Race day: Part 2- The race

If you haven’t read part one of this story then I would advise you to go back and read it before you start this one…

3…2…1….Go!

And the first few cyclists were off. I was at the back though, so it was a good 20 seconds before I was actually off.

It was a cagey affair at first, we were all respectful of each others bicycles so it took a while before we could really showcase our talents on the big stage.

After about 2 minutes I decide to take matters into my own hands. I started to squeeze into small gaps, accelerate through the downhills and keep a high intensity through the uphill. I must have pased around 50 people in that early stage.

The next stage featured an uphill that I think took most of us off guard. It looked simple enough but the hill would just not end. Many cyclists actually stopped, got off their bicycles and started walking uphill. It was rather scary because this was just the beginning!

It was quite discouraing to see so many cyclists pushing their bike uphill and I started to think I wouldn’t make it. Honestly I started to think I wouldn’t even finish the race.

Towards the end of the hill however, I changed to the lowest gear and pushed myself to the top. I made it! And I didn’t have to walk, which was great for my ego.

After lowering my intensity and keeping a steady pace I felt as if I couldn’t breathe. I wasn’t sure how much energy I would have after that hill climb.

For the next few minutes I kept a relaxed pace, trying to get some oxygen back. It was then where I actually got to see some of the wind turbines.

I was proably about 10 metres away from one at some point. Don’t think I have ever been so close to one as I was then. I was so surprised that I didn’t even hear a single noise from one of them(or maybe I was just too focused on the race).

By this time my energy came back and I was ready to push on. I had an intensity of about 90% and I felt good, I didn’t feel that I was pushing myself to the point of exhaustion, I just felt I was at the perfect speed. I also passed quite a few more cyclists which is what I strive for, just kidding.

By now most of the hard climbs were over and the rest was, pun-intended, downhill. I started to pick up ridiculous speeds. I passed a lot more cyclists but now came a big problem.

The track narrowed down to just one lane. This was a problen because a cyclist in front of me was not as fast as I was but I couldn’t overtake him. I didn’t know his name but it said “you’re future begins here” so I’m assuming that was his name.

So for about 30% of the race I was behind you’re future begins here. Don’t get me wrong we were still going fast and I enjoyed the twists and turns while marvelling at the beautiful scenery before me. I just wish I could pass him.

Eventually after the lane returned to a road I found my gap and I overtook him. I let him know he did a great job and sped onwards. By then I knew exactly where I was and I knew exactly where the race goes from here…or did I?

I did not.

I thought it was straght ahead till we get to the gravel road, turn left, go up that hill and the finish line should be there in about a km.

In fact we were still quite a way from the finish and there were more uphills to come.

That was actually a time where I was able to pass a lot more cyclists and I was also surprised to see how much energy I had left.

The hills kept coming but I kept pushing. It was getting frustrated because I could see the finish but there was still lots of curves before getting there.

I reached the end to my relief and just before the last turn I saw an old man overtake me, how cheeky. We both then turned for the last corner and finished in style with a decent time of 65 minutes.

I was honestly very happy and surprised with how well I did. I finished the race and I also had a great time, I never felt that I was getting tired (except when I could barely breathe after the very first uphill). I kept pushing to the pace I wanted to and it never felt too much.

I spoke to the old man after the race and he told me I needed to raise my seat a bit higher because I would get a lot more speed and it would’ve made a huge difference.

So taking that into account and starting a lot closer to the front my time could have been totally different, but I am nonetheless glad with my position of finishing 16th and I feel so confident that I would not only come again next year but actually go for the 85km because then I will really be tested.

Thanks for reading and I hope you go and join an event such as this, whether it is running, cycling, swimming or all of them or whatever it may be…go and push yourself to do it. If you don’t want to go alone invite a friend but go and do it!

Catching a thief-my first arrest

This past week was rather crazy for me and one day in particular was rather special. (And in a way not so special)

It was the middle of the afternoon. I was in the yard at work grinding some metal with gloves, safety goggles and all (actually my first time so I felt real badass).

Seeing that I was using such a loud tool I could barely hear anything other than the blade of the grinder spinning. I turn and look to see my colleague rushing back inside.

‘This is weird’, I thought.

He was running faster than I have ever seen him run, and he is pretty old so that is saying much( we even call him oupa, meaning grandpa). Another one of the guys working, (let’s call him Mark) saw him run and decided to follow so I saw the two of them run in a straight line formation. Honestly I thought Mark was impersonating the old man, so I started to laugh, but their faces remained focused so I assumed they weren’t fooling around. They rush outside the shop and then I finally
see what was going on.

