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The Desert Dash - Completed

After a celebratory drink and time to recover we are all looking back and enjoying the memories of the Desert Dash, the 340km, 24 hour mega cycle event!

It was all very well organized and we can understand the growing popularity each year.

The atmosphere and spirits of the cyclists were very high in anticipation of the start. The race began in the middle of the day in temperatures reaching 36 degrees.

As a 4 man team we all started together on stage 1 of 33km. Team member Craig Morse immediately felt the effects of the Windhoek altitude of 5600ft as he lives in Stellenbosch , South Africa. The stage is mostly uphill to the top of the Kupferberg pass. Dan and Janek initially set a good pace but the rules state you can't carry on through to the next stage until all 4 members sign in first at the check point.

Dan Groves (Okonjima Lodge massage therapist and sports/fitness coordinater) took up stage 2 of 68km on his own after a quick refuel at the support vehicle. The head wind was a welcome one in the heat as Dan made up good time on the inclines before cycling into night fall down on to the Kuiseb river crossing.

Stage 3, 70km was ridden by Janek Hoth (Okonjima Lodge finance manager) who's parents run AfriCat North at Kavita Lion lodge, Kamanjab. By this stage most riders have separated so the night riding is cycled alone so good head lights were essential!

Stage 3 is regarded by many as the toughest part of the race because of its short steep inclines and descents as the route criss-crosses valleys and rivers of the Khomas Hochland. Janek finished the stage in 3 hours 50 minutes and was ready to throw his bike off a mountain!

Stage 4 was quickly taken up by Craig Morse (friend of Janek, studying his masters in chartered accountancy), with the altitude no longer a problem he used his cycling experience to push through to stage 5 where our AfriCat support vehicle awaited him to rest up until the final leg.

Taking on the next phase was Reino Du Toit (Okonjima Lodge building and maintainence manager). Part of this stage proved to be some what of an unkown and Reino suffered from it along with alot of others who rode the same stage through periods of thick sand.

The final 30km ended in Swakopmund but not before a few more sandy patches along a pipeline then in and around Town just to test that sense of humour!

We were determined to make a strong finish where our supporters were cheering us on to crossing the finish line in a respectable time of 18 hours 16 minutes and a placement of 15th out of 43 four man teams. A welcomed massage was given while Dan had to shoot off to an emergency appointment at the dentist as his tooth broke in half while tucking into a sandwhich after his stage 2 ride!!

Over all it was a brilliant effort by everyone involved and a special thanks must go to the teams support staff Luigi Bassi (Okonjima Lodge communications manager) who was the teams driver and Tammy Hoth (AfriCat North) who prepared all the supplies ready for the next rider. They both kept spirits high through out the night of the race.

Total funds raised for AfriCat were N$28,000. A huge huge thanks to all who donated to help support conservation through education of carnivores in Namibia.

2 man team next year?????

Article posted: 2012-01-12 05:04:07

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