I have to blame what I regard as South Africa’s greatest sporting event, the Comrades Marathon, for sending me “off the trail” (or “off my rocker” as some colleagues and friends would say) to the Freedom Challenge.
As a youngster, I played anything with a ball, including tennis, hockey, indoor hockey, squash and golf. Running was up to 10kms to keep fit.
|Fatboy's 1st Comrades|
|On top of Africa with my friend "Slabs"|
|Finishing Ironman with my oldest son Christopher|
|Sorry 2 Oceans - here's the "World's most beautiful race"|
|Running the Otter Trail with my wife Tracy|
But why not cover a lot more distance by converting from running to a mountain bike. And so, the start of my mountain biking came in the form of the Joberg2c race from Heidelberg to Scottburgh in May 2011. 9 days and 900 kms of riding later I was hoping that I have some feel for what the Freedom Challenge will be like.
However, I have since been meeting up with some members of this small little nutty group of Freedom Challengers, and they have been quick to assure me that it will be nothing like Joberg2c. That was luxury by comparison. Craig Wapnick and Co did such a superb job of organizing the Joberg2c that we had everything bar the kitchen sink, and the traveling Seattle Coffee Bar that served us every day is testimony to this.
And so, here I am in early June 2011, watching the winter weather deteriorate, not really knowing what to expect, but knowing for sure that the Freedom Challenge is a new frontier and somewhat “off the trail” in my life as a social sportsman, knowing that I’ll miss the Seattle Coffee, and wondering whether to thank or to sue Bruce Fordyce and the Comrades Marathon Association for being the cause of all of this.