The Cape 1000km

There are many rides in South Africa who claim to be the toughest. Come and try this one for size.


The task at hand seemed simple enough – hop on your bicycle and cycle 500km to the coast, then turn around and come back the same way. You’ll cycle through night and day, and have your card signed at various checkpoints along the route.

There are 5 mountain passes for good measure and seeing as this is an out-and-back route you get to cycle them once from each side. So a total of 1000kms (with 11,200 meters of climbing) that needs to be completed in 75 hours. Check out


This would also be the first 1000km BRM for South Africa and everyone was rather excited. There was much more fanfare at the start than with any prior local BRM I have done. Our friends from the North joined and it was great to hook up with Eddie, Kenneth, Michelle, Salim and all the other familiar faces again.

The start

Nine of us rocked up to Lord Charles in Somerset West for the 9pm start on Tuesday 26 April 2016. Perfect timing, as Wednesday was a holiday. As we rolled out of Lord Charles I felt like a bit of an arse – this ride was Rob’s brain child, he should have been in the middle of the group picture at the start, not holding the camera. And Gerhard generously offered to drive the safety vehicle.

“You ride your motherfucking bicycles” —

This was heard on our way through Stellenbosch when a delightful group of students cheered us on as we passed the Goldfields sports grounds. Bacchus was their head cheerleader and I doubt they remember us.

And we did

Everyone was excited and chatty over Helshoogte and on to Franschhoek. This was going to be a great adventure, after all. Little did we know.


Here we are, all jubilant before the start – unaware of what lay ahead. From the left: Peter. Theunis. Myself. Henri. Michelle. Kenneth. Salim. Wimpie. Chris.


calitzdorp cemetery2
And two days later, here lies our Cape 1000 ambitions, buried in the Calitzdorp cemetery.

Our highest failure rate yet

12 entries. 9 starters. 2 finishers.

Gideon & Ernst were entered but a last minute change saw them do the Joburg2c instead – in hindsight I’m sure they are very chuffed with this decision.

What went wrong?

We started off in good spirit and then riders dropped off one-by-one as we went along. Kenneth (back), Peter (chest), Henri (personal), Theunis (bottom), myself (stomach), Michelle (alone) & Salim (wind). Valiant effort by all, especially the last man & woman standing.

And these are seasoned long distance riders. I’d like to get the total historical BRM kilometres for each rider to prove the point. The majority of participants have  done continuous 1000km rides before. At the very least a couple of 600’s. So the pedigree was there.

The average rider won’t finish the Cape 1000

I know the sample size is small, but look at the numbers. The 1230km PBP has a 90 hour cut-off. Chris did in a shade under 55 hours and Wimpie in 61 hours – meaning that they finished with between a third and almost 40% of the allotted time still in the bank. But they completed Cape 1000 with just more than 10% to spare. Big difference.

My humbling experience

Feel free to skip this section – just a brief account of a crap in the bush.

Moses parting the Red Sea

The night of the Stomach Volcano

Our second stop was for a quick coffee at Villiersdorp. I only had a coke, coffee and droëwors. We promptly departed onto one of my favourite Audax stretches in the Western Cape – those fast flats to Worcester. I was in my stride and rode a few metres in front of the group. Then it happened.

Suddenly my eye twitched. I was standing at that stage. Stomach cramp. My body cringed into the shape of a Niknak – it felt like I was being electrocuted. I shrugged it off and continued, ever so cautious. Then the second one came. This one more like a stun gun to the gut. By now I knew what was coming and started looking for a site. Things got blurry.

Gerhard was ahead in the safety car. I sprinted towards him, begged for toilet paper and headed across the road and out of sight. I stripped off faster than co-ed on a girls-gone-wild weekend and assumed the position. Then it happened.


My anus parted like the Red Sea before Moses. I lifted off the ground and hovered a few centimeters off the ground, as if strapped to a jet pack. Out of control.

Gerhard warned earlier that the group would pass me. As they approached I feared their tires might burst. But still in a state of involuntary levitation, I lifted my hand like the Queen and waved them by, hoping to unnoticed.

Toxic fumes filled the valley. A car alarm went off. I heard farm workers fighting in the distance – blaming each other for the stench. But I was in a state of total bliss. My relief was tangible. Nothing could go wrong anymore.

As I sat there, waiting for the next surprise, I gained some perspective. Things could always be worse. I thought of Eugene who went through the same ordeal during the last DC. Luckily I wasn’t sitting in the rain as he did.

After a while it hit me. I should get going. Fast. For the fear of being associated with this mess. Luckily I was sure that no-one would come running towards the blast site.

I feel sorry for the farmer, who certainly had to burn down a good block of vineyard. And I want to apologize to the local community. I can only imagine their disgust the next day, when they found ground zero.

Kindly refrain from sharing this story outside the cycling community – I’m afraid the Breede Valley Municipality gets hold of this and places a complete ban on cycling in the region.

Long story short

This process repeated itself, multiple times. Heading off into the bushes seems fine at night, albeit cold & inconvenient, but having to suffer the indignity during daylight is rather unfortunate – as you cannot accurately time the explosions.

I struggled on to the 400km mark. On a good day this would take me 17¾ hours. Now it took 30 hours. Something was wrong. I usually fancy the longer rides because it feels like the more I ride, the stronger I get. But this time I was completely without energy.

After falling asleep while riding the stretch between Calitzdorp and Oudtshoorn, I stopped for my own safety. The turnaround back to Calitzdorp was a reluctant one.


Did not finish. It is the worst acronym in the world, but also the best motivation. If something is not hard enough then it is not worth doing. I can’t wait for the next Cape 1000 – it feels like if have fallen in love with cycling all over again.


It is not called the Cape of Storms for nothing. As we returned on Thursday they were broadcasting radio warnings of an approaching storm. So this ride had it all – heat, cold, clear skies, rain, and as certain as death and taxes, wind.

Live tracking was brilliant

The GPS tracking system proved to be immensely popular. It was the same units as piloted on the 36one just over a week ago. I’m glad it was sponsored as I think their pricing is a bit prohibitive, but it certainly works fine. I can’t remember how many times I refreshed my browser in order to see our guys finish. Very addictive. Have a look at

What would I change?

Sterilise bottles. I’m not 100% sure what caused my explosive situation, but cannot rule out a potentially dirty water bottle. I have (too) many of bottles, so before each ride I just grab from box. Next time I’ll put the baby bottle sterilization kit to the test.

Teamwork. I usually prefer riding on my own and after the first 90km went off on my own again. But on this type of ride you would be better off with some company. A bit of conversation goes a long way.

More rest. Especially before the ride. I woke up at 05:30 on the morning of the ride and had a full day at the office before our 9pm start that evening. Which wasn’t ideal. Try to get in more sleep before the start.

Remember these. From now on, on long rides, I’ll make sure I have these 3 basic items with me – any form of toilet paper, some Immodiums and a few sachets of Rehidrate. Not quite the Tour de Pharmacy, but it should keep you going.

How does it compare to PBP?

There is relatively more climbing. On PBP you encounter more gradual climbs and rolling hills, whereas the Cape 1000 has 5 mountain passes and you cross each one from both sides.

There is no one around you. On PBP you cycle with almost 6000 others, from around the globe, whereas on the Cape 1000 you are all on your own. No group riding and no hiding from the wind.

During PBP you feel like you are riding the Tour de France, with fanatical supporters everywhere. But on the Cape 1000 the only feedback you get is the odd vehicle passing – and when they hoot it is probably to force you out of the way instead of cheering you on.

The road surface wasn’t silky smooth. We’ve gone through many roadworks – Cogmanskloof, Montagu, Wildehondskloofhoogte / Op de Tradouw pass and all the way from Barrydale to Ronnie’s Sex Shop.

And the final difference between PBP and the Cape 100 could be that the financial stakes are low – you didn’t spend much money to take part so the perceived opportunity cost isn’t great.

Live & learn

Looking back, I’m not sure why I didn’t take along Rehidrate, as this was the cornerstone of my nutritional intake during PBP – I religiously took one sachet at every checkpoint and it worked like a charm. I suppose this could be due to my relative inexperience when it comes to long distance cycling, as to date I have only done 20x BRM’s.


Rob for the initiative. Gerhard for the safety car. Family for the support. Dad for collecting us. Eddie for visiting. JHB for joining us. Theunis for the waiting game. Every participant for the adventure. And our finishers for making history. Congratulations Chris & Wimpie. And herewith some more pics, courtesy of Just Keep Pedalling – hop on to their facebook page for more.

After posting this I’ll grab the diary and pencil in some dates to start our regular monthly 200+km Audax rides. Watch this space.

My first 361


A forgotten event

I entered mid last year and by that time could only be placed on a waiting list for the solo event. Then completely forgot about it. So it was quite a surprise when I received the reminder email in January. But there was one phone call I first had to make.

Best wife in the world

So the event fell on our 5 year wedding anniversary. Which is kind of a big thing. Fortunately I have the most understanding better half in the world, and Valerida gave the thumbs up – on condition that we at least have a proper lunch before I go. Which we did.

Happy days

I really looked forward to this event – for a number of reasons: it was something new; I love the area; a few weeks ago we took the Route 62 during our April holiday to Seaview – in anticipation of the upcoming Cape 1000. So this would be another opportunity to have a look at the route. And I think the Huisrivier pass between Ladismith and Calitzdorp is something to behold.


Lone weekend

I left Thursday afternoon and arrived in Oudtshoorn after dark. I booked accommodation on Airbnb, but when I arrived, I learned that the establishment changed owners and the contact details weren’t updated. Luckily the room was available and I took it.

I didn’t book anything for the Friday night because we’d be cycling (starting 6pm), nor Saturday night because I didn’t know what time I’d finish and wanted to play it by ear. Mental note for next time – book right at the starting venue as the atmosphere is great and you can soak up the experience. And if the chalets are booked just bring a tent as the facilities are great.


First thing Friday morning was spent in a moment of quiet reflection. A mate of mine lost his mother during the week and today was her funeral, 10am. I sat on the outskirts of Oudtshoorn and jotted down a few words of encouragement. He went through the same just a year ago, when his dad passed away, and we haven;t seen each other since. Time flies. Make the most of it.

Back to business

I went for breakfast and flipped open the laptop to still get a good morning’s work done while having the battery packs for my lights on charge. Thereafter I quickly popped into the only cycle shop in Oudtshoorn to buy two water bottles, seeing as I left mine at home. Off to Kleinplaas.


I promptly found a parking right outside the gate and was happy to take it. Then followed a few hours worth of faffing with the bike. This included picking up my race bag and pondering whether to make use of the 3 drop boxes available. I called fellow Randonneur, Rob, who did the event last year for a few tips. He had some valid input on clothing.


In the end I decided not to make the effort and tossed the boxes to the side. I’m just going to take everything I need with me. And seeing as it was so hot outside, I went light with the clothing. If it was to get cold just before daybreak on Saturday then I would just use my built-in blanket.


It was ridiculously hot, even in the shade, so I went for a cold shower before jumping into cycling kit. But moments later the shower proved to have been an exercise in futility. I was sweating like a gypsy with a mortgage. Very hot outside.

Familiar faces

I saw Markus Franz and his mate. They stayed just down the road. Also doing the solo event. And a nonchalant Chris v Zyl rolled in just minutes before the start. He didn’t seem phased at all, briefly mentioning ‘groter dinge’ in the form of the upcoming Cape 1000. He went on to finish the 36one 7th in his category and 15th overall.

Friday 6pm

We lined up to get underway. Getting into the start chute took longer than I thought, given the relatively small field. I think they have around 800 riders. And I noticed roughly 530 finishers in the results afterwards. So 1 in 3 riders won’t make it. Not sure if this is correct. Anyway, thanks Pawel – I found your route map on RWGPS, below.

The Route

Is split up in 4 quarters with checkpoints after 81km, 102km, 97km & 81km. Quarter 1 takes you to the highest point of the race and down again. Quarter 2 is mainly rolling hills to the halfway mark. Quarter 3 packs a punch with 2 climbs, the latter being the steepest in the race. And quarter 4 should not be underestimated, as its climb has a nasty bite at the end.


There are 10 water points in total, the first after 50kms and thereafter roughly every 30kms. This is how it went.

And we’re off

The start was a dusty affair and I remember thinking that one would really struggle without sunglasses. You also have to be careful not to inhale through your mouth as the dust would constrict your breathing. In through the nose, out through the mouth.

I didn't even have a cycling computer with me - so my I twitched when I saw this office. But the music was a great idea.
I didn’t even have a cycling computer with me – so my I twitched when I saw this guy’s office. But the music was a great brilliant idea.

We switched on our lights within the first hour of riding and continued into the night. The weather was great, not too cold, but a welcome relief after the heat of the day. There was hardly any wind, which is great, but also causes the dust to hang around for ages.


First hill done. I got here around 22:30. I think Rob mentioned that he arrived just before midnight, and I use his time as a gauge, seeing as we ride more or less at the same pace. So I happily sat down and had a coffee and a hot dog. I remembered how much time one could waste at water points so didn’t linger too long before I was off again.

Onto half-way

Somewhere in this section we ended up on a field next to the road. We were then forced onto railway tracks and had to cycle on or alongside them for a stretch. This proved rather tricky as there was very little grip on those loose rocks. Mannie Heymans would have loved this on his fat bike.

CP 2

I made decent progress through the rolling hills and got to the halfway mark well before 5am. They had some great lasagne – I’d cycle there for another portion any day. It was here that I saw Markus, unfortunately not in his cycling kit anymore as he had to abandon due to his chest. Must have been all the dust.


Time to spare

I left the halfway mark before 5am so still had an hour in the bag for a 24hr stint. But I also knew that these great conditions won’t last into the day and things would get considerably tougher and slower in the heat.

The dreaded third quarter

I wasn’t particularly looking forward to this one, since it included big climbs, the latter being the biggest. The first one went by without too much fuss. But the second one was real value for money. It was one of the longer climbs that I have done – but also felt vaguely familiar.


After a few false summits we finally reached the top. From here on I had to make up time. I didn’t ride with a trip computer so didn’t have the distance travelled on hand, just the time. After the climb both water bottles were empty and I could do with a drink. I enquired how far to the next water point (Calitzdorp, CP3) and was assured “just 10 kms and it’s downhill”.

All lies

It took what felt like an hour to get to the next checkpoint. It started with the best downhill of the day. By the time you get to the bottom your brakes are boiling. That part was 10kms, yes, but there were another 14 odd kms the get to Calitzdorp. It was hot and dry and you push hard because you think the water point is just around the corner, which it wasn’t.


As I came in I saw Markus again. My sense of humour was gone after the previous stretch and it was good to see a familiar face, but at the same time I was too tired for much conversation and immediately made my way to find a drink and something to eat. Have I mentioned the race had the best koeksisters ever?

I definitely saw a number of people bail at the third checkpoint and wondered what the failure rate is for this event. On my way out I saw someone with a Kroff shirt and enquired whether he knew Gerhard v Noordwyk, which he did.

I’ve spent much more time at this checkpoint than I normally would, but even so, I didn’t feel as refreshed as I’d hoped. Leaving there, my sense of humour was also a bit low, but after riding for a while it gets better. I made a quick call to Valerida to hear her voice.


Joggie was part of a group of 4 cyclists. I remember his lime green Cannondale as we have been passing each other all day. This time we struck up a conversation and discussed our hobbies. Turns out we have mutual interests and could do something together. Sometimes you are more productive on a bicycle than in the office. More below.

The last climb

Should not be underestimated. By now it was around 3pm and still 40 degrees outside. It was a long one into the heat of the day. I ran out of water. As did many others. Tempers flared. During a situation like this the organisers could add a temporary water point.

