Panorama Tour

The Panorama Tour...

I'd been nervous sick for this tour, I'd never done a road stage race before, somehow consecutive riding on the road bike is very different to days and days on the mtb so yes, I was very nervous.

Paired with Lucky Baloyi from the Bestmed Universum Team, I was even more nervous- he being stronger and wanting to go hard soo

Day 1

Was hard but good fun, highlight of the day had to be my partner Lucky calling downhills December -bonus, parties etc and uphills January -broke and trying to make ends meet, he's a funny guy. We met a guy on route rocking the most awesome tunes from his speaker thing, we eventually became this nice big group with about another 8 guys from London all just jamming together,the climbs were long and the downhills gobsmackingly crazy... and long.. with how long the last downhill was before the Water point at 57km , we knew twas gonna be a... kak out session back the way we came, with the arm of grace from Lucky we managed a decent pace on all the climbs back, our last Waterpoint stop being the Cycle Lab Nelspruit, Sam the most amazing hearted person manned it, relief, more climbing and the day was done.

Our Team Captain Juanita Venter had taken a nasty fall in the beginning of the race, she was in hospital that morning, got stitched and released later in the day.. thank God.

Rest and Recovery, tomorrow was to be 'a short flat stage'... I never know what that means, we're in Nelspruit, you're either going up or down.

Day 2

With some serious trouble sleeping through the night, and a determined mosquito, the night was not my best, morning a ruffle and eventually the start line.

Lucky and I pushed quite a bit and were in a good rhythm, never commiting to a bunch but pushing through, at about the 40km, on the downhill before the turn onto the N4 my worst fear happened, we'd decided to join this group about 5 minutes minutes before to get some pull, at the start of the downhill I asked Lucky if he wanted to stay, he said twas up to me..a mere 30 seconds later if even, this man being all sorts with Lucky swerved into the bunch so unexpectedly.. lady infront on me started wobbling and with that, was my wheel into the back of hers.. that was me flying off.. landing on head..tar..and everything else.. I'm not sure how long I lay there for, but I heard someone shout 'someone call an ambulance' ... in disbelief I just lay.. few moments later I lifted my head.. my kneck was fine as blood spilled onto the concrete edge I'd rolled onto..unsure from where I was bleeding I sat up, the ambulance was there and a distraught Lucky.. paramedic wiped the graze on my face.. I didn't know if i wanted to see.. he then asked I come with him, I looked at Lucky and told him I still wanted to finish. He just stared at me as the paramedic stared at me too.. I wanted to carry on.. nothing was broken.. he eventually agrees, stands me up to a bleeding knee and torn cycling pants.. checks my knees and arms as I ask Lucky to check if my bike was fine, bike being fine neant the finish was still in hand, paramedic shrugged his shoulders, stuffed dates into my mouth, water, twas go time

.. with probably another 47km we started our way back to the finish, there was  no finishing without my partner, we were headed to the worst part of the route, the last 20km being all the more serious climbs for the day.. battling to get the speed back into me legs Lucky helped on flats and climbs.. once he got through the accident and past the anger, he started making his jokes again.. beyond funny as i caught myself roaring with laughter interjected by the stiff side of my face reminding me of my misfortune... what a trip, Waterpoint at 67km, food, water, pain... the finish was not far.. we took off.. with a little more pushing and pulling we made it to the finish.. I've had many hard days on the bike.. but this moment was different.. I've had many partners at many different races.. this road race however, I allowed myself to become vulnerable.. I was sore and... intent on finishing.. that finish line.. seeing the MTN flags as we came up the last climb.. the emotion.. and the sobs through the finish line.. there would have been no finish without Lucky.. the day was done.. would day 3 be on the cards for me was the biggest question.

The adrenalin had passed, the reality of what had happened, the pain.. I was alive.. thats all that mattered, pain killers in the day, sleep and waking to a face double I've ever seen.. eye swollen shut and unable to move from the stiff pain everywhere was the opening of the water works.. I'd wanted this day 3 for so long and here it was, for all the wanting in the world.. This was not going to happen for me.. pain killers could help but wouldn't take away from trying to manoeuvre with one eye.. my Panorama Tour done. Sobs.

Messaged the Team, breakfast and off to the hospital i was with Mrs Benson, Cat scan showed no broken bones thank God, after an eternity they cleaned the wound and sent me off, the most supportive mom I know was there waiting for me.. I love the Bensons, with that we were off back to the lodge, drugs, sleep.. knock on door round 4pm.. conversations as follows

Lucky &Daniel : you have to come to the rider dinner
Me : I don't wanna
L &D : Why?
Me : I hate people staring at me and even worse feeling sorry for me.
L&D : you gonna have to face the world eventually, good start will be with the people who can understand what happened
Me : I just.. okay..

And that was me at the Rider dinner, the one eye navigating had been hard, focussing too hard caused strain meaning navigating self around wasn't the easiest especially in a dim room, after winning categories Derrick from MTN coming up on stage to go on bout this mtb girl who was trying road.. fell.. finished.. and the MTN Strive award was mine..for me.. words fail.. some words with Paul.. and the most pleasant surprise had happened..

Catching up with my pocket rocket An-Li as she helped me navigate and had been worried sick from the moment she heard bout the tumble. Dinner, head panging, drugs wearing off, home, morning to see my trophy..and it had all happened.. so blessed.

I woke to see everyone off for the TT including my partner who absolutely rocked the TT!

The girls and boys of Bestmed ASG Universum all finished well, podium, top 5 and all very good efforts.

Mrs Benson was telling a story of a friend, that ended in 'Shit happens, and it just happened to you' ... these things happen..gotta finish what I started so guess the MTN Panorama Tour and I have a date, in 365 days we shall meet and close this chapter :)


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