C

Experience of a lifetime

I was lucky enough to participate in the ABC challenge in 2016. I joined a group of 20 mountain bikers from around the world on a 370km journey along the Garden Route in South Africa, so called because of the ecologically diverse vegetation found there – officially the second mildest climate in the world.

Day one got off to an inauspicious start for me, as, powered by a huge breakfast, I vigorously pumped up my tyres until one of them exploded in my face, covering me in sticky tyre sealant.  Luckily the team at DayTrippers are like a formula 1 pit crew, and within minutes we were on the road.

The terrain was varied and often very tough – we rode along gravel tracks, through rivers, up and down mountains and past herds of ostriches. Our destination on day two was the Garden Route Lodge, situated at the centre of a game reserve, past some hungry looking lions, at which point we sped up significantly.

Day three was 100 kilometres long, and very hilly, finishing with an epic climb to Honeywood Lodge. After being cheered home by the hikers, and utterly exhausted, we each consumed our own bodyweight in bread and honey.

Day four took us to Fish Hoek via a hand pulled pontoon across a river. Day five was an unforgettable ride around the cape peninsula into Cape Town, which finished on a long downhill stretch, with incredible views over the ocean.

On our final day we visited the hospital burns unit which was a humbling experience. It was a great privilege to meet the children and the talented and dedicated people who work to improve their lives and those of their families, and we were honoured to have been able to make a small contribution.

S