I ended up going off course in order to find a tap. Managed to find one at farm workers’ houses and traded some snacks for two full bottles of water. A bargain at the time. And then just a few kms later we arrived at the water point.


Be warned, this one sits in the middle of those fangs. When you reach here it is not all the way down. But nearly so. You are now on the side of the Swartberg mountains and everything looks familiar again. Just about 10kms before you turn right and start winding down onto the last water point (WP10) and the finish.

Blue light mirage

After the last water point we travelled on a long flat gravel road, heading towards the flashing blue lights of a police car in the distance. This would be where we turn left onto tar and head back to Oudtshoorn for the last time. But those lights just never seem to come.


By the time I got onto the tar I switched on my lights again to be seen by traffic. It was just getting dark. This stretch was very fast and just the way you want to finish, on a high. I saw someone on the horizon and tried to chase him down. I reached him just as we came into town but couldn’t pass. Nothing like healthy competition.

Last turn

The last little bit in Oudtshoorn to Kleinplaas was a little further than we thought and after a 90 degree right hand turn I had enough in the tank to pass and slip away. Announcer Carel Bezuidenhout (who proved to be a hit) shouts your name as your cross the finish line. Job done.


I finished in 24hr40min. Wanted to do it in 24 hours, but the extra 40 minutes wasn’t a train smash. And I know where that time went – looking for water and wasted at the last checkpoint. This can easily be rectified next time.

A few firsts

This was my first MTB ride for the year. Also my longest MTB race to date. And the first one since a major bike service. But the route took its toll and afterwards I had to replace the one jockey wheel as the bearings were completely ruined – this was also the first time I attempted anything more advanced than a wheel change myself, so I hope the next blog entry is not one about me crashing down a mountain because of equipment failure.


Prior to this, the Transbaviaans was my longest ride (and still remains my facourite). That took just under 14 hours for 230km, so this was almost 11 hours more for an additional 130kms – but I suspect much relatively more climbing.

For Dryland

The water points were well stocked and the attendants were very friendly and made you feel right at home. The only niggle was the lack of water in the afternoon on that climb.


I’ve have had handlebar palsy before, but this was the first time on a mountain bike. Luckily it completely subsided within a couple of days and everything was back to normal – I could cut my own nails again. Other than that, nothing really.

Would I do it again?

Most certainly. Preferably next time with company – still enter the solo category, just have some mates around. I’m working on Antonie and Eugene just needs a mountain bike. And next year’s event falls a week after our anniversary. Brilliant.

More pics

Taken from the 36one facebook page, some by Anke Photography and the majority by Oakpics.

Sneak preview

Check out Told you some of the best ideas are born cycling. (PS, still a work in progress at the time of writing as we are implementing the online payment system).


Everesting Helshoogte. Done.

I’ve finally conquered my fear of climbing.


What is Everesting?

Pick a climb and cycle it repeatedly, until your total vertical meters gained equal the height of Mount Everest, 8848m. History remembers firsts, so try and pick a climb that has not been done (to this extent) before.


Two riders

You can everest a mountain on your own, or with a few mates, in which case you’ll get an asterisk next to your name for a shared first. I honestly don’t think everesting on your own would be any fun at all.

Before — Nico & Eugene goofing around.

Eugene introduced me to the Transbaviaans in 2012 and that is where endurance type cycling started for me. We also have a weight difference, much like Asterix and Obelix — but he is always very patient with me on the uphills, even though he can do it in half the time. Tonight I was going to test his patience to the very limit.

Also, it has to be said that there are few people out there who would respond positively to a phone call asking you to come and do a continuous bike ride up & down a mountain pass for night & day (and night again). In the middle of the week.

The Plan

Worst case as follows. Everest is 8848m. Our Helshoogte stretch is 240m. So we’ll have to make 36.875 trips, rounded up to 40. Each one is 5km up and 5km down, so 40 trips of 10km is 400km in total. At and average of 20kmh for up & down, it would take 20 hours without rest. Target is to do it within a day.

Sense of urgency

I heard a rumor that team RECM also wanted to everest Helshoogte. Not sure whether this was true. But I wanted to be first. So I phoned Eugene and we picked the first day without rain.

Not just a 400

The last 400km we cycled was in March and it took me 17¾ hours to complete. I thought this would be more of the same. How wrong was I — it took much longer than anticipated, partly due to reasons beyond our control and partly because of a minor oversight.

The mistake

I assumed there are no meters gained on the descent. We didn’t go for a test ride. And the calculation was very conservative as we measured from the intersection of Helshoogte & Simonsberg and not a little further down, at the offramp to the shopping centre where we made our turns.

According to the everesting calculator then, it turned out that we needed quite a bit less than the almost 40 laps we initially thought. Patrick, who created the calculator, kindly explained the difference in the comments below.


It said we needed just 23 laps (230kms). We ended up doing 37 laps (370kms). After uploading our data to strava it showed the total ascent was just under 9900m.

The execution


Helshoogte is a no-brainer for an Everesting attempt. The tar is smooth. There are double lanes all the way up. There is a fairly safe section at the top where one can turn. And the bottom houses a shopping mall with a 24hr garage and ample parking.

The route

We left the car at the parking lot of the Spar complex at the bottom of Helshoogte. Our route would be from there, up to the first T-junction signpost, just around the corner after Tokara, where the road flattens. We figured it would be safer to turn there than right on the corner at Tokara.

Our turning point at the top of the segment. Pretty spectacular.


I know we’ve just had spring time, but our timing was out. I looked at and saw we’ll have a mid-week gap without any rain. Luckily there would be no wind. As our start time came closer, the forecasted minimums dropped — all the way down to 5 degrees Celsius. The Cape 1000km earlier this year was abandoned after the first loop because of similar temperatures.

When I downloaded the Garmin’s data afterwards I found that it recorded the minimum as a mere 3 degrees Celsius. To say that it was freezing still sounds like an euphemism. It was beyond cold. I started wearing non-cycling kit as well, layer upon layer, for the sake of self-preservation.


We started on Tuesday evening, 8 September 2015, around 19:30. I thought that around 20 to max 24 hours would take us to finish between lunch & dinner the next day. Eventually we ended around 4am on the Thursday morning, so 12 hours later than expected.

The spine-chilling temperatures and the time lost with the armed response episode made that our first night’s riding took ages and we didn’t seem to get anywhere. Luckily from sunrise the next morning things started to pick up and we got into good form later in the day.

No sleep

Perception is a funny thing. Three weeks ago I was convinced I cannot do 600km without sleeping. Then I sat next to Wimpie on a plane to France. In 1975, he set a world endurance record by cycling non-stop for 120 hours. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Our little ride of around 32 hours pales in comparison. Still, this was my longest non-stop yet, and proof that the next 600km could be done without sleep.


The recording was a bit of a nightmare. Simply because of battery life. The Suunto lasted a mere 7 hours, the Garmin reached around half-way, and the two Samsung phones had to be alternated time-and-again to charge the battery while recording on Strava. Now I have to stitch all the data and then submit a single strava file to be validated for the official record. Sounds time consuming.


I never expected the amount of support we got. Valerida casually took a picture and uploaded it to facebook before we started. It wasn’t long before the Audax riders noticed. And it is truly amazing to see how many people you recognize while riding that route.

The ride

Up. Down. Repeat.

Passing Neil Ellis. The first part of the climb always felt the longest.


The start

Eugene set off while still finishing his pre-ride cigarette — a rather disrespectful gesture to the momentous task that still lay ahead. The first three laps was great, this was a new adventure after all. We thought we’d do 4 stints of 10 laps, but soon thought 8×5 might be better.

First beer

Five laps in, I noticed a familiar Audi TT next to us. It was Charl & Jan-Martin, followed by Valerida & Louise. We continued up the hill and met them at Tokara. Jan-Martin was visibly excited on our behalf and we were already getting thirsty so we stood around for a while and had our first beer. This was our first (unplanned) stop. And the second cigarette for Eugene.

First sandwich

It was nippy outside and we were using a lot of energy so we got hungry quickly. At the end of lap 6 we had a few sandwiches and another beer, down at the parking area, together with our familiar crowd from the previous stop.

It was now cold and quiet on the road.


Nice day for a mugging

I’ve heard of people being attacked on the lower parts of Helshoogte, about where the last houses end. And this is exactly where Valerida saw culprits lying in the bush, next to the road. Luckily she was following us with the car. I was tired and didn’t see them.

Valerida & Eugene made few calls and within a few minutes we had a lot of people on the scene — the police, Stellenbosch watch, ADT, Stallion, Thorburn and the guys from Tokara. They suggested we wait for a while before resuming. And when we did, they took turns and rode with us for a while. I was quite amazed at the response.  Thanks guys for watching out for us.

Wednesday morning

We lost a lot of time during the night, but when the sun started shining we got into our stride again. By now people were starting to get to work and the traffic increased substantially. Eugene recognised his cousin, and I waved to Dewald on his way to Hillcrest.

Hidden treasure

We were coming down while Dewald was going up, so we couldn’t stop and say hi. He then stashed some energy bars behind one of the pillars of the Tokara signpost and notified us of the location via whatsapp. Very kind.


My mom & sister drove behind us during early morning traffic. After another few laps we stopped for breakfast. Pizza. Not the healthiest, but well deserved. We didn’t wan’t to waste too much time here and also used the opportunity to charge the phones.

Familiar faces

During the afternoon we saw Charl a couple more times. My brother Pieter drove next to us for a lap and an energy bar at the top. Erik Kleinhans waved as he went up (check out his strava profile, he holds most of the Helshoogte records). And Carinus Lemmer cycled with us and exchanged a few words.

Coming up the last part of the climb, passing Delaire
Coming up the last part of the climb, passing Delaire.

Late lunch

Seeing all our mates made the afternoon fly by. Just before the afternoon traffic started we returned to Spar for another bite to eat. The longer you go, the more you start craving fruit.


More laps. So we needed more food. I fear this text is beginning to sound more like an extended menu than a ride report, but unfortunately there there isn’t much to add — we cycled and and we ate. This time a few Steer burgers, around 9pm, I think. It was Wednesday, after all. And also our last sit down meal, as we were getting close to the end.


It was starting to get cold again. But tonight we were very much prepared for it. I called in for a beanie and a proper Capestorm fleece, paired with two sets of long-fingered gloves. Bring it on.

More support

After last night’s incident, Natasha again joined us in her car. So now we had two support vehicles. We were cycling in the yellow lane, she was on our right, and Valerida and my mom followed behind us. Marné also checked in for a few laps.

We were much more comfortable this time and our progress was brisk. We were doing some of our best work yet — some of our fastest times came out of the last 10 laps. The brain knows you’re almost done and this acts as great encouragement.


We finished around 4am and stopped for a few pics at Tokara before turning and coming down for the very last time. Extremely satisfied.



I considered riding that wave of euphoria for a few more laps, but that would mean nearing morning traffic again. Or maybe my sleep-deprived brain was just playing tricks. More importantly, I couldn’t ask our support team to continue. They have done more than we ever expected and everyone deserved some sleep. Without them our efforts would have come to an abrupt end on the first night already as it wouldn’t have been safe to continue.


I usually lose quite a bit of weight during these rides. On the PBP I lost about 5kgs. I expected this Everesting to be more or less the same, as it certainly felt like it. But it turned out I only lost 2kgs. Less than I thought.


I thought we were going to be completely man-down after the ride. Luckily not. More tired than anything else. No back or neck pain, just a regular amount of stiffness in the legs. Plus our old friend numb fingers — but it think was still partly due to the 1200km three weeks prior.

What have we learned?

Tips for next time.

Test ride

I’ve been up Helshoogte many times before. So I figured it won’t be necessary to do a test ride. I checked out the route online, used a conservative estimate, and only rode up the pass once in my car. I’d suggest you rather test your recording equipment and cycle at least on actual lap while still planning your ride. And get a powerbank to charge your devices on alternating laps or sets.


Don’t do it on your own. Have a safety vehicle. If only for the stretches in the dark. And the safety vehicles’ lights also assist on the fast downhills – you never know when a dog jumps in front of your wheel.


This is a summer sport. If you do this when it is cold then you’ll only end up sweating uphill, only to turn and freeze (to the extent that it’s difficult and dangerous to control your bike at full speed) on the downhill.


Ensure you have a wide variety of kit in the car. You don’t have to take everything with you, as you can always return and fetch what you need. We also had a few beers stashed in the car, together with enough sandwiches and droëwors to feed a small African country.

Start time

I won’t recommended a start in the early evening, as we did, especially if it is cold outside. Rather start early-morning in the morning and get as many laps, if not all, in before nightfall. For safety and comfort.


I makes a massive difference. When you’re slowly going up a familiar road for what feels like the hundredth time and it is dead quiet outside then it seems to take just sooo much longer. But when you do the same stretch of road while listening to music then your perceived effort drops and you’re neither bored nor sleepy.

Big thanks

To everyone who hooted, shouted, waved, stopped, had a beer, rode along or came to say hi. It makes a massive difference. Also when you sit in the middle of the night and glance at your phone and see a few encouraging messages – we might have been too tired and our fingers too numb to respond immediately, but we appreciate it all the same.

Valerida — who drove behind us for the majority of the ride, very much like back in 2009 when she following Manus and myself all the way down from JHB to CPT. Déjà vu. Love you.

My parents — dad for pre-ride paste & mom for driving behind us for long stretches. When we were young our parents told us we could do anything. Now they have to live with it.

Natasha — also riding behind us for long & important stretches. And to Annelize who joined her. Cool tunes & great cheerleading. I hope we can work together on the upcoming Tour de Boland.

Social media — everyone who cheered us on and fellow Audax riders. It’s nice to glance at your phone in the middle of the night and to see a mate in Australia appreciates what you’re going through. It’s the small things that keep you going.

Will I do it again?

Definitely. In a car. Once at a time. No need to go overboard. But goofs aside, that road now occupies a special place in my mind.

What’s next?

I’d like to do an Everesting of a mountain bike route. Haven’t decided which one yet. But for now I’ve accomplished all my cycling goals for the year.

Sir Edmund Coetzee & Sir Edmund du Plessis.

Featured image “Everest North Face toward Base Camp Tibet Luca Galuzzi 2006” by I, Luca Galuzzi. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

Why I love the Tour de Boland

I’ve always wanted to organise a cycling event, so I jumped at this opportunity. And I’m working with a brilliant team.

Tour de Boland _ Logo_Logo

I cycled my first TdB this year and it will certainly not be my last. My goal was not to come last each day. Turns out I did better than expected. The slightly longer stages was a perfect fit. And not everyone is a racing snake — you can just come along for the ride.

1. Bit of a challenge

With the exception of the first day, the average daily distance is around 125km. This calls for just enough effort to have some bragging rights after the event. The longer you go, the stronger you get.

2. Time to relax

Once you’re done cycling for the day, you can choose how you spend the rest of it. This year I took my laptop and did some work in the afternoons. You can do both. But for next year I’ve decided to leave the laptop at home to properly soak up the experience.

3. Training

The longer stages are an excellent way to build on your base training. There were also a number of Epic riders who ditched their mountain bikes to break the routine and get in some road miles. Or, if you’re like me, it might be some of the few opportunities you get to cycle uninterrupted for a whole week.

4. Great timing

It’s during the week prior to the CT Cycle Tour. Which is great for two reasons. After a week of TdB, you’ll arrive at the start line, fit as a fiddle. And we know flights are a nightmare that week, so skip the madness, come down a week earlier — and while other cyclists are stuck at the airport, you’re already sipping wine in the vineyards with some miles in your legs. Brilliant.

5. Great scenery

We take the roads less travelled. Safe and scenic and lovely to pass through quaint little towns. The people are sincere and the heart-warming hospitality will leave you wanting to come back every year. Refreshing.

