22 October 2008

I Finished...Was Finished

My first organized effort to raise funds for charity was a great experience! If you have never done anything like this you are missing out. Please let me share the experience with you.

Race day came early. Was up at 3:35 AM after only two hours sleep and travelled 90 kilometers to the start line in Pietermaritzburg. Fortunately, I was able to catch a ride with a group of well-experienced riders, who knowing I was a newbie, willingly gave lots of good advice and were very encouraging. My start time was forty minutes earlier than theirs so I was on my own during the race but that was a good thing. I knew that any pressure to keep up with a group would work against me and I didn’t want to hold anyone back.

The weather was perfect. It was foggy and misty at the start and remained overcast for all but the last 20 kilometers. I was cool for most of the day. Never had to use my sunglasses once. I was grateful.

The climbing was actually different to what I expected. There were two 20 kilometer stretches where the climbing never seems to stop. I thought the last series of climbs could end my race. But, my fears were wasted energy. I got through the climbs better than I thought and my biggest problem was stamina. I really struggled over the last thirty kilometers. I was finished when I finished but all the pain dissipated when I crossed the finish line.

Apparently, there are many riders who don’t complete this race so it was a personal victory for me to reach the end. I am experienced now and will train for longer rides before the next race. It was hard but I loved it and can’t wait to do the next one. I am writing this post on the morning after the race and I feel great! A little sore around the knees but nothing too severe.

Now, to the important stuff. Along the race route (very rural), we were cheered on by many locals. They were fantastic! There’s nothing better than a bit of positive input while you’re trudging along. They cheered, clapped, encouraged and even sang songs making us feel better about the pain.

On one stretch, I went by a large group of orphans. There must have been 250 kids gathered along the road. I took my time there. I waved, said hello and thanked them for their support. Some of them were in wheel chairs. Most seemed healthy.

Unfortunately, this is very common. It isn’t unusual to find orphans and make shift efforts to care for them everywhere. They are as numerous as trees in the forest and it is a problem that constantly stares you in the face in this part of the world. They were the reason I rode in this race. They are the ones for whom we need to give. We CAN make a difference in their lives.

In the last two posts, I have tried to put this problem into perspective. Most of our efforts in the past aimed at solving the problem that caused the orphan tragedy, AIDS, and a lot has been done to control it. Sadly, the orphans still need us more than ever. I also introduced the CRP as a great orphan village project that anyone could be pleased to support.

Now is the time to make a donation and anyone can do this. Please click hereto do so. If you have questions, please check out this link to the CRP web site. Look through my last two posts for more details but please know that any donation you make will be useful.

Two notes for South African donors:

One, the postal code in the online donation form requires five digits instead of four. To solve this problem put a zero in front of your code.

Two, the online amounts are shown in US Dollars. To make a donation using a South African credit card (which I have done) decide the Rand amount you wish to donate and divide that figure by the exchange rate. That will give you the Dollar amount to use in the donation form. Right now, for example, R100 would be equivalent to approximately $10.

This effort is only the first attempt at raising funds for orphans. We will do this again and will make the process more user friendly for South Africans in the future. In fact, I want your input. I believe every person cares about this problem and wants to be a part of the solution. If you have ideas for doing this better, share them. You can make a comment or send an email. Suggestions are welcome.

Disclaimer: I took the picture at the start line. It is horrible but I was using my phone camera which sometimes works and sometimes not. When I finally got it to work I decided it would have to do. You can see the CRP logo on the left side of my jersey.


Anonymous said...

Well Done!

TJ said...

Hey Bro welcome to the world of charitable events. I have done my share: Habitat for Humanity, Cancer, March of dimes, Juvenile Diabetes, and the list goes on. It is a great feeling to give to the community and be able to make a difference. Good luck on future ventures.

Anonymous said...

AWESOME JOB... how long was the total race?

I just completed my first Triathlong and it was for a new school in Haiti and a plane in Venezuela... raised about $7000

You are right... when you cross the line, the pain goes away and you think, I REALLY JUST DID THAT! and then when you think about why you did it... That's even better!

Great Job!

EnnisP said...

Thanks Stef. You must tell me your secrets. How did you raise that much money? You did a great job and obviously for a great cause.