I’m officially 22 years old. That is, according to a body composition test that I was treated to recently. Despite gaining 3.7kg since first gracing this mountainous Kingdom, it appears my body and visceral fat levels are a model of health perfection, and my raging basal metabolic rate has confused the computer into thinking I’m 10 years younger than I actually am. Sweet.
Such impressive stats may be the main reason behind gaining 3rd place in the Inyatsi Nkonyeni G2G 32km mountain bike race on the weekend. My complete lack of training certainly had nothing to do with it. Although I achieved the same position overall last year, I managed to move up one place in my age category to 1st. Plus, I was only 3 minutes behind the next-place getter (we’ll ignore the fact that the winner from SA pipped us both by about an hour). Perhaps if I hadn’t stopped to chat to fellow cyclists along the way, or if I hadn’t spent a couple of minutes psyching myself up for a rather steep drop (which I eventually conquered with a very vocal “woohoo”), I would have an even heavier trophy to add to the collection. I’m not complaining, though. As always, I had fun.
The race, however, was just the beginning of a weekend of fun. On Sunday, two cool Aussie peeps from outback Venda in SA’s Limpopo region, made their way to Swazi for a brief change of scenery. Red and Pheebs joined Teegs, Unkie Myles and I, Rossi, for a trip to Bhunya Beach. Before you ask: Yes, Swaziland is still landlocked; and No, we had no idea where we were going. Using a little dot on Google Earth that was obscured by cloud, we managed to find our way to the banks of the Great Usuthu River. From here, we searched for the elusive sandy picnic spot. Thanks to a series of exciting mud stretches, we did not end up at a sandy picnic spot. Instead, we ended up bogged.
Fortunately, nobody seemed perturbed by this. In fact, Red was out of the car and ready to push before I’d even tried reversing. With the three girls pushing from the front, and Unkie Myles on the side, I can truly say that I have never seen such determination and sheer strength. So much so, that the girls managed to snap my bumper bar clean off. This led me to laugh so hard that I face-planted the car horn, scaring the wits out of all life forms nearby. Once things had calmed down a bit, our second attempt to de-bog was far more successful, but not without ensuring a fair mud splattering over all and sundry in the process. I should probably stop pretending my car’s a 4WD.
Back on solid ground, we found a small space to park near to a grassy field that looked like an easy path to the river. Not so. Twenty metres in, our feet started to sink. By thirty metres, we were shin-deep in mud. By forty metres, the mud had consumed Pheebs’ Birkenstocks and I was up to my elbows fishing around for them.
All of this was forgotten by the time we reached the river. The blazing sun and gushing river tempted many of us to drop our pasty white legs into a deep rock pool, and absorb the drifting Schistosoma. Myles set up a little campfire, which we sat around while drinking beers, frying broerwors, sharing stories, and carefully watching a nearby stalker who, over the space of the afternoon, managed to creep 60 metres towards us and not take his eyes off us once. Still, the serenity could not be beaten……except by the small scream coming from Pheebs as she fell in waist-deep on a loo excursion.
As the sun made its way behind the mountains, it was time to pack up and wade back through the mud. With a few beers under our belts, our steps across the rocks were a little less certain. Fortunately, Myles was there to gallantly grab Red as she slipped by the river’s edge. She emerged triumphant, albeit rather wet and smelling like prawns, clutching a left-over chicken drumstick. Luckily, Tegan was also there to save her Apple laptop.
I think I can safely conclude that we did not make it to Bhunya Beach. However, based on our sore jaws and stomach muscles the following day, I think Bhunya Sludge was a far more entertaining destination.