6. Exclusivity

MTB stage races are a dime a dozen. But there are very few road stage events open to everyone. So come and ride through the Boland and a safe environment. And on 23c wheels it goes quickly.

7. Best value

It’s the best value stage race (ride) in the country. Every rider decides how lavish or basic he wants to tour. The entry fee is not loaded with unnecessary or unwanted extras. Isn’t freedom of choice wonderful?

8. Score some points

Grab enough vitality points to hit your ceiling in the outdoor activities category. All within the first quarter of the year. Well done.

What are you waiting for?

Live if short. Come ride with us.

Tour de Boland _ Logo_Logo

PBP 2015: 1230kms in 78hrs

This is my attempt at a practical guide to riding PBP, based on what I could remember from the 2015 Paris-Brest-Paris.


Slight delay

Now that I’ve regained use of the majority of my fingers, it’s time to start sharing the wonderful experience we had in France. Seriously, for the first two weeks after the ride I couldn’t even use the nail clipper on my own. Handlebar palsy is a heartless vixen.


I enjoyed the moment and couldn’t be bothered with taking too many pictures. Plus I wanted to preserve my phone’s battery because I was afraid I wouldn’t hear the alarm en route. So not all of the photo’s here are my own. Thanks to my fellow riders for sharing theirs.

The numbers

1230 divided by 78 gives you just under 16km/h. Which doesn’t sound like much. But when last have you been on the go for almost 80 hours, while doing exercise?


I associate with James May. He likes perpendicular air vents in a car. I like structure. There are a lot of words below — enough to justify a little table of contents, so that you know what you’re in for:

(1) Things to look forward to. (2) Travel Admin. (3) Preperation. (4) What I ate. (5) The plan. (6) The ride. (7) The aftermath. (8) Results. (9) Zombies. (10) One day in Paris. (11) Costs. (12) What I did right. (13) What I would change. (14) What's next. (15) A big thanks. (16) Resources.

Things to look forward to

The French get cycling

They just do. Unlike SA, there are very few, if any, yellow lanes on the rural roads. But the cars will patiently back up behind you. Here the vehicles are innocent until proven guilty. Some of the big trucks drove rather fast, even through small towns, but they won’t push you off the road.

Road surface

The roads are near perfect. The majority of it is smoother than Ben Kingsley’s head. With such low rolling resistance it feels like you can free forever — just add a bit of weight and gain some momentum.

Café & gâteau

In the middle of the night, in the middle of a small French town, in the middle of nowhere — you’d be greeted by a friendly French family serving you coffee & cake, without asking anything in return. They understand what you are going through. And they support you.

Roadside angels

As the ride progress you’ll encounter more of these friendly roadside helpers, offering a variety of snacks. Some just ask for a postcard when you’re back home. Others have a little box for donations. The longer I cycled, the more I started craving fruit, and these roadside stalls were invaluable.

The journey

Getting to PBP is not an overnight process. It starts long before you realise you want to do it. Maybe with your first double century. Or doing qualifying brevets unknowingly. Some participants even ended up going unintentionally. But when you arrive in Paris and cycle around on the French roads it just feels right. Like it was meant to be.


It’s European summer. Hot and somewhat humid, with the odd thunder shower — but still pretty nippy at night, so make sure you have enough warm gear. I intentionally left my full fingered gloves at the hotel, but during the ride I wished I hadn’t. We were lucky not to encounter any rain en route, but the guys finishing one day later got wet.


The days are long and it’s lovely outside. The sun sets late and you can probably cycle without using your light till around 21:30. Have a look here. Sample below for Brest.

sunset in breast

Travel admin

Skip through this if you’re a seasoned traveler. I’ve included links to all you need at the end of the article.

Schengen visa

I used Capago in CPT and it took 3 days to have my visa in hand. Very efficient. So was my wife, who did all the paperwork. As I haven’t finalised anything other than my flights at the time of the appointment, I used to make a reservation (no deposit & no cancellation fee) with the intention of cancelling it afterwards, just to have proof of accommodation for the visa app. It worked like a charm and I’ll definitely use it again.

Flights & trains

I booked on Emirates from CPT via DXB to CDG. Going there felt quick enough, but coming back we had a long stopover in Dubai — over 42ºC outside, but we never left the airport (read: mall). The French RER trains are geared for bicycles, with sufficient luggage space on the end of each coach. It’s handy to have the map on your phone. Grab it from


Arriving in France

Getting around in a first world country is a cinch. We hopped of the plane at and onto the RER/Ile de France train, followed the blue line to where it crosses with the yellow line, and then just one stop further to our destination at Igny. The train trip was €15. You buy tickets at the machine, no more complicated than the Gautrain, just more stops.


Everywhere. They sure like to spray things. And it’s not just a collection of badly drawn male organs under bridges. The take pride in their work. I liked it. But then again, I can’t read French, so I might be in the same league as a conservative foreigner hopping around to lyrics of Die Antwoord.


Gone are the days where you have to exchange cash at the airport and be bent over by admin fees. I just swiped my Capitec card, same as in SA. Zero fees at point of sale terminals and R45 for cash withdrawals. They do the conversion from EUR to ZAR immediately, at spot plus 2 basis points.

Sim card

I followed suit and bought a French sim for €20 on Bouygues Télécom, with unlimited local calls & sms’s, around ½hr international calls and enough data to make whatsapp calls for the whole trip. There was data reception whenever I switched on my phone, including the countryside, so no hassles there.

Learn some French. Or don’t.

I’m stubborn and deliberately arrived without knowing a word of French. Just be courteous, look sincere, and start your conversations in Afrikaans. Thereafter you can start waving and pointing like an ape. The French certainly aren’t as antagonistic as one is led to believe.

You also pick up repeated phrases on billboards and signs rather quickly, so navigating isn’t that difficult – even though they couldn’t be bothered with English on any rail/road sign. And in Paris there is no shortage of English. I have since expanded my French vocabulary to this extensive and sadly, exhaustive list:

  1. Sortie — exit
  2. Billet — tickets
  3. Gare — station
  4. Allez — come on
  5. Bonne route — good ride
  6. Bon courage — good luck
  7. Jambon et fromage — ham & cheese

You really don’t need more than this.


Compounding effect

I don’t like the details. The devil hides there. Which is why I didn’t know these details and had to go and calculate it. But here’s some food for thought. If you cycle at a cadence of 70rpm and at a speed of 20kmh (so 3min per km) then you turn over the pedals 210 times every km. So for a 100km ride that would be 21,000 strokes. And over 1230km it equates to over 250,000 pedal strokes. Small things tend to start making a huge difference.

The Cape 1000

Our local club cycled a full series of 200, 300, 400 & 600km BRM’s each month from January till May. We then decided to stage a 1000km test ride, 2 months before PBP.

Event Distance Climb Time limit
PBP 1230 km 11,200 m 90 hours
Cape 1000 1000 km 9,500 m 75 hours

We all started the test ride in good faith, but everyone promptly abandoned after just the 1st leg (around 440). It was just too damn cold. So what was going to happen in Paris?

Less is more

Not in Wimpie’s case. He set the bar, training over 1000km in some weeks, tapering towards the end. I think his final tapered week alone was more than what I trained in total.

My initial plans were to do 1200km, over 12 days, so 100km each. But life and work got in the way and I ended up doing just 6x 100km rides, spread over a period of two weeks. Not ideal. But definitely not overtrained. I also carried enough weight to survive for a month in the Sahara, so plenty of reserves.

How do you prepare for this long time in the saddle?

Maybe you don’t have to. Hear me out:

  1. On local rides we are very few cyclists. You end up in small groups or alone, so you’re used to doing all the work, whereas with PBP there’s hundreds of riders in sight.
  2. They say you can double your trained distance. So having done a, or preferably a few, 600kms, you should be able to do 1200. Does this now mean we could do 2400km?.
  3. Most importantly for first timers, you don’t know the route. Which is great. Around every corner there is something new. No monotony. It keeps you awake.
  4. The road surface is so smooth it has to be mentioned again. Less resistance. More fun. It feels like you can free forever.

I don’t think you can really train for this. Rather arrive fresh and well rested, with a reasonable level of fitness, and focus on the positives. There will be some pain and sleep deprivation. Try to ignore it and enjoy the ride.

Rolling hills

The route profile looks worse than it is, because it is compressed. It was nothing like Alpe d’Huez, rather just endless rollers. Smaller ones. Which suited me quite well, because if you pick up momentum going down, and add a few strokes to clear the next hill, you keep on rolling just fine.


There was  the one proper up & down, just before you turn at the half-way mark. Funny enough, coming back, the up leg felt easier than going down — but I’m sure that is just because you are so happy to be returning to Paris in stead of still cycling away from it towards Brest.

Opposites unite

There are two distinct types of cyclists arriving at PBP. Racing snakes — mostly French, arriving with as little as possible, seeing as they have endless support en route. And the rest — almost always packing too much, fearing the worst, and having to lug around unnecessary weight. Don’t go overboard, you won’t die. Just have enough warm clothes, clean kit works wonders, a space blanket and some euros. The rest you can buy at controls, including bum cream.

Drop bags

To drop or not? I decided against it. During the last week before my flight I purchased a waterproof Topeak handlebar bag in which I could fit 7 litres worth of stuff. I loaded it with two sets of cycling kit, suntan lotion, chamois, toothbrush, cable ties, space blanket, chamois cream and a few sachets of Rehidrate and energy gels. It worked like a charm and I’m glad I didn’t have to bother with a drop bag, or worry that I might not find it.

What I ate

In short, plenty. Have a look.

Good intentions

I did the same as what I do on all the local rides — start off by taking a few sandwiches with me and then just buy food en route. I don’t usually have much use for energy gels or rehydrate sachets, as I prefer to eat real food and I drink enough not to dehidrate. But for I made an exception for PBP and took along a few gu’s just for in case.

Nigel Grey said that in 2011 he took a sachet of rehidrate every 100kms. This sounded like a great idea and I intended to do the same, but I still finished the event with a few to spare.

You won’t go hungry

There is more than enough food en route. At every stop. When I initially saw the descriptions of the controls on the PBP website, it looked like some would just be a stop and have no food or facilities. But this wasn’t the case. Remember, there are over 6000 cyclists, each carrying a few euros, so it is a great opportunity for the local towns the share in your disposable income.

Before the start

I had tickets for the meal at the Velodrome on the afternoon before the start. Luckily I arrived early, because they soon ran out of food. And some of what was meant to be on offer was still frozen by the time we had to dish up, so even the early birds were somewhat out of luck. Long lines of disappointed cyclists had to be turned away. Not the organisers’ best effort.


Seeing as I cycle from beer stop to beer stop, this was a term I frequently used. You mention it when ordering a beer, otherwise you get served something in a bottle. It refers to a draught, something about pressure. However, some of their beers are best left inside the keg — I’d recommend they stick to Bordeaux wines, as the local beers I tasted are best enjoyed in a state of mild to severe dehidration.

Breakfast of champions

Should have bought McDonald’s shares before I left for France. I had more junk food on this ride than I had during the first half of the year. But you can do so with guilt-free because everything gets used in your furnace during the 4 days of cycling.

The plan

Don’t overthink it

There is a 90 hour time limit. I know I cycle around 25kmh, say 20kmh worst case. So 1200kms will take up 60 hours. I wanted to be done within 84. Which leaves 24 hours to play with. I’ve heard you lose a lot of time at the controls. So I budgeted for 20 stops of ½ hour each, another 10 hours. Leaving me with 14 hours for sleep.


I thought I’d stop at 500kms and again at 840kms to sleep for say 5 hours each. It didn’t quite work out that way. And it turns out you don’t need to sleep too much. A few well placed power naps in lieu of longer hours work just as well. My biggest fear was not being able to wake up at some point, because I am a notoriously bad snoozer.

Practice what you preach

Even with my intended laissez faire approach to the ride, my Excel OCD kicked in and I had to create a spreadsheet. Just to see where I’d be at what point during the ride. This was the only page I took with me on the ride. (Oh, and a little picture of my wife. You never know).


The Ride

This was the hardest part to jot down, because somewhere in the middle, the details were a little fuzzy.

The Start

16/08 18:46pm.

Gerhard was in the same start group as me. It was great to see a familiar face. We were chatting away in the start chute, both keen to get going with this journey into the unknown.

Ever since we left SA four days ago I was anxious to get started. The last 2 days were murder, just hanging around, waiting for this moment. The atmosphere is tangible — you know you’re taking part in something special.

Announcements finished. Countries recognized. Countdown complete. Finally, it happened. We rolled through the massive arch and over the timing mats. People lined the streets for miles on end. It felt more like an Argus than an Audax.

The pace was brisk. Faster than I thought it would be, especially given that there’s still 1200km ahead. Everyone seemed to be fueled by the same combination of nerves and excitement.

After a while we left the buildings behind, turned right through a lane of trees, and riders started to settle a bit, even though we were still going strong. Maybe the sunset had a calming effect.

What are the odds

I was sitting in front of a bunch and suddenly it happened. My first flat. Front wheel. A fish hook. Can you believe it. In the middle of nowhere. You can fit new wheels for PBP, but you cannot prevent a random occurrence such as this.

I didn’t have any bombs with me as they were sold out at the start, so knew this was going to be a longer repair stop, requiring the employment of my old faithful Lezyne hand pump. I patiently & calmly struggled in the dark to get everything sorted and was on my way again. After what felt like half an hour, I was on the road again. By now Gerhard was long gone.

It can only get better

Or could it? Few kms later I heard a gut-wrenched sound. Ping — a spoke snapped. I was afraid this would happen. Which is why I had a complete wheel rebuild just before PBP. New spokes and stronger nipples and I had the tension checked independently as well.

I had a peek and saw that the spoke had snapped right in the middle, which I found odd. A few centimeters of electrical tape to fasten each broken end to the adjacent spoke and I was off again. But ever so slightly nervous.

A few more kms. And another ominous ping. The second spoke also snapped in the middle. By now I was getting anxious. The wheel was buckled to such an extent that it couldn’t turn without the brake calipers fully opened.

I was now in limp home mode and had to get to a mechanic. Fearing more spokes would snap if I put too much pressure on the wheel, I continued cycling seated only. Progress was slow and climbing unpleasant.

Rob passed me from behind. He was sympathetic but there was nothing that either of us could do. His tales of other riders being helped out of similar situations were reassuring. Even so, while cycling side by side, spoke number three also snapped…

Was the universe trying to tell me something? We spend a lot of time and effort to get here. And now, even before getting to the first checkpoint, the future of my PBP was looking grim.


With a full array of spare spokes with me and just needed to get to get here and find someone that can help me to fit them. I vaguely remember Rob telling me that the name has some connection to elevation, so we were about to climb up to the checkpoint. Sitting down and using my granny gear, I lost him going up.

Arriving at the checkpoint, I immediately made for the mechanics. Off course, there was a queue. The owner didn’t speak a word of English, but my problem was easy enough to point out. He frowned. I waited. Luckily there was an enthusiastic younger helper and we understood each other slightly better.

I wanted to buy a new wheel, fearing that we might only waste time to fit the new spokes and then they’ll just start snapping in quick succession once more — surely there must have been damage to the rim. But they were the only guys in town and had no wheels. So I waited for the spokes to be fitted.

Peter came over and offered me something to eat and drink. I also saw Ernst & Gideon. This was only a checkpoint, not a control point, so no need to sign the brevet card.

Roughly an hour later they managed to turn my pretzel into something that resembled a wheel again. I still needed a new one, but at least I was now in better shape to tackle the next 80kms to the first official control.

Villaines. 221km.

17/08 06:19am.

