Iʼm not the first, I wonʼt be the last, and this may be the first of many, but in the space of a week my world was blown apart with, quite literally life-altering news, word came from home my Dad was severely ill.
Tickets booked, cursing that I have to wait four days for a flight home, I stalk a double life of weird normality, riding my bike, seeing friends, just doing what I do all in the hope this is some grave exaggeration and everything is going to be ok. Iʼll be home for a week, make sure the old man is ok then back to my world, what the hell was I thinking?!
Riding has been my escape and my sanity for so long that sometimes it can also be my crutch. I did two weekly crits leading up to going home, one where I stood berating a fellow rider for some pointless move and one when I just rolled to a halt with full system shutdown. I was forcing the point that I needed to ride away from this thing looming on the horizon, but I couldnʼt, by Sunday I was home.
Straight to the hospital and into my Dads room, a smiling, happy, ill legend of a man, over the moon to see me and almost embarrassed at all the fuss he had caused. I sat for a week with him, just holding his hand, talking, laughing and praying this was all going to work out.
It didnʼt, within the week Dad was gone.
It’s hard to think back that just 5 short months ago I had dragged my pop out to support my crack at the Barberton Ultra then again the Tulbagh Ultra. We had also spent the best part of 19 hours driving pretty the length of South Africa in the slowest bakkie on earth, even then I knew these were special days.
But as the world stopped turning for a moment I realised riding may be my crutch, I may over indulge dramatically and lose all perspective sometimes but ultimately it is me, it’s just the bullshit neednʼt be. I had so much support from friends and family over the weeks that followed I barely had time to process how my world was forever altered, one man who made me me wasnʼt there anymore.
As much as this is the case he unequivocally altered the way I see what I do, you donʼt meet amazing people sitting on your arse doing nothing, well maybe you do but not in my world. You donʼt see incredible places clinging to those you hold dear for fear of not seeing them again. Youʼll achieve nothing worth talking about – I can pretty much guarantee that little nugget of wisdom. You go out, you do what you do and you do it as best you can, set the bullshit aside and enjoy the essence of things.
Dolomiti Superbike was the start of a new road for me and a new adventure, Iʼll get back up to speed soon enough and yeah sure I may overcook things again but I will endeavor to savour the essence of why I turn pedals.
The weekend rocked, incredible people, jaw-dropping scenery and immense challenge, that’s it in a nutshell.