Grey High Cycle Tour


Day 6 Short but NOT sweet
15 July 2012
16h15 SAST

Todays ride was planned to be a scenic journey from the Wonderful Dunes hotel in Plett through Natures Valley , Storms River and onto our overnight stop at Greg and Tracey Scott awesome Misty Mountain.

As the alarm went off at 6am I glanced over to Doc Dave , my room mate and confirmed that we must be crazy. The wind was gusting at 60km/h and there we're cats and dogs scattered knee deep in the parking lot. This was going to be a day of memories ...some memories we may want to keep and some we will delete .It was also Andy Ficklngs birthday so a cold Happy bday was sung and then a prayer by our host asking for safe passage.

As we headed up the old road we were avoiding fallen trees , rock slides ...it was like Beirut.Once we got to the highway we used the Ficklings and their Subaru to assist the bus and this really worked well.At one of the puncture repair stops we were smashed with hail but there was nowhere to hide....thank God for our helmets . Our biggest fear was the crosswinds but the boys handled them well. When we got to Stormsriver Bridge we took no chances and had a compulsory portage across the bridge . It was then a fast and furious dash to the Misty Mountain turnoff and the next challenge awaited us. It was a 6km dirt road that was basically flooded. We all jumped onto the trailer with our bikes and that is when we froze.... It was the roughest toughest trailer ride in sleeting rain and howling wind.

On arriving at Misty Mountain the roof's had been ripped off , dams banks had burst and there was chaos. We were freezing and grabbed a quick shower and headed back to The Diner at Storms River for a hamburger and chips. Dean (sir) decided to take a shortcut and got the Mercedes bus horribly stuck.... Now we had a challenge to get all the boys out the bus , into the driving rain and mud and to start pushing .... Finally got the baby out and all was good.

A great supper and Jarryd, Shane and Shaun were up to no good as they were faced with NO DSTV so distracted the boys next door and stole their decoder.

Tomorrow was a 100km dash to J Bay and we were all praying for a big SW wind to push us home


Day 5 Wet Wet Wet
13 July 2012
17h06 SAST

Well the weatherman got it right today and the heavens opened and threw everything at us ..thank goodness it was only a 75km ride with the only big climb being out of Knysna.

It was a 7.30 start from Pine Lodge and a quick descent into Sedgefield where a Wimpy breakfast was prearranged. The boys were not happy with just a breakfast and were emptying the remaining coins from their wallets to purchase some burgers... Wow they can eat !!!

Knysna was our next port of call and a much needed coffee stop and thawing out was the order of the day. Dylan was really battling and his left knee was saw... He was pleading for the bus but we applied the principle of TTFU ... The 1st 2 words are TOUGHEN THE ......... .Shaun did a great job at dragging Dylan home and he was really pleased that we pushed him and made it home on the bike. Jordans family met us on the road and spurred us on ..we needed all the help we could get and we were all having to dig deep.

Finally passed through Plett and much moaning when they realized that the hotel was still about 7km to go but we once again ignored them and arrived at the Dunes Hotel to a great welcome. There was a small admin issue as both the Round Table and The Dunes had catered lunch for us so we took the burgers and rolls and will have them tomorrow at Misty Mountain.

The Mayor Memory Booysen and his entourage joined us for Lunch , we were quite excited as they served fish and chips and not pasta . The mayor and our hosts said some speeches and thanked the Boys for all they were doing . He wore his chain of office as this is the highest form of respect.Obviously this is now DA territory and he was featured strongly on Carte Blanche in a positive manner as his life was Threatened a few times by the previous ANC regime when he took over..really a nice guy and is fighting corruption ....he drives a corolla as well!!!

The winds turn against us tomorrow with a massive 40km/h South Easter straight into our faces...add some torrential rain and once again we will all be pleased that it is a 70km cycle as this could be one of the toughest days in terms of "vasbyt".... Its off to the Scott's spot at Misty mountain and then 2 days to go ...we're hanging in

Chat to you tomorrow


Day 4 Karoo to coast
12 July 2012
21h29 SAST

The Round Table guys and gals from George have just left us after feeding the masses.... What a great bunch ...laden with Pasta and beers .... The food was polished off and we sorted a few beers out but kept in mind the challenge that lies ahead tomorrow...... 75 km is all we need to do to get to Plett but it seems likely we will be riding in torrential rain so every km is going to be a challenge.

Well what happened today. An early start at 7am with a temp of 3 degrees and a manic departure from Oudtshoorn .... 55km to George and it was going to be a breeze..so we thought . It was a constant climb and with the road having no shoulder , the bus would single with one long hoot and all riders had to evacuate to the side of the road to let the stream of cars through. No incidents and the boys are getting this ride sorted.

