By 5 PM, all riders had arrived in Port Elizabeth. We assembled for a quick introduction to team leaders and each other, and for a pre-ride check of our trusty Honda CRF230Ls.The excitement was palpable.
At 7 PM, we met again for a group dinner, talks by reps from each of the sponsored charities, and performances by local school children who tried in vain to teach 80 weary EA riders an uplifting song in Xhosa (pronouced by many as Corza). We learned that over £250k were raised this year, thanks to all of our generous donors.
We also met many of the other women and men who will provide critical support - mechanical, medical, sweep, and logistical. And riders were roused by Red Cherry Adventure's Mike Glover, a world-class enduro racer who gave a nice overview of the trip, provided a schedule of briefings, and offered a blunt recommendation about riding carefully and within one's limits. We are in expert hands, let me tell you.
Tomorrow, we start with a brief offroad section to enable the organizers to sort us by skill level and assign us to color coordinated teams. We'll then bolt for Port Alfred, approximately 247 km away, followed by Morgan's Bay (300 km) the next. In the mix, however, will be time in the dirt. The pace slows considerably after that, probably as the ride gets more technical.
That's it for now. Stay tuned.