Didi's Cairo to Cape Town cycling blog 3

2008-06-17 00:00

Didi Francis is a Maritzburg girl who is currently cycling from Cairo to Cape Town together with seven guys (is started out as five). They are cycling in aid of Millennium Promise, an organisation pioneered by Jeffrey Sachs that targets poverty in Africa. Visit the website - www.millenniumcycleforchange.org

The team has currently raised $180 000 of the $300 000 target. Any support would be hugely appreciated.

Just a Day Job – 12 June 2008

165km from Francis Town to Selibi Phikwe – a massive thank you to the Byrons that hosted us like royalty in Francis Town.

At our campsite last night two women wanted to take a photograph of the team. We were awkward and embarrassed by their fascination with what has simply become our day job. We seem to have lost perspective out here. It is so easy to forget that what we are doing is a little extraordinary. We are restricted to the company of the team and the crazy people that we meet en route:

Andy – the bizarre Scot who cycled from home in Scotland to Durban in order to run the Comrades Marathon. He would train a couple of hours running every morning before cycling anywhere between 100 and 200km. Good luck Andy!

Eric – The Swede that cycled from Sweden, via the Middle East en route to Beijing to arrive in time for the Olympics. We met him and managed to distract him in Sudan. It seems he arrives in Cape Town, via Namibia, shortly before we do. Mad.

Random Aussie – Yesterday the team met an Australian who has been cycling since 2004. Seriously mad.

These men are testimony to the fact that no matter how strange your challenge, there is always someone doing something a little more intense, more physically challenging or more bizarre than you are. Nevertheless, this is the adventure of a lifetime. I have to keep reminding myself that I am close to the completion of a cycle across Africa!

Vodacom Welcomes you to South Africa! – Friday 13th June 2008

I’m like a kid on Christmas eve. We are here. We are camped on the South African border not more than 200meters from the mighty Limpopo and South African soil. I got a text message that went “Vodacom welcomes you to South Africa” and I nearly burst into tears! I cant help but recall that first day in Cairo. Wow! We have come a ridiculously long way.

Without getting too sentimental and being likened to a tree-hugging hippy, I honestly believe that there are places in the world in which your life and the earth are in sync; places where your soul is at home. I can travel in the States and join the masses working in London, but once my feet hit South African soil I start dancing to a slightly different tune. I am coming home. I have said that a lot tonight. The guys understand my excitement, but as I say it the eighteenth time, I don’t think they fully appreciate how much this means to me! I am coming home. This is a dream actualized. Honey, I’m home!

A monumental day! - 14 June 2008

This is a massive day for us. Ice has frozen to the tents and fingers ache with cold. Leg warmers, scarves, beanies and gloves – it is a chilly welcome into sunny South Africa!

The border post is utter chaos! After crossing the Limpopo and a little photoshoot with a local security guard, we join a ridiculous queue. The idea was to kill today’s 80 km quickly in order to make the Ireland rugby game at 11:30. That is unlikely now. This is the kind of chaos that has caused many disgruntled South Africans to mumble at the inefficiencies of …. Not me! No-one can wipe the smile off my face today! I feel closer to the large South African mama who is doing a little jig 100 meters down the road than the irritated woman standing in the queue with me.

I say it again: “I’m home.”

15 June 2008

120km from Oryx Ranch to Mokapane (aka Potgietersrus). It was a long hard slog. Six hours in the saddle of cycling into a headwind. Not exactly fun.

But I did get to have a six hour session of “Affairs of the heart with Gareth Brauteseth”. Now that’s fun!

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