Laying awake long before my alarm sounds, thinking about the last leg of the 1965Ride. Having done it before makes this day a lot easier this time round but still, never sure what to think: glad to get home but sad that it’s all over.
We leave Hazelmere at 9:00 joined by a few cyclists from town and guys on motorbikes, with a nice tail wind the peloton picks up speed quick and we fly over the first few hills past the Stagger Inn Lodge – which got the name Mordor from the lucky cyclists who over-nighted there and experienced black water coming out of the taps!
Over the last of the bigger climbs and past the Sterkstroom turn we enter the oh so familiar roads where most of the Queenstown cyclists do their long haul training. The feeling of “we are home” is strong.
The peloton starts the long descent of the 7 hills, holding nothing back and some high speeds are recorded. Near the bottom we are joined by a bunch of cyclists led by a 1965Ride veteran Clint le Roux, who rode all the way from Queenstown to meet us and ride back with us. Now the road flattens out and the peloton, well drilled by now, moves along without too much effort and we reach the Baily siding where we are greeted by more cyclists and friends. After a rest stop and some photos the considerably bigger peloton hits the road again, riding slowly as not to drop the kids that have joined us.
The next few kilometres are pretty much a blur as the mind is so busy processing what is happening and the feelings that you are going through are overwhelming. We make our final regroup stop halfway up the final climb were we are met by the traffic department to lead us through town. The peloton is re-arranged with all the senior members of 1965Ride leading the way into town and over the railway bridge. We all stop at the Parry Davis fields and here all the emotions come to the fore and can’t be held back anymore, WE HAVE DONE IT! Congratulations are the order of the day as tears are evident under the dark glasses of all the cyclists.
The peloton makes is way down to the Rec sports grounds. We enter the track and are greeted by kids from all 6 top town schools and lots of town folk. We ride slowly around the track; the noise is deafening, the feelings inside are out of control. We circle for a second time to the tune of Chariots of Fire in the background. We ride up on to the grass and come to a stop on the middle of the field, to the applause of thousands of kids lining the track on both sides. WE MADE IT!!