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Isuzu Trucks PE Plett – 4 day mountain bike race

Isuzu Trucks PE Plett - 4 day mountain bike race

Words: Bruce Viaene, Biokineticist. Article from the DO IT NOW Online Magazine.

Bicycling

Back when I was a child, I remember my mother cooking and baking up a storm in our kitchen. I observed in amazement as she threw egg, flour and a few other ingredients (I was yet to be introduced to) together, to create the yummiest chocolate cake!

Feeling inspired one day, I crept quietly into the kitchen and with the same vigour that Mom possessed, I began making my first cake. Let’s just say that it didn’t quite make it into the oven, as ‘Super Mom’ caught me beating a shelled egg. She then explained that it took time, effort and skill to make one of her cakes.

While engrossed by the sights of a ‘tented city’ hosted at this year’s Isuzu Trucks PE Plett, which took place from 1 to 4 September 2015 in the middle of Eastern Cape bush, fires roared and war stories were shared. It was at this point I thought back to all those years ago when Mom added the right ingredients to make the perfect cake. Inevitably I began to wonder what it takes to put on a perfect race, one that tastes just as good at the start as it does when crossing that final finish.

Red Cherry Adventures, organisers of the Isuzu Trucks PE Plett, clearly had awesome Moms because their ingredients were perfect and not once did their race flop.

Isuzu Trucks PE Plett - 4 day mountain bike race

After taking in this four-day mountain bike race, these are the ingredients they used to create something that will be spoken about for years to come.

Reputation

Nobody wants a cake with a bad-tasting reputation. The PE Plett event is known simply as, ‘The Tough One’. There are no hidden secrets to surprise and test you in this mountain bike race, and there are no pretenses that this will be a cycle in the park. It is the toughest, if not the toughest one I have ever been exposed to. The Isuzu Trucks PE Plett will attract those that are not scared to add a bit of mountain to their biking.

Anyone can throw together a tough race, however it’s an art to give riders the task of struggling through their race, but in the same breath giving them magnificent views, awesome technical single track and simply one of the most beautiful races on the calendar. Just by looking at the photographs and hearing the stories, this is a race you want to sink your teeth into.

The right amount

When I made my cake, I threw in lots of delicious ingredients, but in the end, too much of a good thing doesn’t always work. Red Cherry Adventures kept race entries to a minimum, which in turn created an amazingly tight-knit vibe. You start to learn the names and stories of those cycling around you. Each evening, cyclists and crew alike shared in the story of how one of the cyclists lost his leg many years ago and the subsequent challenges of finishing a four-day stage race.

The challenge

The worst thing about being a youngster with a Mom that bakes yummy goodies was waiting for it to be ready. Mom would take her time and never choose the seemingly easier cakes to make. I once had such an elaborate birthday cake made for me that I was scared to eat it, but Mom was always up for the challenge. The Isuzu Trucks PE Plett is a challenge and good things comes to those who work hard. There is nothing more binding than people who have gone through a tough situation together and imerged victorious. You, the riders of the Isuzu Trucks PE Plett, emerged as champions!

From the winning time by Team Sponsor Needed (Waylon Woolcock & Darren Hill) of 13 hours 55 minutes to the last-place times of just over 30 hours in the saddle, you all conquered.

At the end of each day in the Chill Zone, and while bike mechanics were emptying bottles of Squirt Lube on your chain or fixing any abuse your beloved bike received, war stories ranging from big falls to total strangers lending a much-needed tube were shared until the early hours. This is why we race, this is why we take up challenges. To test ourselves to prove that we can conquer, that we can take it on. And you did!

The secret ingredients

“Mom, what did you put in this? It’s amazing!” I often asked. The reply would be a proud grin followed by a wink and I would never know.

The 2015 Isuzu Trucks PE Plett had this secret ingredient, and simply put, the vibe was just that.

The atmosphere created by the Red Cherry Adventures Team was superb. Each night, a local musician performed on stage to lullaby the tired crowd after a hard day of cycling, plus free beers from Namibian Brewers and free wine from De Doorns Wines (which I am now hooked on and having withdrawals) helped to create the vibe of, “Today is done and all you need to do now is chill.”

The comic relief, which came in form of Greg Ritz on the mic, also added to the secret ingredients. Greg’s humorous demeanour at the finish line was the cherry on top, and his magical hugs, which would in turn give you luck for the next day, were fantastic. I could go on giving you more of their secret ingredients, but then they wouldn’t be, well, secret anymore. You just have to be there to experience this fantastic race.

As I sit in my office pushing paper and racing a rat, I truly miss the muddy smiles of the 200-odd cyclists swimming across Salt River and sliding through mud, which we can thank the torrential rainfall for, and I know you do too. This race had all the perfect ingredients to make it an outstanding event, one which will get better with age, just like a good bottle of De Doorns’ wine.

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