Saturday, April 11, 2015

Lessons from Africa: Part I

I know one thing for certain and that is life is fragile. Relationships, adventures, races, friendships are PRECIOUS. But, eventually, everything comes to and end. "And it is not the strongest of the species, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." - Charles Darwin.

If you have never been to South Africa I say put it on your bucket list and make it happen. It is a country with breathtaking beauty and energizing adventures.   It's extremely hard to avoid falling in love with the natural wildlife and the beautiful people.

This guy!

My new friends Arnie and Annika. I hope I get to go back to SA some day and visit these two.

  Admittedly I entered this race slightly under prepared after the brutal NH winter, the physical stress/fatigue from the 2014 season and...bronchitis.  Phew! The triple threat! However, being surrounded by awesomeness changed my outlook on the race.  Something about being 2 feet away from elephants and warthogs and giraffes opened up my introspective capacity. I don't think I would have made it to South Africa had I not had the courage to pursue this crazy passion.  Mentally, I wanted to suffer and fight and have a good race but deep down I knew my body was still rebuilding. When it was all said and done I decided to indulge in the beauty of the county, explore, taste the local foods - especially the desserts - and by the way, it's impossible to make an educated decision on dessert yumminess unless you've had at least 2 or 3 servings - and then enjoy the race with whatever energy I had left. And if race energy was measured by pre-race calorie intake I was good to go.

Koeksisters + Date balls  = The reason why I was 6 kg heavier on race day.

Okay so let me back up. Before I talk about THE MOST AMAZING bike mechanic, and the Van Dykes, warthogs galore, giraffs, elephants, a troop of Baboons in tsitsikamma forest, an 140.6 mile adventure, monkeys, the Indian ocean, the beast of the East,  a pod of 200 dolphins that was only overshadowed by a whale sighting which was only shadowed by great white shark diving which was only over shadowed by the most amazingly lush and gorgeous scenery and terrain...

It was only day 1 and I spotted my first Baboon! 

Another Baboon! What luck.

 ...let me start in London.  "Being a penny pincher is the only way to be." -Greg Cullen. (My Dad)

 If you agree, when booking your South African adventure you should purchase the cheapest ticket and that golden ticket will have you stop over at the London Heathrow Airport for a luxurious 11+ hours.  However, if Danny and I know how to do one thing right it is SEIZE. THE. DAY.  Sit in an airport for 11 hours or take the tube to embark on a speed tour of London? No brainer! We researched London and sought out the advice of our friend and colleague Neelz who worked in London for a few years and established a master plan.  We minded the GAP and speed walked, beer tasted, and buzzed our way around London on rented bikes.  After 7 hours in the city which included taking a super secret tour of an amazing anatomy museum, soaking in the architecture, admiring Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the House of Parliment, and the London eye we were minding the Gap again on our way back to the airport to board the plane for South Africa.

Two Baboons in London. Amazing!

To be continued....

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