Two men nonchalantly walked past our rubbish bins (which mind you are extremely expensive), took one and walked off.

In the middle of the day!

The two men stopped hauling the bin and took off. Yay, so we saved the bins!

But it was not over. Not even close.

The old man stayed behind walked back to the shop but Mark kept running, he wanted to get at least one of them. Honestly I was still in the giggles, this was all still funny for me.

‘But what about Mark though?’, I asked. ‘He could run into a bunch of people that could be accomplices of the thief and gang up on him. We have to help him.’

Now the old man and I start running around in a straight line formation.

I grab the keys for the bakkie, the old man opens the gate and we rush to get in the bakkie.
‘What’s going on?’ Asked another colleague. There was no time to spare so we took off without saying a word.

We reverse out the gate and the chase continued, now it wasn’t a chase but a game of hide and seek. Seeing that it was a bakkie it was able to go straight over
the pavement and onto the gravel, a very nice shortcut. I look around trying to find Mark while the old man is making sure we get there as fast as possible.

We took a right turn in the hopes that they went the same way. Thankfully a man on the side of the road pointed in the direction the two were going.
We were going the right way, but will we get there in time and is Mark okay? We seriously went far to find them and I was amazed as to how far the chase carried on for.

Eventually we see Mark talking to a man in his car most likely about the thieves. But the thieves were nowhere to be found. Mark points to where the men ran but there was no way the car
could get through with the gate in the way.

So the chase was over.

Not on my watch I thought to myself. I have the element of surprise seeing that the thieves believe the chase is over. I walk around the gate and through some bushes to some open land where I see 5 men in the distance, one of them being a thief.

There were a line of bushes on my left so I wanted to use that to my advantage to get a closer distance to the man. I walk about 50 meters till the man turns around and unfortunately sees me. He then took off again with his friends and the chase was on again.

At that moment I started to have lots of questions.

‘Where is my team?’

‘Are those guys the thief’s friends?’

‘Does he have a weapon?’

But the worst of all:’What should I do if I actually catch this guy?’

That freaked me out. I also laughed at the same time because this is not what you would expect someone like me to be doing. If I do catch this guy I would not know what to do next. I’m not really a person of violence in any sorts, I’ve been in fights before but never thrown a punch, only defended myself. I think teasing someone is the closest to violence I have resorted to.

It’s the same question a dog needs to ask him/herself if they actually catch a car, because honestly if they do, I don’t believe they would know what to do.

But anyways, back to the chase.

It was quite a long chase and we probably sprinted for a good few hundred metres. We ran through an open piece of land, through a cemetary and up until a school.

When I reached the cemetery the thief stopped running and started to walk, I also slowed down not because I had no more energy but rather because I didn’t actually want to catch the guy, and if those guys were his friends they could’ve ganged up on me. So I was happy just to keep a safe distance.

I did walk a lot faster than the thief and when he noticed how close I got he ran again and the rest split up.

It was only him and me right now.

When the thief got close to the corner of the school’s fence our bakkie showed up.

I was shocked and pretty sure the thief wet his pants, I don’t blame him though. He did have quick reflexes though and he turned to the fence and climbed over.

Half way over Mark lunges to grab him but wasn’t quick enough, it was actually good though because the man could have lost a limb seeing that the fence was topped with spikes.

He is now in the school and this is where it got really interesting.

Mark finds an easier place to clamber the fence where there were no spikes while I get back in the bakkie and drive around to the entrance.

A security company comes with two guys in a hatchback. They get out and run into the school as well.

The old man and myself follow closely behind the security squad and we all start searching for the man in the desolate school.

It really felt like a Call of Duty mission, just there were no guns and everyone only has one life so we were also a lot more careful.

Now it was time to put my clandestine mental brain on and move as silently as possible. I kept my breathing at a slow pace with as little sound as possible.
I’m now alone in the one section and it is dead quiet. No sound, I make my way past a building into the open and I finally see the thief being dragged out the school with Mark walking closely behind.

Well now I don’t have to worry about what I will do if I catch him.

So the chase was over and one of the culprits were caught.

That was what I thought. We just have to wait for the police to show up and we will be on our way, but what I heard next broke my heart.

