A little #FreedomRide through Jozi

imageI’m one month away from my first triathlon of the season. It will be my second Bela Bela triathlon and I’m hoping to knock off a minute or several this time around. Two months have passed since my tonsillectomy and I’m finally back to my normal fitness range, so now it’s all about clocking up them miles and training hard. Swimming is great, running is going well and I’m happy to be making progress on the bike too – my weak area.

I’ve been out to the Cradle of Humankind, which FYI is great for cyclists. Yesterday I mixed it up a bit by participating in the second Freedom Ride Jozi. I did a decent 33 kilometres. The first bit was challenging to say the least… There were scores of people, ranging from the skilled to the novice riders, to the young ones. The difficult bit about not being in front is that you need to get through the traffic and with people weaving from left to right and not looking if there’s oncoming traffic (cyclists in this case). Also hills are generally not great for people, so you can imagine how the general pace slows down. Look I’m no pro cyclist, but I’ve been working on it so I’m definitely better than I was a year ago. My first 16kms were very slow (52minutes), so I decided to pick up the pace from Vilikazi Street back to Braamfontein. I found a group of good riders and I attempted to keep up with them… Didn’t too badly if I say so myself. I managed to knock off 15minutes from the first half. I was in the lead group, in the front peloton… #winning.image

I think from an organizing perspective, there’s a bit more to be done. When we arrived in Vilikazi Street, there was quite a bit of confusion. Nobody seemed to know what was going on. The metro police were directing people in a completely different direction to the actual way out. They also seemed confused about the start time again, so maybe a clear communications plan needs to be considered. There is clearly a market for this type of event, with some 6000 people participating in this year’s Freedom Ride, so they should look at seeding people, or at least splitting people up into different start times according to the time you entered perhaps. I think the congestion would ease slightly. It’s a great event and clearly one that many are keen to get involved in. So perhaps they’ll see these suggestions and improve on the event for next year.

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