It was Thursday again (Dark and Dirty night), and as per usual, me and Stefan loaded our bikes on the bike rack, ready to meet our fellow D&D riders. Making our way to the meeting site, Stefan asked that we quickly stop at the BP garage to buy some ice (this has become a regular habit of his after which I baptized him: IceMan).
Arriving at our destination, excitement started to fill me and my heart started beating faster. I could see quite a large group of cyclists gathering in the parking lot, and I thought to myself, tonight was going to be FUN! While busy unloading our bikes from the rack, my eyes scanned the other riders, spotting quite a few new faces. Stefan opened the ice pack and we stuffed our water bottles with ice.
The IceMan in action on a previous occasion!
Oupa Gert called us all together and explained the rules – he also noted that it was one of our fellow rider’s birthday: Rozanne de Jager. Afterwards, everyone switched on their lights, and off we went into the sunset.
After a couple of minutes into the ride, Stefan pointed out a patch where he had previously fallen. He explained that while reaching for his water pipe with one arm, he struck a rock with his front wheel, causing him to lose his balance. He ended up in a puddle of mud, luckily nothing serious…
After a while, the moon came up in all its glory and lit up the landscape in a crisp, blue lunar light. Frogs started croaking their songs, and a light breeze of fresh air covered my face. It was at that moment that I realized why I’m doing this – to be in the presence of God’s creation with fellow riders that share the same passion as me.
Arriving at a steep downhill, Oupa Gert announced that we were at the optional “Drop off Zone” for the night. It looked very intimidating to a rookie rider like me. While watching all the riders going down one by one, I was still in two minds – should I stay, or should I go. Stefan then abruptly interrupted my thought process by asking that I should light for him when I reached the bottom. There and then my mind was made up, and I started my descent. It felt as if the earth was swallowing me and my bike went faster and faster. Reaching the base, I was glad that I made it without any incident, BUT, I still needed to stop since I was going very fast. I started applying my rear brake and before I knew it, I was lying flat on the ground with my bike on top of me (I later discovered that my front wheel had hit a rock). My immediate thought was that I wouldn’t be able to light for Stefan, but then pain started covering me like a dark blanket. I landed flush on my left shoulder, and in the process it got dislocated – luckily, it immediately popped back in. I remember someone removing the bike from my back, and then saw Johan’s familiar face. He started stretching my arm and massaged a few muscles in my shoulder (thanks Johan!). While still lying on the ground, the foul smell of faeces was circling my nose (it wasn’t me!). I just wanted to get up, not knowing whether I was lying in it. I made a couple of unsuccessful attempts to get up, but each time resulted in me wanting to pass out. Someone in the group handed Johan a packet of USN Ultra Vooma gel which he then handed to me (Thanks to this person!). I consumed the gel, and almost immediately I was back on my feet again. I picked up my bike and continued the rest of the ride..
Not long after my episode, gravity claimed its next victim: our birthday girl, Rozanne. A railway track covered with thick vegetation was the cause this time around. I assume she didn’t see the track and lost her balance when she made contact with the track. After assessing the damage: two nasty bruises – one on her inner thigh, and one on her tummy, she got back on her bike, and continued riding as if nothing had happened (One tough lady!).
While making our way through the bush, Oupa Gert brought the group to a sudden halt. He asked that we all get off our bikes. He then reached for his backpack and pulled out a packet of both cupcakes and muffins. It then became apparent that we were going to celebrate Rozanne’s birthday right there in the middle of nowhere! We all sang Happy Birthday and congratulated her. She later commented that it was the best birthday she’s ever had with total strangers. A Huge thanks goes to Oupa Gert for making her birthday a special one!
Rozanne, the birthday girl.
Arriving back at our base, I couldn’t see a face without a smile. This was truly a night to remember for the rest of our lives!