Meet The Team – 2021 Silverback Tour
Adam Selby. A very successful farmer and businessman, Adam was an integral part of the Old Legs Tour to Mt Kilimanjaro. He loved the Tour and described it as life changing, even though Jenny reduced his beloved Land Rover Discovery to ashes in minutes in Tanzania.
Down to just the one Land Rover, Adam reluctantly sat out the2020 Lockdown Tour and suffered extreme FOMO throughout. He was impossible and staked his claim to a seat in the 2021 peloton, even before we’d planned a Tour. Mostly to stop him from sulking, we told him yes, he could ride the 2021 Tour. And to make sure the 2021 Tour happens as per plan, we asked Adam if he would be the Ride Captain. Adam is the best organizer and makes stuff happen.
He is a 1958 model, but his legs are far much younger. He is the quintessential racing snake. His favourite colour is yellow but that doesn’t stop him from also pinching my green jelly babies, or my red ones, or my orange ones, etcetera, etcetera. Adam is hugely proud that his daughter Jaime will be riding next to him in the peloton. I worry that Jaime has inherited Adam’s snake genes and expect both of them to reach Uganda before me.
Joining us in the peloton all the way from Los Angeles, California will be Billy Prentice. Billy graduated from Allan Wilson in 1975 and served for 4 years in BSAP Support Unit. He emigrated to the USA in 1986 and joined the Los Angeles County Fire Department as a firefighter and paramedic. Zimbabwe’s loss, the USA’s gain. Billy went onto graduate from the University of Southern California as a Physician Assistant (BSc).
Billy lives and works in Los Angles as a Physician Assistant in Urgent Care. He is married to Holly and is proud father of twin 15-year-old daughters Audrey and Gigi.
We are stoked to have Billy join the Old Legs Tour. To improve and extend our fund-raising footprint, we want an international peloton, and have long wanted someone on board from the USA. Billy will be a valuable contributor. With another Allan Wilson old boy on board, all repairs and maintenance will be well supervised. And should any of our bicycles burst into flames en route to Uganda, Billy will be our Go To Guy to extinguish the blaze. And also any of Adam Selby’s Land Rovers. Billy will also be the Ride Medic in charge of fixing bust and ailing riders, which will hopefully mean that Adam will not need to come anywhere me with syringes in hand. I’ve asked Billy to also swot up on tick bites and gorilla bites
Laurie Watermeyer, Al’s younger brother by 2 years, also attended Prince Edward. To compensate for the resultant dearth of technical skills, Laurie went to the University of Natal Durban to learn mechanical engineering, canoeing, spear fishing and under water hockey. After University and National Service, Laurie flirted briefly with working in South Africa, but returned to Zimbabwe in 1983. Laurie has a special passion for canoeing the Zambezi. He caught the mountain bike bug in 1986 and remembers how proud he was the first time he rode 25 km ride on tar, mostly downhill, without having to stop and rest. Since then, he has ridden more than a dozen Blue Cross rides and rode with Ant Mellon on his first Harare to Cape Town Tour in 2008. Six extensive clavicle repair jobs later, Laurie still hasn’t got the hang of riding down mountains slowly and continues to explore the limits of his MTB downhill skills. The correct technical term for someone like Laurie is a downhill nutter.
Joining us on the Old Legs Tour this year for the first time are both the Watermeyer brothers, Al and Laurie. Which bodes seriously well, because the book on adventure was written by a Watermeyer.
Born in Mutare in 1949, Al Watermeyer will be the senior man on Tour. Because Allan Wilson was full, Al’s parents sent him to Prince Edward instead. Al rode a bike to school and enjoyed that so much, he never got back on a bike until just 10 years ago. Since then, he has ridden 6 or more Blue Crosses, the first part of the Old Legs 2018 Cape Town Tour, and the 2019 Kilimanjaro Tour. Al is ecstatic to be going on the Silverback tour.
Lead photographer and manning the drone will be Gary de Jong. Gary is a professional wildlife photographer based out of Bulawayo. Gary came on board the Lockdown Tour as the lead photographer at short notice after Old Legs stalwart Ryan Moss had to pull out to chase his dreams from Cairo to Cape Town. An absolute artist with a camera, Gary was able to so capture the essence of the Tour on film and did Zimbabwe and her wildlife areas hugely proud. Gary’s coffee table book ‘Zimbabwe On The Road Less Travelled’ will be published in August 2021 and will available in a book store near you.
The Old Legs peloton for the Lockdown Tour was an all-male affair, rather smelly at times and sometimes crude, and with no soft bits, apart from me. The peloton for the Silverback Tour will be an entirely different thing with the fairer sex well represented.