Peter cycled with me all the way from Mortagne to Villaines. We had some great coffee stops at locals and I remember large highway-like sections of smooth tar. I love cycling at night. You focus on only the necessary. The roads are quiet. And the kilometers seem to tick by quickly.

10km before Villianes La Juhel there was a blue Giant board next to the road indicating that there are mechanics at the control point. I was ecstatic. Upon arrival I first had my card signed, then return to the mechanics and quickly bought a wheel from a friendly guy with perfect command of the Queen’s English.

I still had to wait my turn and while the mechanics were busy, Peter and I went for a proper three course sit down meal, coffee, beer, and a 20min cat nap. Very efficient. It was early-morning as we walked over to collect my bike

The basic, silver, entry-level Shimano wheel set me back a mere €65 (plus 10 for labour). Bargain. On the road again. I was feeling great.

Fougeres. 310km.

17/08 12:04pm.

With the confidence of the new wheel and the warmth of the morning sunshine I picked up the pace and tried to get back to my original time budget. This was what PBP was supposed to feel like.

Tinteniac. 364km.

17/08 15:42pm.

My first mistake. Somewhere in the middle. Coming out of the control I promptly turned left instead of right and started following the arrows back to Paris. Only when I was completely out of the town and back up the long hill I noticed no one around me. Then two officials approached on motorbikes and signaled that I was going the wrong way. Bugger.

What a silly way to through away an hour. And it happened just as I was making up for lost time. Back to square one. Focus, man.

Loudeac. 449km.

17/08 20:29pm.

This was the first milestone. As far as I could remember, a lot of South Africans would have used this as a spot to sleep. I got here as the sun was setting in the distance. Think I made a whatsapp call home to inform Valerida of my progress. I’m also sure I saw Gerrit Pretorius and exchanged a few words.

After some faffing around I sampled their saucisse galet (weak attempt at a boereworsrol) together with a small beer in a plastic cup. Maybe it was better than I remember, but I stood in a queue for the food, only to be pointed to a caravan were I should have bought tokens first. Another queue. And then back to the food queue again. Luckily the beer queue was short. This was the most inefficient stop I made all PBP.


Rather fitting, Nico thought it was a great idea to have a nap at Saint Nic. I’m only referring to myself in the third person for the word play here, but an alter ego who can do the pedaling on my behalf doesn’t sound half bad.

This was at around 500km and after all my adventures since setting off, it was time for a well deserved nap. I thought 30min should be enough.

I had a three course PBP meal, went back for more fruit, and then looked for a spot to lie down. This checkpoint had beds where volunteers could wake you up, but there was also a queue for same.

I spotted a hidden gem — a garage-sized room adjacent to the dining room, filled with cyclists who didn’t want to wait in line. There always room for one more. So I squeezed into the corner after moving around some limbs attached to the zombies around me to make space.

It was freezing outside and this was a very welcome rest, other for the fact that the room had a motion-sensing light that went on with a loud click almost every second minute. Most of the time it was my fault, as I couldn’t get my lie in that tiny space. At some level I was glad that I didn’t fall straight into REM sleep, for the fear of not hearing my alarm. I snooze like a corpse.

I cannot remember exactly where, but somewhere between Loudeac & Carhaix I witnessed something I wish I hadn’t. Even before getting there you sensed something was amiss. A couple of ambulances passed us on a long and gradual climb. Eventually we came around a corner on a steep section where we saw paramedics violently trying to resuscitate a rider.

No-one said a word after this. It was a tragic sight. I couldn’t make out whether there was a crash, whether someone else was involved, or whether the guy had a heart attack. I’ve looked online, but haven’t read anything relating to this incident yet.

Carhaix. 525km.

18/08 05:29am.

Arrived early-morning. It was rather cold outside and I was looking forward to a shower and some fresh kit. Coming in to the control they had a terrace with the flags of every country represented at the event. Nice touch. Even nicer was to see Rob’s bike underneath the SA flag. I have been cycling alone for ages and could do with some conversation.

This was the last control before the halfway mark, and a busy one at that. It was quite a walk to get to the showers. I took my merry time, but every minute was worth it. I felt absolutely great afterwards. By the time I got back to the bikes, Rob’s was gone. Now for the last stretch of slightly under a 100kms to Brest.

Brest. 618km.

18/08 10:22am.

The last stretch to the halfway mark included the biggest downhill of the ride. Good fun. I also noticed plenty of camper vans at the top, just before we started the last descent.

At the bottom, in Brest, you follow a path parallel to the highway for the last bit down to the water. You’ll cross next to the Pont de l’Iroise suspension bridge, pretty spectacular. Be sure to snap a picture on your way in because you don’t come back over the bridge again.

I arrived at the halfway mark late morning. A rather uneventful affair. I expected more. Or maybe I just didn’t understand all the commotion because of the language barrier. I wasn’t in the mood for another round of PBP food so only signed my card, filled my bottles and headed back out.

Pizza time. I found a Domino’s opening it’s doors on may way out of Brest. I stopped so fast that both brake cables must have stretched. I placed their first order for the day. By the time it was ready, the place was crawling with cyclists. Very impressed with myself — I started a small revolution.

It was now after 12pm. Before setting off I quickly checked my phone, curious to see where the others were. I saw that Gerhard arrived in Brest before 8am, so he must have been far away by now.

The big climb was waiting, but I was on my way back to Paris and very happy in the saddle. Life is good.

Carhaix. 703km.

18/08 16:49pm.

Somewhere on the hills I noticed a commotion. A sleepy rider fell off his bike. Or bumped a car. I wasn’t sure, but it didn’t look serious. The chap just needed some sleep or some coffee. I was also getting tired so this prompted me to have a 20min cat nap on the grass at a picnic spot next to the road. It worked wonders. The climbs even felt much easier than I envisaged from the bottom.

When I came through Saint-Nicolas-du-Pélem on my way back to Paris it was daylight and now I noticed it was a kindergarten school setup. Vastly different to the image I had from the first round when I was trying to sleep here under that motion sensing light .

Loudeac. 782km.

18/08 21:01pm.

This time I arrived at Loudeac just half an hour later then on the out leg, now 9pm. I looked for a restaurant on my way to the control, but wasn’t really committed and ended up eating another French hot dog with a tiny beer.

Walking through the bike park, I saw Ernst & Gideon. What lovely coincidence. These guys do it right. The ride at a nice pace and sleep a lot. They were in good spirit. I was very excited about having two companions for the road ahead. I waited while they did their rounds and then we were off.

It was great cycling with the Bianchi Brothers. We kept a good pace and chatted all the way. My headlight battery was now on it’s last legs, having served me for 2½ nights. I stopped to swop it for another one, fumbled around in the dark, lost my cycling buddies and never saw them again.

If memory serves me right, Ernst & Gideon’s camper van was near Quadillac, where they planned to have a proper night’s rest. This was around the 840km mark. I also planned to get some sleep here, but was still felling great and wide awake and decided to carry right on.

Tinteniac. 867km.

19/08 02:15am.

By the time I got here it was time for some rest. I met up with Barry Shaw. It was great seeing him again as we did many rides together up in JHB and I haven’t seen him since we moved down to CPT. We grabbed a three course meal at the control point and afterwards just slid down underneath our tables for some sleep.

The room was very warm and inviting. I think we set the alarms for 6am. This was one of the longest naps I had on PBP. Unfortunately it wasn’t the best one, as I struggled quite a bit with some phlegm from all the cold night riding without a buff.

Rob must have Walkered right past us somewhere in the dining room, because he was also here around that time. We met him en route the next morning. And then there were 3. Spirits were high, we were going home.

Fougeres. 921km.

19/08 09:43am.

We fantasized about McDonald’s earlier. As we approached the town I noticed an outlet and hooked a sharp right around the next circle. The McDonald’s was rather progressive. Orders were placed & paid for on electronic menu boards, while Du hast (Rammstein) was playing on the stereo. Rob even saw aliens in the bathroom.

Fully fed and enlightened, we carried on into town. Coming out of the control, I didn’t repeat my prior error, this time pointing in the right direction (and riding that stretch of tar for the third time). Not sure where, but we got split up somewhere after this.

Now there were only 300kms and 4 controls left. The next three controls turned out to be my fastest of the whole ride. I felt like I was getting stronger & stronger the further I went.

Villaines. 1009km.

19/08 13:45pm.

Before we got to Villaines I was in my element. It was around midday, warm, I was awake and riding mostly alone. Until a couple of Germans on racing bikes joined in. They didn’t say much, but you could see it wasn’t their first time on a bicycle, or PBP for that matter. They were from the Monday morning start group. After a long while the one chap said he couldn’t keep up the pace anymore and bailed. This spurred me on and the last bit towards the control felt faster still — even if only in my mind.

After having my control card signed I topped up my water bottles, had a my first coke (not a big fan, but appreciate the need for it), a coffee and three different pastries. Man, were they good. I sat in the same room as where Peter and I had a quick nap over 55 hours ago, and I wondered how his ride was going.

This was the control where I got my new wheel. On my way out I stopped by and thanked the mechanic. They seemed busy. I continued and had those same feelings of when I left this control the first time (albeit in the opposite direction). It was satisfied, humbled and thankful, for my PBP didn’t end as quick as what it looked like 1000kms ago. Bonne route.

Mortagne. 1090km.

19/08 17:28pm.

On the way out this was just a stop. Now it was a control. I had my card signed and saw the inside of the building for the first time — as I spent my previous visit waiting outside at the mechanics.

I had some more pastries as it was the food group with the least amount of queuing and I was still looking to finish before 00:00. At this stage I was an hour behind Gerhard. We couldn’t ride together as planned, but I hoped we could finish together.

Dreux. 1165km.

19/08 21:02pm.

The stretch to Dreux was insane. I never thought I’d experience anything like it, definitely not after cycling for over 1100kms. Bunches formed and grew and the pace was frantic. Some clowns hopped over pavements (albeit lower ones) as we came into town. Settle people, settle.

I left my bike in the park next to the athletics track and made my way to the massive hall to have the card signed — for the last time. I quickly had some soup & fruit (lots of grapes). There was a thirtysomething non-cycling lady at a table nearby who kept looking at me.

When I left it was dark again. We slowly went up a hill, through a suburb. About five of each reached the top at the same time. There was some confusion as to which turn to take and we backtracked a bit. I was able to give a motorist some direction in life — they were looking for the control where we just came from.

A mere 5% of the total distance remained.

Finish. 1230km.

20/08 00:47am.

It was in this last segment where I experienced the most bizarre moment of the entire ride, while cycling with a bunch Italians and some of the same mad nutters that sprinted into Dreux. Suddenly no-one seemed to follow when you take the lead. They kept to themselves and ignored anyone else. I was trying to be polite and pull at the front. Other ‘outsiders’ also tried unsuccessfully. But nothing. At first I kind of respected whatever they were trying to do, but after a while I had enough and just got on with it.

I wanted to get back before 00:00, because I like round numbers. But the pace from the previous leg just wasn’t there. It felt like everyone raced to get to Dreux and that was it — as if this last stretch was sacred, like rolling to the finish line on the last day of the TdF.

This last 65km took longer than expected. And it contains some sneaky last climbs. You think you are pretty much home, but the velodrome just doesn’t want to appear. The distinct scent of approaching summer rains was in the air and I wanted to get home while it was still dry.

As we got closer to the end, one could sense a certain restlessness between the riders. We have been following the arrows for almost 1200kms, but all of a sudden guys started hesitating and pausing at intersections. Just keep following the road until you see an arrow and don’t turn off beforehand.

Eventually the area started looking familiar, or at least I thought so. We turned onto a path and headed down to the velodrome. What a lovely feeling. Crossing the finish line was just as uneventful as the halfway mark. But I was rather happy with myself. And I made it before the rain came down.

My stats


The aftermath


I should really learn how to cycle with a buff. The night air is cold, so after going through 3 evenings, you build up phlegm. Not ideal, but it happens. And it’s rather annoying to sit with that persistent cough. Maybe take along some ACC200 next time.


Not bad. Don’t get me wrong — after 3 days it feels like a piece of Lego that clicks in every time you you sit down on your saddle, so there was a lot of standing. But that works on you knees and feet again, so there is always a trade-off. Luckily I expected much worse, so points here.


I don’t walk a lot. So after cycling for an extended period and then walking through the streets of Paris while sightseeing, I could feel it below. On the plane back my feet had swollen up to fill the shoes of the Sasquatch — it looked like I was trying to walk on two Eisbeins. Thoughts of deep vein thrombosis and blood clots crossed my mind, but two days after arriving home everything was back to normal. Just put your feet up and drink lots of water.


They were a bit tender, even early on. But that might have been because I was forced to sit down for the bulk of the first 220km as not to put too much strain on my rear wheel and risk breaking it in half. In the end, my kneecaps never popped out or hit someone in the eye, so I’m happy.

Handlebar palsy

It happened again. See handlebar tape below. And this time even some of my toes felt numb after the ride. Halt — Hammertoe.

And the rest

I never experienced any back pain or a stiff neck. Towards the end it still felt like I could turn my head like that girl from The Exorcist. I haven’t done a proper bike setup — couldn’t even tell you my saddle height. Maybe I was lucky. Maybe I couldn’t remember.


I did get a slight cold about a week after the event. There’s no denying that the whole exercise is taxing on your system. A few Airmune’s & Corenzas quickly fixed this.


Well done to all. Special mention the Chris who improved his own best time for SA to date with an hour, finishing in under 55. Gerrit Pretorius completed his 3rd PBP this year. Salim finished in spite of being in an accident just weeks before the event. And Peter, ever the gentleman, was forced by the medics to pull out after 1009km. And again after 1090km, because he snuck out the first time.

I believe Rob also spent some time at the medics. Ernst & Gideon set the example for maximising sleep & comfort en route. Wimpie’s sub 50 attempt went flying out the window with his own wheel troubles. And Kenneth treated the leg out to Brest like a time trail — we’ll have to put a brake on him.

In alphabetical order:

M016 - Nico Coetzee - 78:01
S020 - Ernst Engelbrecht - 86:46
E013 - Thys Erasmus - 75:49
S021 - Gideon Krige - 86:46
T024 - Gerrit Pretorius - 86:56
J049 - Salim Shaikjee - 92:15
N015 - Barry Shaw - 86:00
D006 - Wimpie vd Merwe - 61:08
M017 - Gerhard v Noordwyk - 79:08
B012 - Chris van Zyl - 54:56
E012 - Gerrit Visser - 76:29
R023 - Rob Walker - 84:52
R022 - Peter Muller - (1090km)
G278 - Kenneth Wilson - (618km)
B239 - Henk Venter - DNS

Based on stats for previous years (2015 not yet available at the time of writing), SA’s homologations (% finishers) were well above the global average. Told you we’re a tough lot.

A collection of two-wheeled zombies

There were so many. But these are the ones that left an impression.

France The French. Racing bikes and very little else, they have so much support en route that they needn’t worry about excess weight. It was also curious to note than when travelling through towns, you almost got the impression that they had to be in front – that it was frowned upon by the crowd to see then sit behind the wheels of other nations and not lead the pack. I could be wrong. But they were certainly friendly and inquisitive after spotting the SA flag – Afrique du Sud.

Japan The Asians. It seemed like they were all doing road tests for a magazine, each carrying almost every gadget imaginable. Very well kitted out. And preferring to sleep on the roadside rather than at controls. Or maybe it just looked that way, seeing as there were there in big numbers.

United Kingdom(Great Britain) The British. A friendly lot. I thoroughly enjoyed their conversation. There were two in particular, who enquired whether I know one Rob Walker. Well yes indeed, we just had Mcdonalds for breakfast a short while ago. Rob was on his way.

