Boet Werrie se 2016 Freedom Challenge

Able Freedom Challenge

We Nienabers are a very adventurous bunch. We inherited it from our parents. There is a driving
need to know what’s around the next corner, over the next hill and the good old :” ahh, that sounds
like a good adventure to take on…”

My boet (Marnitz) has completed the most Freedom Challenges to date. When he started off on his
1st race, we could not follow the participants on the web, but the race office tried to inform us of the
progress of each rider. My boet sent me sms’s about where he was, and to where he was planning
to ride that day. It included a few phone calls to him whilst he was riding. My imagination was
running wild, and a dream was born.

My riding buddies at home know that I get easily bored of the same routes. I like to discover new
routes and take on the off-the-beaten tracks. It doesn’t matter if we hit a stretch of sand or
something completely unridable. It keeps the mind alive!

My 1st attempt at the Freedom was with my boet on a tandem. It’s an utterly insane idea and
something I questioned him on numerous occasions. But my boet was hell bent. So we did the
Sani2C on the tandem as a trial and it was sort of a success. However, in the Freedom, my knees
failed miserably on the 3rd day near Matatiele. A tandem in the Freedom is madness:
 We rode 20 hours to Centocow. On a normal bike it took me 13 hours the following year
 It’s impossible to ride single track. And there are lots of it.
 You have to do everything together on the bike. If your riding style differs, both riders are
going to suffers.
 The stoker (rider in the back) always looks into the backpack of the front rider.

My 2nd attempt, was a year later. I did a recce ride from Glen Edward to Rhodes with Martin Dreyer
earlier and creamed it. I was strong and confident in that I will complete the race. It showed in my
pace, holding my own the 1st 4 days with some racing snakes. But maybe I was a bit too confident in
my abilities and pushed way too hard. On the way into Vuvu, my knees started to hurt. Instead of
resting I decided to take on Lehanas and push thru to Rhodes. I got into Rhodes an hour before the
riders I rode with, finishing with the 3rd quickest time. However the next morning when I got up to
ride, my knees refused to work. It was the same pain as the previous year, it was just too painful to
lift my legs. I was devastated. And again, I dropped Marnitz in not completing the race with him.
Not completing something, is just not me. There is a monkey on the shoulder that nags at you all
the time, about what if… And you start to plan again, how to train differently, how to tackle this
race differently. The dream needs to be realised.

The following year I got a call from my boet about some riders that were going to do a recce ride on
the Freedom Challenge route from Baviaans to Wellington. They asked if I would be interested to
join them. WOULD I BE INTERESTED? It took me about 10 seconds to decide! I was also fortunate
enough to be part of building the Intaba Ingwe trail in Heatonville. It is on the housing part of the
Thula-Thula game reserve. It’s very hilly and very rough, i.e. a very good training ground for the
Freedom. The group of riders that I went with was all weaker than me. I was waiting for them to
catch up on the top of every hill. The Freedom Challenge Recce ride was very enjoyable – we took it
easy every day, I was doing all the navigation up front, taking lots of photos, just being a tourist. It
confirmed to me that I was capable to ride the Freedom.

For the 2016 Freedom Challenge, I kept my training regime the same with regards to jogging and
riding. I stopped playing squash, due to a tennis elbow injury, and replaced it by joining a sports
orientated Pilates class. The Pilates helped so much that I doubled up on the classes. I even
included some trampoline training – I wanted to make sure that my knees are not going to be the
reason for not completing the Freedom. I believe that it’s the Pilates that helped my body coped
with the daily demands of the Freedom Challenge.

I’ve never officially rode for a cause before, but have always ridden in my Able Centre cycling shirts.
The Able Centre is a centrum for early intervention treatment of autistic kids. When my youngest
was diagnosed to be on the autism spectrum, there was no school or facility that he could be sent to
for help. So a few parents and community members got together and built the centrum. Today the
centre is treating 18 kids. It’s very expensive treatment, due to the 1 tutor to 1 child ratio. The
centrum is a registered NPO, but do not receive any funding from government. They rely on the
parents paying the tutor fees and from fundraisers. My youngest has gone thru the treatment and is
today attending a mainstream school. Quite a lot of funds were raised thru the 2016 Freedom
Challenge – thanks for everybody’s help and contributions to make it successful. For more info,
please log on to www.ablecentre.org

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