Arrived in George and the boys were very happy with the decision to go to Steers. The challenge was when they were each allocated R50 at Pick n Pay to purchase some goodies for the road which Pick n Pay kindly sponsored. Now imagine them sticking to a budget of R50 ... Well it didn't happen.

The boys were getting stronger and attacking the hills with vengeance and morale was at a high. Coming down into Sedgefield we noticed a familiar face standing on the side of the road and it was the Grey High Rector Neil Crawford cheering us on. He's a great guy and the kids really appreciated the fact that he drove all the way from PE to visit us.

Got into Pine Lake Marina at about 3 pm and , the weather started to turn nasty and us oldies fired up the jet master , watched the Tour de France whilst some of the boys played tennis , George won the Putt Putt competition and others did washing....yes washing and Keegan was even tasked with washing Annelise clothes ..knickers and all.

The incident of the day was Justin Knott after leaving Steers , uncleated the wrong foot and lay upside down in the parking lot to the delight of all the boys.

Havnt shared the headlines of the Herald talking about the floods and we will take every day as it comes. We are determined to complete the mission at hand but will do so safely ...thats a promise!!!!!


Day 3 Some tough Grey boys !!!
11 July 2012
21h56 SAST

Well well ..what a day .....174 km and 1800meters of climbing...for those people that don't understand cycling that is a similar day to the Tour de France , a day of the Cape Epic and for 99% of the riders including some parents .... This was the longest day of cycling they have Ever done.

The day started with a 6am wake up call , breakfast at 6.30 and finally a on the road by 7.30. It was a wet and freezing Barrydale and a massive climb to start the day. This day was also going to be tricky as it was a narrow road and the Bus did a fantastic job of making sure that we all cycled safely.

Our 1st town was Ladismith and a lunch stop. The bread rolls, ham and cheese were laid ou on the trailer and it was each rider for themselves ...these boys can eat and Greg Scott organized coffee for the wet and cold riders. The route or this. 1st 90km was undulating and already some of the boys were starting to take strain. The road to Calitzdorp would be tough with the Huisrivier Pass being the big one for the day.

With the rain and wind being a big factor we really had to dig deep. We had to keep the group together for safety sake but there were definitely 2 groups that were forming with the stronger and slightly weaker riders. We sent Doc Dave out front to control the speed at about 25km/h and Shaun and Shane worked hard at the back to pushing the slower riders back into the bunch and Mike and Greg ran in the middle. Greg Scott was on a triathlon bike which is not designed for down hills so he really had to work hard to steer his baby down some of the big descents.Annelise and Dean again shared rides and this time Dean landed up with the big pass and was puffing like a steam train. Annelise took over and Dean steered the bus all the way Calitzdorp. The time was 3 pm and we had 50km still to do ... WE HAD TO BE IN BEFORE NIGHTFALL so we put the hammer down.

It was amazing how the boys pulled together...Levi was battling with a sore knee and the guys were pushing him pack into the pack, Matthew Counihan was hurting and at one stage the group stopped and he just continued..he realized if he stopped it would be all over. George took the role of leading the pack into the wind and rotating with Devin, Mike and Dave but he blew about 10km from oudtshoorn and limped home. Brad , Justin, Keagan , Jarryd ,David ,Dylan ,Matt, Jordan were all amazing and played a big role in getting the guys through.... I can't complement the boys enough on their tenacity and guts and there is no way that anyone of them is going to load their bike on the trailer if they can help it.

We arrived at the Pearl Hotel and the crew had an hour to get ready and we made our way down to La Pension guest house ... They were really excited to finally have a braai and no pasta ... Venita and Errol who were friends with Mike layed on a great spread and Dean , Greg ,Annelise and Mike climbed into a few beers ... Needed to rehydrate of course.

Much moans when we announced a 7pm breakfast ....bad weather is on its way so we targeting t get into Pine Lake Marina before it hits us ..it's a 85km day tomorrow ...not an easy one but after today they can throw anything they like at us .... We will never be beaten !!!!


Some Tour Pics
10 July 2012
08h43 SAST


Day 2 Some wild with a little wild
10 July 2012
08h34 SAST

Avalon springs at Montagu was great and the boys were afforded with a late departure ....all very happy. Some happy shoppers were busy at the Montagu dried fruit buying up a storm ...next stop was Spar where rolls , cheese and ham were bought for tomorrows ride as there is no way we are going to make lunch so a roadside snack is the plan.

