So my first ever Argus Cycle Tour was certainly memorable and quite an experience. As my friend Jason said at the finish “we certainly got our moneys worth today”. Joking aside I accomplished what I set out to do and that was to raise money and hopefully some awareness too for The Sunflower Fund. I felt honoured to be cycling in The Sunflower Fund kit on race day and I am proud to have contributed to such an amazing organisation that is doing great things for those suffering from Leukaemia in South Africa.
So on the morning of the race I woke up early had a light bite and left home before 6am to meet up with my training partner and fellow newbie Argus Rider Jason. On the M3 I briefly pulled over to be able to watch the first group, the Pros’ fly past. You really need to be stationary and have a good vantage point to actually appreciate how great these guys really are on a bike! From there I met up with Jason at his home and then we took a slow drive into the waterfront where we parked before we headed off to find our starting group. We were on for a 9:42 am start (right near the back) one of the last groups to leave.
Time flew by as we made small talk with the other cyclists around us and before we knew it we were underway as we headed off on our 1st Argus and a 110km tour around the Cape Peninsula together. Admittedly I was super charged to get out at the front of our group and put down a good pace early on to make up some time and get into a good rhythm. This was going rather well as we led a small group of about 8 cyclists as we stuck to the far right of the road and passed those ahead of us. This went well all the way to Boyes Drive and then we eased off the pace a bit to get through the climbs until we got to Kalk Bay where we put foot again. Everything was going great and checking our split times we were close on a sub 3h30 race time.
As we headed up out of Smitswinkel Bay and climbed the hill towards the Cape Point gate I got out of the saddle to put on the gas but suddenly felt my rear tyre sliding. My heart sank a little as I realised that I had picked up a puncture. There wasn’t anywhere to change the tyre as it was so congested so I got off the bike and started running up the hill with my bike. It was quite funny as although running in cleats is no easy task I was still overtaking people on the hill (thank goodness for my running fitness). At the top we found a small pullover spot and began puncture repairs. From that point on my race went progressively wrong! I won’t draw out the drama but 5 punctures, 6 tubes, 6 CO2 bombs and a broken hand pump later my aspirations of even a sub 4 hour finish were completely out the window!
In total we lost well over an hour and a half in time spent fixing MY punctures. It was crazy and more than a little mentally draining. When I had my 5th and final puncture in Camps Bay we were only 8kms from the finish and as I was on my last spare tube and humour I had left I seriously considered picking up my bike and running it into the finish. I felt that desperate and paranoid at even making the cut off time. It sounds silly I know but so many people had committed to sponsor my Argus Cycle Tour for The Sunflower Fund on the basis that I would finish and there was no way I intended on letting anyone down no matter what happened. These thoughts and my friend Jason’s sense of humour and refusal to carry on without me kept me going to the finish.
So in the end we crawled across the line in 5 hours and 35 minutes but the main thing was that we finished what we had started. We met some other cyclists from The Sunflower Fund’s Miles for Marrow team after the finish and we shared our race stories and experiences over a cold beer. Although not really much of a drinker I don’t think that a beer has ever tasted so sweet or so cold and we sure as heck savoured the moment and looked forward to 2012 and the next Argus Cycle Tour.
We are nearly finished with collections and reconciliation with my fundraising for The Sunflower Fund and I will be sending out an update on how much we have raised. Thanks again to everyone for their wonderful support this has been such an amazing experience!
Obstacles in life are Opportunities to Learn, Overcome and Ultimately Succeed. Whatever those obstacles are in your life where there is a will there is always a way.
Live life to the full and enjoy the ride!