A story of commitment

Recently we received this letter from one of the participants at the Aldam race. This letter speaks of courage, commitment and guts of someone who is prepared to live his dreams with faith. 

Dear Adri

By way of introduction my name my name is Lindsay van der Byl, I'm a 31 year old East London born, Johannesburg based Social Entrepreneur (Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship Alumni), Motivational Speaker & Youth Coach.

I have always been a competitive person having represented Border, Eastern Cape & Kwazulu Natal for Cross Country & Track & Field respectively at high school & post matric. I am the founder of #Cycle4change which is a Reading Awareness Initiative that comprises a +-1600km cycle from the Union Buildings in Pretoria to the Parliament in Cape Town. The initiative was a 3year old dream that I was scared of imementing because I doubted whether it would realistically be possible. During January 2016 I decided no more am I doubting myself and I will complete my cycle whether I get sponsors or not. Needless to say I didn't have a bike to train and resorted to running on the road and used a 3month Virgin Active sponsor to train. On the day of the Cycle 4 July 2016 I was lucky enough to get Northcliff Cycles to loan me a decent bike which was later converted to a sponsor as a result of the massive media coverage I received.

So having started cycling in July I always wondered how I would fare in competition especially multi-discipline. That thought lead me to the Triathlon SA website and came to notice the Aldam event. I then banked on getting some I my invoices paid which were late.

On Friday 14th October Northcliff Cycles replaced my back wheel with a new one as I didn't have money at te time but I was way too determined to make Aldam my first event. I decided I'm going to Free State regardless of money

I had abt only R600 on me and did an eft to Naudeville for both Saturday & Sundays events. At 19:00 Friday night very excited I cycled from Roodepoort in JHB West to Grassmere Toll Plaza but 9km into the Cycle I realised that I forgot my bag at home, turned back another 9km home all this at night. When I got my bag I continued with my 32km journey to Grassmere Plaza.

When I got to the Toll gate, I disassembled my bike, fastened the wheels to the frame via my chain lock and proceeded to hitch-hike. Within 2minutes of hiking a truck stopped and offered me a lift at R100 to Ventersburg and I negotiated him down to R50 and he accepted. I arrived in Ventersburg around 00:45 assembled my bike and proceeded to go buy food at the 24hr shop. After eating and drinking I decided to go to the police station so that i can just get shelter for the few remaining hours. I fell asleep on the bunk in the charge office and woke up around 05:30 when the officers were changing shifts. I then enquired for directions to Aldam and was told I'm very far from where I needed to be. I was told that the only way I could go, was on the N1 towards Bloemfontein for about 30km. After brushing my teeth I proceeded and when I got to the Aldam off-ramp I realised I had another 10km waiting for me before I get to Aldam which was around 08:00 1hour before my 1st Cross Triathlon.

In the race I was number 28 out of the water and after the Bike leg I was in a Top 10 position to which I swore I will give my all to ensure I ended up in a Top 10 position.

After the race, I went for a shower and then the weather started turning for the worse. I knew one thing for certain cycling back to Ventersburg CBD was not an option as the rain would ultimately catch me on the N1. I had abt R400 left on me and as I bought food the gentleman who ran the stall oom Walter asked me where I'm from and where in sleeping I explained the situation to him. I told him that I was aware that the accommodation at the Dam was full, (not that I was interested in spending the last money I had) and that I was prepared to just throw myself on a table in the nearby hall just so I can wake a bit fresh and not under the enormous pressure I had the morning. He then offered me a place to stay over for the night at a chalet which he hired for his staff. I accepted same and was able to sleep 2km from the Dam at the neighbouring Willem Pretorius. Day 2 racing started a bit earlier than day 1 for me and having had a good rest and warm up I was determined to push myself to another Top 10 position in the 35km Mountain biking race. In the race I ended up in 10th position

After the race I went for a shower, bought food to eat and prepared to go back home. I took the 10km cycle back to the N1 to avoid sweating. The minute I got to to N1 I disassembled my bike again as in the attached pic and the 1st bakkie that came literally less than 30sec stopped and the driver complained that R50 was too little and that I must at least make it R70. I gave the driver the R70 and as Faith had it, this lift ended up dropping me in front of the house. I had an awesome weekend and as much as I was the only 'Coloured' person in my races I never once felt out or sidelined. Everyone was super friendly, ready to engage in conversation and made my trip so much more memorable and worth all the troubles. I will recommend the Aldam Multisports weekend as a "To Do Item" on everyone's annual plan.

Many thanks for your interest in my journey and hope you share same with others for inspiration

Yours sincerely

Lindsay van der Byl