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Good Idea? Bad Idea?


In 2019 I made a bike harness so I could carry the bike hands free. I strapped on the bike at the bottom of Lehana and made good progress up the climb. The problem was the setup was complicated and it was difficult to take the bike off and rest. I also started late in the day and felt pressure to get up before it got dark. Blame Leon vd Merwe and Anton (I think) for scaring me earlier in the day about getting lost on Lehanas at night.


So I raced up in about 3 hours. I came around the fence line at the top and when I could spot the road I collapsed exhausted from the effort. The wind was howling, of course, and night, and the temperature, was falling fast.


I immediately became cold and knew I had to layer up before the chill set in. But I was too tired to get the bike off my back. I lay down and managed to unclip the bike straps and wriggle out of the harness. I quickly grabbed my puffy but as I zipped it up, the zipper jammed. With my hands going numb from the cold I couldn't get a good enough grip to unjam it. As the shivers set in I had visions of hypothermia at the top of Lehanas, far away from anything.


Fortunately my hands still worked well enough to reassemble the bike (the wheels came off to make a more compact carrying envelope) and my GoreTex layer plus the climb up to Tena Head Lodge warmed me up and a few hours later I rolled safely into Rhodes. I'm sure there are better stories, but in a way this shows what happens on the trail. There are all these moments between the easy kms where things get stressful. Then you get through it and everything is fine again, but that memory remains.


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The only way I could make it up Lehana's pass in 2019 was with a strap - weighting the bike like a sherpa. Worked brilliantly.



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