On day four, most of the morning was spent climbing out of Harrismith and the hills took a toll on Brent’s knee. After a brief rest and breakfast on the side of the road, we flew down Van Reenen’s Pass at about 80 km/h before the road flattened out once more for some easy riding over the next 20 km or so. The good times were not to last as we were confronted by another 40 km/h wind, which seemed to came out of no where but had every intention of trying to push us back in the direction we had just cycled from. Although we were exhausted, we were desperate to get through the last 60 km. However, conditions were against us and the fear of sleeping out in the bush became very real once again. I can’t recall ever being that desperate or tired in my life, so when we came to a little bridge, we stopped to say some desperate prayers together.
Back on the road, our speed had dropped to well under 10 km/h, even on the steep downhills, as we struggled on through another 10 km. We finally came to rest at a garage, but were still about 15 km off our target and it was getting dark. Thankfully, Mike, a passerby, offered us a lift to the guest house, where we collapsed after showering and devouring some two-minute noodles and corn.
This was our last day on the road and our plan was to cycle as far as we could before our support team picked us up and took us through to Ballito. While we enjoyed our last few hours on the open road, the girls were preparing for their first match against KZN Coastals U13 the next day. After another full day of climbing hills we arrived in Mooi River, shattered, and met up with our support team.
Later that night, Brent and I spoke at length about the journey and how it would shape our future. The answers weren't clear, but I had suffered and bled with a great man; I was very proud of him.
Hockey tour feedback
With the girls all kitted out in pink and rearing to play, we made our way to Penzance Primary School. They were spectacular hosts and had invited the entire school (some 500-odd children) to come and watch our first clash for cancer. Penzance managed to claim a narrow 1-0 victory in the end, but although we had lost this fight, all was not lost in our efforts to raise funds for cancer. The KZN Coastals made a generous donation to our cause, bringing us much closer to our R20,000 target.
The next game took place two days later, at Riverside Astro, against the local club. They were a strong side, but the pinks were coming together nicely and the game ended on a draw. Back home, people were donating money after seeing what these soldiers in pink were doing for cancer.
The last game was against the Madsen Hockey Academy, a side that is coached by the legendary South African hockey player Kelly Madsen. To the absolute delight of the girls, Kelly gave an hour's clinic before the game, and perhaps this was the deciding factor in the game after the Pinks managed a 1-0 victory.
And so came the end of an absolutely incredible two weeks of adventure, charity and love. We'd fought for cancer both on the bike and hockey field and won. We had achieved our target of R20,000!