It’s a tradition in my family to get a car on your 21st birthday so it was a big shock when I announced I wanted a proper racing bike instead. I had just fallen in love with cycling and, as far as I was concerned, no car could compare to what I was given instead: a full carbon Giant TCR. My friends thought I was absolutely crazy but I knew what I wanted and it had two wheels, not four. Up until last Sunday, I still didn’t have a car to my name but that all changed at the Herald VW Cycle Tour.
With an updated route, that included the addition of a 5km climb, and the ever-present Port Elizabeth wind, the race promised to be challenging. Our talented juniors took care of the racing early on and I had planned to use the new 5km climb to break away. However before we got there my teammate, Sharon Laws, made a brave solo attack into the headwind about 20km into the race. While Sharon powered away from the unorganized bunch, I plotted my move and was ready when we reached the climb. I picked my moment and attacked, managing to get a clean break from the peloton.
As I settled into a good pace, I could see Sharon up the road. I set my sights on closing the gap as fast as I could because I knew, in this case, four wheels were better than two. I eventually joined Sharon and we worked together to build our lead and secure the win for Momentum Toyota. It was such a great experience working with Sharon and as we approached the line, to solidify our team work, we sprinted for a tie!
The win was awarded to Sharon and I happily took my place beside her on the podium for second, Jennie Stenerhag joining us in third. After prize giving, the rest of the Momentum Toyota team packed up to go home but Sharon announced she was “feeling lucky” and was going to stay for the lucky draw, one of the race’s main attractions. We had such a great day of team work on the road, I wasn’t quite ready for it to end so I decided to stay with Sharon.
Mid-sms to my hubby discussing lunch plans, Sharon started to nudge me. “Ashleigh” she said to me, excitedly. Dazed and confused at first, it took me a minute to realize what she was talking about. They had called my name in the lucky draw for the grand prize: a Volkswagen Polo! I walked to the podium for the second time that day but this was for the biggest prize I had ever won!
It still hasn’t sunk in that I won a car but what I can’t get out of my mind is my 21st birthday. Six years ago I gave up a car for a bike and now my bike won me a car. Weird how life works out sometimes. Part of me is still that determined 21 year old, I still think two wheels are better than four, but I’m glad this time around the only thing that is “absolutely crazy” is my unbelievable luck.