Greetings from Cape Town,
It was an incredible journey these past four months. Ten African countries and 12,000 km, (7,500 miles) of exhausting riding. It was a true test of will and perseverance, as the TDA made every day a challenge. The cycling was tough, as we trudged through mud, sand, gravel and climbs that seemed to ascend to heaven. However, pedaling was only part of the story, the deplorable conditions that we endured, especially the first two months of the trip, had our emotions and nerves on the edge. At times, some riders broke down into tears, others screamed profanities and most everyone asked themselves, “why am I doing this?” Riding, laughing, suffering and being totally caught up in spectacular scenery became a way of life for 121 days. It was a lifestyle.
It was an amazing group of people, that made this epic adventure bearable through the back roads of “The Dark Continent.” The TDA staff was exceptional, led by our fearless and knowledgable leader Tallis Wessels. He was a firm, fair and fun loving commander that led a traveling circus in many respects. The cast of characters that committed to this mind blowing experience stuck together in thick and thin. Sickness, injury, dark moods and total fatigue, nothing stopped anyone from supporting their fellow journeyman. It really was incredible, how even if people weren’t the best of friends, they would find ways to help out in times of stress and chaos. I can’t say enough about all my fellow TDA 2016 champions and want to express my sincerest gratitude for their support and friendships.
In some respects we only saw snapshots of Africa, as we cruised through villages and remote areas of the continent. However, in many ways seeing the world from the saddle of your bike is both physically and mentally satisfying. It’s an education in itself. You see how people live, cultural habits and get close to nature. You learn more about yourself and what is important in life. God, family and the simple things are all you really need.
Life is short. Live wide, not long.
A special thanks to my wonderful wife Mary, who puts up with my off-the-wall and sometimes eccentric behavior. Love you.