United States of America (USA) The Americans. They have taken to Randonneuring en masse. And they look the part, with laid back bikes and Brookes saddles and traditional gear. They also didn’t seem to be in too much of a hurry, rather soaking up the whole experience.

Italy The Italians. Talkative. And plentiful. The group I saw most had three ladies amongst the guys. I also shared on of the weirdest moments ever on my bike with some Italians during the very last stage of the event. Read on.

Ireland Luck of the Irish. There was an Irish group in our hotel. The chap who left his skewer spring lying on the floor after assembling his bike was probably not as lucky. But they were in great spirits, have done it before, and we cycled with them from the hotel to the start line. Much obliged.

Germany The Germans. Didn’t share too many words. But they were visibly efficient. And solitary, from my experience.

Australia G’day mate. Funny enough I didn’t notice a too many Aussies (or a single Kiwi, for that matter), even though there would have been quite a number of them.

All in good spirit. I haven’t once seen any rider agitated at another, despite the lack of sleep. Everyone shared the same ordeal and it was great to see riders from across the globe working together.

One day in Paris

Friday. We only had one discretionary day before flying back to SA. Florence came to meet us at the Igny train station. Wimpie & Gerhard was staying in a hotel close to the airport that evening, so she accompanied them there to drop off their bags. I was still staying in Igny for the evening so wasted no time in getting to the middle of Paris.

Javel. I hopped onto the RER from Igny to Javel. When you exit the station, you turn and see the Eiffel a few kms away. I walked there in stead of taking the inner city trains. Great day outside. There were hundreds of people queuing underneath the tower, waiting to go up. I had no intention of joining them and rather hopped onto a red doubledecker bus. Touristy, I know, but a great way to rest your feet.

Djy. Close to the opera house, 3 ladies joined the bus in the row behind me. I suspected they had indulged in vin rouge shortly before. Their accent was instantly recognisable as Afrikaans-English. One of them was looking for an extra plug for her headset and I promptly replied with “ag, druk hom sommer daar agter jou kop in”. Great laughs.

Abundance. I saw many nice things. A fountain. A church. A concert hall. A palace. A garden. Lots of buildings. And a place with a glass pyramid outside and a painting-that-looks-back-at-you inside. With the fear of boring you, I’m going to mention just the top three.

Eiffel. Gustave is the name that was printed on the teddy bear I brought my wife. His tower is also 300m high and was the world’s tallest building for 41 years. Started 28th January 1887, opened on 31st March 1889 and was an immediate success, covering construction costs in year 1.

Arc. At the end of the Champs-Elysees you’ll find the 50m high Arc de Triomphe, completed in 1836 and commemorating fallen French soldiers from the revolution and under Napoleon (who never saw the completion because he was exiled and died on St Helena in 1821).

Hunchback. Our lady, the Notre Dame is the centre of Paris, ‘km zero’. Catholic cathedral. Gothic architecture. Cornerstone laid in 1163 and took 185 yrs to build so has many different influences, completed in 1345. Victor Hugo wrote about Quasimodo & Esmeralda in 1831.

Late lunch. I met up with Flo, Gerhard & Wimpie for a sit-down meal. Great chips, but I do a much better steak. Afterwards I got a bottle of proper bubble for Valerida. We then strolled around for a while, before departing on our seperate ways.

[insert pic] Wimpie, Nico & Gerhard in front of the L’Hôtel des Invalides. Napoleon’s remains is somewhere inside. And the cannons on the lawn are those he took from others.

What does it cost?

On the event

The exchange rate was around R14½ for 1€ at the time, so we are looking at around R21k or €1450. This includes the entry, €130. Visa R1500. Flights & insurance R9500. Train trips R700. French sim card €20. Hotel 2 nights before, shared, R500. Hotel 2 nights afterwords, single, R1100. Other food & card payments, R1500. And I took €300 to use en route (of which €75 went for the new wheel & repairs).

On the bike

If you don’t have a handlebar bag or bike travel case then these need to be added. Maybe an extra light. Plus the usual suspects like energy gels, Rehidrate, tubes, spares, spokes, hanger and new tyres. And a service before & after. Thanks to the guys at BMT Stellenbosch.

It’s a monumental ride. Make a plan to get there. You won’t regret it.

What I did right

Safety first

Don’t take yourself too seriously. You are there to enjoy it. Above all else, stay safe. It’s just cycling.

Baby steps

Probably the single most valuable tip I can pass on is the one I got from Nigel Grey after his 2011 PBP. Reset your trip computer after each control. Just focus on the next control. Not the end. And don’t think “I’ve done 100, I have 1130 to go”. That is crazy talk. You’ll end up in a strait-jacket.

Pack a chamois

Like the one you use to wash your car. You can shower with it and use it to dry yourself afterwards. It is small and light and won’t take up too much space. I don’t notice any towels during or after the PBP controls, so a chamois becomes essential. And after a shower and some fresh kit you feel like a new person — it almost worked better than sleep.

Oh, and remember some TP. I wanted to take a roll from the hotel before the ride, forgot to do so, and ended up not needing any en route either. Maybe I was just lucky. Also note that at numerous controls they simply hose down the toilets in between visitors, so everything on the inside is soaking wet. I know the ladies complained quite a bit.

The small things

Pack a toothbrush for your shower stop. After numerous energy drinks and gels your mouth deserves a break. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to go. And clip your nails. I did. Because no-one wants to pull off toe-nails like potato chips. Don’t cause yourself unnecessary pain.

All being said

Looking back, the cycling was the easy part. Coming from South Africa, we don’t just hop on a ferry or cycle down to the start line. It takes 2 days to get to Paris and get your things sorted. And the same on the way back. But you do return home with a certain sense of accomplishment.

What I would change

Silent night

I bunked with Wimpie van der Merwe. What a character. I thoroughly enjoyed his stories. View his achievements on Impact Solutions. But on the evening before the start of PBP (so just when you’d like to catch up on a last great night’s sleep), he took some sleeping pills, popped in his ear buds and promptly continued to rip the plaster off the walls.

I have never heard such enthusiastic snoring before. It sounded like a choir of demons. So choose your hotel partner carefully. Or be the first to fall asleep. Because you don’t want to be on the PBP start line in an already sleep deprived state. I made a mental note to bring my own ear buds next time.

Handlebar tape

I wanted to add another layer of handlebar tape before leaving SA, but forgot. From the 600km rides I know you get handlebar palsy because of pinching your ulner nerve continuously. The more often you do long rides, the more you get used to it. However, PBP was like hitting the reset button and experiencing it for the first time again. Remember. Gel tape. Any tape. More tape.

CO2 bombs

If you use these, then you know you cannot fly with them. And after having first hand experience of what happens when they accidentally go off (just ask Theunis & the ladies from the 300km BRM in May). I’m rather glad it’s not allowed on planes.

But by the time we arrived at the Velodrome for bike check, every bomb was already sold. And the same went for every control we visited. So if you use these, buy them early, or at a bike shop, or be prepared to use your pump. Oh, and even if you have a presta/schrader adapter, the petrol stations only go up to 5.5bar, which is insufficient.

Clothes for afterwards

I didn’t bother with a drop bag, but a clean change of normal clothes would have been nice right at the end. I finished after midnight, then went for a hot shower at the Velodrome and had to change into a clean pair of cycling kit — board shorts and flipflops would have been much more accommodating at that stage. But not the end of the world. Just a nice to have.

Direct flights

Coming back, flying from Paris to Dubai and waiting on DXB for 8 hours before connecting to SA was a bit of a drag. If your budget allows it then consider rewarding yourself with a direct flight back.

Lights, camera, action

If you like taking pictures, consider taking GoPro to capture some memories. Having something mounted on your helmet or handlebar is much easier than fiddling around with your phone. And a proper dynamo-hub-type-light might save some weight as you don’t have to lug around a bunch of batteries and backups; plus you can have an USB charging point on your bike. Be your own power source. I only realised the popularity and effectiveness of these on PBP.

This side up

I bought a proper hardshell bike box before the event, It worked like a charm. But poor Wimpie, who had exactly the same, still suffered the fate of ACSA (or their French equivalent). Someone had flipped his hardshell case off its wheels, onto its side, and promptly piled on as much baggage as possible. So he picked up a concave bike box in CPT. Cracked fork and more.

If this had to happen on the way there then it would have been a disaster. Moral of the story — ‘fragile’ stickers aren’t enough. Next time you need to ensure that even Stevie Wonder would be able to ascertain the direction in which the box should be stored. Maybe spray painting neon arrows on the side would do the trick. And have insurance.

What’s next?

Would I do it again?

In a heartbeart. It’s a great experience. And you recover quicker than you think. You body is a stubborn thing. Some say that PBP is only held every 4 years because it is long enough to forget the pain and enter again. Next time I won’t be so stressed about the cycling and would like to add a proper holiday afterwards.

Short term, R-5000

In completing PBP we’ve crossed the biggest hurdle towards the R-5000 award. To qualify for this, you must complete a full series of ACP brevets (200, 300, 400, 600, and 1000km), a PBP, a Flèche Vélocio or similar, plus additionals BRM’s to bring the total distance up 5000 km, within a 4 year period. Read more on RUSA & ACP. So now its time for an official SA 1000km BRM, plus a Flèche.

Long term, LEL 2017

The 1400+km London-Edinburg-London, within a 120hr time limit. Entries open mid-September 2015. Book your spot. Compared to PBP, there are quite a few upsides to LEL — from what I’ve been told, it’s in English; food and sleeping facilities and bag drops are included; and if time was going to be an issue, you get more of it. I’m looking forward to this one.


Who knows, if Ollie le Roux can do an Ironman, then maybe so can I. And if anyone is looking for a partner for the Epic, give me a ring.

A Big Thanks

My better half. Valerida, without your prodding I certainly wouldn’t have gone. There were a whole range of obstacles that you simply ignored. And you pack like a machine. Love you.

My family. Randonneuring takes time. You cannot do this without a proper support structure. Endless gratitude for my many me-hours.

Eddie & Jean. Edward Thomlinson is the father of Audax South Africa. Which makes Jean the mother thereof. Without them I wouldn’t have known about randonneuring.

Rob & Yolandi. For being the ‘Eddie for the Western Cape’. People don’t always realise the many hours involved in route planning and event admin. And he does it for the love of cycling. Time for the R-5000.

Florence Brugnon. For taking care of us in France, and translating where we fell short, which was every sentence. I’m sure you saved us from many ‘special ingredients’ in our food. Come learn to surf in sunny South Africa.

Fellow SA riders. This is an individual event. But we all went over there as South Africans. And I thoroughly enjoyed cycling & travelling with each one of you.

Last but not least. Eugene, Daniel, Derek & Gary. You weren’t there, but you all played a part. And you make this hobby fun.


  1. AudaxSA –
  2. PBP –
  3. LEL –
  4. RUSA –
  5. YACF –
  6. Flights –
  7. Hotels –
  8. Schengen –
  9. Train map – rer
  10. Marcus –
  11. Rob –

I didn’t use strava to record anything, but here is Rob’s:


10 Reasons to cycle PBP

Paris-Brest-Paris is a long distance cycling event that runs from Paris to Brest and back. It is 1230kms, has to be completed in less than 90 hours, and contains around 11,200 metres of vertical climb in the form of undulating, rolling hills. It is run every 4 years, since 1891 — making it one of the oldest cycling events still running. It is organised by ACP and you qualify to participate by cycling 200, 300, 400 & 600km BRM events through your local Audax club.


This is why you should do it:

1. It’s global

Our local AudaxSA rides are tiny in comparison, but here you share the road with over 5000 other cyclists from around the world.

2. It’s ancient

You take part in one of the oldest cycling events still running. You see old world France and cycle through Normandy. Remember history?

3. It’s safe

Back home road cycling is downright dangerous, because of other motorists. But the Europeans respect cyclists. Vehicles are guilty until proven innocent.

4. The focus is on you

The French love cycling. They live cycling. You’ll experience great support en route. They understand what you’re going through.

5. Tour de France

It’s not often that you get an opportunity to cycle on some of these silky smooth roads. And you’ll recognise landmarks as you go through the countryside.

6. You don’t need to speak French

I certainly can’t. You’ll manage. And remember, they love cyclists. So forget about the perceived language barrier.

7. It’s not that expensive

Once you’ve taken care of the flights to Paris then the rest of the trip works out to be more cost effective than you’d think.

8. You’ll make new friends

I certainly did. Now you don’t just cycle with your mates over a weekend — you travel with them to a different continent.

9. You can do it

It remains far. And you might experience lots of pain and little sleep. But it is entirely doable. If you can do 600, you can do 1200.

10. You’ve done it

The sense of accomplishment afterwards is worthwhile. Not many cyclists can say they have done the same. Bucket list item ticked.


See you at the start line.

Featured image by Gerhard van Noordwyk. It shows the Pont de l’Iroise bridge, which you’ll cross next to when you approach the halfway mark in Brest.

Nico CV

Curriculum Vitae, Last Updated 31 August 2015.

I am a 33 year old male. Born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Married out of community of property. No dependents and no children. Valid South African Passport & Schengen Visa & drivers license. Languages: Bilingual Afrikaans / English; received a Grade 1 Certificate for the National Taalbond Examination in 1999 & 2000; ‘Highest Niveau’ Certificate for Dutch Reading in 2000.

South Africa | United Kingdom(Great Britain) | Netherlands

personality-test-INTJPersonality type

INTJ, based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. I am Strategic, Logical, Analytical, Intellectual, Independent, Self-assured, Decisive, Private, Focused & Curious. Read moremore.

Qualifications JSE-Logo-w SAIFM-logo FSB-logo EAAB-Logo

Registered Trader, Derivatives Compliance Officer (JSE)

Completed the following 10x RPE exams through the SAIFM: Introduction to Financial Markets (80%), Regulations (76%), Bonds (86%), Traders (71.6%), Derivatives (74%), Equities (84%), Forex (78%) & Money market (84%), all in Nov/Dec 2008; Agricultural derivatives (82%) in 2010, Derivatives Compliance (70%) in 2014.

Key Individual, Hedge Funds (FSB)

Completed the following 3x RE Exams for Financial Services Providers through the FPI: RE5 (Representative) & RE1 (Key Individual) in 2012 and RE3 (Hedge funds) in 2013.

Certified Estate Agent (CEA)

Passed the Estate Agent Affairs Board (EAAB) examination on 13 November 2003.

Education  PRG-150  University_of_Stellenbosch_crest-no_background  matiesstacked300  GK new logo

Paul Roos Gymnasium, Stellenbosch, 1996-2000

Matriculated in 2000 with the following 8 subjects (6 elective & 2 extra), all on higher grade: Afrikaans & English First Languages, Mathematics, Physical Science, Accounting, Economics, Computer Studies, Entrepreneurship (N3).

B.Comm (Marketing Management), University of Stellenbosch, 2001-2003

Major subjects: Statistics, Marketing, Business Management. Other subjects: Economics, Financial Accounting, Tax, Mathematics, Industrial Psychology. Member of the Golden Key International Honour Society for performance in Statistics. Academic Merit Sponsorship from Dr JP Barnard, Boston, MA, USA.

Interests & activities

I like doing ultra endurance events. Long distance cold water swims: 9.3km Freedom swim in 2011 and the 7.5km Robben island crossing in 2015. Over 150 cycling medals since 2008. Three consecutive SR awards for cycling a 200, 300, 400 & 600km within a year, 2013-2015. Did the 1230km PBP in 78hrs in 2015. Cycled 1800km from JHB to CPT over 9 days in 2009. Co-owner/organiser of the Tour de Boland stage race.

