Day One: Getting a feel of it

Ride time: +- 5 hours
Distance: 104km

You know, I can’t help but notice that we began our ride almost at the same time as the Cape Epic ended. “827km?”, they must scoff, “On a road bike? Pffft.” And they have a point. By way of comparison, what we’re attempting to accomplish may seem a pleasant holiday to those slightly mental Epic boys and girls.

But that’s just it – we’re not those riders. Ashley, Leon, Johnny, my dad Tony and me (Kieran) are a team of Average Joes (and only one Jane, at the moment) attempting to accomplish something that to /us/ is massive. We aren’t uberathletes by any stretch of the imagination. For example, I’m your typical student: I live mostly off Steers, sleep is viewed as optional, drink is not. So this is quite a big deal for me and rest of us.

Nonetheless, there we were – after mandatory coffee and muffins, photos and goodbyes – we set off on our ride this morning at 09:00. All that could be done had been done and there was nothing but us, the road (my soul, a lot of road) and trucks (see comment about ‘the road’). Before I carry on, let me just say this: truck drivers are legends. They really looked after us – giving us as wide a berth as was possible. High five to them.

Anyway, so we were on our way and we were moving. Seriously. Our motley crew of ragtag cyclists must’ve had the look of those born on a bike. Sure enough, with a little bit of a tail wind and the adrenalin of the whole event we made short work of the first 50km… And then we turned into the wind. And the hills. And the constant taunting of the Peanut Butter sarmie strapped to the back of Ashley (man, I wanted that sarmie).

Now, those of you who’ve done any sort of endurance exercise know that much of what happens out there is a mental battle: in fact, I’d argue it’s the biggest part of endurance exercise (“fifteen more kays and we’re home – just fifteen more”). So when you reach your supposed target of 97km halfway up a 6km hill… Well, I’m sure you can imagine. Let’s just say that I became extremely creative with my explitive use.

But we made it. After 104km, we pulled into our little B & B (Niki’s Stone Cottage in Villiers). Tomorrow we have to get up and do it all over again and to be honest I’m nervous. This is big, remember? But you know what? When I think about the kids that have to survive (let me emphasize that: /survive/) the education system in the Eastern Cape, I realise that (unlike the lack of education ‘provided’ to those children) those hills that I have to climb are sore, but they’re not crippling. The distance we have to travel is far, but not unrealisable. Those kids are faced with a situation that might seem untenable to them and maybe, just maybe, this ride will make enough money to make some of those kids get an opportunity that shouldn’t in any way be spectacular – it should just be the way things are.

So tomorrow morning I will get up. And I will hurt. But I will get on that bike.

827km? Pffft.

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