On Sunday my father will ride in Cape Town's famous "Argus". Properly known as the Pick 'n Pay Argus Cycle Tour. From city centre, round the entire Cape Peninsula and back again. The Argus tour is the world’s largest individually timed cycle race. The route is 109km long and this year's entrants number over 35,000.
He's been training for months. He doesn't enjoy it. He hates it. He says the best part of about cycling is when he gets home and he knows the worst part of the day is over. He is 76. We make jokes about his having one lung. He has two but reduced lung capacity as a result of a childhood illness. The first time he rode the Argus, he just hopped on his bike and did it, with no training at all. But the older he gets, the better his time gets.
Weeks ago in Cape Town we realized that my dad had gone cycling and had left behind his water/mystery powder mix. He did have his camel pack, but Vince and I chased after him and caught up with him just as he was about to start the long, long climb up the back of Ou Kaapse Weg. There were a lot of cyclists out, training, and everyone looked in pain. They all looked kind of happy to see us, two isolated supporters on the side of the road to cheer on our team of one.
I am sorry not to be there on Sunday, to cheer Pa on at some point on the course. His determination and discipline in this endeavour are remarkable. In early 2007 he was knocked from his bike by a car while training, and that put paid to that year's race. Lying in the emergency room as I walked in he looked at my face and laughed. The pain had not quite kicked in and he was off his feet for weeks with very painful internal bruising.
Cape Town has been flattened by a heatwave. The temperatures have been 38' C and it has been blowing. Smoke from wild fires blankets the city. The weather report predicts 26' C at the moment, for Sunday, and partial couds, which is great. Let's hope it's right.
VRYSTAAT! Vat hulle, Fluffie! - en...Dis nie die pyn nie, maar o die dors.
En laastens: Opsaal boere, die vyand kom!