Because the last rider into Moshi at the base of Kilimanjaro is a rotten egg, I expect the Old Legs Tour will be very competitive. There are 3 awards up for grabs, Best Sprinter, King of the Mountain and the uber prestigious Dick of the Day award. Because I sprint fast like Brexit and am even slower up hills, I will have to cheat to win the first 2 classifications. Accordingly, there will only be points up for grabs on those Hill and sprint finishes where I’m leading. And should there be any dissent from Dave, Adam, Alan, Nick, CJ, Jaap etc, I’ll have the army either beat them or shoot them. Ed will be so proud. The DOD award on the other hand is a democratic nomination by all 16 members of the Team so anyone can win. Although I do fancy my chances there as well as my association with the the award tracks all the way back to my career with the Allan Wilson U15C rugby team.
Picture this. On a 2 match winning streak, on the cusp of greatness with only Lord Malvern between us and the unheard of 3 wins on the trot and unnerved by rumors of flick knives in the Lord Malvern scrum, I was taking my job description of loose forward to ridiculous lengths. I was all but hiding in amongst the spectators near the halfway line when inexplicably I got the ball. I was desperately looking for someone to give it to before I got knifed when I noticed that there was no one between me and the try line. I think the Lord Malvern full back was off playing pinball in an arcade somewhere. Spurred on by cries of ‘Get him’ from the opposition players and ‘Don’t cock it up you Dick, de Jong’ from my teammates, I put my head down and sprinted for the try line. Eventually the white line flashed beneath my feet albeit slowly and I dropped on the ball in triumph. I lay there, clutching ball and Mother Earth like a limpet, waiting for the ref to blow the try. I looked up only when the ref asked me what I was doing. “Scoring a try, Sir” I told him. “Good effort, son, just a pity you’re on the 25 yard line.” Crap. Like I said, I fancy my chances for DOD on the Mt Kili Tour.
Accordingly I’ve upped the ante in terms of the DOD trophy. Last year we fought for a Dick of the Day necklace, this year we will be competing for a bicycle, a YZL 26 inch road bike, made in China. It cost me RTGS $55.00. I was going to ask the question how you can make a bike with all the component parts intact and ship it across the world for just RTGS$ 55 and make a profit, but I’ve already worked that out. Frankly the bike is crap. Small wonder the Chinese are our preferred investment partners. Although the braking system they came up with is quite ingenious. If you can get the bike up to a speed that warrants stopping, you pull the brake whence upon the whole braking mechanism separates from the frame, falls through the spokes and the bike comes to a noisy and grinding halt.
In recognition of Gideon Gono’s achievements in the field of inadequacy, I’ve named the bike Gideon. And everyday the Dick of the Day as voted by the other Team Members will get to ride the last kilometer of the day’s ride on Gideon.
Yesterday Dave and I rode with our social riding group, The Herd, on their first outing of the year, a gentle 30 km ride around the Mazoe Valley. There was a really good turn out, apart from sleepy head Bruce Fivaz. Mostly I hung out at the back with the Herd’s newest members, Owen Major aged 9 and Aden Collett, aged 8. It was such fun riding with them, watching them ramp each and every stone, puddle, rock they encountered. I was riding next to Owen trying to make up some words of wisdom that I could impart when he pulled of this uber cool Tokyo Drift around a corner. It was a real wow maneuver involving clouds of dust and screeching tyres. So I tried it. And fell off, right next to Owen. Luckily the ground broke my fall. But the look of absolute pity I got from Owen pained me much more.
After the Herd ride and before pushing on to reach our target of 120 km for the day, Dave and I had breakfast with sleepy head Bruce, just freshly out of his pajamas. Bruce is bleak he is not riding to Kili with us and is planning to come out of retirement for the 2020 Old Legs Tour. But back to the here and now, knowing we had the mountains of Christon Bank ahead of us and in preparation for clinching the King of the Mountain Jersey on the way to Kili, I employed my secret Dave weapon and offered him milk in his rooibos. Dave loves milk in rooibos because it disguises the taste of the rooibos. But he is that lactose intolerant, just the smallest smidgen translates into the need for a number two within the hour. And when he’s crouching in the bush, then you attack. But it backfired horribly on me yesterday. Neither of us had a loo roll in our back packs and Dave scorched up the mountains in search of ceramic bowl to borrow. I’ve never seen him go up hills so quickly. Thank you Graeme Bennet for the use of your ceramics and apologies for disturbing your little piece of paradise.
On a related matter, Adam is in Joburg this week kitting our the kitchen trailer and buying other essential Tour equipment, like the ‘Boskak 1100’as pictured below.
Other Old Legs continue to put in huge effort around the world- Carol Joy – 2567 m of climb this week in Germany, Mark Johnson -370 km in and around Buderim, Alan Rheeder 262 km in and around Joburg. And as I write, Al Watermeyer is pedaling the Cape Argus.
Trying just as hard this week is President Ed. No doubt perturbed by Nelson Chamisa’s ongoing ability to pull massively huge crowds and by Donald Trump’s decision to roll sanctions over for another year because Ed continues to discourage protest by shooting protesters, Ed is splashing out millions on hiring a top US PR firm to put lipstick on the Junta Pig. I hope the PR team bring their A game because they’re pitching to the guy who wrote the book on Spin, the man who got elected even after admitting to grabbing a woman by her cat. Maybe instead of photos of Ed hugging kids, they’ll take a leaf out of Kim’s book and Zim will roll out a nuclear armament program instead of fixing the Beitbridge Harare highwa
Suffice to say though on the the ground they will cock it up. The fall out from a monetary policy conceived by people who would be out of their depth in a car park puddle, continues. Gold miners rejected the Reserve Bank’s rate of 2.5 RTGS to the US for their 55% portion of the price for gold delivered, so the RBZ announced a special extraordinary Gold Miner’s rate of 3.5 to the RTGS. And so it begins, the Consistency of Policy Formulation and Implementation as espoused by Ed’s election billboards. The Tobacco Auction Floors open at the end of the month. Watch this space for a special extraordinary Tobacco Farmers exchange rate.
Also suffice to say the Pensioners will bear brunt of the incompetence to come. If you can help, please go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/oldlegstour and follow the prompts. In Zimbabwe, transfer to Bulawayo Help Network via their CABS Platinum Account number 1124733450 or their Ecocash merchant number 139149. Monies donated help pensioners country wide. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of those who donated this past week. For sure you’ve helped put smiles on elderly hearts in Zimbabwe,
Ditto our latest corporate sponsors, My Cash, financial service providers offering up affordable and reliable solutions to your everyday Banking requirements in the muddle that is Zimbabwe. Thank you to Joe, Sarah and Rufaro for helping make the Old Legs Tour possible.
In closing, this week’s Swahili 101 –
Baisekeli yangu’s jina ni Gideon. Hiyo inafanya kazi vizuri, kando yo breki, ya magurudumu, ya suru na woke pumzika ya vitu hiya si!! – My bike’s name is Gideon. It works well, apart from the brakes, the wheels, the frame and all the other stuff which don’t.
And last but not least Happy Birthday to my darling, long suffering wife Jenny.
Until next week, survive, enjoy and pedal if you can- Eric Chicken Legs de Jong
Owen, Aden and the rest of The Herd, Al flying the flag in Cape Town, me on Gideon and comfort made in China.