Back for the second time and by popular demand is CarolJoy Church.
Born in Mutare, CarolJoy has lived in Germany for the last 19 years. Growing up, her passion was for music, specifically te piano and the cello. After studying music therapy, CarolJoy started working at a hospital in a picturesque but hilly area in the Ruhr region, with an emphasis on hilly. For environmental reasons, CarolJoy decided against becoming a car owner, and bought a bicycle instead, looking to tick the transport, fitness and relaxation boxes all at the same time.
In 2015 and back in Zimbabwe on holiday, CarolJoy rode her first Blue Cross and loved it, silly girl. Another Blue Cross later in 2018, she signed up for the Kilimanjaro Tour. To track her training progress, she signed up for a women’s challenge on Strava for most kilometers and most meters climbed in a calendar month and placed 23000 and something in her first month. On the day we rode into Moshi at the base of Kilimanjaro, CarolJoy placed 9th on the same challenge. Incredibly, only 8 women in the whole wide Strava world had outperformed CarolJoy that month. And now onto Uganda and the Silverback Tour. I fully expect CarolJoy to get to Uganda before me
Joining us for the first time on an Old Legs Tour is Fiona Semper nee Smidt. Harare born and bred, Fiona grew up desperately wanting to be a jockey. Unfortunately, she grew up a bit too much and was deemed too tall to turn professional and pursued a career in Distribution and Logistics instead, working in the UK, Sa and Zimbabwe.
Commerce’s gain, the Horse Racing industry’s loss. Whilst in SA, Fiona ran the Comrades six times and Two Oceans twice. She told me she plodded her marathons but having seen only the back of her riding helmet on her bike, I do not believe a word of it.
Since taking up mountain biking in 2011, Fiona has ridden the Argus, the Sani to Sea and six Blue Crosses. I fully expect Fiona to reach Uganda before me. Fiona’s heart has charity written all over it. She is committed to riding to Uganda to help Zimbabwe’s elderly. And she has a special passion for helping animals, because animals can’t speak for themselves.
Also joining the Silverback Tour is Jaime Selby Philp, coincidentally Adam Selby’s daughter. Jaime writes – “I am a the mother of Isabella and Gabriella (two beautiful young girls entering their teens) and wife of Liam (a hard working farmer, exporter, all around good guy!)
I am lucky enough to live on a farm, just out of Harare, where I spend my days assisting my kids in their online learning and helping where I can with various charity organizations. I am passionate about education and health & wellness.2020 was a difficult year for most, but especially for vulnerable community members, like our old age pensioners. I have joined my dad on this epic adventure through Africa as a way to help raise money for old age pensioners in Zimbabwe. I’m absolutely terrified and daunted by this task, something I think our old folks must feel about their daily lives. Please join us on our adventure as we travel to Uganda raising money and awareness for our most vulnerable, aged Zimbabweans.”Because Jaime is her father’s daughter, I also expect her to get to Uganda before me.
Heading up the support crew for the fourth time is Jenny de Jong. To describe her as long-suffering is an understatement. She was long-suffering even before I bought a bike. Jenny is able to rustle up best ever meals, anywhere. Her 482 bean salad lunches are especially good, ditto her pickles, chutneys and chilli sauces. In a push for maximum brownie points, if I wasn’t already married to jenny, I’d ask her to marry me. After 3 Tours, Jenny is going off camping in a big way.
In charge of Lindafication on the Silverback Tour is Linda Selby. For those who not familiar with the term, to Lindafy things means to organize them not just alphabetically and without fuss, but also to colour code them, group them according to size and or frequency of use, and all wrapped up in a Gantt chart that actually works, all with a smile on your face, with kind words for anyone and everyone, even if they are sweaty and stink.
Joining us on Tour for the first time is Aoife Connolly. Aoife is an appointed Trustee of the recently formed Old Legs Trust, tasked with establishing a Medical Emergency Fund that pensioners in need can turn to. Aoife writes ‘I was born in Ireland but bred in Africa. The first African country I lived in was Uganda, so I’m sort of going back to my roots. Unfortunately, my parents named me Aoife, which when said in Shona, doesn’t translate very well. After finishing school (with a colourful education from 5 different countries) I studied psychology in the U.K. which led me to work in the charity sector. A stint home and a MSc later, I legged it back to Zimbabwe permanently, just in time to get roped back into charity work, through which I eventually met the Old Legs team. I’m more a swimmer than a cyclist. Because riding a bike to Uganda is less of an option than swimming there, I think I’ll ride in one of the support vehicles. On to the important stuff. My favourite colour is red, I’m scared of snakes, heights and possibly gorillas and my hobbies include drinking red wine and bossing Old Legs about.’