Today's ride was not an easy 70km. We seeded the boys at the bottom of the Tradouw Pass and sent away in intervals with slowest rider 1st and Shane last .... The race was on and Matt Scott summitted 1st, Keegan 2nd , Shaun 3rd ,Devin 4th and Shane 5th .....my seeding was questioned but Judges decision was final. Apologies to parents "Dave Counihan" in error yesterday . Dave and Matt dug deep today whilst Dylan Sherman was doing a 1 leg pedal with a bad knee.Doc Dave sorted seat height out and he was back in the pack. Justin Knott with speakers attached to his bike refused to play Abba on request by Dean (sir) to the adults disgust and besides a few punctures .... Things king great

Finally got into Barrydale and went to John de J├Ąger , one of mikes dirt biking mates who invited us to their home and PETA his wife fed the boys well and yes they took their plates to the kitchen and said their thank you's without too much prompting.

The hotel is great , pasta for supper and a show by some local coloured drummers got Dylan doing some hip hop dance and Shaun has just been banished from the room as Shane is busy skyping his girlfriend .

It's 8.30 and everyone has skuttled off to bed with some trepidation as tomorrows climbs and 170km is making all a little nervous. It's a 6.30 breakfast and a 7am start with temperatures of 2 degrees ...Brrrrrr

Dean is starting off with the ride tomorrow and Annelise in the van .... I expect Dean will hand over to Annelise before the hills and take over the driving role ...he caught her today with the same move ..... She weighed up the cold or hills and took the hills

Anyway that's about all the action today ... Tomorrows story should be bigger and better.

Mike


Finish in Montagu with BOH
10 July 2012
08h16 SAST


Day 1 Windy and Wet
10 July 2012
08h13 SAST

After an early breakfast at the Garden Court we left Cape town in rainy blustery conditions. There was a certain amount of apprehension as we headed out to Grabouw. Stopped in the parking lot of shop rite much to the delight of the local coloured community who watched the boys climb into their tights ...must of thought we were a "gay"dance group . We had about a 50km/h cross wind with driving rain for the 1st hour. Our 1st incident of the day was when we crossed the bridge at Tierwaterskloof where there was a steel grid , perfect for catching road bike types....most of the MTB riders were able to "bunny hop" but Mathew Scott the roadie got caught and blew his back tyre. As we realized at the hotel that morning that lunch at Montagu was not going to happen , the boys were given tin foil and made their own sandwiches ....some elaborate combinations were prepared and whilst having lunch on the side of the road it was like a Masterchef shoot out.

Dean and Annelise were doing a great job in the vehicle making sure that their heater was delivering a good 26 degrees while we froze. 1 bleep of the heater telling the riders that a vehicle was approaching and the boys were really riding well.

Dave Counihan was the 1st to start taking strain ..we then realized that he could not find his bag with his food in so he was running on empty. We stopped the vehicle and imagine the mess in the buss with the boys bags , Dave's bag was found and he refueled himself and was good to go.

Once we got to Worcester at about 1pm , it was a turn to the right and the wind was directly behind us ... A 60km/h tail wind and we started to chase Annelise down who had been dropped off by Dean and was on her way to Ashton. Shane pheiffer and Shaun glover were doing their normal antics with mock breakaways and lending a push to some of the riders who were now battling.They were gutsy and good old Levi who was not as fit as he should of been was hurting but always with a smile and a great attitude. Once the group got into Ashton the race to Montagu was on with Keegan ,Shaun and Shane being chased by the toppies Dave and Mike. It was a fast and furious dash into Montagu some 12km away.The time was 4pm and we phoned Marti who was organizing us Hamburgers and chips and she Arranged that we collect from the bistro and take down to Avalon Springs....our home in Montagu. They were devoured and boys allocated their rooms...5 sharing but all good. A supper of spaghetti bolognaise and much excitement when we gave them a late sleep in... A 9 30 start and a pretty easy run into Barrydale. ..some 70. Km

The next day is a monster at 170km and 2000 m of climbing. We'd will be toughest day on your so an easy day before that is needed.

Chat to you this evening from Barrydale.

Mike


Troops arrive in CT
08 July 2012
16h54 SAST

The boys and bikes all arrived at garden court cape town after a trouble free journey . The fast food stops on N2 all did record sales and the daily budget of R50 was blown by storms river . It's a wet cape town but the boys are ready and fired up. Tomorrow will be a dig deep day as we head out in the vehicle to Grabouw, offload and tackle the 160km to Montagu . Were hoping that we will be on the bikes by 9am and get into Montagu by night fall ..let's pray for no rain. We may have to get our lunch time hosts John and PETA to drive out to refuel the 19 bikers . We need to average 25km/h " that's just under 8 hrs

Tonight some sponsored pizza at Primi again...thanks guys .... The sponsors have been amazing and even the GM of the Garden Court Hennie was there to meet us ... Accommodation is awesome

Chat to you tomorrow when day 1 and all the action will be unfolded.


Grey High Cycle Tour Departure
08 July 2012
08h00 SAST