Thursday 12th September 2019

Archive for the ‘The Challenge’ Category

Homeward Bound

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

So, this is it, my Enduro Africa adventure is complete.

It's Wednesday, it's my 55th birthday and I'm being treated to a pre-departure glass of Champagne in the business lounge of Durban airport (thanks Chris!) before flying off to Jo'burg and onwards to the UK.

I've had such a fantastic time, I've seen so many wonderful things and I've certainly become a better off-road rider over the course of this amazing trip.

I'm bruised, tired and sore but ultimately I'm feeling very satisfied for making it to the end without serious injury and for the valuable contribution my family, friends and supporters have made to HIV prevention and education in South Africa through four great charities.

Along the route, I've met some great people – fellow riders, organisers and colourful locals, and I've seen parts of this vast, dramatic country that most visitors don't get anywhere near to.

My heartfelt thanks go to all my fellow 'Green Team' members whose advice, assistance and constant good humour helped me through the toughest parts of the ride, along with our esteemed team leaders (Ian and Conrad) who patiently coaxed us all across rivers, through gorges, up hills and down unfeasibly steep ravines. The sense of comradeship was immense and everyone played a valuable part in helping each other through some pretty tricky situations and particularly 'extreme' off-road riding. And, yes, I'm even grateful to the Orange Team for the occasional additional help and assistance we got from them when the going got really tough!

In 20 hours time I shall be back home in London, settling back into a totally different world complete with its job pressures, flashy cars, whizzy technology and conspicuous affluence, and this trip will, no doubt, soon fade into a distant memory. However, I am determined to remember the pure simplicity of life in the Transkei, the wonderful warmth of its lovely people, the incredible sense of achievement we gleaned from doing something positive for those less privileged than us and that awesome feeling of euphoria having completed such a physically challenging adventure.

Thanks to all who made this trip possible, particularly those friends, family, and businesses who kindly donated funds or sent notes of encouragement throughout this fabulous 'once-in-a-lifetime' journey.


The Adventure Begins

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

I must admit to a slight sense of trepidation as I boarded the tube with all my carefully packed kit en route to Heathrow on Sunday. To say that I felt a tad unprepared is an understatement and I had a last minute panic at the prospect of meeting up with a bunch of people younger, fitter and much more experienced at this motosport mullarky than yours truly!

Checked in at 15:00 for a 19:30 flight (some kind of record for me) and spent a jolly couple of hours in the bar with a few fellow Enduro victims swapping nervous stories of what we’d heard about the adventure ahead. Chris, a digital research guy in his 50’s, Garry, a ‘Mackem’ in his 40’s who’s into thermoplastics, and Claire, a stockbroker in her late 20’s, and I formed the first cluster.

You could spot the other group members a mile off. Apart from the rictus smile of nervous apprehension, we had all been advised to wear our motorcycle boots and carry helmets on board to avoid falling foul of the luggage weight limits.

Twenty two hours later, passing via Jo’berg and an internal flight to Durban, 34 weary travellers arrived at the hotel T O Strand at Port Edward only to be told to get geared up ready to meet our bikes and have a quick warm-up ‘assessment’ ride.

The welcome reception was a spectacular display of zulu drummers and dancers in the approach to the hotel and surrounded by lines of shiny red Honda bikes.

Ride over, drinks then dinner followed by a presentation from each of the charities we were supporting, and the stage was set for Enduro Africa to truly begin.


A Few Technical Difficulties

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Thanks for all of the IMs, texts, emails and requests for pictures!

My shiny new iPhone has been about as useful as a house brick for the past few days because I can’t get any data – 3G, Wi-Fi or otherwise – so I’m unable to post any blogs, respond to facebook, upload pics, or anything vaguely digital at all!

I’ve spent more than enough time trying to get Orange customer services to help and I can only hope that the next hotel has access to the internet in some form.

Please bear with me, stay tuned, and I’ll get something posted at the very next possible opportunity.

Well… I suppose they did tell us that we’d be out in the sticks!