Whew. Day 8 already!

This has been the most amazing experience for me.

Just to give you some background:

My love for a bicycle all started almost exactly 2 years ago in April 2019. I have been involved with the 1965ride since its inception on the statutory and financial side and Tony has been asking me non stop each year to join him. Well in April 2019, Connor got his drivers license and no longer needed his Mom to drive him around. Our elderly Main Coon cat Charlie was in kidney failure needing constant trips to the vet for intravenous fluids and he sadly passed away and also no longer needed me to take him to the vet any longer. I was no longer needed like I was before and I was at a place where I could finally decide what I wanted to do for me.

Tony happened to be visiting the office that week and he asked me again to join the 1965ride and I couldn’t think of a single reason not to. So we almost immediately set off to buy me a bicycle. I have loved every minute of cycling since then.

I was very nervous being the only lady on the 2021 1965ride team.

My male teammates have been absolutely fantastic! Leon, Monna and Mark have kept the bear hugs coming, Roger has made sure I get special chocolates with my lunch, my fellow racing snake teammate Laurence has kept me stocked up on jelly tots (I think all the sugar has helped me keep up with him!), Sili is an awesome peleton team mate (always keeping me up to date on the pack), Nico and John have been wealths of cycling wisdom on the ride, and best of all Tony almost literally held my hand while I faced my biggest fear – coming down Penhoek pass. I absolutely love speed, but just not downhill on a bicycle!

So back to today, day 8.

We left Umtali lodge early, just after 7am because it was going to be a long day in the saddle.

It was a fresh 11.6 degrees when we started out but as usual the weather was fantastic.

The roads were great with a nice wide shoulder and no potholes and we cruised along in double peloton formation with the front team providing some protection against the head wind.

We saw a herd of blesbok and herd of horses in a field opposite the old cheesery and the scenery was similar to yesterday with lovely rolling hills and wide open spaces with the most beautiful Poplar trees changing to their yellowy-orange Autumn colour. The scents along the way were intense.

We rode past Buffelsfontein farm which has the coldest recorded temperature in South African.

We had 3 punctures on Sili’s rear tyre and before we knew it we had completed the 22km climb to the top of Penhoek pass! We were at 1844m above sea-level!

Then we needed to ride the 4.4km down to the bottom of the pass from 1844m to a 1543m. For some this was their signal to spread their wings and fly down the pass like eagles! They had a ball!

The team spirit over the last few days has merged and solidified and we are united in our passion for cycling and in the cause we are blissfully supporting.

At the bottom of the pass we arrived at Hazelmere farm just after 3pm and after a short ride on the gravel driveway we gathered for our usual post ride stretches.

We freshened up and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.

Supper was another magnificent leg of lamb with chocolate and malva pudding and fresh farm cream.  Yum!!

The well deserved “give it horns” trophy was given to Roger by an almost unanimous vote and we all received our 1965ride certificates from Tony.

Mark choose the 2021 1965ride song – Good Job, which he played for us and which we all loved and agreed was very fitting.

It was all quite an emotional evening!

The night sky here is too exquisite for words. There is no light around to detract and dilute the stars from their brilliance and from shining as brightly as they are. It makes you feel hopeful.  And also hopeful for the lives of the future bursars that we are hoping to change with our 2021 1965ride.

To all heroes in disguise, GOOD JOB!