The Kinetic Full Moon Adventure: Tame Nature or Die Trying

We are, all of us, a little crazy at times. But it seems my family has, whether it be by blood or by marriage, produced a whole different kind of nut… the kind that considers “taking on nature” to be a team sport. Imagine six different manifestations of Bear Grylls, two of them with breasts, put them all in cycling shorts and then let them loose in any manner of wilderness with very little other than a compass and their 29-ers*. Pick them up again two days later, worse for the wear.

Whereas most of us would be completely and utterly bewildered by this kind of scenario, the above-mentioned crew of lunatics regularly pays good money to engage in this kind of madness. They call it Adventure Racing and every year they travel all over South Africa to test their endurance in what is fast becoming a very popular multi-discipline and outdoor team sport. Pitting their own strengths not only against nature – a formidable opponent in her own right – but also against other, equally-insane groups of bundu-bashing adrenaline junkies, my siblings seem to live by a code that goes against the very idea of self-preservation: If it’s dark, if it’s dangerous and if it’s completely impossible to cross… then they must and they WILL cross it.

I have watched them go and I have watched them return with less skin, more blood and the kind of mud-smeared grins that, had we been living in the 18th century, would have landed them all a stint in the madhouse.  One sister, in particular, has an unyielding talent for getting herself injured. Arrowblood, they call her and apparently: “if it’s downhill, she’ll bleed”.  Her own capacity for self-mutilation can only be matched by that of the team leader. Alias unknown, this individual once finished a two-day race with a broken collarbone. Us mere mortals, we shudder at the thought.

And yet, it seems that no amount of bloodshed or broken bones will deter these Argonauts from their quest: to tame nature or die trying. Come the 13th of August and the annual Kinetic Full Moon Adventure that this year takes places at Verlorenkloof near Lydenberg, my siblings will be at it again. As one of the teams hoping to complete this incredible feat, they will have to cover 120km of harsh, rugged and remote terrain in less than 24hours.  Their race will consist of mountain biking, on-foot trekking, kayaking and abseiling – all along unmarked and frequently as-of-yet unused routes. As they move from checkpoint to checkpoint, they will have nothing to guide them but sheer willpower, a compass and a 1:50 000 topographical map on which they have to mark their own coordinates.

It seems hardly surprising that they’ve given themselves a Latin name that roughly translates as: Dumb Head, Sore Ass.  I might be missing the finer nuances of translation here, but I think the message is pretty clear.  If you’re dumb enough to try this, you will be going home bruised and battered. But, if you’re anything like my family, you’re going to have one hell of a time getting that way!  Who knows, you might just be their kind of crazy.

* cycling jargon for a mountain bike with larger than ordinary wheels.

(Events: The Kinetic Full Moon Adventure – 13/14 August 2011)

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