Friday, December 24, 2010

Desert Vixens Wax the Dash

I've always loved Namibia, wide open spaces, stunning desert environment and a population density of less than two people per square kilometre which means that most of the country seems deserted. When I was asked to second a team on the Desert Dash, I didn't hesitate. Not for a moment.

The Desert Dash is an annual race from Windhoek to Swakopmund, 340km which must be completed in less than 24hrs. Options are solo, and two person or 4 person teams. All riders must ride the first and last 35km and their share of the 70km stages in between. This means that there is a mass of support vehicles at the first stage hand-over, fewer at the next and so on. Water points are in the middle of each of the 70km stages and riders may not be assisted along the route by their back-up vehicles.

The race starts at 3pm, with most teams making the top of the Kupferberg in about two hours.

The FNB Namibia Desert Vixens before the start

The start was accompanied by harsh gusting wind, all the way to the top of the Kupferberg, slowing riders somewhat but also offering some respite from the heat.

Gisela starting the Us Pass stage

Kupferberg is chaos as the designated rider moves on and the others get themselves into the support vehicles for the trek to the beginning of the next stage, in this case the Kuiseb Bridge after the Us Pass.

Louis "Luiperd" Wessels showing how the masters do it

Unidentified rider making like a fokofpolisiekar down the Us Pass

Gisela ripped this stage, with her half candle-power light she never even saw the yawning chasms over the edge of the pass. Way to ride.

Kim attacked the second stage with a sense of urgency unknown in these parts, being familiar with the stage, she had a plan. All I can say is that I'm glad that I wasn't out there on a bike in my present state of fitness. So I stuck to this.......

Kim flew into the Khomas Safari checkpoint, giving the graveyard shift to Sandra. Kim, it appears is unflappable.

This "undulating" stretch seemed to be never-ending dust. By this time I was hallucinating in the dust clouds (did I mention the dust?). The dilemma of passing riders and leaving them in the dust, knowing that you really have no choice, but it still goes against the grain.

The BloedKopje checkpoint was where I hoped to get some sleep, so I pushed the driver's seat back and passed out, regrettably my over-trained team were having none of this. It wasn't long before Tina set out on her stage to the Power Station checkpoint, Sandra having ripped the section in faster than expected time
Tina setting out from Bloedkopje at dawn

Wicked Desert Vixen behaviour
(no sound or video images available)

The Power Station checkpoint was where the entire team regrouped for the final stretch into Swakopmund.

Arriving at the finish the team looked as calm and composed as they had at the start nineteen and a half hours earlier!

Kim, Sandra, Tina, Gisela after a very credible 19 h 31min
(I'm the Fat Bastard without a bike)

PS Mannie Heymans set a new record of 12h13min. Solo. Loco.


  1. They don't look like the weaker sex to me. I would be so intimidated but I would love it. All except the riding in the dirt part. Please pass my appreciation to these ladies for affirming my thoughts that world survival will depend on the females not the men.

  2. Steady on! They are a handful as it is, now with you giving them ideas about saving the world, I'm in trouble ;)
    After all, what would I do with four young SWHMBO's .......?

    The sound of a Dak flying overhead is also my kind of music.

  3. Yes, indeed the natural superiority of women....of course with undeniable support from some special men :-)

  4. Oh no, my worst nightmare has unleashed itself. Anonymous Uppity Wimmin.....

  5. Well, as long as the women supply some entertainment for a few chosen men.....should you gents complain?? :-)

  6. One of the chosen men is not complaining.

  7. South African slang term for something that goes very fast, like a police car in pursuit.
    Also like a bicycle going down the Us Pass.
    Not to be confused with Afrikaans band of same name.