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A day in the life of.... | Mike Woolnough

I’m pushing my bike through a field of daisies when a 22 wheeler appears out of nowhere. Black smoke belches from the exhaust stack as it lunges though the fence on the far side of the paddock. I see the driver look around before he swerves the rig in my direction. The engine tone changes as the driver crashes through the gears urging the snorting behemoth ever faster. It’s barreling toward me. The driver, eyes so wide I can see the blood vessels on the whites of his eyes. I’m confused. Why is he ripping through the pristine flowers, shredding the plants and whipping up a cloud of petals. It’s not right. I look up. Oh, it’s a Peterbilt 579. Hmm, I wonder if the driver knows his right headlamp bulb is broken. When it’s close enough to touch I’m blasted by the sound of the truck's air horn. Eyes still closed I reluctantly liberate one arm from the warm embrace of the duvet and reach over to the bedside table and dab around until I manage to silence the alarm on my phone.

I don’t want to believe it’s already 05:15. I’m exhausted. The Freedom Challenge Race Across South Africa is tough. It’s demanding. I only got to bed after midnight. It’s been 10 straight days of working my way down the trail with only a few hours of sleep each night. I’m tempted to lay back and steal a few more minutes. The second alarm sounds. It’s annoying. A few years back I chose this irritating alarm tone especially for the race. It reminds me that sleep is the enemy of progress.

I stumble out of bed, grab and don my glasses before heading down to the kitchen to put the kettle on. While I wait for it boil I check where the competitors are. I’m please to see that 4 riders have already flown their overnight coops. Good, it’s irritating when they decide to sleep in. If I’ve got to get up early to follow their dots then it’s only right that they are about their business while I’m waiting for the first of many cups of tea. One things for sure, being a dot watcher is not for sissies.

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