I also like traveling and have visited the following countries:

United Kingdom(Great Britain) | United States of America (USA) | CanadaNamibiaLesotho | SwazilandMozambiqueThailandMauritiusFrance

Employment history

Shoprite-Holdings_Logo  afrifocus logo  Courtney Capital Logo wide

Head of Structured Products

Courtney Capital, Stellenbosch – 4 years (from Sept 2011 to date). When the local private client derivatives market moved away from SSF’s to CFD’s in 2010, I joined Courtneycap to help launch their private client business. We added service providers and expanded our product range & client book. I started in Sandton but have since opened a Stellenbosch office.

Derivatives Trader & Portfolio Manager

Afrifocus Securities, Sandton – 3¾ years (Jan 2009 to Sept 2011). We traded local equities and derivatives (futures & options), currencies and commodities. I also did regular presentations at the JSE, sent out trading calls, and helped to create & market new products. I like the freedom that trading provides, feeling more like a hobby than a job.


Alternative Funding Solutions – start-up (Mar to Dec-2008). The company provides funding solutions to individuals, entrepreneurs & property owners. We created a network of professionals to deliver bankable solutions. I liked putting everything together (managing, negotiating, systems etc), but I disliked the amount of time spent on it, leading to an imbalanced personal life. I’m not involved anymore but the company is still running.

National Sales Manager

Asset Management Specialists – 3 years (Mar 2005 to Mar 2008). AMS was a special purpose bond originator. It catered for HNW individuals & distressed property owners. I started in IT and moved to marketing after 6 months. I relocated from CPT to PTA, joined the HO & grossed the most sales. I became responsible for KZN, FS & NC regions and was appointed National Sales Manager. Reason for leaving: company closed down.

Special Projects Department

Shoprite/Checkers Head Office – 1 year (Feb 2004 to Feb 2005). This was my first job after graduation, a newly created position as Stock Analyst for Africa’s largest retailer. I developed new business reports and worked with large volumes of data. After 6 months I was promoted to the Special Projects Team, where we implemented an automated branch order system. I gained invaluable skills at this corporate giant, but after a year I decided to move away from a salary to a position where I can determine my own income.

Courses & seminars

logo_bloomberg Reuters-Logo VW_Driving_Academy images lynda logo Excel-logo-2

  • 2013 – High Probability Trading by Garth Mckenzie.
  • 2011 – Bloomberg. News, Fixed income, Equities, Derivatives.
  • 2009 – Reuters 3000 Xtra. Data, Display, Analysis & Excel.
  • 2008 – All Sharedirect courses. Equities, Trading, Strategies, FX.
  • 2007 – Sales Excellence with Tony Robbins & Brian Tracey.
  • 2007 – VW High Performance Driving at Kayalami
  • 2006 – Advanced Property Tax, Transfer Duty & SARS, by BSP.
  • 2004 – Advanced Excel by CS Holdings. I’m great with Excel.
  • 2003 – Various property seminars. Treoc, P3, Hannes Dreyer.

Computer skills

Brilliant. I’m an early adopter & grew up with computers. I do network setup and admin, can toggle code, have a web design company, run the IT department, streamline processes, save time, do backups and move satellites.



Bicycling magazine

Cool. We got mentioned. Here it is. Bicycling Sept-2015. Plus there’s an online extra, titled Ultra Riders: The Lengths They Will Go To. Have a look at


We’ll also add something on the 2015 PBP. But this isn’t just about Paris. It’s about everyone taking part in long distance events. We’re a friendly bunch. Below are all the guys from the 600km in April.

Saturday 25 April 2015, 02:51 AM. Left to right: Andrew Wheeldon, Derek Lawrence, Marius Nel (seated), Gerhard van Noordwyk (standing), Daniel Langenhoven (seated), Ernst Engelbrecht, Chris van Zyl, Nico Coetzee, Wimpie van der Merwe, Gary Kuhnert, Gideon Krige and Peter Müller. Rob Walker took the picture.


Join us

Visit AudaxSA. Book a ride. Try it out. If the distances scare you, then first look at something like the Tour de Boland. Once you have completed this, you will certainly be ready for a 300km or more.

Another 600

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This was December 2014. Having cycled through the night, here we are at a breakfast and beer stop in McGregor. From left to right is Rob Walker, Theunis Estherhuizen, myself & Eugene du Plessis.


Above you can see Eugene still has and abundance of suntan lotion on his face. But nowhere else — he ended up the next day looking like he wore long pants, because his legs were the exact same shade of red as his Specialized bib shorts. Lesson learned.


Did I mention that Eugene completed the 600km BRM on a mountain bike? Surely a 1st for Audax South Africa. Mad. I’m sure he’s regained use of all his fingers by now.

Featured image taken by another CPT Randonneur, Emmerentia Jacobs.

What is in a kilogram?

In April this year we were cycling up Du Toitskloof pass, just before the crack of dawn, as part of a 600km ride. Someone started with the Coke bottle analogy. And for me it works as follows.

I like cycling with Derek Lawrence. He weighs 63kgs and I am 113. So very different riding styles. He is like a rocket on the uphills — where I feel like a dung beetle manipulating an atlas stone. In contrast, any plus-sized cyclist knows that momentum is you best friend when the road flattens or points downwards, provided off course that your brakes are in order.

The difference between us is 50kg. Glancing over it, you might think it is just a number. But head down to your local supermarket and try stacking 25 x 2-litre Coke bottles into a shopping trolley and then pushing it around.

Statistics would refer to this amount as significant.


Featured image marked for commercial use as on

7.5km Robben Island crossing

11 April 2015

The 2011 edition was cancelled due to bad weather and replaced with a contingent swim around the rocks in Blouberg — so I was still short an official Robben Island crossing. Then the previous sponsor pulled out and I lost track with the event for a while.

In 2015 I stumbled upon it again — after the entries had closed, but spoke to the friendly organisers and was allowed to enter. Great experience.

Familiar crew

The same musketeers from 2011 once again supported me. Endless gratitude to Niki who flew in from JHB, Jannie who skippered the rubber duck, and Cornelius waiting on the shore. Glad to report they had much better conditions this time.


It’s compulsory. For safety reasons. And without one you might just end up kilometers away from where you aim. Remember science class — a man wants to swim across a river, aims for point A, but the current comes and pushes him to point B. Given the conditions below, I wouldn’t even know where to aim at:

Ram Barkai: "Robben Island. Fifty shades of grey. Good luck to all swimmers."
Ram Barkai: “Robben Island. Fifty shades of grey. Good luck to all swimmers.”

So you without a boat you might end up going in circles.

How far?

If your local Virgin Active indoor pool is 20 meters in lentgh, then 375 laps. Which is enough, especially if you usually only dip for 50 laps. Luckily I’ve already done the 9.3kms (or 465 laps then) of the 2011 swim, so distance wasn’t a problem. But don’t count your chickens just yet.


None. The water is freezing cold. And sharks dislike frozen food.

A twist

On Friday, at lunch time, the day before the swim, we received the following sms:

Due to the water temperature what was taken this morning at 10:30am, it was determined that for safety reasons all first time Freedom Swim swimmers (wetsuit and open) will have to collapse into relay teams of 2 swimmers per team. The highest temperature across the bay was 11 degrees Celsius, with an average temperature under 11 degrees.

The cut-off temperature for the event is 12 degrees, which is considered a minimum temperature for a safe swim. These temperatures increase the risk of hypothermia greatly and will reduce your swimming speed and therefore increasing your time in the water by 20%.

Any swimmer with SIGNIFICANT experience may apply for a waiver on this rule (the waiver must be signed prior boarding the ferry). Please do not apply if you have never attempted a cold water swim in temperatures less than 12 degrees Celsius. Check your emails for more details.


I got a few phone calls from people wanting to team up for relay, but kindly declined as I was most certainly here for the individual event. Luckily I’ve done the 2011 swim and was allowed to go on my own.

Race day

Niki stayed over. We got up early Saturday morning. Neville’s Range Rover pulled the rubber duck like a boss (while guzzling fuel like a relapsed AA member). I hopped off at the Waterfront and made my way to the clock tower, while Niki went to join the launch at Granger Bay, where Jannie was waiting.


We boarded the ferry to the island. En route we couldn’t see much, but the water was as flat as could be. We saw quite a number of seals. The trip to the island was uneventful and you want to fall asleep to the monotonous drumming of the engines.


After our arrival we hung around on the harbour wall and received the following sms’s. 09:29. Race delayed due to fog. We’ll keep you updated. 09:45. Swim is on. Waiting for the fog to lift. 10:24. Visibility is improving greatly. First possible start 11am. 10:28. ATT all boats. You are cleared to leave for Robben Island. 10:58. Confirmed start. Solo swimmers at 11:05am.

By the time the last one arrived we were already standing all lubed up and ready to go.

It starts

As you jump into the water you immediately want to jump back out again. But the harbour wall is too high. So here we go. Luckily there aren’t many swimmers and you don’t have to fist your way open like on the Midmar.

Find your boat

Easier said than done. I had to look for a rubber duck. Like everyone else. And through the fuzzy goggles it wasn’t that easy to spot. Next time I’d recommend a helium filled blow-up doll on a string.


The fumes from the rubber duck, and indeed all combined, was more than thought it would be. But after the swimmers dispersed and we were on our way. Jannie gracefully pointed the rubber duck in the right direction.


I only breathe towards to right, so Jannie followed suit and moved the rubber duck there. Which means that with every second stroke I could see the boat, with the iconic view Table Mountain in the background. A good day out.


The water was cold and the crew was instructed to count the swimmers strokes at different intervals. If it dropped significantly then there was trouble. Niki diligently counted and reported on the whatsapp group that he created. All seemed fairly consistent.


Below is a clip from Russel Gaynor (not me), which shows how to eat & drink while on the go. I’ll remember this for next time. I cannot remember eating or drinking anything during the swim.


Even with the boat next to you, it remains a lonely event. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great the see Niki & Jannie all the time. But your mouth is cold and your tongue is numb. So with the fear of sounding like a stroke victim, I decided not to make small talk.


The leaders were 1.7km off of Big Bay. Nic Manoussakis was in the lead with Rudolf Visser close behind. I was probably still seeing the island behind me. Progress was slow but consistent.

Cold patches

You’d think the temperature stays constant. But it certainly does not. There are some cold patches inbetween. Ram warned us about these. When you get into one, just continue swimming. But it is ridiculously cold for those few metres. And when you come out of one, the 11 degrees water feels like lava.


And so it continued. Stroke for stroke. Jannie pointed me in the right direction, even though at times I wanted to stop and question it, because to me it felt like I was going to end at Blouberg not Big Bay.


Eventually my crew had to leave, as they are not allowed to come too close to the beach — think the last 1km or so. I waved them goodbye, very thankful for their help, and continued towards the flags, still far away. Now there were lifesavers on paddleski’s guiding us home.


Same as last time, the walk onto the beach felt like a bigger challenge than the swim. After swimming for 3 hours, your sea legs just don’t want to walk. And your arms want to continue like a windmill.

Same procedure

You receive towel and they stick a beanie onto your head. At the finishing arch there was a girl who hanged a medal around your neck — when I bowed down it felt like I was going to fall forward and headbutt her in the face. Luckily that didn’t happen.

On the beach

I was met by Cornelius & Charl & Johine. But I had to continue to the tent to warm up first. This time it didn’t take as long as 2011. But you don’t get dressed in record time, because your limbs are still somewhat dysfunctional — your brain sends the messages, but the execution isn’t perfect.



It took me over 3 hours to finish the swim, which is slow. But it’s done. Deduct 20% for the cold and I’m rather happy. Looks like we were only 15 who completed the swim in the solo men (no wetsuit) category. On the ferry that morning I chatted to a promising young SA swimmer, Rudolf Visser. He came second overall and completed the swim in less than half my time. But I shouldn’t compare — as far as I can remember he swims 10 or 15kms every day. I only swim in self defence.


The fitter you are, the quicker you swim, the less you are exposed to the cold. Next time I’ll train properly. But for any cold water long distance swimmer this is a bucket list item that needs to be ticked.

What’s next?

I’m dusting off Tony Sellmeyer’s journal of the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association — there are some wonderful stories about crossing the English Channel.


Pretty little pictures

Herewith the journey as from a swimmer’s perspective. You are flat on the water so you can’t see very far. Pics by Marnette Meyer & Niki Louw.

Somerset Sneeukop Stap

Johann het na die stap gevra dat ek ‘n paar woorde neerpen vir hulle nuusbrief. Hier volg dit.


Ons was drie en ‘n halwe paartjies gewees. Die groepleier was my skoolmaat Cornelius Weyers. Sy vrou Marike moes ongelukkig die stap mis agv haar MBA verpligtinge. Vandaar die halwe paartjie. Die ander was Cornelius se skoonouers en ervare stappers, Johann en Erica Benkenstein. Dan ek en my vrou — Nico en Valerida Coetzee. En ons vriende uit die noorde — Neville Lahner en Ashleigh Bell, wat sopas van Sandton na Stellenbosch verhuis het.


Ons wou ‘n naweek hiervan maak en het die Vrydagaand al na die hut gegaan. Vir bietjie spanbou om die kampvuur. Dit was ‘n bak plan. Ons het die Vrydag na werk weggemaak van Stellenbosch na Somerset-Wes. En het beplan om Saterdag na die stap ook oor te bly. Geen selfone. Net die natuurskoon.

Na die hut

Om by Johnson Hut uit te kom draai jy vanuit Lourensfordweg in by die plaas Vergelegen. Nadat jy ingeteken het by die hek is die seker nog so 5km tot by die hut, maar jy kan amper tot bo ry. Dis net die laaste ±1km wat jy moet stap. Die ryery is egter nie so eenvoudig nie — die pad vurk keer op keer en jy moet kophou om by die parkeerplek naaste aan die hut te kom. Doen jouself ‘n guns en loer vooraf op Of bel vir Cornelius.


Dit was koud. Maar toe ons by die berghut kom was daar ‘n vuurwarm bergwind. Lieflik. Dit het die uitsig gekomplimenteer. Jy kyk uit oor die hele Valsbaai, met al sy liggies. En daars ‘n gloed wat skyn teen die berg agter die hut — so as jy omdraai sien jy die silhouette van die Hottentots-Hollandsberge teen die see.

Moet net nie so meegevoer raak dat jy nie meer fokus rondom die vuur nie – muskeljaatkat en sy vriend kom loer dit heeltyd in. So hou jou braaivleis dop. En drink maar ‘n glasie wyn, jy gaan dit die volgende dag nodig kry.

Johnson Hut

Die fasiliteit is uitstekend. Dubbelverdieping. Droë hout. Groot vuurmaakplek. Gaslamp. Breekware en eetgerei genoeg vir die Helderberg. Toiletpapier. Kampstoele. Roetekaarte. Boeke. Ek kan nie aan ‘n enkele ding dink wat ontbreek nie. Welgedaan. Gaan kyk self op


Cornelius het ‘n vet eis gemaak deur te sê die long drop is beter is die Otterpad s’n. Ek moet bieg, ek was hoogs beïndruk. Dit was in alle opsigte beter — behalwe as dit reën, want dis oop. Maar ‘n beter uitsig gaan jy nie sommer kry nie. En net aan die anderkant van die hut is daar ‘n swempoel en ‘n klein watervalletjie. Verfrissend, veral in die winter.


Dis tyd

Ons het beplan om so 08.00 te begin stap. Neville hulle het nie die Vrydagaand oorgeslaap nie en eers die Saterdagoggend ge-arriveer. Hy het stellig vir elkeen ‘n skoot old brown sherry ingejaag vir moed. Net na 08.00 was almal se veters vas en die partytjie kon begin. Die dames het besluit om vir Erica by die hut geselskap te hou.

