It's the 1st of June and I sit here at home, the day over but out there on the Freedom trail, the 1st batch of seven riders dispatched from Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal and kicked off the annual Freedom Challenge race across South Africa and race to Rhodes (a shorter distance of the trail).
The race format is that every day from the 1 June to 13 June, one batch of around seven to ten riders will leave per day and is normally configured as the slower batches leaving first to the super contenders last.
In 10 days time I will stand at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall and wait for the clock to chime 6am to signal the start of my 2300km mountain bike adventure race and moving south to the Western Cape, racing to the finish line destination at Dimmersfontein in Wellington within a 26 day cutoff.
Many miles of training stands between October 2015 when I actively started and the present day when I started with a constructive program and focus to get me ready for this day. Human nature will always ask if enough has been done but its too late to ponder on the matter.
I believe I am ready.
Research, gear selection, nutrition strategies, racing plans, navigation practices and the list I could go on but all in all, one can only fully appreciate what goes into the planning and preparations of a race this big if you are actually taking part or involved in some way.
I have been blessed in all my preparation with fantastic people crossing my path. Whether in the form of encouraging words to unsuspecting sponsoring towards my race endeavor and as well as my initiative to raise funds for a school that teaches hearing impaired children in Cape Town - Carel du Toit Centre
Yes, all the sacrifices may have been made to get to this point but now the hardest part lies ahead.
The hard yards.
Over terrain less traveled, the forces of nature and the biggest obstacle; the darkest hours when your mind wants you to settle for second best and the devil seeks the chinks in your armor to get you to succumb to an illusion that you are second best and not better than the rest, that is, what I believe, is the hardest part.
I have managed to overcome some obstacles in the past months in my training which has also enhanced my confidence and ability to hold my own. My desire to succeed is stronger than my fear of failure and I feel I am in a better place than I was in 2014 and that in itself is motivation on its own. Right now the desire to be out there is stronger than the desire to be anywhere else.
It is such a privilege to be able to attempt this massive adventure, getting to meet the people you meet along the way, experiencing the beauty of parts of the country that many will never get to experience in their lifetime, getting to push your limits and learning things about yourself, what more could one ask for?
I am ready.