My plan to join Andy for the section of the ride from Vic Falls to Windhoek depends on my getting fit…very fit. I’ve got until 7 April. The scary part is that I’ll be joining a group of riders who’ve been cycling 5 or 6 days a week for three months and by then will have covered over 8 000 kms.
I’ve been home a week since the start of the Tour; running or spinning most days … getting into the groove … my son Tim has offered to help me and today was our first ride together. Apart from the fact that he’s half my age, big and strong, cycles regularly and has a competition triathlete for a best friend, I didn’t feel at all intimidated…
In fact Tim was wonderfully relaxed, patient, and offered great advice. In 3 hours we rode lots of trails around Emmarentia and ended up at the water tower on the top of Northcliff hill. ‘Up’ is the operative word…so is steep! It must be one of the highest points in Johannesburg: certainly felt like it this morning.
I was hoping for an easy beginner’s ride to build my confidence with some basic ‘technical’ riding skills. So we did…
- Single tracks – about as wide as one car tyre; some in a deep rut
- Steep downhills – sometimes to a corner to go under a bridge next to a stream
- Steep uphills – short sharp and stony
- Mud and water – not deep, just thick and smelly
- Slatted wooden bridge over water – water deeper, also thick and smelly.
Like I said, an easy beginner’s ride! Tim’s advice was clear, consistent, and most useful when shouted at me from behind. ‘Look ahead! Keep your arms relaxed! Keep pedaling!’
Perhaps it’s not strange that it’s basically the same advice my instructor gave me when I was riding my horse. She said, ‘Relax! Don’t look down! Your horse knows where to put his feet’. Tim said ‘Trust your bike’.
It was an absolutely wonderful morning. Thank you Tim! When the bruise on my chin and the cut on my finger heal (don’t ask!) I’ll be back for more…next Sunday.