12th March 2023 – The Third World As Seen From The Saddle – the Cape Town Cycle Tour
Distance – 109 km
Climb – 1099 m
Time – 6 hr 50 min
Av Heart Rate – 118 bpm
Max Heart Rate – 175 bpm
NB my time for the Argus is a new personal best. My previous personal best was 6 hr 45 min.
I am blogging to you from the back of a Joburg Uber on my way to my eye doctor for a checkup and an oil pressure test.
Joburg is supposedly on edge because Julius Malema has threatened to close the place down on Monday, with some preliminary nonsense expected today. But so far, so good and no burning tyres on highways. Maybe revolutionaries only start work after 8. NB Please do not be over impressed by a big turnout for Monday’s stay away, because Tuesday is a public holiday and who wouldn’t grab the opportunity for a long weekend with both hands. Julius might be an idiot but he’s not stupid.
The long, boring drive home from Cape Town is proving long and boring, and I worry Wallace will bite me when I put him back in the car. But the trip has also proved fruitful. I’ve solved Cyril’s load shedding problems. To avoid power outages, all Cyril has to do is move in next door to the Free State Premier. We stayed in a guest lodge in Bloemfontein down the from the Premier and they told us they never have load shedding.
Cape Town is a long way by car and even further on a bike, but the Cape Town Cycle Tour a.k.a. the Argus was so worth the commute. The Mother City put on perfect weather for us with blue skies, no wind and forever views. I felt sorry for the poor bugger who won the Cape Town Cycle Tour in 2 hrs 36 min because he will have missed all those views. He clearly never got the memo that the good things in life should be enjoyed, not rushed.
And whilst on the subject of good things, please especially put Clarence Drive on your ride bucket list. The coastal ride from Rooi-els to Gordon’s Bay is easily one of the prettiest I’ve ever done. I got very excited when I saw 2 whales frolicking, but it turns out they were seals. Alas. But seals are also good. Thank you Gary Prothero for the guided tour.
Back to the Argus. I narrowly missed out on a podium position only because I towed a very nice chap from Cape Town 2 kilometers on his mountain bike to a service point after his chain broke, and also because I stopped to pee often. The guy who won also never got the memo that peeing in your pants is gross.
The Old Legs Tour peloton for the Argus was 15 strong. We all flew the Zim flag proudly and to loud and resounding cheers the entire length of the course. We felt sorry for those in front of us behind us. They rode in a vacuum by comparison. Despite the best efforts of Bob and Ed, our little teapot-shaped-country continues to garner much affection on the streets of Cape Town.
I was very proud of our Rob Fisher who absolutely smoked the course on his 70th birthday, ditto Argus rookies Linda Selby, Andrew Chadwick and Donald Bomber Campbell.
If ever I am to reduce my Argus time, I need to improve on my downhill skills. Currently I go down hills slower than I go up them. I was able to study those road bikers fleeing the Lycra fashion police who make up for time lost walking up the hills in their tap-dancing shoes by absolutely flying down the other side in contorted tuck positions, offsetting the wind resistance problems posed by large bottoms with aerodynamic shaved legs. I can’t see my skinny legs being any less wind resistant by shaving them, so I’ll need to either put on weight, or grow some balls if I want to go faster.
We rode from Wildernesses to Cape Town to ride Argus to raise money and awareness for Zimbabwe’s pensioners, and also as a training ride for our forthcoming Zanzibar Tour which starts 27 May. 700 kilometers and 7000 meters of climb later, I am back to some semblance of tour fitness, and in almost showroom condition, apart from a hernia that threatens when I overexert. NB According to my hernia, lifting Jenny’s big orange suitcase in and out of the car is harder work than Chapman’s Peak.Jenny’s suitcase is like Wallace’s bladder- impossibly bigger on the inside.
A huge thank you to my fellow Old Legs for taking time out out of their busy lives to suffer on the roads in Cape Town- Al Watermeyer, Adam and Linda Selby, Andrew Chadwick, Gary and Lol Prothero, Rob Skinner, Rob Fisher, Charles Montgomery, Jaime Selby Philp, Jenny Long Suffering de Jong, Diana Walls, Donald Bomber Campbell, Lori Watermeyer, Charles Betts, Mike Davis and Claudio Giger, Evelyn Batter and Maik Kundig all the way from Switzerland.
We have been able to do good whilst on Tour.
Through our partner charity, the M’dala Trust, one of our pensioners on thrice weekly dialysis will be able undergo urgently needed surgery to mitigate against the risk of infection posed by his permanent catheter. The thing that is keeping him alive was going to kill him, unless he had the surgery he couldn’t afford. Catch-22 Zim style.
The recipient, one of the toughest men I know, had a big lump in his throat when he asked me to thank the M’dala Trust. We would not be able to do good stuff like that without help from you, our donors. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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Jenny, Al, Diana and I are now rushing back to Zimbabwe for our annual Old Legs Tour Golf Day at Borrowdale Brooke on Friday March 24 and our next fundraising adventure, the Zimbabwe Safari Rally, starting in Bulawayo on March 29.
Please follow us as we do epic on the golf course and on 4 wheels.
In a bummer postscript, Jenny and I had to delay a day in Joburg because the oil pressure in my bad eye is too high, causing my clumsy-bastard retina to want to fall off yet again. So I am having urgent laser treatment this evening to spot weld the thing in place for the Zanzibar Tour, followed by more m surgery in August. Bugger.
Until my next blog from the Safari Rally, have fun, do good and do epic – Eric Chicken Legs de Jong