The many titles of this fund-raising bicycle ride tell us that this was a ride with more than one agenda. It was nevertheless a ride with a unified goal: To raise funds for the support of disadvantaged children who need urgent assistance in order to achieve their optimal potential.
The ‘Dust for Development’ part refers to our HIV-positive toddlers and pre-schoolers whose parents need our support to provide optimal stimuli for early childhood development (ECD); and the ‘Treble Tour’ title, to a very urgent need to help talented young musicians gain the marks they deserve in their upcoming matriculation examinations in maths and science. The Ribbon Ride idea stems from the AIDS ribbon, which is red. (We await ideas for an ECD ribbon).
It’s not easy for cyclists to take time off work for a ride such as this, so we were very fortunate to find five riders for this year’s tour. Kirsty Donald (who rode last year’s Ribbon Ride), Anna Donald (her sister), Debbie Nash (who survived the 2012 Freedom Challenge route) and Leanne Brady (our first representative from the Keiskamma Trust) and Paul Roux (who seems to pitch up and ride every year). We were also very pleased that Aimée Nash (Debbie’s daughter) could find time to drive our support vehicle.
All the riders and Aimée donated days of leave to the cause; and all of them paid for their own accommodation and meals.
We soon discovered what was meant by ‘Dust for Development’
Leanne won the Zog award for the day,
in recognition of her remarkable riding outfit at the start of the day
These dirt roads are clearly designed for riding five abreast.
The City of Cape Town should take note.
A lone spectator gave no word of encouragement. Turned his back and shuffled off...
Every day should be like this: Mainly downhill,
no wind and a short ride with lots of time for rest and recovery
Anna won Zog for world-class sheep-spotting
There is a disingenuous innocence about the sign at the turn-off to the Swartberg Pass. It gives nothing away.
Almost three hours of suffering awaited us.
Even the beautiful approach into the Kloof does not warn a rider that those vertical faces mean considerable altitude will need to be gained to get to the top.
It took us two and a half hours of pedalling to get to there, over about 15 kilometres of winding road. But no cyclists passed us.
This is possibly because we were the only ones on the road.
Early climbs were followed by switchbacks; and more switchbacks.
But we did get to the top – eventually - and we were all very happy.
And we were even happier to be zooming down the other side.
We thought then, that we must have had this little ride wrapped up. Little did we know that there were monstrous hills, better designed for spiders and geckos to climb, waiting around the corner on the Oudemuratie Road.
We were all reduced to pushing our bikes: Proof again that gravity trumps calories and mitochondria. The Oudemuratie Road did eventually relent and start to go downhill – but not before it really had to.
It all ended extremely well, as one can see from the happy faces on this photograph, taken just after we had finally come to a stop outside De Rust.
Zog was awarded to Debbie on the final evening –for being first to the top of the Swartberg, despite an earlier fall.
We don’t know yet how much support we raised, but it was worth it.