Updated: Sep 16
It’s June 2017 and I see an advertisement about the Nedbank Desert Dash...
Firstly, I had no idea what this was - some cycling thing? Upon further examination, my first thoughts were: “Yah, sure, I can do this”.
Let me just say, I didn’t even own a bike or ever cycled more than 30 km at once in my entire life. To say I was out of my depth was an understatement.
Let's continue... My second thought was that I'd much easier find one person to do this with me than four.
I phoned the first person I know that's crazy enough to do this with me, my best friend. Low and behold she said yes.
Just a side note: she also did not own a bike or ever cycled in her life.
So it was decided right there and then; that I am doing the Dash in a two-man team.
"It was a disaster!"
We bought our bikes in July and did our first race: what a disaster! Several crashes later, coming in last place and a few tears - we survived!
That's kind of the theme our rides took from there.
Don’t get me wrong, we were fully and truly committed and gave it our all.
I have to say, looking back these, pre-races have been the most fun ever.
When Dash finally came, not the bike salesman nor our husbands thought we would make it.
My husband was so sure we wouldn't even make it past the first stage, he didn't even pack food for his own 24-hour supporter's drive...
The mantra in my head, while cycling, sounded like this:
“Don’t die, you can probably do this... just finish, don’t stop!"
22 hours later we finished in 6th place - not too bad for two rookies…
My second Dash was a bit different. I went into it with good intentions and more experience.
I competed with a friend in a two-person mixed team.
Even though I knew more and had two years of cycling experience behind me, in my second stage I gave up. Yes, the dreaded DNF!
Honestly, what bummed me the most was the partner I let down. I'm still sorry.
Some memoirs from that year:
It rained! How crazy...
Usually, you would almost be boiling alive but that year we were soaking wet, from head to toe.
I fell off my bike… while cycling.. yes, it's a thing, it's called EXHAUSTION!
Somehow the mental part of the race weighed me down like a bag of bricks.
All I remember from that race was how genuinely and extremely hard it was, and my partner's face when I gave up.
He is honestly the best guy; he didn’t even flinch when I said I can't anymore.
Fast forward a year - 2020...
I finally found 3 people willing to do this challenge with me.
My husband, his best friend, and his wife (my friend) - the Dream Team…
If you ask them, I think they might still have horror written on their faces when you say my name.
Just kidding, but I was quite hard on them.
I was fitter and more ready for the race than any other year, thus leading me to be kind of a “Let's go, Let's go” girl…
I was so scared not to finish again, and I was doing the dreaded "Stage 3", which made me come in super extra prepared.
We finished and had a blast! The four-man was an experience. It was fun, fast, and really a great bonding experience.
Just a quick shoutout to my husband, parents, and friend (Danie) for being our support drivers. Honestly driving support is so much harder than doing the Dash!
Thanks for being there, carrying the bikes, refilling the waters, and motivating me, even when I was shouting at you or crying on your lap or possibly might have thrown up through your car window (please don’t judge)!
After 3 Dashes and filled with joyous memories, I would definitely do it all again…
I loved every second of it. The good and the bad.
What I take from the race:
*Community and friendship are far greater than anything. Doing it with the people I love was the biggest reward.
Thank you for the memories.
*This too shall pass, as the Bible says. Stage 3 eventually ends ... just before death, and the race is 'overcome-able', with the right training.
> see the Dash Prep Course for more info <
Even if you don’t make it, you still did so much and achieved far greater things!
The build-up was just as great as the race, the early mornings and pre races and group rides make the journey far greater than the destination.
To all those out there thinking of doing this or any other endurance race be it cycling swimming or running, sometimes we just need an impulsive move, a great motivating friend, and a little willpower and commitment.
You can do anything you set your mind to