So dis toe net die 4 mans wat gaan stap. Ons moes stellig omdraai vir ‘n foto oppad uit — Neville was van mening dis die foto wat later op Sky News sou verskyn nadat ons verdwaal het in die berg, want in die agtergrond was daar onheilspellende reënwolke.

Die roete

Die eerste ±2km is kinderspeletjies. Jy loop op ‘n grondpad. Ek het verlang na my bergfiets. Dan kom jy by ‘n stroompie en kies koers na regs tussen die bome in. Geen pad — net ‘n rivierloop en ‘n klompie kilometers vertikaal op in die kloof wat voorlê. Die eerste helfte klim jy langs water, en die tweede deel oppad boontoe is meer oop.

Enkel, asseblief

Mens kan seker hierdie stap met tekkies aandurf, ek het, maar dis nie aan te beveel nie. Gebruik ordentlike stapskoene, iets wat jou enkels ordentlik beskerm, want die kans om skeef te trap is volop. So ek het vining vir my ‘n stok opgetel en soos Gandalf voortgesit.

Op en op

Elkeen het maar sy eie pad gekies in die kloof op. Almal naby aan mekaar en in sig. Ons het die water links en regs gekruis soos die pad makliker gelyk het. Na elke paar minute kan jy terugkyk en sien hoe jy nog ‘n paar meter hoër bo seespieël uitstyg. Ons het so halfpad teen die water op gestop vir ‘n vinnige versnapering. En soos wafferse bobbejane op die klippe gesit en staar na onder. Die uitsig was asemrowend.


Na nog ‘n ruk se klim het ons die einde van die water bereik. Dit beteken die eerste helfte is amper klaar. Die ooptes was plek-plek moeilik as die klim in die rivierloop, want jy weet nie wanneer trap jy deur ‘n stuk bosbedekking in ‘n gat nie. So die stapstok het handig te pas gekom. Ek het teen daai tyd lankal ‘n emosionele band met my stok gevorm en hom Wilson gedoop. Hoop nie Tom Hanks neem aanstoot nie.

O, Gids

Cornelius het homself baie goed van sy taak gekwyt. Hy let mooi op na sy stappers en kyk dat elkeen in die kraal kom. Ons het darem vrywarings geteken. En sy tydsberekening was onverbeterlik. Tydens ons tweede blaaskans het daar binne minute ‘n misbank oor die berg kom hang. Daar is toe besluit dis tyd om terug by die hut te kom.

Af en af

So toe mik ons terug na die bruggie en daal weer af, min of meer soos ons gekom het. Die afklim het effens stadiger gevoel. Ek dink dit was Wilson se skuld, hy wou nie saamwerk nie. Maar kort voor lank was ons terug by die brug en weer op die grondpad. Teen daai tyd het die reënwolke reeds ‘n voorsmakie gegee vir wat gaan volg. Die wind was baas op die grondpad. Ek moes ‘n vlieër gebring het.

Terug by die hut

Oppad hut toe het ons begin vuurmaakhout opgaar. Daar aangekom het ons dadelik ‘n vuur gemaak. Ek het vir Wilson ge-offer as fynhout. En toe maak die hemel oop. Behoorlik gereën. Perfekte tydsberekening — in daai weer wil jy nie in die berg wees nie.

Dit was toe nie nodig om ons foto vir Sky News aan te stuur nie. Ons het dadelik begin wyn drink. En later die Stormers-Cheetas rugbywedstryd op die selfoon geluister — ek dink nie ons gids kan verantwoordelikheid neem vir die 33-0 oorwinnig nie, maar hy was darem reg oor die long drop. Daai aand het die storm voortgeduur. Mens slaap immers op jou beste wanneer jy beskut voor die vuur lê en dit storm buite.

Ten slotte

Dis nie so erg nie. Maar moenie dat die kort afstande jou flous nie. Dis op en af. Ek verkies die klim enige dag — dis veiliger en ligter op jou gewrigte. En afklim in die reën is gevaarlik. Gelukkig is die hut so goed ingerig dat as die weer sleg draai kan jy altyd tuisbly en die naweek net daar geniet.

So wanneer doen ons dit weer?

Johnson Hut (Hottentots Holland Section)

IMG-20140526-WA0002The hut is located on the Vergelegen estate near Somerset West. It is nestled at the foot of the Hottentots Holland Mountains, with access to kloofs and peaks. It is around 1 hours’ drive from Cape Town. Walk-in time to the hut is 15 minutes. Activities include hiking and rock climbing. The hut has space for 20 mattresses plus 12 people in tents.

Lees meer hier.

Krediet vir die Gandalf prent:

No brain, no pain

Some minor injuries over the last 2 decades. Just for my own reference.

Primary school

1993. Broken toe. Ran through the hostel corridors in Clanwilliam and my little toe decided to hook on to the door frame. Now it looks like I ran over it with the lawn mower.

High school

1996. Broken thumb. First day in Paul Roos, initiation. We had to crawl around like sheep and then Flabby fell onto my hand.

1997. Broken nose. Happened during a rugby game in Std. 7 on Markötter.

1998. Torn ligaments. Left ankle. Played at Boishaai and there was no support when I came down after taking the line-out ball.

1999. Broken nose. 2nd time. I admit, this was partly my mistake. Because I decided to drink whatever Jaco served in the see-through console glass. And then proceeded to headbutt the fridge at Frederik’s house.

2000. Torn ligaments. Left elbow. Philip came into the ruck and my elbow bent over like a flamingo. Goodbye Asian tour.


2001. Broken nose. For the 3rd time. And dislocated fingers. During 1st year varisty rugby at Stellenbosch. Go Libertas.

2002. Broken toe. The biggest one this time. We were playing inebriated soccer at Koelbaai and I kicked a seemingly invisible rock. Then Robert unintentionally but promptly stepped on it the next day.

2002. Burst sinus. This is an interesting one. I was cycling at Coetzenburg, on the flats by the cricket fields, pedalling while standing and trying to shift into a higher gear on the front ring — when the chain decided to go over the big ring and into nomansland — so when I pushed down my right leg again there was absolutely no resistance. I came down in spectacular fashion. Luckily this was before GoPro’s were around. I sat in a cloud of dust and felt my nose was dripping non-stop. No blood, just funny yellow stuff, for what felt like minutes on end. Luckily it was only a burst sinus. I started wearing I helmet after this.

2003. Torn ligaments. Left ankle, for 2nd time. Henk & Dirk & myself were hiking the Tsitsikamma trail. After a few days, Henk broke mad, and started running down the mountain, over the big round rocks, for no apparent reason. So I chased him. We were flying. And then I slipped, inevitably. I finished the hike by doing the Madiba shuffle on my bloated Eisbein for the last day.

Started working

2006. Right thyroid lobectomy. Jaco asked me during a Parlotones concert in Hatfield, ‘why does it look like you swallowed a golf ball?’. I thought he’d had too many beers, but back home that night I saw what he was on about. Promptly visited the Little Company of Mary Hospital the next day, did the scans and heard it was time for the operation. Luckily the growth was non-malignant.

2008. Torn ligament. Left ankle. 3rd time, FFS. We were standing around playing with a rugby ball at camp, the day after the Magalies Monster MTB event and I just lost my footing. Ankle gave way and I heard that familiar sound, like paper being torn. Soft dismissal. And later, at the hospital in Alberton, I almost flipped my wheelchair when trying to pull away too quickly. No launch control.

2010. Broken ribs. Left side. I fell off my MTB during a race. So the worst thing I could do was to laugh. But I sat next to Kevin Barlow-Jones at the office, which meant I laughed all day. Funny, but painful.

2011. Ligaments. Again. Only stretched this time. But I was told in no uncertain terms that if it happens again then it is time for an operation. Weak left ankle, it’s done itself in 4 times already. This happened on day 1 of our Outeniqua hike, just a few kms after the start. Stepped over a log, into a hole that was covered with leaves and such; and heard that familiar sound again. Not the ideal way to start a December holiday. Luckily I still had my moon boot.


2013. Broken hand. Right palm. We were doing a top speed run during my 2nd Transbaviaans MTB race. I didn’t hear our team shouting to slack off, and as predicted, didn’t make the turn. Came off the bike and stuck to the ground like velcro. Broken hand, cracked frame, red bum. Luckily I had some myprodols and soon I was singing again. We ended up beating our previous years time by 1 minute. I only found out my hand was broken more than a week later and the leg still oozed for days afterwards. Less fun.

I hope to keep the rest of the page blank for a while.

Image credit

Chernobyl sop

Hoop jy sal hierdie amusant vind. Ek het al beter dae gehad.

OK, hier is die verloop van gebeure. Dis Woensdagmiddag 4pm. Ek ry van die kantoor af om vir Henrico by die Gautrein te gaan oplaai. Hy kom kuier vir die naweek. Ek laai hom spoedig by die woonstel af, want ek wil voor 5pm weer terug wees by die kantoor wanneer die mark toemaak.

Maar terselftertyd moet ek gehoor gee aan my maag en ‘n paar hongerpyne stil. So ek dog dis ‘n goeie idee om gou ‘n cup-of-soup in te werk.

Hier volg die probleem. Elke keer wat ek ‘n cup-of-soup aanmekaarslaan, vorm daar ‘n groot onopgeloste klont op die beker se bodem. Ek dog toe dis tyd om dinge ordentlik te roer — met die blender. Soos wat ek met die protein shakes maak.

Enige iemand wat wetenskap op skool gehad het moes nou reeds ‘n wenkbrou lig. Maar ek was haastig en het nie mooi gefokus nie, so ek gooi toe die soppoeier in die blender en voeg ‘n ruim porsie kookwater by.

Ek sit die deksel op en draai die skakelaar.

Kaboom. ‘n Sop-sampioen ontplof in die rigting van die ceiling. Dit lyk soos iets uit ‘n tweede-wêreldoorlog-movie. Die blender se deksel het afgeskiet en die mengsel het uitgebars oor die hele kombuis. Soos Jack Parow. Van die dak tot die grond.

Ek uiter ‘n paar kragwoorde. Dit help nie. Ek moes seker dankbaar wees vir die beskerming wat my baadjie gebied het. Dit moes egter summier in die wasmasjien beland, tesame met alles anders waarin ek geklee was.

Dit is moeilik om met woorde te beskryf watter gemors nagelaat is. Die ketel. Die toaster. Die snackwicher. Die kombuisskaal. Die spice rack. So kan ek heeldag aanhou. Ek moes die appels een-vir-een afdroog.

Ek het vandag weereens besef daar is net een vertrek waarin ek slegter is as in die garage. En dis die kombuis. Mens sou sweer die blender val in dieselfde kategorie as power tools.

Ek moes dit egter sien kom het — het moes oorgenoeg ervaring in die gebied. Vuurspuwende fudge en dies meer. Dit kook mos eers oor wanneer jy die warm mengsel met ‘n houtlepel penetreer.

Vandaar die probleem. Moenie die warm partikels versteur nie. En die ironie van die saak is dat my pa ‘n wetenskap-onderwyser was. Hy sou so trots wees.

NS — moet asseblief nie hierdie email vir Santam aanstuur nie, anders gaan my premie weer op. Ek is mos ‘n risiko.

cupofsoup+ blender=pentagram


Featured img from

9.3km Freedom Swim

I always wondered what it would be like to escape from Robben Island and swim to the shore. Curiosity drowned the cat.


After reading Ryk Neethling’s book I was keen to take on a long swim. I heard about the Freedom swim and searched for picture online. When I saw a bloke with one leg in the pictures. If he can do it, so can I. And I entered. It only later occurred to me that his other leg might have been taken by a shark.

7-8 May 2011

The Robben Island crossing on Saturday was cancelled due to dangerous conditions. It was replaced by a longer and colder swim the next day. The water temperature was down; and the distance was increased from 7.5kms to 9.3kms. I was 28 at the time and it took me 4 hours to complete the swim.

This is my account of the weekend.


The first Robben Island swim was recorded in 1909 when Henry Charteris Hooper swam from Robben Island to the old Cape Town harbour. It took him just under 7 hours to complete the swim of approximately 11km. Since then about 500 individuals have done the crossing from or to Robben Island and various points on the coast.

Not easy

Despite the relatively short distances (the main swims are between 7km and 11km), swimming Robben Island has become a challenge even to accomplished swimmers, mostly due to the cold water temperature. The swim remains an ideal for many swimmers worldwide, because of the physical challenge and the historical significance of the Island.


My plan was to train quite a bit, but it never happened. I got married, went on honeymoon, and spent time in the water in Thailand, where the average temperature is around 28 degrees Celsius — the complete opposite of the cold Atlantic of 13 degrees or below around Robben Island.

Cold showers? No, thanks.

I’ve heard of people only taking cold showers for months before the event to acclimatise themselves. That sounded horrendous. Why would you torment yourself unnecessarily during winter? I thought I’d rather suck it up and and minimise my discomfort to only that of during the actual swim.


Going into the swim, I’ve never done more than 5kms at once. And that was in a swimming pool, where you could kick away from the wall and the water was perfectly flat and you could follow the line on the tiles. At sea, things would be cold and choppy, with zero visibility. So you have to look up ever so often to see where you’re going.

Time off

I flew from JHB to CPT 3 days before the swim. There was some admin — organising a boat, crew, seaworthiness, pre-race briefing etc. Thankfully Niki & Jannie took charge and helped out. There was also a qualifying swim at Clifton’s fourth beach, 4 days before the event. To be honest, I was a bit scared about what to expect, but speaking to Tony Sellmeyer and doing the qualifier I was confident.


The rules (for the solo category) dictate that you are only allowed 3 things. Cap. Goggles. Speedo. So I had to go and buy a grape smuggler before the final swim. After the qualifier I realised this was possibly a good thing, as you chafe like crazy with a board short in the salty sea water.

I saw people put on Vaseline like it was going out of fashion — not sure if it was meant to stop you from chafing or the keep out the cold. If it was for the latter, then it was a lost cause.

Day before

Friday afternoon. I came back from the office and went to lie down from 5-7pm, trying to visualise what was going to happen the next day. I didn’t know what to expect, but in my mind the conditions were perfect. I awoke refreshed and hung until I had to pick up Niki from the airport – he came in with a delayed Kulula flight and arrived just before 1am. So again we didn’t sleep much.

Race day

We woke up at 5am, arrived at the harbour very early and were the third boat to launch. A formidable blanket was starting to appear over Table Mountain. Just after 7am we got the confirmation sms: “Swim is on. Choppy water. Wind gusts but swimmable. Sea temp 13 degrees. Launch boats. Swimmers to go to the Clock tower. Ferry Leaves 9am sharp. Good luck!”


I parted with the crew and made my way to the Waterfront, where we checked in and were greeted by many a camera. On the ferry to Robben Island I heard people say that around a quarter to one third of the solo swimmers don’t finish the swim. It sounded high, considering the field. Outside the water looked choppy and I started to wonder.

Robben island

We arrived on the island and started getting ready, right there on the harbour wall. We got a message stating that it will take half an hour before we get final confirmation of whether the swim will take place or not. I went for a nap in the sun to stay warm. Time went by.

Bad news

After an hour we had another briefing. The swim was called off due to the conditions. Safety risk. Have a look at what the NSRI had to deal with while were waiting on the island – Multiple Rescues during Cadiz Freedom Swim. And it was a wise decision, seeing as there are so many people in the water, each with their own boat. You don’t want to end up under someones propeller.


So we got back onto the ferry and headed back to the Waterfront. Very disappointing. Still, we planned for a contingency day on the Sunday. Now we had to wait and see. 

