The Final Countdown
After 4 months, 12000 km, and 10 countries, we finally made it and rolled into Cape Town for our finale. What an adventure. We’ve been stoned and beaten with cattle whips, had malaria, typhoid and lots of fractures, been charged by elephant and held up at gunpoint.
We’ve had hours of glorious cycling in the broiling heat, pouring rain and freezing mist. It has been through mud, along smooth pavement, up mountains and down down down massive descents.
Of course, though, it has been the friendships and the sharing of the experience with like (and not so like) minded people that has defined it all. The hilarity, difficulty, joy and pain have all been intesified by the camaraderie and pleasure of being with such a great group. I won’t miss the constant farting of fifty men with dodgy stomachs though….
The South Africa stage was always going to be about the end, and we all started to really talk about and think about what was coming next. The Final Countdown became our breakfast theme tune and at least five times every day someone would come up to me and say… only four more/three more/two more days to go..
The stage itself was fun. We saw the sea for the first time since Cairo – that was a big moment. There were lots of rolling hills and a couple of dirt sections – where I managed to take a massive fall and really hurt my arm. It also got cold, really cold on one morning where we left and rode straight into a valley of freezing fog. The Western Cape is laid back, friendly folk and felt like a good place for the last few days riding.
And then it WAS the last day. And this was going to be all about celebration and enjoying the acheivement and the company. Cheese, wine, smoked salmon for the lunchtime beach party, with our team photos and cyclists coming in to join the final big ride in.
We set off again from the beach onto the new cycle paths that have been built by the Cape Town municipality. It was mayhem with so many of us and unfortunately we had one crash and a pelvic fracture for Linda. But we continued on and for the last part of the celebrations we were joined by even more cyclists, skate boarders and Cape Tonians for a general celebration of all thing non-car.
We rounded off with the medal awards – with plaudits for our 17 fantastic EFI (every fabulous inch)ers and our amazing race winners – Paul, Dennis and Adam for the men and Tori and Carrie for the women. Lots of friends and family – including Jeanette for me!! – had made the trip over for it which was great and then in the evening the celebrations continued with eating, drinking and some very dodgy dancing.
Time for real life again. A life not necessarily changed by this experience but most definitely enhanced and enriched by it.