GROVELLING ON GRAVEL IN THE BREATHTAKING KAROO.
How one rider conquered the most challenging race he’s ever done: the Tour Of Ara.
TTHE TOUR OF ARA IS A RACE through the Karoo on vintage steel road bikes, mostly along gravel roads, and unsupported; with no sponsorship, no massages, and no bike mechanics on call. But for me, it was less of a race and more a question of survival!
The total distance was 870km over six stages, in the middle of winter. One morning, in Sutherland, it was - 3°C. The roads were brutal on the old bikes. Frames cracked – one even snapped. Derailleurs exploded. Eventual winner Mpho Moloi rode 20km on one leg, after his crank arm sheared off his bike. More than a quarter of the starting field of 40 riders failed to finish.
But it was also magnificent. The landscape made me cry. The other riders were inspiring. I learnt to love and respect my bike as if it, too, had a heart beating somewhere in its steel frame. Most importantly, I rode to a place deep within myself where the real things – the
true things – became obvious. And I returned a better person for it. – Jon Minster
It was less of a race and more a question of survival!