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If I had a groundhog day to relive everyday for the rest of my life it would be May 10th 2008. However, as is true with every earthly element - the more life you give something, the closer it is to the end.
I woke up at 7.15 in a truck with no idea what was going on. My friend John shook me and informed me that I had to cycle 80kms to Cape Town. A few seconds passed then he recognized the state I was in and took it back a few steps: “Conor you have been cycling for 4 months and this is the last day, you’re late”. That was all he needed to say, I sprung up got on my bike and sped South.
I turned back after a few kilometers and headed North towards our camp once I realized I forgot to find & pack-up my tent.
After a few laps I found it suspended in a tree. This was no doubt the final and ultimate prank from Wo: Bravo. I removed it and gradually dissembled it with the lethargic speed of a 3 legged turtle. After packing it up I hit the road for the second time. I joined my long serving drinking chums David Pennington and Wo for our last journey and the start of another long night.
So if you have read other pages of this blog you might have guessed I would celebrate all the way into Capetown. Wo, David and I had white wine in our water bottles- it was cheap. We ran out after 10kms so we decided to stop to find some champagne or at least cava. We stopped into a bar/souvenir shop and Kevin the chef (from Ireland) made us some Irish coffees. Kevin told us about his great experiences in South Africa and how friendly the people were. He also could direct us in the direction of champagne. That made us feel a little more relaxed.
We then found the bottle store and purchased their finest bottle of cava. It tasted better then champagne. That brought us up to the 40kms mark where “The Bush Bar” taunted us into submission. The owner was grumpy and even more so when David informed him that there is not much bush present and perhaps he should rename his tavern “The Palm Bar” owing to it's palmy surroundings.
There was super 14 on the TV, Jaegermeister on tap and we were in spandex cycling gear. Once we had explained our attire to our fellow early morning drinking chums they started buying us drinks and all was good- apart from our timing. Going into Capetown we needed to ride in convoy. We had to cycle 20kms -10 minutes to meet the convoy. Without realizing it we had stayed 2 and a half hours in the Bush Bar, watched a lot of rugby and “celebrated” a lot. Beer and Jaeger. The barman eventually came round to our spandex clad strange humour, he started calling Wo 'Mick Jagger' and the bodyguard fresh back from working in Saudi Arabia was also warming to us (the big guy in the video).
We had to meet the rest of the Tour at 12pm at a location 20kms from the Bush Bar to join our police escort, we left the Bush bar at 11.55 - right after the below video.
Last drink before Cape Town
I cycled the fastest I have ever done that morning. Not because of the occasion, but I had to catch up with our police escort into the city. Dave, Wo & I weaved between the back up of trucks and cars with each one beeping their horn as we passed. We eventually caught the rest of the crowd and proceeded to cycle into the VA Waterfront in Capetown. No words can do justice to the emotion of those final few kilometers.
I arrived at the finish line only to be greeted by an exhilarated Noel Kelly of Kentz. Seconds later the lovely and ever helpful Pat Cass ran up to me. The feeling was euphoric and will always be frozen in time for me. I had made it to Capetown with the help and support of great friends over the last 8 months.
Once things calmed down I tucked into some champagne with my fellow cyclists and my endeavoured in my first few pints of the black stuff in Africa. There was an awards ceremony at which I received the EFI award & medal. That stands for Every F*cking Inch, which means apart from the flight over Kenya I never used any other transport except for my bicycle. My friend Wo also received this award but was in the bar when his name was called ! Needless to say it was a long night.