So this Sani 2 C thingie has a cute little rule: you have to ride it in “teams” of two. If you and your buddy don’t finish within five minutes of one another, then you, like, don’t count and don’t get a medal and like, aren’t like a cool mountain biker. Or something.
Anyhoo, so our gang consisted of three “teams” – i.e. 6 riders. The youngest team was BY FAAAAAAAR the most chilled out. They’d phone their soigneuse at the last water stop to tell her what time they’d be at the finish line; they’d take photos en route; they park off at the watering points on camping chairs, shoot the breeze and sip their Energades. They’d arrive in great spirits at the end of each stage, put their feet up and reach for a beer. The way to do it, really. I’ll call them The Chilled Pills.
Not so with the other teams who were…let’s say… just a teensy bit competitive. To protect their identities as…ahem…respectable businessmen, I’ll call them by their nicknames: The Marlins and The Machines. (P.S. The Machine Team included The Husband…can you tell they nicknamed themselves?)
On Day 1, neither The Marlins nor The Machines wanted to let on that they were perhaps, maybe, kind of, ever so slightly interested in…um…KICKING ONE ANOTHER’S BUTTS. So Day 1 passed uneventfully enough. Then things hotted up. If you recall, I saw the The Marlins looking cool as cucumbers at the second last watering point on Day 2. Turns out that they had no clue The Machines were chasing them. About 5km later, though. they got the fright of their lives when The Machines casually rode up beside them, making little sniffing noises and going, “I smell a Marlin.” I reckon you could probably smell a bit of testosterone too.
In the end, The Marlins finished Day 2 three minutes before The Machines. The race was on…
Later that night, one of The Marlins was feeling rotten and wondering whether he may have picked up this vicious stomach bug that seems to be going around. His partner, however, was not going to let a little tummy parasite cost him the contest. No way. He took immediate action by drugging the patient with Med-lemon, Cal-C Vita, Beta Plus, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, green tea and whatever else he could find. We’re still not sure what else he found, but the ailing Marlin started looking progressively worse as the evening wore on. Eventually, he limped off and retired for the night.
Meanwhile, one of The Machines was onto his seventeenth Castle Lite. For boys who took their competition so seriously, I admit, I was a little surprised. “Ish carbo-loading, shoo know.” The funny part is, he honestly looked like he believed what he was saying. I must have looked unconvinced, because he carried on, “No…sherioushly…BEER…ish a BRILLIANT shourshe of carbs. I shwear.” (In his defence, he is a pretty lean and mean machine, but I’m afraid I’m shtill not buying the “Castle = good carb” theory).
The next morning The Marlin (the one who’d been at death’s door the night before) strutted in, seemingly on top form (and it was 4 in the morning, so that’s saying something). “Sheesh, You look so much better,” one of The Machines said. “Ja,” said the Marlin. “I think my partner gave me performance enhancing drugs, but I puked up all his muti last night and now I feel much better.” Like a faithful soigneuse, I dropped my Machines off at the race at 6am (50km away – can I get a Mexican wave?). I had to use a portaloo AGAIN before driving back to our lodgings, packing up our stuff and then driving 100km to Scottburgh. Don’t tell The Husband, but I was actually kind of looking forward to doing the supporter thang this time. Partly because I was going to be parking off on the beach and catching a tan while pretending to watch out for the boys. But also ’cause I was looking forward to a bit of slapstick comedy. I’d see the a re-run of the 2009 Sani 2 C on TV and the cyclists had to ride across a boardwalk which was floating over Scottburgh beach’s lagoon. Naturally, this was pretty tricky, so a fair number of guys wound up in the lagoon – bike and all. They’d then have to somehow haul themselves – and their bikes – out of the water. Invariably they’d emerge with metres of seaweed caught in their helmets, stuck up their noses, etc, etc. Finally – some decent entertainment. Sadly, though, the race organisers got all snoring boring on us poor supporters and went and put the boardwalk on the beach this year. As a result, I was about to nod off in my beach chair when I started sniffing spontaneously. Ah! I smelt a Marlin!
Once again, The Marlins managed to keep The Machines at bay – but only just. The Machines came in not too long afterwards. Fortunately. Because I was on the verge of slipping into a sun-tanning coma when they rode up.
The Chilled Pills lived up to their pseudonym, enjoying their last day on the bike and were still out riding several hours after our competitive boys came in. By now, the rest of us had found the bar at the finish line. After a couple of icky sweet strawberry Saritas (it was that or beer), I was starting to chill out and think that this stage race thing wasn’t THAT bad. But then I went to get Nando’s chicken for lunch (it was that or burgers). I was told that the chicken was “only for the riders”. By then, I was a few Saritas down, I was seriously sweaty (it was about 30 degrees at the coast), I was windswept, I had sand in my hair and, most dangerously, I was RA-VE-NOUS!!!!!
“This is DIS-CRIM-I-NATION! It’s against the CONSTITUTION!”
“You’re robbing me of the freedom to choose between chicken and beef!”
“Just because I haven’t ridden this STUPID little bike race.”
“Ma’am, you can-”
“I’m calling Robbie what-his-name. I’m telling him Nando’s won’t sell to willing, paying CUSTOMERS!!!!!”
And no, that’s not me consuming that pile of slop. I told the silly cow trying to flog it to me, that I’d sooner starve myself until I got back to Sandton where “WE HAVE SUSHI! Do you know what that is?”
In retrospect, all I can say is: Oh my GOD – it is SO good to be home.