The 1965Ride 2018 Finishes in Style on the Rec
After 9 days of pedalling at about 80 pedal strokes a minute, the 7 cyclists who rode all the way from Johannesburg to Queenstown to raise funds for bursaries for talented and deserving learners entered the Rec Stadium for 2 laps of the track before ending their important cycling pilgrimage. A life-changing experience for the cycling team and for the beneficiaries of their efforts.
This was the 8th edition of the 1965Ride which was started by the Queen’s College matric class of 1965 as its contribution to improving education by means of a bursary fund. There have been at least two members of that class involved in the cycle tour since inception and this year was no exception with Tony Frost cycling his 8th tour and Ian Dorrington (Tour No.2) and his wife, Pam, providing excellent support services.
People are often unaware and most certainly underestimate the importance and value of all those who operate behind the scenes in an event like this: Sponsors, the provincial and town traffic authorities, our IT specialist, the logistics team that made accommodation and other arrangements, media team, journalists, the bike preparation technicians, organisers of the finish at the Rec, the amazing people at all the places the cycle team overnight at, and many others. A cycle tour like this over 9 days has countless facets to it and takes months of preparation. The team starts the process for the next year in August; 8 months for 9 days on the road!
All those involved in the actual tour take leave of their jobs, businesses, families and friends and live in a cycling cocoon for all the time on the road. There is little time to catch up with news, either family or the general run of news. One becomes unaware of the goings-on of anything other than those with you on the road, the immediate surroundings, the weather, accommodation and food. It is a surreal bubble of a different temporary reality.
The 2018 cycle tour was notable for a number of reasons. There were some dire predictions regarding the weather. We had mostly perfect cycling conditions. The worst worry was in Zastron when every weather forecaster was predicting washaway downpours. Added to their predictions was the fact that Zastron has had almost its annual rainfall in the 6 weeks since the beginning of March – almost 800 mm! When the rain started to pelt down at 05:00 in the morning of departure we prepared for the worst. Out came the rubbish bags to be fashioned into additional rain protection jackets. What actually happened that day was something akin to a miracle. We started off down the hill from Mountain View Chalets, our overnight accommodation, and about 500 metres from the start we stopped, regrouped and said our regular morning prayer asking for protection and guidance from above especially in view of the predicted weather. The most amazing reality was that, while all around us we could see lakes of water, rivers and streams rushing, dams overflowing, mud and wetness, the weather skirted us. We could see downpours happening in every direction but we cycled in perfect conditions: cool, moist and a gentle northerly wind helping us along to our fastest average speed day on the tour.
The 2018 1965Ride tour group was special. They were arguably the most bonded of all groups so far, except perhaps for the very first year but then there were special circumstances that made that one somewhat different. This group stuck together, laughed together, cried together, and shared many personal anecdotes. They were certainly the most cohesive; there was never a really big gap between front and back and they arrived at the Penhoek pinnacle absolutely together – something that has never happened before. No other group, as a group, has managed to achieve 6 10 kilometre segments at an average speed of over 30 kms/h. including the last 10 kms up to the Penhoek pinnacle! At the other end of the scale few other groups have managed to exhaust our supply of spare tubes as a result of punctures! If asked, any one of the members of this team (including the support crew) will attest to the fact that they felt privileged to be a member of this tight-knit family.
Let us conclude with where we started: The Dorringtons could not have been a more caring and attentive team. They thought of all sorts of small details that the cyclists were unaware of but served to make the journey easier and more comfortable; Pam as the official tour photographer took some amazing photos many of which will appear in the traditional 1965Ride coffee table book. The man who drove the whole way at the back of the Parlotone (peloton to most) Mark Berger was a rock. He and his company Alderson Ambulance undertook to take care of our health and well-being. Both did considerably more. Mark was the go-to man for everything that was not looked after by Ian and Pam, and then a whole lot more. The Support Crew enabled the cyclists to cycle and to worry about nothing else and on the long days this was critical.
So after something like 1,2 million pedal strokes the 2018 1965Ride cycle tour is over; but not really. They have raised a considerable sum of money (not all of it is in yet because they have until June to complete their fundraising activities) and this will ensure that the legacy of the 8th running of the tour will endure for many years into the future.