Monday, May 22, 2006

2187km: I need gloves

One of the reasons I cite for buying my Gomoto is that it can easily take me to interesting places to exercise.

This has not necessarily turned out to be the case. In fact, the Gomoto has made me slightly lazy. My daughter's Montesorri creche' is a few hundred metres down the road. I always used to walk to school with her. Now, I put her on the back of the Gomoto. Usually when I arrive, I have about 20 kids run to the gate screaming: "Look there is Jeandre's dad." The admiration with wich they look at me, my daughter, and my red 125cc is very remarkable; and the pride with wich my daughter gets off the motorbike is very good for my ego.

This morning, however, was a different story. I am sure I could see scowls on the faces of the people driving their kids to school in their Volvos and Jeep Grand Cherokees. I had somehow lost track of atmospheric conditions in the snug second floor flat that I live in. When I got out of the garage, with my daughter on the Gomoto, I realised that it was raining. In fact, the temperature was about 11 degrees Celsius. My daughter was a little bit under-dressed, and I was wearing a pair of shorts, some running shoes, and a track-suit top over my T-Shirt. My plan was to drop my daughter at school and then drive the 14km's to the beach for a much needed jog.

My daughter survived the few hundred metres to school with just a thin layer of water gathering on her clothes, and I continued down to the beach. It was cold, but I still had a warm core temperature due to spending most of my time in a warm flat. In fact, the only parts of my body that suffered greatly were my fingers. They became very cold and I really had to fumble to get them to press the correct button on my remote control starter to switch the bike off, after I arrived at the beach.

The weather at the beach was actually quite pleasant. The sun had appeared and the peaks behind Simon's Town and Fishoek had a beautiful bright glare. There was only a slight drizzle at the start of my 4km run. The beach was deserted (apart from two "out of their mind" surfers, and another young couple that seemed to be celebrating some marital bliss). For once there were no "ou tannies" or 3 year old kids walking with their mommies and dogs. The beach also showed signs of a rather stormy night at sea with pieces of driftwood and sea weed scattered around. A sea-gull was pecking at a washed up starfish (I wish my daughter was there to see that) and there were shells that I usually only see on more deserted beaches (like Rooi-Els). Perhaps they do wash out every day, but there are more people to pick them up.

Anyway, the run was invigorating and I worked up a bit of a sweat. Then I returned to my motorbike and noticed what had happened to the weather. It had settled itself right on the mountain where I live. By the time that I reached the first traffic light out of the Strand, the rain was creating all kinds of accoustic affects on my helmet and my visor turned into a blur. It did not really matter, because the only body parts that really suffered were my fingers.

Just past Somerset-Mall, I rode next to one of those trucks that are ferrying toxic waste from the old AECI-chemical plant to a dumpsite in Malmesbury. I was a bit concerned when I noticed that the water running from my visor had actually taken on a distinctly brown coloration. When the truck turned onto the N2, I was relieved, but by this time, the tracksuit top that I had on had stopped providing any resistance to the rain. In stead it served as a conduit to allow litres of icy rain water to run down my chest and arms.

All of this was very exilirating. When I got home I walked into my house and struggled for a good 30 seconds to undo the latches of my helmet. In the shower it seemed as though the steam preferred to condensate against my body, in stead of on the cold glass around the shower.

But it was exhilirating and I felt really alive. I just wish I had a pair of gloves.

Disclaimer: My helmet visor was blurred by the rain. I might be a few kilometres out on the odometer reading in the heading.

This blog entry could also be titled: Why I need a wetsuit.
(or perhaps the commentators could suggest something more apt :-) ).


Michelle said...

Why you need a brain transplant? :) That's crazy stuff - no way I'd venture out half-dressed into a cold winters day on a wind-chill-generating machine.

But then again, I'm not you.

Wayne said...

Hear! Hear!

What Michelle says x2!!!

I seem to recall reading somewhere that addicts will go to extreme and abrusd lengths in order to get their "fix"...

Weiers said...

Well, I guess I got my fix. And the last two weeks have actually been quite dissappointing! Somebody who knows nothing about the Western Cape would have spent their time here and remarked that we never experience winter in this part of the world. Temperatures have been in the 20's and we walked around in summer clothes.

I can't wait for the next cold front!

It's a pity I've been so busy, I should have been on the road more often.


PS... Wayne, I come from a strong tradition where anything addictive is frowned on. I've recently started to reject that in favor of a slightly more hedonistic life. And I must say that it is quite enjoyable indeed!