I Rode…

GROV­EL­LING ON GRAVEL IN THE BREATH­TAK­ING KAROO.

Bicycling (South Africa) - - INSIDE -

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!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.