Sunday 30th September 2018

Extreme Enduro Riding

Published: Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Now I know why they call it the Enduro Africa Challenge. It’s a serious test of endurance, it’s a proper ‘dig deep’ challenge that takes you well outside your comfort zone and you end up doing lots of stuff you previously thought impossible.

I’m knackered!

Emotionally: We came across a school on our travels today and stopped for a quick breather. The kids all came over to check out the strange guys on their noisy motorbikes so we got amongst them for a photo. Really lovely, bright eyed, curious, smiley kids. Mike Glover, our big chief, rocks up and starts the kids singing. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I filmed the whole school putting on an impromptu choral performance at the side of the road. Priceless!

Physically: I’ve taken this bike up rocky paths, through rivers, across mountains, through jungle undergrowth and every other conceivable terrain now. We were taken down a bit of a slope on the bikes today. Well, more of a ‘sheer drop’ than a ‘steep slope’ actually. I came off twice. Both times over the top of the handlebars and landing on my head. Each fall hurts, of course, but the immense energy required to recover the bike and get back in control is way beyond my physical training. My neck hurts, my backside hurts, my thigh hurts, my shoulders hurt and… my pride… well that’s just shot to pieces!

Mentally: The levels of sustained, highly focussed concentration required to ride this terrain are way beyond anything I’ve ever previously experienced. Ten hours a day without a single lapse in concentration is nigh impossible but in this lark it could easily mean a serious spill (or ‘off’) with bruises, broken limbs… or even worse! I’m quickly learning to multi-task and chide myself every time I start ‘goofing off’ but there’s always something around every corner to test even the sharpest powers of concentration. Deep ruts in hard dried mud are my worst fear, along with ‘lurkers’ – hidden boulders in long grass. Two members of the group are unable to ride today due to bruised ribs and sprained wrists so I’m all the more determined to stay focussed and stay ‘shiny side up’.

Imagine riding a bucking bronco… on a waltzer… on a tin tray rattling down the Cresta Run… for ten hours a day… and you get some idea of the jolting, bone-crunching, exhausting experience of extreme riding – Enduro Africa style.

I’m starting to feel concerned about having the stamina to see me through to the end of this. Each day ends with me feeling completely spent and the next starts with me having to do stretches to stave off the rigor mortis that sets in overnight.

Charlie Boorman, Ewan McGregor, William and Harry – Respect!


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