Sunday, January 25, 2015

Adre Erasmus - 28/07/2977 to 20/01/2015

I lost my son in a cycling accident on Tuesday 20/01/2015 and this is what I had to say at his Memorial service.




Adré - 28/07/1977 to 20/01/2015

As we have some of Adré's colleagues from the UK as well as some other people who do not understand Afrikaans here, I am doing this in English.

Our us hearts are aching today and we are very sad with lots of tears, but we can celebrate a life filled with joy by a person who made many people happy and conducted his life in such a way that I as a father can be very proud of the legacy he has left behind.

People always had something good to say about Adré. He was not flawless, but the good outweighed the flaws to such an extend, we missed most of them.

I am very fortunate that we had a very good relationship. As I am a Paul Roos old boy, the thought did occur to me to send him to boarding school from Standard 6, but we decided not to. It was one of the best decisions I ever took. I was able to build into my son's life with some quality personal attention spending lots of time next to the hockey field watching him play. He decided at a very early age that rugby was too rough. In primary school his nickname was Wolkie (Cloud for the English) because he cried so easily.

I started playing golf in the early eighties, but when Adré bought himself a bicycle with the money he made from delivering papers, I decided to join him (with a bit of encouragement from my CBMC colleagues Mike Smit and Johan Schoeman). We were due to do our first Argus together in 1990, but it clashed with a school camp, so Adré only did his first Argus in 1991. We spent many hours together on the bicycles. I still have many fond memories of this 14-year-old boy cycling to my work at the Pepkor Head Office on Parow Industria after school so that we could cycle home together. The bicycles also went with when we went on holiday and I also recall cycling the hills to the west of Mount Pleasant in Port Elizabeth swearing at him because he could not cycle up all the hills!

I always had the better of the young Adré on the cycle until 1994 when my work sent to the UK for a year. When I came back, Adré matured and kicked dust in my eyes. I think I managed to beat him in the Argus once since then and that was when he did it with just about no training during the year with the terrible South Easter. He would give done his 21st Argus this year. He did miss a number of years due to various ailments like a broken bottom bracket and some minor health issues. His best time was 2:49:17 on the old 105 km route, which finished at Glen Beach.

In 2006 he did a 3:02:20 on the new longer course with the Green Point finish. That is equal to a 2:55 on the old Glen Beach finish. Last year was not that good and, although he did not mention it to me, I think he decided to train a little harder for thus year's Argus so that he can try and break that magical 3 hour barrier again. This probably led to his death because on Tuesday night he was flying home with the South Easter on his back, resulting in him deciding to make the fateful choice of the normal but faster road between Boundary Road and Loxton Avenue rather than the little cumbersome cycle path with the undulations caused where Weir and Kei Roads join Marine Drive, which cannot be taken at high speed. Unfortunately fate had an appointment with him. I did go to the scene of the accident on Tuesday night and was not supposed to touch anything, but I did touch his leg and looked at the feet with the cycling shoes, at which I looked so often in the past when I was cycling behind him, lying in the road. I will miss them!

I also have some very fond memories of motor cycles trips to Welkom to watch MotoGp and a memorable trip we had to Kirkwood in 2003, riding down there on Saturday and coming back on Sunday. 1,700 km in two days! This was repeated some years later with Francois Meyer and Christo Kleynhans as company.

His commitment as a family man did result in us having very fewer motorcycle trips since the twins were born, but that underlined his commitment as a family man.

We also had a fairly regular date for a light lunch at Curry Quest, a quaint curry restaurant within walking distance of his work Mowbray. This just did not happen often enough and I was about to schedule our next one for early next month.

I loved my son. We had a great relationship. I am missing him and nothing will be able to fill the void. I rejoice in the knowledge that my son is in a better place and died doing something he thoroughly enjoyed! I will never forget the sight of those familiar cycling shoes in the road next to the Milnerton Lagoon!



Friday, January 23, 2015

Attakwas 2015

Saterdag 17 Jauarie 2015 en dit is weer Attakwas tyd. My broer het ingestem om saam te gaan om my  motor om te neem einde toe. Ons is Vrydag net na 12:00 uit die Kaap weg en het, na ‘n aangename en voorspoedige rit, net na 18:00 by NA Smit Vakansie-oord aangekom. Omdat het ons vir ons “aandete” gekoop en my nommer opgetel. Na ‘n lekker braai, het ons die vere geslaan en albei soos klippe geslaap.

