Thursday, October 25, 2012

Oh - the irony!

After the massive off road adventure that was scouting by motorbike in Madagascar, it was time to get back on the gentle, lightweight mountain bike.
I wheeled it out to pleased to be back on a steed that required instinctive handling and had no throttle. After a mission to replace the back tire valve, the Tall Boy was ready to hit the trails. Bliss, the helmet felt like a feather.
Four of us set out for a coffee ride up the spruit and I was pleasantly surprised to have not lost too much fitness in two weeks away. Several Vida coffees later, we dragged ourselves away for the downhill return journey and the legs were still feeling good despite the severe bruising that colured my shins yellow and mauve.
The last section of the ride is along Witkoppen road and as we slowed for a robot, my handlebars hooked a rubbish bin and I was unceremoniously dumped onto my hands. Ow, ow ow! Instant bruising appeared on my wrists and when my mates had stopped laughing, we picked up the bike, inspected my wrists and decided we'd better head for home before the adrenalin wore off.
Acid doesn't even begin describe my attitude. I'd survived motorbiking in worse conditions and received plenty of bruises and I was tired of hurting. What's more, I couldn't put my left wrist on the handlebars. So it was a one handed ride back to Sean's car where Derek and Doug fussed over my bike and me. I'll admit there were a few tears by now.
Both wrists hurt abominably but the left was worse. Icing and a few hours rest didn't ease it so it was off to Olivedale Clinic. Then it wasn't just my wrist hurting but my wallet. The end result was a heavily splinted wrist which fortunately wasn't broken but was damn sore.
Maybe there's a message there somewhere, but I'm damned if I know what.


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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Rookie Rider - Graduation

The last day of off road riding looms

  • By now the route is familiar and confidence is on the upswing
  • Opt for some single track only to find it heads off on the wrong line
  • Smile and wave at bemused locals
  • Retrace steps - @onegiantride is now in front but doesn't know i,t having wiped out on wet grass
  • Wait at boulder in river crossing.
  • Try phoning - yes there's signal.
  • @onegiantride is on top of mountain waiting.
  • Ride boulder in river crossing and do a mental fist pump
  • Ride single track to top of mountain and find it suddenly easier than two days before.

  • Start to feel good after hectic day before.
  • Ride single track to bog patch - opt to head out on foot.
  • @onegiantride continues on bike
  • Decide after 400m that walking is montrously inefficient
  • Walk back, study bog and pick a line.
  • Have hand gesture discussion with old man herding one zebu and realise a better path lies on top of ridge.
  • Cross safely over bog and resume path
  • Reach gully and opt to ride straight up mountain through veld onto top path.
  • Feeling pleased with self - another mental fist pump
  • Ride single track along ridge until path goes up over boulders - go around until reach saddle and decide that's far enough.
  • Decide to retrace path to to split and wait for @onegiantride
  • Bike falls down the slope because foot can't reach the ground.
  • Land on already bruised shins.
  • Make like The Hulk to lift bike.

  • Retrace path and opt to go around boulder choke point on path
  • Return to path and bounce right over and land on bruised shins again
  • Bike is now lying face down.
  • Drag front wheel straight.
  • Remember to hold front brake and attempt to lift
  • Try again
  • Try again
  • Eventually do monumental leg press and get bike upright.
  • Return to saddle, park and rest under some trees
  • Patch shins
  • Wait for @onegiantride

  • Reunited - ride single track back to jeep track
  • Head for home
  • Ride boulder in river crossing  the other way but too tired to fist pump
  • Ride home warily
  • Lie down
  • Off road is over and face two more days of tar riding back to Tana.

Moral: If you bite off more than you can chew - swallow the damn thing whole.