Day One: First Leg

Posted: October 1, 2010 in The Journey

Note: Jeremy here – Phil is concentrating on the race, so I’ll be posting updates whenever signal allows. I’ve been riding co-pilot with Phil in the Polaris so I’ll do my best to keep his perspective as much as possible.

Day One began early at Cane Cutters resort in Ballito. Resort isn’t the best description though – a small group of chalets up 2km of dirt road. This is where Q4Q begins every year (for the drive up) and ends (for the drive down to the coast).

At 7am Glenn gave the days briefing, essentially boiling down to:

1. Don’t smoke (good advice anyway, even when not driving through highly flammable bush)

2. Don’t drink (because drunk driving will end badly – as QASA say “drive carefully, we don’t want new members”)

3. Carry petrol. Running out of petrol is a real taboo on this trip. All riders are instructed to charge R50 per litre of petrol given to someone who runs out (money goes to QASA).

Phil arrived shortly before the departure – he was staying with a friend but didn’t get much sleep worrying about the logistics of the drive.

We strapped into the Polaris as the other bikes were leaving with clouds of dust in their wake. The nerds all departed just after 8am, leaving on our epic journey. A bit of anxiety, a lot of excitement. After so much preparation, the trip had begun!

The first leg took us through a short section of local dirt roads, leading into much steeper terrain as we headed through KZN. For two hours we were going up steep hills, round blind corners (cautiously) and then downhill again. The roads are all dusty, but we had company with local children waving as we unfortunately brought a cloud of dust to greet them.

We finished the first leg at 12:30 at Seven Oaks rest stop, for much needed water, petrol, food and to get Phil out of the quad for a bit.

Having no feeling below the shoulders has unique complications for quad biking. You may not realize it, but you are constantly adjusting your weight on your feet and bum when you feel uncomfortable. When you have no feeling in these parts of your body, you can accidentally rest awkwardly without realizing it which can cause pressure sores. These sores can cause massive complications, and would mean the end of Phil’s race.

Luckily nothing had manifested, so we gathered our wits (and as much cold water and ice as we could find) and set off for the next leg of the trip. But things didn’t go according to plan…

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