Ek was in groep B en my wegspring tyd was 06:35. Ons het so om en by 06:00 by die wegspring area aangekom. Die weer was perfek. Die groep A het 06:30 weggespring. Soos gewoonlik was die organiseerders baie stiptelik en ons het die pad 06:35 geslaan.  Daar was ongeveer ses groepe wat almal 5 minute na mekaar weggespring het.

Die aanvanklike pas was redelik en ek het ‘n goeie pas gehandhaaf. Na 25 minute het die voorste manne van grope C by my verby gekom. Die begin tempratuur was 13 grade Celcius. Die “jeep tracks” deur Chandelier en Doornrivier was in ‘n baie goeie toestand met geen onverwagte donga’s of spoel slote nie. Ons is na 1:19 by waterpunt 1, waar ek vir ‘n vinnge glas water gestop het., verby. Die eerste 65 kilometer van die Attakwas bestaan hoofsaaklik uit redelik goeie ”jeep tracks”. Daar is ‘n paar areas wat redelik rof is en ook drie bulte waarvan die gradient en oppervlakte sodanige is dat dit nie uit gery kan word nie.  Dan moet dapper en stapper maar gebruik word om bo te kom. Teen hierdie tyd het die tempratuur na 22 grade Celcius geklim.

Ek het redelik goed gevaar teen die laaste bult af net voor waterpunt 3. Daar was twee kort stukkies van 10 meter elke wat my moed my begewe het en maar afgeklim en gestoot het. Net voor die waterpunt loop die roete so ongeveer 100 meter in ‘n stroom af. Daar iemand voor my wat ‘n bietjie gesukkel het, met die gevolg dat ek so ‘n bietjie gewag het. Ongelukkig het ek nie genoeg momentum opgebou om deur die stroom te kom nie, met die gevolg dat my voorwiel teen ‘n klip vasgeteek het wat veroorsaak het date k my balans verloor. My spoed was baie laag, maar met die val slag val ek toe met my bors op die fiets se handvatsel wat regopstaan. Vir ‘n oomblik kon ek nie behoorlik asem haal nie en my bors was ontstetend seer. Ek kon gelukkig onmiddellik wwer aan die gang kom en by die waterpunt herstel. Die skade blyk nie te groot te wees nie, behalwe vir ‘n stukkende plek op my regter maarmerrie en ‘n bors wat pyn wanneer ek my linker arm optel! Ek het ongeveer 15 minute hier vertoef terwyl ek my waterbottel volgemaak het, ‘n paar glasies Coke gedink het en ‘n halwe Spur Burger ge-eet het.

Gelukkig het die bors my nie gepla wanneer ek ry nie, maar dit was redelik seer wanneer ek my linkerhand van die handvatsel afgehaal het. Die temperatuur het nou geslyg tot 31 grade. Die laaste gedeelte is omtrent alles op distriks paaie met vier lelike bulte. Die eerste een begin sommer onmiddelik. Oor 7 km klim jy 200 meter teen ‘n redelike konstante gradient en daar is geen skauduwee nie. Gelukkig is daar darem so ‘n paar “dips” wat jou toe laat om asem te haal. Anderkant af is deur die plaaslik plantasie, wat help om die hitte te breek. Op 83 km begin ‘n 4 km afdraand waar tydens ons 250 meter daal. Dit word gevolg deur nog twee bulte oor die volgende 8 km met ‘n klim van 200 meter in totaal.

Dit bring ons by die volgende water punt, met net die laaste twee knewels oor. Dit is slegs 17 km einde toe, maar dit is deur twee ”dale“ en oor twee “berge”. Ek het die hele ent vanaf water punt 3 redelik goed gevoel ten spyte van die seer bors, maar ek het in hierdie gedeelte 30 minute op verlede jaar se tyd verloor, so die bors het seker maar ‘n invloed gehad. Ek het in die laaste 3 km ‘n lekker “trein” opgetel en dit ook reggekry om hulle aget te laat.

Totale tyd: 8:17:27; afstand 121.22 km; klim 2,929 meter.