Day One is always a day of revelations!
The night before the first day on the saddle there are very few people who actually sleep. Nervousness, trepidation, fear, excitement, anticipation and a host of other reasons and emotions contribute to making it difficult to sleep, especially those who have never cycled the 1965Ride before.
And so it was also for the 25 cyclists and six support team members this year! Once the day starts we start finding out things about our cycling colleagues that not even their families or loved ones know!
Let’s start with Annie (who used to be known as Hester). She had not even exited the gate of Heidelberg Kloof Lodge when Annie fell for John Ralph, oops not fell as in fall, but fell into John Ralph. Chief Investigator Reg Marchand examined the crime scene and declared that as no one had suffered any damage, the cycle tour could proceed.
On to the Life Hospital Suikerbosrand for breakfast, official group photo and the START!
As always the Harley Owners’ Group were there to guide us safely on our way through the early morning peak hour trafic of Heidelberg. We had hardly left Heidelberg when intrepid members of Gauteng Traffic pulled us over to interrogate our credentials to ride. Clearly they had not received the communication from Gauteng Traffic Head Office that we had been given official permission to ride. However, Chief Assistant Deputy support team member Brendan Raasch (an ex-cyclist) and Chief Neil Neilson dealt with this minor interruption and we were on our way again.
The first 50 km went by quickly, maybe too quickly for Ryan Schnell who clearly decided he needed a rest and engineered two ‘punctures’ within 2 kms. This resulted in the poor souls who stopped to help having to cycle in hot pursuit at about 40 kms/hour in order to catch up.
Rob Fleming who shared a matric year with Ryan had obviously learned similar strategies and shortly after our hot pursuit conspired to ensure a gear breakdown which no-one could fathom or repair. Fortunately ex-cyclist Brendan Raasch’s bicycle was available for a marginally lighter cyclist like Rob to ride and continue the pursuit.
Leon Annandale must have been taking careful note of the activities of his much older companions and very quickly the same poor souls found themselves fixing Leon’s puncture and once again involved in hot pursuit.
Di Peltenburg obviously felt that she had not been getting her fair share of attention, and after watching the antics of Schnell, Fleming, Annandale and Lemmer, invented a really half-hearted effort at engaging the attention of cycling companions by indulging in a semi-energetic, completely unprofessional, half-pinted disgraceful dismount. The score between Lemmer and Peltenburg is now 1-all.
After another meal of lasagne for lunch, we headed for Frankfort where Debbie (the one and only) proved that she is not only king, (actually queen), of the mountains, but that all the loves in her life pale into insignificance by comparison. She did admit, however, that the occasional wind from behind which magically appeared at the steepest or longest hills, proved to be of some assistance. A revelation to those with limited knowledge of Debbie discovered that she has her own fan club, known to those who know her well, as the Parlotones. She requested that we convey deepest thanks to her fan club and other new admirers who all have applications in to join the Parlotones.
Marc, John F and Tony