GABRAN 2019 – Bianca Tearsdale
DAY 1: The Start to Wagondrift Dam
We hit the road bright and early on Friday morning, we were all in high spirits, the sunrise was beautiful and my nerves were on edge, such great excitement lay ahead!
I was part of the Siegetown wheelers group, and we were all geared up and ready to hit the road on Day 1. Still did not know what was in store for me, but I was excited to find out. The road was long and winding, but with constant support and encouraging words I knew I could get there! Pedal by Pedal!
After a quick snack in Winterton we were off again, the climbs were long, the road was hot and we finally made it to Escourt Golf Club for some more needed refreshments. 98km later… but that was not all, we still had to climb back up from the Golf Club and head towards Wagondrift Dam. By the time we hit the downhill decent into the dam, I had complete sense of humour failure. I have NEVER been so relieved to reach the end mark before. We were then treated to the most amazing lunch and supper and by bedtime, I was exhausted, but felt such a sense of peace for completing day 1!
DAY 2: – The Trek to Midmar
I woke up feeling terrible and was not in any mood to ride, I was so nervous of what was ahead! We were once again well fed, MAN THE FOOD WAS GOOD! We hit the road shortly after breakfast and it started off with the LOOOOOOOONG climb out of Wagondrift dam to the LOOOOOONG road ahead!
I MADE IT! I MADE IT to the TOP of GRIFFONS, in a terrible head wind, and nothing was better than hearing the cheering of everyone at the top of Griffons! Such a happy heart! Still a way to go, down to Mooiriver, some had the traditional stop at the Wimpy for a refuel, and then the climb up Rosetta which I did at my own pace! I just cruised it and felt great! We had a “groupie” at the top of Rosetta (Mountain!)
I nearly got lost looking for the Bierfassl, but luckily it is well sign posted, and the bicycles give it away! Much needed refreshment was consumed again!
The last 10km into Midmar was really tough for me, I would not have made it without the back up and encouragement. I was so overjoyed to reach this days destination. I had ridden for most of the day on my own every time and my team would wait for me patiently to catch up. We were blessed with incredible lunch and headed off to clean up and relax, and then the true GABRAN experience began… Lovely relaxing drinks with amazing people. Supper was just as delicious and we had some fantastic entertainment. There was so much laughter and happiness on this very cold tired night. Great memories, with great friends!
GABRAN DAY 3: Midmar To Hillcrest
I woke with GREAT excitement as I got to put on my AWESOME COW CYCLING KIT! This was handed over to me on Friday night, and THANK YOU LADYSMITH for supporting me in my fundraising drive! I was feeling high spirited, but did not know what was in store for me… OMW… GIVE ME DAY 1 and DAY 2 AGAIN!!!
Little did I know… HELLS HILL was ahead… (Town Hill) The THINGS nightmares are made of! Sadly, I got a third of the way down, and my nerves were shot, so our back up driver was on the spot to assist and Ian drove next to me to PMB. I happily climbed back on my bike ready to tackle the next horrible hills… Valley of 1000s hills! (called this for some reason!!) Up and Down, Down and Up we went… the group pulled away, but I told myself “Just keep SPINNING” . I was going to kill those hills one pedal at a time! Or so, I had hoped!
I made it to the end of Inchanga and head a LOUD SNAPPING sound, I had burst the spoke, my wheel would not turn, just as I was getting the hang of the UPS and DOWNS! 15km to go, and once again I was rescued by Ian and Dot! (wonderful backup drivers!)
I entered the Finish grounds feeling incomplete, I have come SO CLOSE! But no one made me feel any less, they all applauded me for my efforts and I am honoured to say I earned my medal, I did my best, with the help of the best! I may had ridden alone a lot but never ever felt alone, my team mates were always waiting for me and encouraging me on, always bigger hugs and bigger words of encouragement! I could not have done it without them.
Would I do GABRAN again….YES! I would not think twice! Best, hardest most challenging experience, but I would definitely do it again! I am so honoured and privileged to have been able to experience GABRAN and look forward too many more!