Dave and I have been involved with the Prudential PE Plett since its inception in 2013 as the route markers, sticking thousands of stickers up along the way with the aid of our motorbikes. Right from the very first event I told him would love to ditch the engine and attempt it under my own pedal power but every year when I saw exactly where the mountain bikers had to pedal, I gave up on the idea that I would ever get through it.
Then came 2016 and the introduction of the new ‘lite’ route. I chewed on the idea for months looking at the website with the routes’ over, and over again, and wondering if I had what it took to do this race. It still meant pedalling 240 odd kilometers but it would not be as technical, or as long, as the Tough’ route. I woke up one morning 7 weeks before the event and said to myself, “I’ve got to do this!”
Being the middle of winter, I had to spur myself on to get out there and start training but there was something
rewarding about setting a challenge for myself, and working towards that goal. Come rain or shine I donned
my kit and set about clocking up time in the saddle.
The day dawned when I had to head off to Red Cherry to catch the shuttle bus down to Kurland Polo Estate. I was nervous but also hugely excited that the much anticipated day had arrived. It was a totally different
experience being one of the participants as opposed to being a crew member, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
On a misty, drizzly morning, I was finally on the start line waiting for the 3-2-1 countdown and before I knew it we were on our way for an epic 4-day adventure! Every day had its high’s and law’s and there were plenty of moments where I had to dig deep but I have always found these to be the most memorable.
Puffing and panting up some of the climbs but knowing that you would be rewarded with a downhill kept me pedalling along. A lot of people commented on the fact that it must have been tough to sign up as a solo rider but thankfully I did a good job of chattering away to myself along the way! The banter and encouragement from other cyclists when they passed was great, and sitting around after a stage and recounting war stories was even better. The thought of a good massage to end the day off was the best!
I could have done without the rain, mud and near hypothermia on Day 3 but hell, it just made for better war stories sitting amongst the hay bales in the farmer’s barn at Zuurbron that night!
That moment, as I pedalled towards the finish line at Crossways on Day 4 and triumphantly beat my fist into the air, was an incredible feeling.
I had pulled it off and couldn’t have been prouder of myself. I didn’t care if I happened to be at the back of the pack on some days, it was about pushing through and making it over the finish line that counted.
It took days, if not weeks after the race to absorb all the sights, sounds, climbs, descents, endless jeep tracks, wide open spaces with not a soul in sight, bird life, flowers, fynbos, stream crossings and incredible scenery that I had been afforded the opportunity to cycle through that it made the pain, sweat and tears all worth it.
As there is no time bar on the Prudential PE PLETT even a social mountain
biker could complete the TOUGH One. With daily distances not exceeding
90km and elevation averaging at 1500m per day its TOUGH but very achievable.

THE TOUGH ONE

The LITE is designed for those social riders with an average daily distances
of 60km and elevation of 1200m.
The fact that you can rub shoulders with
the pros and ride a common route for at least 70% of the time makes the
LITE category extremely appealing.

THE LITE ONE

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