Even as I write this four days after completing challenge4acause my legs feel like jelly. Rich Laburn and I (Team Londolozi) have just completed the 320 kilometer cycle across the Damaraland desert in an attempt to raise nearly a million rand for the Save the Rhino Trust, Wildlife Act Fund and The Good Work Foundation.
Challenge4acause is a mountain bike event through one of the greatest wilderness left on planet earth, the Damaraland desert. For five days of the year the dull tones of the desert come alive with flashes of bright padded Lycra as ten cyclists challenge themselves against this jagged terrain in an attempt to raise money for conservation and education.
On the night of our arrival in the dessert our guide, Chris Bakkes, looked up at us from under his wild mane of hair and said “sand is not your problem… rocks are your problem.” It was an ominous statement from a man who knows the desert of Namibia like the back of his hand.
With an aching body on the third day I had an experience on a flat section of compact sand. The combination of the substrate and the thirty-knot tail wind meant that the speedometer of the bike was recording speeds of up to 50 km/h. a herd of gemsbok, with their rapier like horns and war painted faces broke from a gully and charged across the front of me. I turned the bike off the rode and stood on the pedals. A gust of wind catapulted me forward and for a moment I became a part of the herd. Gemsbok and dust flew all around as I merged into their midst’s. I felt I had for a second I had become a part of the desert.
This is the nature of the challenge it is a combination of grueling and awesome. It can take you in a day to the lowest and highest of emotional peaks.
We were also lucky to track and find a desert black rhino. To see this amazing prehistoric creature on this ancient landscape was fuel for every rider. Save the Rhino Trust is doing amazing work to protect and monitor this population of ungulates and in a small way through our fundraising efforts every rider had become a part of that effort.
I thought also of the learners doing literacy training through the Good Work Foundation and what effects our raised funds would have on their lives. I needed the strength that comes from realizing my endeavors each day were bigger than me.
In the end we have raised over eight hundred thousand rand and counting! We had a wild, crazy, and beautiful experience in one of Africa’s great wilderness. And after all the rage and joy of the ride all that was left was a deep sense of satisfaction.
Our sincere thanks to all who supported us and to all the other riders on Challenge4acause 2012. If you didn’t get a chance to submit your donation to this years Challenge4aCause, you can still do so HERE.