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Oak Valley

Oak Valley

by Christopher Rawbone-Viljoen

Lord of the swine humbled by pine

Porkchop looking a little defeated centre stage.

A great friend of mine, christened ‘Porkchop’ at school due to his portly midriff and robust neckline, has always been overconfident in his athletic abilities. Perhaps his most audacious display came in 2015 during the FNB Wines2Whales mountain biking event where we partnered up.
The fact that our little porker was lucky enough to partner with the owner of the host venue presented a prime opportunity to train week-in week-out. Yet every invitation was declined.
‘I’ve been running a lot’ he said. ‘Gym has me in good shape’…’I’ve done marathons before and this will be easy’ he said.
After 12km on day one at Lourensford, I turned to see my partner sweating like the first day of truffle season in the forests of Northern Rhone. He was losing gallons.
At the start of the portage on Gantouw’s Pass he told me to climb ahead and wait for him on top. After waiting 45mins, finally cresting over the hill I noticed another man carrying two bikes, one belonging to porky Armstrong. Yet he assured me he was fine, ‘just warming up,’ he said.
So, I rode ahead 3km and waited again until a Namibian lady in her late 60’s stopped to ask if my friend was wearing the same Oak Valley team shirt. ‘He’s in pretty bad shape, you might want to go back there.’
Arriving on the scene, our bullish athlete had ditched his bike in the middle of the trail, found a juvenile pine tree and was squealing at the top of his porky little lungs for help, cramping from his achilles to his snout. Turns out jogging on the prom and coconut smoothies at Virgin Active didn’t quite hack it.
But this little piglet wasn’t ready for the spit braai. After swallowing half-a-kilo of magnesium and a full body massage from a random volunteer, we stoically crossed the line after 7 hours and 58 minutes. The last team to make it.
There’s a category called the Whales for riders weighing 90kg plus, they all creamed us. This brought an end to the day that finally humbled our beloved pork belly.
With that cautionary tale in mind, best of luck to all our FNB Wines2Whales riders from 28th Oct – 6th Nov. If you’re feeling a misplaced sense of overconfidence, our team at the wine bar will be happy to ease the pain and keep the illusion alive!
Best of luck,
Christopher Rawbone-Viljoen

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