we learn more and more. With God beside us everything is possible and so much more”.
The quiet strong man of the tour. His second time. Last year because of badly damaged Hamstrings he sat out for large portion of the ride from Aliwal to Penhoek. This year the only place he sat was squarely on that little patch of hardness that we call the saddle of his Trek bicycle. He made a last minute attempt to win the Puncture King of the tour but we haven’t yet finalised that result with it being a tight race between him, Andile and Duncan. His quite strong presence; his wisdom and maturity made a deep impact on everyone!
“It is always humbling to be part of this great initiative. Being part of a wonderful and selfless people; raising funds for a worthy cause”.
About 3 years ago Maritha followed the tour postings on Facebook and announced that she would ride it one day. This year was the year. With minimal cycling experience and lots of help from a good friend who is a strong cyclist she learnt fast and although she started cautiously, by the end of the tour she and Donné were showing the men how to do it. They certainly led the charge up Penhoek. Her quiet steady presence, good sense of humour and infectious laugh made sure that she contributed strongly to the cohesion in the group and it was her idea to conduct the appreciation evening in Aliwal that everyone enjoyed and benefitted greatly from.
“You can only conquer every mountain one pedal stroke at a time!”
Matt just never stopped going even when he whispered to me at one point on the last day that his legs were feeling very heavy. He just hunched his shoulders, increased his cadence and stayed with the Parlotone. He is also one that gave freely to the group and was always there when tubes needed to be replaced and Duncan, particular, benefitted greatly from his wisdom and engineering knowledge when we wanted to raise the saddle of Duncan’s hi-tech Giant. Without Matt I am not sure how we would have coped, and this is just one example of a quiet, sincere man who believes strongly in what he is doing.
“Madiba said, “Education is the most important weapon that you can use to change the world”. I like to think that I played a small part in making that possible for someone”.
She of the ever-present smile and cheerful demeanour! We very seldom have anyone volunteer to support the tour en route. Morongoa did in her wonderfully open and positive manner. And what a strength she proved to be! Always present offering something – naartjies, bananas, helping to wash the cups after a stop, etc., etc., etc. Of course we would have worried for Katiso if she wasn’t there – they make such a formidable couple. When there were punctures she would stop and provide vehicle protection while sorted out the flat. She would run back and forth to retrieve the right tube and so on. The list is endless. We are truly grateful for her shining presence.
“Driving the route at 20km/h ensuring the safety of selfless cyclist was so worth my while; I will do it over and over again. Every day had its own highlights which made the tour so special. What an awesome, fun, loving team and beautiful personalities! It has been an awesome and fabulous 9 days.”
The Knot in the Chain
We experienced a knot in a bike chain early on our first day. It provides a wonderful metaphor for life:
“Once you understand how the knot occurred in the first place you can begin to unravel it. Education is like the knot in the chain – the more you begin to understand the world we live in the more capable you become of contributing to its well-being”.
The last word….
This is not the end, not even the beginning of the end but maybe the beginning of a new start for many that deserve a hand up to get to the start. There is no finish line……