Saturday, 2 July 2011

Annette has her say !!!

I am not trying to steal the show here (the Two Old Farts are just too awesome, it would be impossible for me to do so anyhow!) but I really would like to share with you some secrets that the two of them will never admit to.
But first some updates:

Andy and I are planning to fly to Cape Town to share the big moment with Tim when he crosses the finish line at Diemersfontein and receives that well deserved Basutu blanket. Can't wait! I suggested to Andy that the two of us ride with him for an hour or 2 or 3 on his last day, taking some French champagne and Cubin cigars with (I will sit out on that one) and have a little picnic (complete with a small green Scottish check table cloth, crystal glasses and a Zippo lighter to light the cigars) in those lovely mountains, but Andy is a bit concerned that Tim might get penalized for that, or worse, I can get him disqualified... Can you imagine, the man will never ever forgive me! I can not wait for my revenge though, I think I am going to get more attention than his bike, if only for a little while... When he did the Freedom Challenge in 2009 (where he met Andy) he was asked if he prefers to bring his bike inside his friend's house. I remember looking at him and realizing that he would rather let me sleep outside than his bike at that stage if he was forced to choose. A gal sometimes get some second chances it seems.

It's just that I'm starting to show some serious 'Tim-withdrawal-syndrome' When I wake up the bed is lonely and his pillow is empty and the birds do not sound as happy and chirpy as usual (we live in paradise, right in the middle of our African bush) Then I go to the bathroom and my toothbrush looks even more lonely than me. (I have to buy him a new one anyhow - he broke his one in half to get rid of some weight in his back pack) A carrot cake at 'The Stoep Cafe' in the 'big city' of Komatipoort (near us) tastes like rubber without his company (Nothing wrong with the carrot cake, they make the best carrot cake in the whole of Mpumalanga!). I have no squash partner...I have no one who pretends that he's listening to me....Even riding my bike between the animals is not much fun without him, although I suppose I would still be doing this by myself for a while even after he gets back...

Oh listen to me bla bla bla! I better stop before all of you fall asleep, if you have not done so already.
I spoke to Tim this afternoon at 2 pm. He was already in Gamkaskloof which means that he had done about 85 km today (Friday) after the enormous effort of 187 yesterday. What makes him so special, is that since Andy had to withdraw because of a serious foot injury, Tim is riding all by himself. He is not prepared to wait for the guys behind him (he started on Sunday 12 June in the second batch) and most of the guys in front of him are the flyers, he will not be able to catch up or keep up with them. Nearly half of the riders have withdrawn from the race already. (Did I mention he turns 60 in September?) A tough day lies ahead of him tomorrow when he tackles the 'Ladder out of The Hell'. As Andy mentioned before, Tim has until Friday morning 6 am to finish the race in the 26 days allowed, but Tim and Andy have put a schedule together to get him there on Wednesday. Andy, thanks so much for supporting Tim all the way to the end. (Tim is raiding Andy's boxes with the yummies in at every support station as well!) Your the best friend anyone can ask for. I told all of Tim's family and all his friends he's a machine, but I think he turned into a robot last night, with only one target and goal, that finish line in Diemersfontein. Hope I can find the right buttons on that robot once his back)

Even though he will never admit it, I know he misses his partner and friend, it is such a shame that Andy had to withdraw. They were planning this race since forever, they were dreaming, eating and sleeping the narratives. We went riding some of the route where they got lost in 2009. It was just awesome! To get there we had to go by 4X4, no roads...I messed up my chances of driving ever again when I was driving in the mist and because they could not see proper (being old farts..) I was now the dangerous driver, they said it was more scary than staying in the spooky hotel in Bulwer that night. Andy is the best 4X4 driver in the world! He wrote off his bike carrier twice though driving over the mountains and rocks and through the valleys. I can recall one evening, Tim and Andy having a glass (no, not crystal - horrible chipped coffee mugs from a rural school) of Johnny Walker black label without ice (Yuk!) and me shaving my legs with my feet in a little plastic bucket in cold water with a blunt shaver. (Hope they don't use the bucket for washing the dishes, I never asked...!) And the view over that mountains was just magic, and it seemed like there were twice as many stars than anywhere else I've ever been .

To return to this year's race, can you believe after hurting himself, Andy still had a hard time choosing between finishing the Freedom Challenge or having his foot amputated! (He's a male, for them a sneeze is symptom to pneumonia, he said so himself remember? ) On a more serious note, Andy is still suffering from his injury, and still has to hop along, back in the streets of Jo'burg (no, not London) in an over-sized running shoe, looking funny. Sometimes I think it is just to get the sympathy of all the good looking ladies, being Andy, that will not surprise me at all. Or may be it is part of his new 'under-cover' image. Being forced to withdraw from the race, he was driving around aimlessly, feeling very sorry for himself, when he rode past two suspects with expensive bikes. He forced them off the road and called for assistance. I think it is because he could not find anyone else to take revenge on for being forced to withdraw from the race, so these guys became his target. Since then he has been working hand in hand with the police on a daily basis, claiming more and more bikes back from all the bad guys who's involved in the hijacking epidemic. He's having an interview with Carte Blanche tomorrow and we all will then be able to share this amazing story with him. Well done Andy, keep up the good work! It's about time these guys realize they can not just continue what they're doing without having to deal with the consequences.

For everybody's info and to have more witnesses that I can call to the stand if needs be - Andy has agreed (just before the start of 2011 Freedom Challenge) to be my guardian on the Ride to Rhodes in 2012, do we still have a deal my friend...? New year, new horizons...?! Although some horizons are high and far - I'm scared already, just thinking of it! Come on Andy, don't be a whozzie! (I'm a lekke big mouth, I know...)5 more days to the end Mr. Van Coller, GO TIM!!!

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