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Tag Archives: Lesotho
OUCH! Eleven days offline following a severe lightning strike – that was frustrating. Our iPhones helped, but let’s face it, they’re not a satisfactory substitute. What a relief to be fully connected again!
In the meantime, the 2011 enduro season is well underway. It kicked off with the Enduro World Cross Country held a few weeks ago at Hartebeespoort Dam near Johannesburg. Regular readers may remember this venue from last year, but here’s a pic to set the scene:
and another to put things in perspective:
Fortunately, the rider was fine. Tumbles aside, it’s a great sport – one that draws an awesome crowd together amid some of Southern Africa’s rural splendour. A case in point was the recent Enduro World training tour to Swaziland. We were hosted at the lodge overlooking the magnificent Maguga Dam:
While the guys (and one gorgeous girl – Kirsten Landman, ’s top lady enduro racer) sweated on their bikes, the rest of us relaxed,
enjoyed a sunset cruise,
and explored the local arts and crafts centre, including the phenomenal Coral Stephens Handweaving industry:
The recent Lesotho Enduro was the first national race of the season. It took no prisoners; unanimously rated as hard core. Way to go, Dave, finishing 5th in the Masters Class and mere seconds off the podium – despite “youngsters” sneaking in from Seniors, while he’s another year older with nowhere else to go 🙂
In between pit stops, we crew kicked back and took in the scenery:
Although there’s always the tension that accompanies extreme sport, enduro is far less demanding on us than the riders. Still, tough as it can be, I reckon this smile tells a story:
It’s the reason we’re preparing for the Enduro World Cross Country this weekend, and the Montagu national the next – another perfect excuse for a few days in Cape Town . . .
- iGO My way Southern Africa hits the AppStore (intomobile.com)
- COMESA Biosafety Policies and Guidelines are Relevant to Swaziland (isaaa.org)
- Thousands Protest Monarchy of Swaziland (onebluestocking.wordpress.com)
- House on Fire – Swaziland, Swaziland (travelpod.com)
What a WILD few days – The Roof of Africa 2010, which concluded on Saturday in Lesotho. Fittingly tough for “The Mother of Hardenduro”, it took no prisoners, conceding twenty-two gold medal finishers from a field of about two hundred and fifty. Twenty-four riders earned silver medals and a mere six took home the bronzes. Phenomenal achievements all! The war stories brought tears to the eyes and huge respect to the heart. This event that traverses the massive Maluti mountains, is not for sissies! Unfortunately, after a solid start, Dave’s race ended in a DNF when his motor blew halfway through Friday’s gruelling stint. Here are a few photo’s that tell a snippet of our story:
All in all, this year’s ‘Roof’ raised the bar. It was way better organized and more spectator-friendly than last year’s, drawing crowds of fans and some top international competitors. These were headed up by New Zealander Chris Birch, who won spectacularly for the third time in a row, followed by South Africa’s own Jade Gutzeit and Germany’s Andreas Lettenbichler, ‘Lettie’ for short. Here they are at the Red Bull finish line:
Sincere THANKS to all our friends who helped us tremendously, huge CONGRATS to the winners and WELL DONE to everyone who took part! One thing’s for sure: our deposit will be paid the moment booking opens for next year.
Now, just in case you’re thinking the event is all about the riders, this video explains a whole lot more: Continue reading
Don’t spill, you’ll waste it! Precious drops sink into the hot sand as I mentally admonish myself, pouring water from a 25l canister into a basin. It’s time to wash my hair and there’s not a chance the shower will do it. A scant spray at best, I’d hog our whole supply that way. This is the Central Kalahari Desert and water is scarce, so we’ve brought all our own. Along with a potent reminder not to take things for granted. Such as the basic essential that we’re blessed to have on tap back at home. Like countless other people, but unlike almost a billion around the globe. Here are a few pics to set the Kalahari scene:
It’s Blog Action Day today, which means that thousands of us are posting about Clean Water, this year’s extremely worthy topic. Accordingly, today offers the perfect opportunity to say THANK YOU, and for that matter, in writing. Having recently visited Lesotho, Dave and I witnessed women carrying water from rivers to their rural dwellings, high on hillsides. Back-breaking work, to be repeated in endless cycles. Our Blog Action Day team have provided significant insights into the world’s water crisis, including the statistic that “African women walk over 40 billion hours each year carrying cisterns weighing up to 18 kilograms to gather water, which is still usually not safe to drink.”
The Lesotho rivers appear clean and likely are, fed from the majestic Maluti mountains. But we can’t be sure, nor of the mineral make-up of the water. Jason Green from Protector Treatment Systems drew my attention yesterday to their revolutionary solution that removes “contaminants such as silt, colloidal particles, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, cysts, metals, fluoride and arsenic” and can “be powered and operated by children”. His business partner, George Rose, is quoted in their press release as saying: “I’ve seen people in Africa with skeletal fluorosis who can barely walk due to the mineral content of their water supply.” To read more, also of the pilot project in Kenya, visit www.protectorsystems.com.
This is just one example of the positive effort being applied to this issue internationally. Big up to the whole Blog Action Day crew for their part in it too. They offer a simple way for us to contribute, by signing their petition to “Stand for an International Water Treaty to Provide Clean Water Everywhere”. You can do that here: Sign Petition. Good for them also for making us mindful. Last week I blogged about teaching our puppies to swim, without a passing mention of the privilege of a pool. I won’t wait for our next trip to the Kalahari to say THANK YOU again, with sincere appreciation for an abundance of Clean Water.
