Tuesday, October 26, 2010

If I Only

Without planning to, someone cross your life path that changes your life or perspective on life in such a way that you can't stop thinking about that person.

That someone crossed my path this weekend. I didn't know the person, didn't plan on meeting him or didn't even know he exists until our charity ride project.

One resident of House Betsie Louw made such a huge impact on me that I need to, or let me rephrase, want to tell you more about him.

His name is Pieter and although he is mentally handicapped, or as they say these days mentally challenged he is just one awesome person.

I didn't post any pictures of Pieter on purpose apart from the one with Donnalee as I wanted to save it for this post.

When I first saw him Saturday morning when our fund raiser started, I didn't take much notice but he just blew my mind away.

He helped us the whole Saturday and Sunday without complaining once. In fact I never even saw him take a break to eat something, he just kept going. If it wasn't for him convincing hundreds of people to do the Computrainer challenge or take a raffle ticket to win the bike, I know we wouldn't have raised such an awesome amount.

We even had this Chuck Norris joke: "Chuck Norris was at the Mall and didn't want to buy a raffle ticket but Pieter made him buy one"

We always look for Icons or Heroes to look up to. If the advice is not coming from a film star or a successful sportsman we don't even bother listening.
We read books on how to behave, what to do, when to do it and what will happen when you don't do it.
Well let me give you some advice, you don't need to look that far, just find the Pieter in your community.
If I only had the patience Pieter has
If I only had the confidence....
If I only had the enthusiasm....
If I only had the sense of humor...
If I only had the believe...
If I only had the courage...
If I only had the energy...
If I only had the knowledge not to judge people.

Thank you Pieter, for giving me the opportunity to meet you, it was a real honour.

I salute you!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Having Fun, That's all

Some more photos about Sunday's charity ride. There are so many pics and if I have to upload them all, my next twenty posts will be just photos.

I suppose you had enough about the charity ride and here are the final photos of the 200+ my sister took. Thank you Heloise for playing photographer for the day, on very short notice and to my Mother and Gerhard for manning the table the entire day.

Appreciate it.

I will do one last post tomorrow about someone that really touched my heart during this weekend and then it's back to the Ironman training blogging stuff.

Donnalee Roberts, who play the character of Annalie in the TV series 7de Laan, was at the Mall and came to say hello. That must have been the highlight of the weekend if not of their life's for the residents of HBL
Pieter helping Donnalee getting her donation in the container.
One thing I can say is that we had fun. Look at the pictures and all you see is smiling faces. That's what it is all about, having fun, no matter what you do even if some curve balls are coming your way (and we had a few)
With 15 laps done the wind also decided that it is taking our Gazebo down and the rest of the afternoon was spend raising funds in the sun with no shade. My mother don't have a new hairstyle, that's the wind blowing that bad.
Just to summarize, a total of 24 laps(245km) were done. Most guys did between 170km and 200km.
We had to make a tough decision 10 hours into the challenge. It started raining, becoming very dark with some thunder. With us doing 3km on the freeway, it was just too dangerous to continue with visibility not great.

We decided to call it a day and we didn't want to spoil 10 hours of cycling and fun during a great weekend with some incident during the final 2 hours. In the end I know we made the right decision.

We are so thankful that the whole weekend was a success without any serious incidents.
Getting a hug from DJ in between laps.
DJ drooling over the bike, she even bough a ticket herself but it wasn't her lucky day
Doing the draw for the bike.
Sandra getting the name from the list after a number was drawn.
Johann phoning the lucky winner of the mountain bike.

Thank you to everyone who donated, supported us and for helping to make this weekend a great success

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Words can't describe.........

Words can't describe how I feel and what we achieved with our 12 hour Charity Ride for House Betsie Louw this weekend.

With this being me and Johan de Klerk's first taste of being organizers of a fundraiser and doing something that's never been done in Witbank before we didn't know what to expect and gave our self a modest but uncertain target of raising R12000, a R1000 per hour.

I am glad to report back that through the Blog, Company sponsors, donations and our two day charity drive we raised more than double of what our target was.

R26 546($3850) was raised, Thank you so much friends. You don't know and won't imagine how we appreciate it.

House Betsie are going to use these funds to convert the garage into an "arts and craft" centre. I spoke to the chairman of HBL, Albert Schimdling and he told me that currently they have people coming to the house three times a week to teach the residents some skills.

At this stage they use their dining room for this but need to clear everything whenever they need to have lunch or dinner and this create quite a problem.

By converting the garage to accommodate their classes this problem will be solved. So good when you know that the money you raised is going to a specific project.

Saturday we set up the Computrainer in the Mall and it was a huge success. People could pay R10 to take a shot at a 3km flat TT Route.

We had spot prizes for the five fastest male and female times and people were queuing to give it a go.

The mountain bike that CycleTech donated was also a huge success. For R10 you could buy a ticket to win the bike. After the two days we sold 335 tickets, but what was amazing was that people would give R10, R20, R50 or R100 and said no problem just give me one ticket or even just donated without taking at ticket.

Amazing that the man that won the bike is going on pension end of the year and he said that he told his wife, when he goes on pension he is buying himself a mountain bike to keep himself busy. Amazing!

And then on Sunday we had the 12 hour ride and taking donations and selling raffle tickets.

But that's now enough words, here's the pics.

Johann de Klerk testing out the Computrainer Saturday morning before we start

6am Sunday morning and we're ready to go

Set up at Mall entranceSandra, the manager at Highveld Mall and her Husband, Francois. Ready to ride. We had a mountain bike team doing the route a few times during the day. Sandra helped us a lot and we are so thankfull for that. Wouldn't be possible without her assistance.The "boys" ready for some fundraising.People donating Even Cyclists donating100km's done, still a long way to go.

