Yeow, what a week!
The TransCape is a 6 Day MTB Stage Race.
Each day, the riders and the crew, and the whole set-up, missions from one location to the next.
Starting at one venue in the morning and finishing in a different town.
A true adventure, on the go, seeing new sites and experiencing a taste of different flora and fauna, cuisine, and, it may sound dramatic, but even different cultures in each new location for the evening.
This year's event was my first, although the event itself dates back to 2014 when Lenore Collett's vision of merging luxury and mountain biking became a reality.
Gerald de Kock has been part of the TransCape family since the very beginning. His presence there once again this year, was a highlight for me personally.
He is all of my favourite things: kind, funny and a hard worker. I am honoured to have worked alongside him and to have learned from him, as well as my mentor, Jacques Marais.
We've been through a lot together and have gone on a number of missions over the last year. They are always action-packed, and an opportunity for me to witness the best at work - Jacques and Andre Hugo are it.
Along with the wonderful Nikki du Toit, we made up the Media Team, and dare I say, I reckon we can dust our shoulders off.
This event was no different in terms of being action-packed. From the get-go, there was work to be done.
Our style often makes me think back to a Dr. Seuss line that I adjusted to suit us.
"This is no time for fun, this is no time for play, this is no time for games - there is work to be done!"
Well, we do it all.
Adventure Media is a jol. It's certainly not all fun and games all the time, and there is minimal sleep involved during events, but we get to witness and partake in something special.
The need for adventure, for action, and for movement, is a bit of an addiction for me - so to be part of something whereby I get to feel the stoke of others in their adventure, be a part of it, as well as to be a cheerleader for them, I count as a blessing.
Let's get to it then:
Race registration - it's Day 1 of meeting everyone, but it's actually Day 0...
You're not yet riding, and unless you've done the race before and there are others who have done the race before too - you don't really know anyone.
People are still a little reserved as they go about their business of signing in and getting their Goodie Bags.
Speaking about Goodie Bags, TransCape didn't play around. All riders got a sweet list of items in their bags - like a Sealand Duffel Bag, a Ciovita Jacket, and Squirt Cycling Products.
I may have had to remind myself that jealousy makes me nasty and then complimented them on their goodies :)
I used "Day 0" to orientate myself and to make a few friends.
The bike mechanics quickly became my besties, and over the next week, I realised how oblivious I had been to how hard they work.
If you sign up for a care package on an event and your bike comes back with an issue - they won't sleep until it's fixed. Every day, they're working on bikes into the night. The job doesn't stop until every bike is serviced and in perfect condition.
This specific Cycle Tech crew of Leon, Marco, Dian, Jaco, and Willem, were a real mix of characters, and each one of the 5 worked their way into my favourite book. They went out of their way to assist me, with content for sponsors, electricity for my laptop, and jokes for days.
They brought me a beer when they could see I hadn't looked up from my laptop for a while and came to show me photo's of their families as a pleasant distraction.
There are such good people in the world. I met two handfuls of them at this event.
The mention of good people take me straight to Geraldine and Andrew, the husband and wife duo, in charge of accommodation and vehicle transfers, and it seemed to me, responsible for ensuring everyone walked away from them with a smile.
We shared a few jokes, that are perhaps better left unmentioned now - you had to be there.
How about, I'll tell you in person if you ever ask me?
Then, the drivers - they were amazing.
Back and forth they went, laughing, chatting, and getting all the riders to where they needed to be safely. The perfect example of professional chauffeurs while on duty, and in the moments we shared while off duty, looking at the stars and getting to know each other - the perfect example of true gentlemen.
Another gentleman, or rather, two gentlemen - the DJs, Sam and Trevor. I found two kindred spirits in them. If you'd like a good laugh, check out the video on my IG of Sam telling me a story.
Moving on to the riders - athletes and mountain biking enthusiasts, here to ride, and to have a good time = great success! What a lekker group of people. They would complete a tough ride each day, stopping at waterpoints briefly, making jokes, thanking the crew, talking a bit of nonsense here and there, and then continuing the journey.
At the finish line, it was often straight to the pool for a beer, some more jokes, followed by a massage and a nap before the evening function.
I was fortunate to spend quality time with a few riders throughout the week and feel richer for it. There were people with such bright souls, that it shone through.
Jaco, Regis, Brad, Gregg, Yann, Gavin, Clark, Regan, Rob, and beautiful Germaine. I am grateful for the time spent with you, with everyone really, I just can't help but mention the above names.
To those who may read this who weren't there, let me explain what the TransCape is:
6 Days on a mountain bike, during which riders cover 550km, and climb 9000 metres, starting in George and ending in Botrivier, riding through the Garden Route, the Klein Karoo, and some of the Winelands.
It's tough, it has to be given those details, and that's why it's so incredible: you ride hard, and then you chill hard.
Lenore has worked tirelessly to bring her vision of Hardcore Luxury to life, and she's done an outstanding job. Her team, which includes her husband and sister, as well as a number of hard-working behind-the-scenes heroes, are making magic happen.
Recently, Faces Africa bought into TransCape, allowing the event to survive, and making this year's race exceptional. "Faces" is ultimately the convergence of life-changing and personal experiences in and through challenging and iconic sporting events, and they own a number of events that are not only a big deal on race calendars, but they matter beyond racing - they make a difference.
Being introduced to Faces has been eye-opening.
To hear from the founder himself what their mission and vision are and to feel his passion, is not only unique, it's inspirational. They're bringing sports to life on a massive scale while serving communities. I aim to wiggle my way into being more involved.
I walk away from the TransCape with an extra spring in my step, maintaining that - man, life is good!