Mark and I sat down and chatted over what just happened and he told me when they caught him the man gave him a few hits and said a few words
I want to never repeat. The thief did not resist one bit but he received what no person deserves, no matter the crime.

At that moment I realised one thing.

This man did not fail the city, the city failed him.

But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. – Matthew 5:39.

Yes, the man stole. We also found some jewelry in his pocket that he stole, but to steal a bin and jewelry and get any form of beating is not justice. The thief’s wrongdoing revealed the true character of the security man.

If the thief went to prison for a day or a year or just a warning that is justice, but to hurt a man for someone’s own joy is sickening.

To build a greater world we need to turn the other cheek and show others that the battle can be won through love and not war.

Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my own friends. – Abraham Lincoln.

The thief was poor, probably had no job and could be in dire straights (which is no reason to steal). But if we showed him love through a
young age and built a strong community around him he would have a better chance of bringing good to our world. If I was in his shoes who knows
what I would have done.

The start of a better tomorrow starts with someone standing up to the wicked in the world and replying with love and the belief that all of us
can have joy in our hearts that is everlasting, no matter the situation.

Can you be care-free but yet careful?

It’s been a few days now where I am without a phone and it’s tough.
It’s also quite scary to think how reliant I am on my phone.
Being on your phone takes away loads of your time and to put it simply,
it’s just not good for you. I could write a whole blog post just about
why you shouldn’t be on your phone for too long but there is sufficient material
over the web so I’m good with just skipping that part.

The part I’m going to go over is actually how I broke my phone
and why it is totally my fault.

Something that I read a while back from the Bible says:
‘ The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.’ – Proverbs 16:33.

If you are a bit clueless of what lots here let me explain:
So lots have been used for a very long time, since biblical times.
It can be literally a bunch of rocks with each item representing an outcome.
The primary reason for casting lots was to render an impartial, unbiased decision on important matters. The ancient practice of casting lots would be the same as throwing dice or flipping a coin we commonly use today. In ancient times, they used varying means to cast lots, depending on the place and local customs, such as coins, polished sticks, cards, dice, and so on. The interesting thing about lots are that a wide variety of people use lots,
it’s not as if only one culture uses it but it seems a lot of us
use it, back then and now.

You might remember the story with Jonah where he was on a boat with a few fisherman who did not believe in God. When Jonah got onto the boat the sea changed from peaceful to a giant storm. The men were doing everything they could just to hang on. One of them decided to cast lots to see who the culprit was. When they casted the lots they discovered it was in fact Jonah. This was true, seeing that Jonah was intended to go to Nineveh but didn’t listen Jonah was being directed to Nineveh but Jonah’s plan was to go into the opposite direction.

So if we look at the men who casted lots: They don’t believe in God but their lots
still showed that Jonah was causing them grief. So was it just by chance? Or is there some other sort of spirit in play determining the outcome of lots?

No, I don’t think so. I believe that it was God who showed the men that it was Jonah through the lots, even though they don’t believe in God.

This goes back to the verse that even though we can plan our future, ultimately God will determine the outcome.

This revolutionized the way I think about life. It was a mind-blowing statement for me because the way I now see things is totally different. the reason why I say this is because what if every decision in anything is up to God? What if God decides who wins the toss of a cricket match between 8 year olds? Well there is one thing for sure: He does have the power to.

You might be thinking then, ‘Well if everything is up to God then anything I do will have no meaning.’

I had a similar mentality, believing that if God is for me then I shouldn’t have to worry because God will get me out of any difficult situation. And that is true, but what I realised is you will face the consequences from a bad decision.

I started to live a care-free life. Enjoying what life throws at me. But things started to go wrong. That’s okay though right? God will get me through. I started to break things at work and at clients homes, but every time I told myself it is going to be okay. I did start to worry when I actually got warned that I need to get my act straight or I might get a written warning. That was really intense
but for some reason I brushed over it and I eventually paid the price.

After a day at the beach I was walking home with a few things in my hand, one of them being my phone. Moments later my phone falls, my first instinct was that it’s okay, I mean I have dropped my phone countless times and each time it was fine. Also it landed on my cover so no worries. But then I thought to myself
that the sound it made when hitting the ground was ridiculously loud. When I picked it up I started to worry, Usually I don’t even check to see if it’s broken but this time I checked and it didn’t look good. The screen would barely light up and as time went the screen became more and more obsolete.

