Everything happens for a reason. Last year we had one support driver, a first aid kit and a belief that everything would be alright.
This year somehow we knew that needed something more. We knew that one support vehicle would not be enough and that we needed something somewhat more than a first aid kit. The first blessing was the arrival, via Pete Gerber, of Ryan Crosley, paramedic.
We needed him today!
First off his bike was Pete with a neck in complete spasm. He made the right decision to give the cycling a break and gave his aching neck a break.
Not long after that just at the pinnacle of a nasty hill, Brendan and I were riding together when suddenly he said to me that his heartbeat had gone crazy. His heart monitor showed that his heart was way out of normal limits. Fortunately we had arrived at our regular hourly break and the group were a couple metres ahead of us.
Ryan immediately took over. He was the consummate professional. He shooed all of us caring cyclists, but incompetent paramedics, out of the way and used all the first class equipment organised for us by Ailsa Thorpe of Life Health Care and Brett de Beer of SSSEM Mthembu Medical (Distributors of ElectroMedical devices) who lent us a heart monitor and a oxygen/CO2 monitor). Very quickly he was in touch with medical professionals in Bethlehem. They decided the best thing was for Brendan to be taken to hospital in Bethlehem for a full cardiac and medical screening.
This is when it became apparent that the second support vehicle was a Godsend. Pete drove with Brendan and Ryan on the backseat of the powerful Mazda double cab to meet the Ambulance coming from Bethlehem.
The rest of us continued on our bicycles to Bethlehem safely covered by our incredibly caring and attentive support crew of Mike and Brenda Sattary. Mike, also, was not having an easy time with a sciatic nerve in complete spasm but there were no complaints, just wonderful caring helpfulness and a focus on making sure that we had a safe ride.
The ride into Bethlehem went without further drama although John Sturgeon now has a new nickname. He has become Squeaker Sturgeon because his seat has developed a most fascinating squeak that seems to increase in volume at the same rate as he increases speed!
The last 60 kilometres was characterised by wonderful team work and impressive peloton riding with each one of us taking a turn at the front for about 5 kilometres. We ended the day after 117 kilometres at an average speed of 21.3 kms/hour.
Without any incident we arrived at our Inn for the night – The Loft. It is to be recommended for its friendly staff and most comfortable rooms.
Renier Immelman, Grade 11 Queenian has joined us for the rest of the journey. Welcome Renier!
Then off to the Spur at the Casino to be joined by Old Queenians, Denton and Gibbon Osler and Phillip Sterley (who looked after us so well last year) and his son Zack. The service was swift and the meals disappeared with astonishing speed!
On the Spur of the moment it was decided that Alan Buchanan should be sung to for his “birthday” and in true Spur fashion he was given a resounding traditional “Happy Birthday” that he is not likely to forget soon! This was enough to get him dancing his irrepressible way around the restaurant!
Time for bed.
111 km through Clarens to Ficksburg tomorrow. It will be beautiful but the legs are a little weary now and everybody is looking forward to the shorter distance days that follow.
Come and ride with us!