Cycle 4 Soccer – Di Thomas and her team of riders.

Dragging the bike, cursing, crossing rivers and many ks of rocky spurs ending with a mountain-goat type scramble up a near vertical face to emerge close to the start of the Hugenots Tunnel on the N1.From there it’s a hop&skip to the top, down through the Hawekwas forest and onto the finish at Diemersfontein where friends and family waited for us.

And what a finish, definitely not an anti-climax. Champagne, the traditional pizza, and of course receiving the much treasured finishers blanket, a victorian english style 100% woolen blanket much treasured in the Sotho culture and traditionally given to young men upon completion of their initiation rites.

Our hosts at Diemersfontein also treated us royally: luxury accommodation, 5* meals and a very festive event to wrap up a long and hard day and journey to get there. Wine maker Brett Rightford, Pinotage supremo, also rode this year.

While it must have sounded like one non-stop punishing ordeal, and at times we did wonder if we will ever see the other side again, it’s the beautiful places and people, the cameraderie, and most of all, stunning mountain biking on trails very few people have the privilege of riding that we will remember. It’s been a very personal journey for each one of us, one that will live with us and enrich the rest our lives.

Thank you all for your messages of support and encouragement, our families for their sacrifices, David and Meryl for making it happen and the magnificent riding machines that carried us all the way.

Many thanks to our hosts at the support stations along the way, who fed us, washed clothes and put up with our weird hours and needs.

Deon, Di & Ricky (aka. DDR)
Cape Town 8 July 2011