Aug
21

Bees, buffaloes, bears and a bike!

It was indeed a great privilege to attend the chat by Alex Harris on Tuesday evening 19 August at Waterford Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. Although it was a cloudy day with some occasional rain showers, it was dry when I arrived at the venue.

With the blinds down on the big stoep area, the gas heaters on full power and excellent Waterford wines and catered eats on hand, the setting was just right.

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Alex Harris, (http://www.xplorethisworld.com) for those who don’t know, is an explorer. He has climbed the seven summits, walked unsupported to the South Pole, crossed the Arabian desert unsupported and recently returned from his 15th summit of Kilimanjaro.

He is also the guy (and race director) behind the Munga, that $1million, one-stage, 1000km MTB event that will be held in December 2014.

His talk on Tuesday night however was about his preparation and experiences for and during the Freedom Challenge as well as the Tour Divide. Both of these are long distance, unsupported mountain bike events. The Freedom Challenge  is over a distance of 2300km and takes the riders from Pietermaritzburg to Paarl in South Africa.

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Tour Divide takes the participants from Canada all along the USA west coast to Mexico, a distance of 4418 km.

Alex shared some great “war stories” as he calls it about sleep deprivation, climbing over electric fences, being stung 30 times by bees in the face, parting a heard of buffalo and making repairs on the fly while doing the Freedom Challenge, an event he has won twice.

The Tour Divide’s challenges include snow, bears, lack of sleep and of course, 4418 km over a period of 16 days and 2hours for the 2014 winner. Alex came 3rd in 2013 and had to bail due to major injuries in his 2014 attempt.

Hearing Alex speak served as great motivation and a reminder to me to just DO IT. ( thanks Nike)

Put your mind to something, plan, train, strategize, etc. but then do it. You may not succeed the first time ( or even after you’ve been successful a few times) but you just have to take the plunge and get on. The human is an amazing being and can accomplish far more than we ever imagined ( or were told to believe when growing up)

I am motivated and will start working on my own challenges now Alex, thanks.

See some of the tweets from the function to see what others said / thought.

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