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‘I almost died but I’ll do it again’ says brother after ‘cycling surprise’

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‘When we started, the vibe was amazing with so many people around us; everybody was in good spirits and enjoying the moment they were in.’

Seen from left are Uncle Tiaan de Necker, Eben van Schalkwyk, Doré van Schalkwyk, Anja de Necker, brother Benje Fourie, Edrich Fourie and father Etienne Fourie. Picture: Supplied

“I almost died, but I will do it all over again with a bit more practice next time.”

These were the words of Kimberley resident Edrich Fourie after completing the Cape Town Cycle tour that he and his family were signed up for without them even knowing.

Edrich’s brother, Benje Fourie, while wondering how he could spend some quality time with his family when he came down to South Africa from Amsterdam, thought that the Cycle Tour would be perfect.

And after the shock had worn off, some training was done, and the weekend of the competition arrived.

ALSO READ: Birthday surprise will see family suffering up Suikerbossie on Sunday

“We all arrived in Cape Town on Friday before the cycle tour started, and it was really good to see my brother. So, we went out for a couple of beers and then went to the cycling expo the next night to get our numbers and kit. I left my water bottles at home, so I could then buy two new bottles for the trip at the expo,” said Edrich. He added that later that evening they went to a restaurant and carbo-loaded on pasta.

“I woke up at 5am, feeling very nervous. I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I made some coffee for my brother and me while we went over our bikes to see if everything was OK.”

Once everyone was up, the Fouries then cycled about four kilometres to the starting line and kicked off their adventure at about 8.30am.

Edrich continues: “When we started, the vibe was amazing with so many people around us; everybody was in good spirits and enjoying the moment they were in.

“With so many people starting together, our family could not stay in one pack. My brother, father, and I could manage to stay together while the rest left and went off on their own.”

Edrich explained that the first 12 kilometres of the tour were nice and relaxed, with cyclists everywhere around them.

“After about 12 kilometres, there was an uphill climb. Halfway up that hill was the moment I realised that I wanted to quit. I wanted to get off of my bike and push it up the hill, but then I realised that there were another 97 kilometres to go, and I was not going to leave my family in that way,” he said.

Edrich said that when they started going downhill, things got a lot better.

“From there, the cycling went very well. We stopped at a place along the route to have some water, use the toilet, and just rest a little. Cycling along the coast is something I will remember for the rest of my life. Seeing the beautiful scenery is something you need to take in, and luckily on that day, we had absolutely no wind,” he said.

Edrich said that when they got to Chapman’s Peak, things got real. He mentioned that the climb for him was very tough, and he had to get off of his bike and push it several times.

“Every now and then, there are photographers situated along the route; that is where you get back on your bike, cycle past him, and get off,” he joked.

Edrich Fourie, Benje Fourie and father Etienne Fourie is seen posing for a photo on Chapmans Peak. Picture: Supplied

“Reaching the top of Chapman’s Peak was probably one of the nicest scenes I’ve ever seen. We stopped at the top to appreciate the breathtaking view, and I took a photo to remember that day.

“I have always heard people speak about ‘Suikerbossie’, and I now understand why. By the time we reached Suikerbossie, my legs were shot, and I had no choice but to walk it out and try to survive the climb. My legs started cramping up badly after Suikerbossie, and this all took place while the temperature was at 36 degrees Celsius.

“Luckily, after Suikerbossie was done, we were also almost done with the race. My father, brother, and I crossed the finish line in just under six hours.

“After the race was done, we all went for a well-deserved cold beer.”

Edrich Fourie shows off his sunburn 11 days after the Cape Town Cycle Tour. Picture: Danie van der Lith

Later that night is when things started going downhill for Edrich. He explained that everybody wanted to go out for supper, but he was not able to as he was lying in bed with sunburn and his body was shaking uncontrollably.

“The next morning I had to go to the doctor due to dehydration, and I am sure I had some sunstroke as well. The doctor gave me meds to hydrate, but I could feel the effects for a couple of days after. It was so bad that I completely forgot what my laptop password was,” he said.

“I will definitely do this again, but this time I will put in more time in the saddle. The experience was awesome, and what made it even better was the fact that I could do it with my family,” he concluded.

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