Brilliant crew

I want to thank my support crew – organiser Niki Louw, skipper Jan-Hendrik Rust and enthusiast Cornelius Weyers. They went out of their way to assist me. And they had a much longer, colder & wetter Saturday on the rubber duck than than I had on the island. On the ferry to the Waterfront you could see how difficult it was for the small boats to make it back to the harbour. Thanks guys, I really appreciate your help and would love to have you on board again next year.*

*And all 3 of them once again supported me in 2015.

We also have a beautiful panoramic shot of one of the crew members taking a leak over the side of the rubber duck, with the soccer stadium and Table Mountain in the background.


It was unbelievable how tired you are at the end of the Saturday, even without swimming. The wait and uncertainty and prior mental preparation really takes it out of you. While driving home we saw an accident on hospital bend — one of the boats that launched with us was involved; a green Land Rover was pointing in the wrong direction and their boat was on its side. Those poor guys had a long day. And then the Stormers lost to the Crusaders at Newlands.

Another sms

Late Saturday afternoon: “No Robben Island swim tomorrow due to boats shortage and weather forecast. Tomorrow, we will have a 7-9km race around the rocks (3 or 4 loops) at Big Bay. Awards at 2pm at Big Bay. No boatman required. More info soon on Cadiz Freedom Swim on Facebook and SMS.”

This was very disappointing. I wanted to do the island crossing. Not a random swim at Blouberg during winter. But at the same time it was a relief as you don’t want to put your crew through the whole ordeal again.


I really thought the swim was going to be easy. But the conditions from the day before lowered the water temperature. The prize money was substantial ($10k for the winner), so the organisers thought they’d have to work for it. And the distance increased quite a bit. We were going to do 4 laps of the ‘around the rocks’ at Big Bay. Ram Barkai announced the swim at around 9kms. We saw plenty of people converting from solo races to relay swims at the registration. That was a bit concerning.


When you stand there and see blokes undressing from Olympic track suits then you start to wonder whether you are in the right place, especially when they start talking about English channel crossings and triple Robben Island crossings. They swim around 13min per kilometre and in doing so, spend much less time in the water being exposed to the cold.

  1. Bulgarian Petar Stoychev – winner & WR for English channel
  2. Terence Parkin – Olympics, Sydney & Athens
  3. Otto Thaning – English channel, Olympics
  4. Danie Marais – World champs
  5. Ryan Stramrood – English channel
  6. Carina Bruwer – English channel, False Bay, Straits of Gibraltar
  7. Tony Sellmeyer – 25 island crossings.


At just after 11am we were good to go. We made off to the rocks for the dry start. The first 100m was probably the worst of the swim. To say the water is pretty cold is a gross understatement. It takes your breath away. Temperatures start at 12 degrees Celsius, decreasing as you go around the rocks. You wonder whether you will be able to keep this up for another 3 hours plus. I started slowly, not sure how to pace myself for such a long swim.

Eye contact

Had we done the island crossing you would have had your support crew right next to you all the time. That would have made a huge difference to your morale. Now all there was to look forward to, was getting to the next buoy each time. And they were difficult to spot, being far apart and disappearing and reappearing with the swell.


The first lap of just over 2kms seemed to continue forever. At the start of the second lap you pass the beach and the spectators and you think of how nice it will be in the sun. It seems so easy to just turn left and head for the beach. But you carry on, still not sure whether this is for you.


Your calve starts cramping. Ignore it. Continue. Until it goes away. Only to be substituted with another cramp. Nothing in the upper body. But quads, calves and hamstrings. I was filled with enough Magnesium [to prevent cramps] to have my own spot on the Periodic Table of Elements. But it didn’t help.


Coming around to start the third lap you realise that you are only half way, and you wonder whether you are going to make it. And you are extremely hungry. I go around the rocks and hear they announce the Bulgarian is already out of the water and has won the race. Expletive.


Eating and drinking on your own boat would have been easier. Now everyone has to share Energade off the supplied support rubber ducks. And it is not easy in the rough waters. I managed to grab ¾ of a cup of Energade from the support crew and promptly spilled half of it into the ocean before managing a sip, while drifting away from the boat fairly quickly. It wasn’t worthwhile to swim back to the rubber duck for another attempt at a cup.

At least I swallowed plenty of sea water so I wasn’t completely empty.

Thoughts of sharks

This inevitably enters your mind. You visualize one coming up from below like on The Beach. So you wonder, ‘what if’. At least there would be one less limb to cramp. No, seriously. The next rubber duck is out of sight. Even if they fire up the magic white flare [sign of a shark — everyone into a boat]; there would be no boat close by to get into.

Make it

The rest of the third lap went very well, as you start to realise you might actually make it. At the start of the 4th and final lap I wanted to ask the support crew to row with me, as I was scared of cramping up in the deep waters with no one around. But your tongue is numb from the cold and you just don’t bother to ask.

I went around. Alone. Again. Conditions were worsening and by now it was overcast. Which means colder. And you are very hungry. I kept thinking of the proper Mothers Day meal waiting at home in Stellenbosch.

The last kilometre

It was extremely long. You see the beach. You think you can hear the crowd (but you can’t). And you start to count strokes. 100. You haven’t moved much. 200. The last buoy is still just behind you. 300. You feel a wave. Great news. Breakwater. Your hands are numb and its difficult to move your fingers. But the sand is close and that is all you could wish for.

Getting out

The moment you feel the sand underneath your fingers you try to get up. The lifeguards are close. You try to stand up but struggle. Funny this – you just swam for 4 hours but you cannot walk the last 20 meters. The lifeguards move in side by side and you shuffle out onto the beach.

The guy from Good Hope FM announces your name and you cannot be bothered. They wrap you in your freedom swim towel and hang a medal around your neck. I have 100 cycling medals at home, none of them compares even close to the effort it took to get this one, maybe not even combined.


After the briefings I got the feeling they are exaggerating a bit, but I never knew that hypothermia might really be on the cards. I remembered the following. Your regular temperature is around 37.5 degrees. Hypothermia has various stages. First you start to shiver, at around 32-35 degrees. After that you stop shivering, at around 30-32 degrees. And below 30 things get sketchy.

In the tent

When I got out they measured me at 28 degrees. I wasn’t pleased to see the Medi-Clinic girl frown and say ‘uhmm’. Luckily I carry enough whale blubber to see me through. You quickly go through the motions. Tracksuit, blanket, up to 30 degrees. 5mins and a cup of hot chocolate later and you’re up to 32. I devoured three hot cross buns. A few more minutes under the heater and you’re at 35 degrees and out of the potential relapse zone. Ready to leave. It is amazing how quickly the body fixes itself.

Wikipedia says:


I wondered whether I turned female during the swim, as my member seemed to have disappeared. And I’m very glad the used the earpiece thermometers and didn’t measure our temperatures rectally.

Well done guys

There were 149 solo entries for the Saturday. There were only 44 solo finishers on the Sunday. Fastest time just under 2 hours; slowest time 4½ hours. Results here.

The verdict

I have had silly ideas before. But this was a draining event. Manus & myself cycled 1800kms from JHB via Springbok to CPT over 9 days in 2009, but this swim felt like that whole event compressed into a few hours. At the end of the day you hop onto a plane back to JHB and then everything is over and done with. You aren’t going to die, it’s just a few hours’ worth of discomfort. It could have been easier if I trained more beforehand. But you can go far with the right mindset.


Of course. I still do not have an island crossing to my name. This swim was arguably much harder, but is doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

Here is an extract from an article after the race:


Stoychev wins extreme sea swim race

Posted at May 09, 2011 Issued by Leap Communications

Bulgarian swimming sensation Petar Stoychev overcame icy water, strong local and international competition and a day’s delay to win the extreme Cadiz Freedom Swim in Big Bay, Cape Town, South Africa on Sunday. Stoychev, 34, widely regarded as the world’s most successful open water swimmer of the last decade, finished an 9.3km route in 11 – 12°C in a time of 1:51:54 in the event which raises funds for Vista Nova School for children with learning disabilities and which is part sponsored by Marcus Rohrer Spirulina, Speedo and the Western Cape government.

Stoychev, wearing only a Speedo, goggles and a cap (regulation for all solo participants) finished ahead of Australia’s Trent Grimsey, 23. Stoychev takes home just over R80 000, one of the biggest open water prizes in swimming in the world.

Grimsey collapsed as he crossed the finish line and was treated for mild hypothermia by Medi-Clinic’s emergency team at the site. Seventeen year old South African sensation Lisa Cowling was the winning female and third overall beating a field of strong male and female international and local extreme swimmers.

“It was tough. I went numb from the cold and then I was okay. I didn’t expect to do as well as I did, I was just aiming to finish. I’m happy,” she said afterwards. Stoychev described the race as “very good, but very hard. Trent started very fast and it was difficult out there. There were also very strong South Africans in the field,” he said.

Grimsey said the race was “the hardest I have ever done by far. I’ve never swum in anything this cold. I remember crossing the finish line and not much afterwards.”

The swim traditionally follows a 7.5km route from Robben Island to Big Bay, and was set for Saturday with Sunday as a contingency date. Cadiz Freedom Swim patron Ram Barkai said after initially preparing to swim on Saturday, strong winds led to a postponement to Sunday for safety reasons. When strong winds and very cold water was also predicted on Sunday, an alternative buy tough swim route in Big Bay was arranged, again to ensure swimmer safety, said Barkai.

Of an initial field of 410, about 260 swimmers (solo and relay) took to the water on Sunday for the 9.3km route. Twelve were treated for moderate hypothermia during and after the race and at least 70% of the field experienced mild hypothermia, said Medi-Clinic’s Dr Basil Bonner.

Find out more at and

Why am I doing it?

Swim for a purpose

I want to help my brother, Pieter, to go and play golf overseas. It’s an expensive sport. He’s got the talent and the right attitude.

He is 25 years old and playing off a scratch handicap. He started playing from a young age and quickly developed into a serious golfer, representing South Africa while still at school. He went on to study Accounting at Stellenbosch, where he played for, amongst others, the Maties and Boland teams.

Pieter has also started both the Golfbuddies coaching school and Here are some of his achievements to date:

  1. SA Schools 2002
  2. Boland Schools Champion 2002
  3. Paul Roos Gymnasium from 1999-2003
  4. Maties from 2004-2006; Stellenbosch University
  5. Member of the team that won the 2005 SASSU’s in Pretoria
  6. Representing Stellenbosch Golf Club from 2001 to date
  7. Boland Premier League winning team 2005
  8. Boland Kruger League winning team 2010
  9. Boland all age groups from U/13 to U/23 from 1998-2008
  10. Represented Boland Central in regional tournaments
  11. Represented Boland in 2010 Country Districts
  12. Represented Boland in 2010 Premier Interprovincials

If you want to help,

Kindly contact email Nico or Pieter.

Thanks for reading.

Featured image from

Die nag van die epiese vuur

Ter nagedagtenis aan dag 2 van my 3 dag-bachelors — dit was die main event. Hier volg my bedanking aan die deelnemers.

Mense — wat ‘n goeie naweek. Ek sal verseker saammet julle klomp oorlog toe gaan. Mens vergeet hoeveel chaos ‘n klein groepie van Bacchus se elite volgelinge kan veroorsaak. Elkeen het gesuip asof dit sy eie bachelors is.

Kirsten, dit spyt my dat jou enkel nou soos ‘n rugbybal lyk en dat jy ons vroeg moes verlaat. Ek hoop die ligamente groei weer vas voor die troue.

Pieter, dankie vir die rondry en skoonmaak. Hy moes die saterdagogggend help om 3 liter tamatiesous van die mure en ceiling af te was. Daai kombuis het gelyk soos medi-clinic se aborsie-eenheid wat ontplof het.

Anlo, ek is regtig jammer ek het op jou kar ge-urineer. Maar die kar is swart en dit was donker buite. Jy kan volgende keer op myne gaan, probeer net om niks tussen die rubbers te kry nie.

Niki, goeie vorm met die braai. Anders sou ons vir mekaar geeet het. En jou Avis-kar verdien ‘n spesiale woord; hy het immers die standaard SABS-deur-p-klap-kompetisie oorleef.

Harig, die brandweer moet vir jou op hulle payroll sit. As jy nie begin rondhardloop het met emmers water nie het ons waarskynlik die voorblad van die sondagkoerant gemaak. Jou Tex was welverdiend.

Kobus, ek is jou innig dankbaar dat die foto’s nooit op facebook gepubliseer is nie. What has been seen, cannot be unseen.

Dewald, ek is bly jy het nie ‘n ernstige wond opgedoen so kort voor jou troue nie. Vader weet, daar was oorgenoeg geleentheid om vermink te word; ek dink byvoorbeeld aan Goussard se vlammende javelin wat Harig se oog skraps gemis het.

Jaco & Daanman, dit spyt my dat ons nie ‘n sinvolle gesprek kon inwerk nie. Ek verneem egter julle het die gebeurlikhede geniet. Dis vir my mooi.

Wehan, jy het jou roeping gemis. Luidkeels is ‘n understatement. Ek het nie geweet die menslike stembande kan sulke decibels genereer nie. Die volume waarteen jy vir Die Mooi Seun (wat gewoonlik reg langs jou gestaan het) geroep het, kwalifiseer jou om in ‘n vuurtoring te gaan staan en skepe te waarsku as daar digte mis op die see is.

Eugene, ek het wakker geword met ‘n pakkie menthols in my sak en dit baie waardeer. Hoe julle sonder sleutel deur die hek gekom is noemenswaardig. Ek vertrou die Epic prelude was goed gewees.

Justus, ek is bly die alcohol-tester is saammet Kirsten huistoe. As jy weer moes blaas sou die ding ontplof. Dis nie gewens om laatoggend nog 0.3 te toets nie.  Iemand het ‘n vergelyking tussen jou en een van Jack Parow se liedjies getrek; jy was blykbaar so ***. Ek kannie hierop kommentaar lewer nie, want ek hou in elk geval die moral higher ground nie. Maar jy moet na jou gesondheid kyk.

*Ek moes hier en daar sensor. Anders maak hulle dalk my blog toe.

Mooi brein. Almal het gestaan en kontempleer oor die ‘leertjie’ voorwerp wat op die stoep agtergebly het. Dit was toe wel deel van Freddi se bakkie. Ek hoop hy kry dit terug.

Robert, ek het verneem wie die culprit is wat die Silver Solutions t-shirt in die vuur gegooi het. En ek is spyt om vir jou mee te deel dat dit ekself was. Ek was onder die indruk dit was iemand anders se handdoek. Teen daai tyd kon ek nie meer lekker sien nie. Ek het probeer om dit weer uit te kry maar die skrif was reeds aan die muur.

Ek het ook ander sporadiese terugflitse gekry. Henk het op ‘n stadium gewonder of iemand een van sy niere gesteel het. Dit draai toe uit dat die rooi kol agterop sy hemp nie ‘n wond is nie, maar ‘n ruim porsie tamatiesous.

Hy het ook vreeslik gekla nadat hy onderaan die hopie opgeeindig het. Dit verbaas my nie; want anders as op skool weeg almal nou nader aan 100kg. So die totale druk wat op sy borskas uitgeoefen was moes naby aan ‘n metriese ton gewees het.

En die sing songs was ‘n blur. Ek verneem egter dit sou nie Paul Roos se top 10 gehaal het nie.

PS, Henk, dankie vir die organisasie. Ek sou niks verander nie. Ek is net innig dankbaar daardie 1-meter-deursnit-boei het nie op die vliegtuig gepas nie. As ek saterdagaand daai ding moes dra sou alles in die huis gebreek het en jou deposito sou onvoldoende wees. Wehan het reeds sy misnoë uitgespreek oor die feit daar daar nie ‘n funnel was nie. Maar ek dink jy het die losprys betaal.

As ek my sin kon kry sou ek elke naweeek bachelors hou.

Wanneer speel ons ‘n rondte pub golf?