Finally, speaking of Botswana, water and lions, here’s a pic of the thirsty cats that we found in a shower (from my post: Taking a shower on the Wild Side…together with Lions!) :
- Blog Action Day – Clean Water (newward.com)
- Are You Ready for Blog Action Day on Friday? (servantofchaos.com)
- Blog Action Day (housewifesutopia.com)
- Blog Action Day is Coming! (smartfamilytips.com)
- Join The Bum Rush For Blog Action Day (smallbusinessmavericks.com)
Respite ↔ Reason
What drives us sometimes to resist respite, like toddlers fighting the urge to sleep? Such as prior to traveling, when every possible responsibility crowds the mind. This was the case last week, while I planned for Lesotho. Yet the sweetness of the let-go is all-encompassing. Every time. Lying on the sun-splashed lawn, everything but the present faded into insignificance . So why the conflict? It’s like entering into creative flow. That struggle to relinquish the tension of time dissolves into an absence of its importance.
Observing myself today, I become aware that the same can be said about exercise. Prioritising it above other pressures of life requires self-discipline. Peculiar really, since the benefits seep far deeper than bones, straight into soul. ‘Relax your face…take a deep breath and sigh it out.’ Pat’s peaceful words permeate our cells, touching a place of total Respite. I realize that it shares a home with Reason, giving rise to renewed perspective.
Quotes to consider:
“Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you.” – John De Paola
“Art is a spiritual, immaterial respite from the hardships of life” – Fernando Botero
“I have a very full and busy life and occasionally I am asked, Scotty, how can you do all that you do? The most telling reply I can give is: Because I spend at least two hours a day doing nothing.” – M. Scott Peck
“One must be out-of-doors enough to get experience of wholesome reality, as a ballast to thought and sentiment. Health requires this relaxation, this aimless life.” – Henry David Thoreau
“It is familiarity with life that makes time speed quickly. When everyday is a step in the unknown, as for children, the days are long with gathering of experience.” – George Gissing
In line with that last quote, Patricia (our yoga instructor this morning) suggested experiencing our bodies in a spirit of adventure. Respite can similarly invite delight, such as this miniature flower that shimmered ‘hello’ on the Ramabanta lawn 🙂
- Poverty killing Lesotho mothers and babies – 12 Mar 09 (parenting-success.com)
As you may already have gathered from this blog, Dave is an avid enduro rider and racer, participating in South Africa’s National Pro Masters Class and sponsored by Pro Action KTM, as well as Venture Sport, who are the importers of top biking gear such as Scott clothing, Airoh helmets, HGS performance exhaust pipes, TCX motocross and superbike boots, etc. He did them all proud on Saturday, winning gold at the Enduro World X-Country held at Serendipity Eco Trails near Modimolle (previously called Nylstroom). Unfortunately, I forgot to take our cameras along – a mistake I won’t repeat this weekend at Montagu!
Instead, here are a few photo’s that you may enjoy, which Dave took last month on a training trip in Lesotho. One of the things that must be said for this sport, is that it takes the competitors (and us fans) deep into the heart of some spectacular countryside!
Dave and I had the extreme pleasure and adventure of attending “The Roof of Africa” Enduro race in Lesotho two weeks ago. We were both spectating, but only because he broke his jaw a fortnight before on a training ride (which I’m happy to say is healing extremely well :-)). He was most disappointed, also on behalf of his sponsors, Proaction / KTM.
Here’s a pic of the team, hard at work on race prep, with the Lesotho Sun hotel in the background:
. . . and another of the car-park, from the top of the hotel, which was one of the two main venues where the riders’ support was set up:
Pity about Dave’s accident, but it was possibly for the best, since the event was reportedly off-the-scale insane this year, with many riders forced to sleep in the mountains, including a mate of Dave’s who spent the night in a shepherd’s hut. Only a handful finished (after route adjustments), from a starting field of around 220. On corrected times, South Africa’s Jade Gutzeit came in third, behind two New Zealanders: Rory Mead and Chris Birch (winner for the second year running). Awesome ride, guys!!! Andreas Lettenbichler from Germany was going exceptionally well too, before his bike broke down a few km’s from the end.
This was the international contingent at riders’ briefing, including 1 lady!
Termed “The Mountain Kingdom” in honour of the MAGNIFICENT Maluti mountains, Lesotho is spectacularly beautiful. We got to see plenty, guided by our friends Sonja & Tom Classen (of Dakar fame – the second South African biker ever to finish that rally, twice!!). Despite Dave’s broken jaw and liquid diet, he and Tom did about 12 hours of hectic riding over the course of the weekend, even helping the finishers over the final mountain pass, which was WILD. Sonja and I watched from another peak, hardly believing our eyes where they were man-handling their motorbikes! They lifted Tom’s good friend Uli Pop (hardcore rider and route marker) and one of the cameramen from Throttle Entertainment, who was in search of (and found) some intense action footage. Keep a lookout for their DVD which should be out soon and will no doubt be mind-blowing!
This map shows the Time Trial Route on Day 1 – NOT for the faint-hearted:
For a better idea of what the competitors were up against, check out this YouTube video: