Monday November 14th
Day 3- Unfortunately we didn’t get to sail. Gordon’s Bay is notorious for its wind but of course, on the day we’re banking on it there is none. It wasn’t all bad however because we did get a lie in as the British say or got to sleep in. It’s funny because sleeping in during this Challenge means waking up at 7 instead of 5:30 when 7 is the normal time I get up for school. We got to sleep in because we had to wait until 8 to hear about sailing. Like I said before it wasn’t good news. I know we were all hoping that we would get to rest our legs. So we reluctantly climbed back on the saddle (as we liked to call the bike seat) and began our journey to Fish Hoek. We cycled for a while before taking a break at a gas station. Some of us used the restroom, got snacks and some stayed outside to watch the bikes. When it was time to get back on, we found ourselves one bike short. Some kid stole a bike! We knew it was a kid because they had him on tape. It definitely put a damper on the morning. We called the police who tried their best to recover the bike with no luck. Fortunately, we had spare bikes so we were soon back on the road, racing to make up the lost time we spent at the gas station. After that the rest of the day was pretty drama free. We biked a total of 28km before the road got really narrow and we couldn’t cycle it. So we had to walk on the beach. I hate walking long distances, especially since they go so slowly compared to cycling but we had to and the view was gorgeous so I can’t complain too much. One thing that was annoying was that when we thought it was time to get back on the bikes, we ended up having to push the bikes on the beach which was really hard. I was not happy about that. But eventually we did get back on the bikes and made it safely to Fish Hoek.
Tuesday Novemeber 15th
Day 4- This was probably my favourite day. We rode from Fish Hoek to Cape Point and back. It is 28km to Cape Point and the ride was beautiful. Almost all of it was next to the coast so we had beautiful scenery. There were lots of hills on the way to Cape Point but they actually went really well. I felt the strongest that I have throughout the challenge and I definitely think I could have gone faster. We had to go pretty slow though because one of the girls, Hazel was having a lot of trouble with her knee. She did amazing though and was able to make it through the entire day. Once we got to Cape Point we walked to lighthouse and took some pictures. It was awesome because we got to see how far we had come. We could see Pringle Bay which is close to Cape Agulhas where we started. It was amazing to see how far we’d come. After that we enjoyed going downhill most of the way back to Fish Hoek. We hit the 300km mark on the way back and our support team was there to cheer us on. We even stopped at a restaurant for chips (french fries), drinks and my personal favourite, cupcakes. I had the best cupcake I’ve ever had: peanut butter and chocolate. It was amazing and a great ending to a wonderful day.
Wednesday November 16th
Day 5- This was the day that GVI tried to get everyone involved. We had over 60 volunteers and staff turn up for the final walk from Fish Hoek to the top of Table Mountain. We divided into several groups. The full Challenge people were in the first group along with some other volunteers. We walked 25km to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens where we had lunch. I was personally dreaded the thought of walking that far when I was finally getting used to being in the saddle. Biking is so much faster than walking. But the views were beautiful as usual and we even got to see the Hope Centre one of the sites which the Challenge was raising money for. That was cool to see. They have two very small classrooms made of wood and the money that we’ve raised will go into making more permanent structures. We stopped at Kirstenbosch for a quick lunch before we started the climb. I’ll be honest: I just wanted to get up that mountain. I wasn’t too concerned about enjoying the view or taking it slow, I just wanted to be finished. Lucky for me, our team leader, Jim was booking it up the mountain. I was told that the climb was the easiest but I have to disagree, it was nothing but stairs all the way up the mountain. The climb was 5km long so what we had was 5km long staircase. It was exhausting and we were going fast. It took us about two hours to get up the mountain when we thought it would take three. Once up we celebrated! We had to wait a few meters away from the finish line because we wanted to finish together. Nick, one of the coordinators, was with the last group and we waited for hours for him to get up the mountain. But we finally crossed the finish line around 7 together. It was awesome to think how much we achieved in 5 days!
It may sound strange but I am really sad that the Charity Challenge is over. I am not a morning person (ask my parents; they’ll tell you) but I loved waking up and hitting the road early. Maybe it’s because I was barely awake for the first couple of hours but I did love it. The world is so quiet and peaceful in the mornings. This was definitely one of my highlights from this trip!