RACE REVIEW | the munga ride through the night to Ceres. It proved to be a good decision. The wind had died down and the air felt pure. The road seemed magical, with diamonds and flickering stones shining at me. And the end was near. Gavin took a nap and I remember sending my family a message at around 3am saying I had 98km to go. We arrived in Ceres at around 6am. CERES TO WELLINGTON Ceres was a great race village with awesome food. I laughed when someone imitated how all the riders were walking, like crabs, because they were so sore. By that stage I had two pairs of cycling shorts on and I had folded up a body vest into the shape of a pillow and stuck it between the two. My “kak broek” base layer body vest/continental pillow saved me and I doubt whether I’d have been in the same condition if I didn’t have it. Aaaah Diemersfontein. The thought of a shower motivated me. Riding up the Bainskloof with a head, tail, side, just a whole lot of wind, I heard a voice shout, “Hello, hello.” Gavin was ahead. I stopped and got off my bike. The road was tricky as the edge is a cliff, with no shoulder and no wall. The right is a mountain with natural water running down. I walked to the edge and saw a cyclist crumpled up next to his bike below. “Hello, I’m here,” I said. “Please can you phone my family?” he urged. “Ok, I’m not going anywhere. What’s your name?” “Peter”. The paramedics were not far behind. It was quite unbelievable how they managed to get Peter back up the steep cliff. The paramedics are often seen as a threat to the riders, offering them a way out, a way to give up, but for me, at that moment, they were heroes and Peter was fine (he was given a concussion test, got back on his bike and rode the last few km). Arriving in Wellington was something I’d dreamt about for the last two days. We arrived at 10am, two hours before the cut-off time. A big bucket list tick. I was one of five women in this race, who all finished bar one. Would I do it again? I’m certainly planning it. Maybe at the end of the year I’ll ride down Ouberg Pass and relive the memories made. Now it’s time to be with my children, my biggest adventure. For the working moms who stay home to take care of the children and hold the fort, while all this adventure is happening, you’re the biggest heroes. But maybe get on a bike, try it out. You might surprise yourself. I did, and I had the time of my life! “i thought of all my motivations for being there, and i shouted them out in my mind.’’ Jane coming out of the sandstorm right at the beginning of the race. 118 | MTB | warrior woman JANE’S ADVICE • Grab onto a belief or a motivation that you feel so strongly about in your heart and mind that when you feel like quitting, you can shout it out to the wind. • Your mind is stronger than your body. I was slow. But slow and steady. Sometimes I doubted myself. I remember training and doing a double lap at Suikerbos Game Reserve, which is well known for its mean elevation, stopping at the halfway point and thinking, this is insane. Gavin said to me, “I don’t doubt that you can do it.” • After finishing The Munga, Gavin said, “I always knew you would finish.” Having that support and motivation helped. • Take some Rehidrat along. Avoid anything meaty. Take care with the boerewors rolls, they can repeat on you two days later. • Take two pairs of cycling pants. Trust me. • I rode on a hard tail, but it’s probably wiser to use a dual suspension. Having said that, there were guys who rode duals and pulled out anyway. • Drink plenty of water, the back of your throat will constantly feel dry. • Apply a lot of bum cream so you feel like you’re sitting in a tub of Bennetts. • Sunblock is essential. No excuses. • Keep your phone off while you are riding and save your charge in case of an emergency. • Whatever you do, don’t quit!