More pictures little bit later.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

House Betsie Louw 12hour Charity Ride

A crazy idea between some friends, to see how far we can cycle in 12 hours, saw the House Betsie Louw 12 hour Charity Ride being born.

It is taking place next Sunday, the 24th of October 2010.

We initially asked the question, if runners get 12 hours to run 89.9km during the Comrades Marathon, what would a cyclist be able to do on a bike in 12 hours. We then decided to give it a try and while we're at it, let's see if a charity organization can benefit from it.

House Betsie Louw was chosen and below is more about the house, which is situated in my hometown Witbank.

A private, non-profit welfare organisation with its own constitution and bank account that is controlled by a voluntary Management committee which meets twice a month and is elected every two years.

The house is under the control of the Matron, Chairman, House Committee, Care Giver and Assistant Care Giver.

The aim is to provide boarding to physical and mentally handicapped persons. The Management attempt to create a homely atmosphere by allocating different household duties to the residents, like cleaning their own rooms and washing the dishes. The boys can help in the garden and cut the lawn to promote a feeling of pride in their home.

Huis Betsie Louw was officially opened on the 25 November 1987 with 5 handicapped occupants in a rented house with a Matron and an Assistant. With the increase in rentals and the lack of housing for the handicapped in the community, the committee decided to purchase their own home. The acquisition of a derelict house in Jackaroo Park was achieved in May 2001.

After different fundraising projects the mortgage was paid and after very hard work and perseverance House Betsie Louw exists today with 13 bedrooms, 4 showers, 6 toilets, 3 bathrooms, living room, dining-room, kitchen and pantry, laundry and an apartment plus a double garage. At the moment a total of 28 persons of whom 25 are handicapped, 2 Care Givers and a Matron are being housed.

The day will start at 6am on Sunday 24 October at the Highveld Mall shopping centre. The route take us through some neighbourhoods before we hit the Freeway and then arrive back at the Mall, a 10.2 kilometer loop in total.

We will then aim to see how many laps we can do until 6pm that night.

We struggled to get approval from the National Road agency to use a 3km stretch of the National Freeway but eventually they approved with the condition that a maximum of ten cyclist are allowed on the Freeway, making the fundraising a little bit more demanding.

Our aim is to raise R12000($1600) for the event, 12 Hours = R12k.

A big thank you to Marco from CycleTech bike shop, my LBS. He donated a Mountain Bike, which will be raffled on the day.

Sandra, manager at the Highveld Mall, also helped a lot and helped us getting spot prizes from all the local shops in the Mall which we will hand out during the day to people who donate.

The local running club( Coaldust) also helped us with Banners and a Timing Clock and Cones to place on the Freeway (another condition to be able to use the Freeway)

My blog is not a charity blog but if you feel you can spare some loose cents, I'll appreciate it so much. The residents from House Betsie will appreciate it even more.

Let's be thankful for being able to swim, BIKE and run and think about those that can't do it due to their Mental or Physical condition.

Please Click on the "Donate" button right at the top of the blog to donate or you can do a bank transfer into House Betsie's account with reference "Charity Ride".

The banking details:
Bank: Nedbank
Branch Code: 146805
Account Nr: 1468036963

House Betsie is a registered welfare organization and their registration number is: 025-134-NPO . For those who donate and need a Receipt to claim back the tax, just let me know and House Betsie will provide you with a receipt.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Got to Make a Living

Maybe I am wrong but it seems that during the past three odd months or so, more and more informal businesses are popping up everywhere.

In South Africa we are use to the street vendors but lately I've seem more businesses being set up right next to the road.

I don't blame these people, it may not look very neat and they may not pay the taxes they should be but at least they are trying and are not going the route which a lot of people's gone lately, begging for money at the traffic lights with a sign telling you how many children he's got and can't afford food.

The picture right at the top is a guy who's having his own restaurant next to the road. Below is the same guy expanding his business a few days later. He has now put up a stand with some fruit and vegetables if you don't feel like eating at his place. He just saw the cap in the market.

Here is a guy running a bicycle shop, don't know if I will take Roxy to him for a service. Think I will keep supporting CycleTech.

This guy is selling brooms and truck tyres converted into children swings on top of a bridge at an intersection leading to the Freeway.
A mini mall selling furniture, decorations for your garden or house and lawn if you need to sort out that empty patch in your yard.

Another restaurantAn open air restaurant with a take out facility.The local Barber shop.

Some other random news is we've got new neighbours. Little bit shy but I'll think we will get on pretty well. DJ is just scared that they will steal Dolly but I said to her I don't think they are capable of doing it although they keep a close eye on Dolly at night when she goes outside for a pee.

Don't think they have any children.

Not a good picture but you can see the two owls on the roof.
Jokes aside these two owls have made our roof their home during the night since last week and what an awesome sight and that amazing sound when they fly over your head.

Tuesday's training was short but hard. I did a power interval bike session in the morning with 10x2 minute intervals all out and a fartlek running session in the afternoon, doing 30 seconds intervals.

Monday was a gym and swim session with 15x100 sprints as the main set. Just didn't have the speed and energy after Sunday's session but could still manage to finish the session.

Also took my bike to Cervelo. Amazing service from these guys. I did sent them an email last week complaining that the seat post on the new bike is also slipping just like the old one.

They did say that the 2011 models have an improved seat post clamp on the P4's. Monday they sent me an email to ask when can I bring my bike, as they managed to get one of the 2011 clamps and want to fit it to my bike. Thank you Cervelo