Then it became real to me. I was so confused as to why everything was going wrong in my life.
I started to think of all the times it happened, am I cursed now?
I was not(thankfully). Looking back at each incident I was not careful enough, doing silly things. Each time God could have saved me from breaking each thing, but then I wouldn’t have learned.

I was living a care-free life, but I wasn’t careful.

I have now finally learned my lesson. It doesn’t mean I won’t break anything anymore, because unfortunately things happen which we do not have control over. But I will be more careful.

I hope that you are careful in what you do. Take risks because most of us don’t think that you could reap great rewards, but it also means you could lose greatly. But that is the gamble when it comes to taking
risks, but eventually you will get rather good at it and surely reap a great reward.

Finding a light amongst the darkness

It seems that more and more diseases are being formed and spread. The amount of allergies people have are growing. Long-term injuries are the norm. It seems we are all suffering, some more than others.It’s hard to wrap my head around all of this. Why is the darkness spreading so rapidly?If the evil is flourishing, where is the good?This is a year that God’s promises will be fulfilled. Your harvest will be many this year; but there is an enemy standing in front of that door, that door of prosperity.In this sprititual warfare that we deal with on a daily basis we need to call upon the light, the good, the Messiah. The only way evil can flourish is if the good does nothing.So call upon the name of Jesus.There is a silver lining in all of this darkness however: seeing the power of evil is so strong at this point of time, shouldn’t the power of good be even stronger? I would say so because God has already won the battle, and nothing is greater than He.So be expectant for the impossible, for the radical moments. You will witness the blind eyes open. The deaf who will now hear. The helpless helped. The impure transformed to pure.There is nothing God can’t do. So whenever you have desperation in your heart remember that He is coming to get you and turn your life around.Also, remember that you have the power to heal, restore and bring hope. Not because of your works but because of what is inside of you.With all of the negativity around, there is going to be some radical miracles.

Doing the impossible

I played half a round of gold the other day with a friend at the nearest golf course (which is pretty much up the road from my house). It was the first time I played in over 8 years so it was going to be rather interesting but nonetheless very exciting.

On the 6th hole I played what I would like to think was a beautiful stroke with my 9 iron. It was the perfect velocity and flight to land perfectly on the green close the hole, but my accuracy was unfortunately just wide and it landed in the bunker.

After my shot we walked to the bunker and my friend looked at me and said:”Just take it out, that shot is impossible.” Now we aren’t professionals and moving the ball wouldn’t change much because we were just having a good time; but the word impossible made me eager to show him that the shot in fact was possible.

It felt like one of those epic moments where all the odds were stacked against me. I get my stance, look at the hole and just give a gentle shot towards the hole. Lo and behold I was able to get enough flight and power to give the perfect shot to not only escape the sandpit but get it pretty close to the hole. What a feeling it was to prove him wrong even though it meant absolutely nothing in terms of our game. But it was still epic.

Having something that is your favourite means that you prefer a certain thing out of all the others of its kind. It doesn’t matter how many new flavours of ice-cream is introduced at your favourite restaurant you will still choose that flavour you always love.

Some favourites can be easy to choose from such as colours, animals and even sports. But there are certain things that aren’t so easy to favouritise. If you look at films, I can only think of a handfew of those that I know that have a favourite film, the rest can’t decide between a select few, and I don’t blame them. There are just so many to choose from which makes it difficult to decide.

One of these tough decisions on favourites are words. But I do have a favourite. That word is impossible. An event that is unable to occur. We tend to use it incorrectly for some reason. Exaggerating how difficult something could be. It seems to be in our nature. We are prone to rather accept that we can’t do something instead of attempting to get it right. There are too few of us challenging the limits of what underachievers have set out for us. We simply believe that what they say is true.

There was once a story of a farmer who had a elephant calf. The farmer didn’t have a fence to sorround it so he tied a rope long enough that the calf was able to move freely but strong enough that it couldn’t escape.

Once the calf became the size of a normal elephant the farmer never realised the rope wouldn’t be strong enough anymore to contain the elephant. But the elephant never tried. So for the rest of its life it was tied to a tree even though it was able to escape.

The elephant never believed it could escape from the beginning so it was bound to stay tied up.

Do not fear failure but rather fear not trying – Roy T. Bennett

We need to break the culture of trying not to fail and make a fool of ourselves but to rather try and try till we get it right. There are some pretty ‘average’ people who chose to face their fears and have failed so often but through it all they learned from it and now are victorious.

Thrive on failure because it makes you stronger. Show others how easy it is to do something that is ‘impossible’ because you will inspire others to try and break the cycle.

