I have done many of these type of events before, but never have I experienced such and incredible sense of togetherness, warmth and willingness. Willingness to ride up the most ridiculous hills and willingness to change lives. This is clear evidence that out of tragedy, good can come, as painful as it is! Long may Change a Life continue to change lives.
Gerald de Kock
Old Sports Voice
The Change a Life Mystery Tour 2009
Although knowing little other than that they would be based on the luxury Rovos Rail train, cycling for four consecutive days on road bikes. The 2009 Mystery Tour, really did remain a mystery despite tantalising hints at the possible location of each day’s ride.
Words cannot do justice to the stately sway of a Rovos Rail carriage, and even the most stressed out executives soon surrendered to crystal-clad drinks and the clink of silver on bone china in the dining carriages. Daylight brought a thermometer showing 1 degree Celsius, and kilometre after kilometre of quiet roads with good tar surfaces leading the cyclists past a hundred windmills and even the lunch stop at the vast Vanderkloof dam did not really pinpoint the location. Apart from enjoying koeksisters in the right wing settlement of Orania, much of the day was spent sorting out the pecking order within the three cycling groups on the remote roads of the Northern Cape. That night, the train’s journey was interrupted for a spectacular track-side feast on a bed of carpets and brocade cushions under a zillion stars.The following day’s destination turned out to be the Gariep Dam. The southern Free State brought smooth tar, quiet roads and just enough wind and undulation to keep us focused. That night’s route briefing was again vague about where the next day’s ride would be, but the altitude charts said it all: with more than 300km already in the legs, 2 300m of altitude gain over less than 100km was going to hurt! Daybreak left the cyclists anxiously looking up from Maseru into the huge mountains of Lesotho. Tracing the Makhaleng River along the A3 road to the Mohale Dam, they faced the appropriately named God Help Me Pass (2318m) followed by Blue Mountain Pass (2641m). Although the first lot of cyclists reached the Mystery Lodge at the top well ahead of predictions, the real story unfolded in the triumph of determination over gravity for those further back in the field who doubted they could do it, but did! The last day’s riding started among more familiar towns in the Free State, and with “only” 60km to ride, this day’s ride was to end in a thrilling sprint against the train to the end point of the tour.
Click here to view a few memories made on the 2009 cycle tour.
the 2009 team