And above all, make sure you see the faces of those that say you can’t when proving them wrong.

God’s plan for you is so much greater than any plan you could ever think of

Sitting down and planning out your life can be tiresome. You plan your journey on how to get to your ideal destination.

Will you make it though? Will you even come close? Or better yet, if it’s a 10 year plan and half way through do you realise I don’t even want to be there anymore?

That’s the thing about life. You wish you could hit back but trying to break the system is like trying to attack your shadow, it takes a lot of your energy and in the end you probably regret even trying.

Life gives you curveballs. You fall short on occasions and there isn’t a single thing you can do about it.

I believe there is a solution however. There is one who knows your future, one who created you in your mother’s womb and who knew you before you were even conceived.

Here comes a clichè bible verse~ Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

I thought I had life figured out. I thought I had control over it but in the end you only really have control over your decisions (you don’t even have control over your stomach, i mean if you gotta go you gotta go). I always wanted to be in control, in everything. But a wild turn in my life caused me to think differently.

This wild turn was a decision. A decision to take my pride and instead of doing what’s best for me (or so I thought) I decided to listen to what God was saying. It was a yes/no decision or rather a stay/go one; but the impact it had was so much more than a simple question.

From that day on my sense of controlling began to lessen. Today there’s a very good chance that someone will ask me to do something crazy and I won’t even think about the possible ramifications, i’ll just do it ,Nike style. Ok yes, I do think about my decisions but it’s those little ones that we tend to instantly reject instead of just going with it and having a fun time. For some reason we tend to say no so often without thinking about it, we need to say yes way more often. I can honestly say though the frightening things I’ve done has been liberating and it also brought me to a place of excitement and joy, taking away the fear I once had for things.

So my conclusion is this: Yes, it is important to have goals because they challenge you to strive for better. But planning your life is going to give you a headache pretty soon. But don’t worry because God’s plan for your life is so much greater than your own. It is greater than your wildest dreams. I had a plan for what my year would look like and looking what it truly is I couldn’t have asked for a better year. It has come with a lot more hardships but the way it has stretched me has been so incredibly significant.

But I got there out of a place of obedience. I did have a plan for my year but my final decision came from the Lord’s guidance. Spend lots of time with Him and He will reveal to you what you need. It probably won’t be everything that you would want to hear but you will know the most important things. Then the rest He probably wants you to figure out or is waiting for the perfect time to tell you.

So be happy with what God has shown you, but be in pursuit for more. Perhaps He has more to tell but He is waiting for you to show up at His feet more often than you normally do. Sink deeper into His presence, His word, His love and His grace.

Sometimes all you need to do is take a leap of faith and trust that His decision is what’s best for your life and I’m sure you will live out the best life you could ever expect.

Change is necessary for growth

I had the priviledge of visiting my parents home for just a few days, but it was very much needed. It’s the first time where I can actually say that I don’t live with my parents anymore. But that’s why it was needed to visit, because this new and scary change was difficult for me and I needed the support from the people that have known and loved me their whole life (it was also nice to not have to cook for a few days).

What was also special of this vacation was that I finally saw my parents new home. I left just before they moved so I never got to see it. I lived in the same house with my parents for my whole life and finally when I leave they move, quite ironic.

Seeing the new home that is just a few hundred metres from the beach as opposed to being a 30 minute drive was music to my ears. And to top it off we have a pool as well, not that i’ll use it.

The move was difficult for the whole family, saying goodbye to close friends, my dad leaving his previous job and just putting everything we have and own into this new move, this new life.

With a tough journey ahead there was no other option than to fight through the hard beginnings and perservere through the sudden change of lifestyle.

I was unfortunately not able to play a bigger role in the transition of a new journey and be there for my family, I was on my own journey, still am. But now when finally seeing the new home I was blessed to see how they have settled in and started to get the rest of their bodies above water.

It got me thinking though. This new move for them was difficult and they had to say goodbye to certain comforts and embrace their new lifestyle. It was definitely difficult for then but the change was totally beneficial.

And I do actually feel I played a role in the transition even though I was not there, through prayer. Prayer is the way to bring the supernatural power of God into all situations because even though you aren’t in a specific place He is there and He can act on your behalf as long as you call upon His name.

Change is good. Change is necessary. It keeps you updated with the worlds hardships. Change is inevitable. You should never fear it for it’s always there.

Embrace change, it’s there to make you grow.