Posts tagged with “Pentathlon; Bloemfontein; Moderne Vyfkamp; National Pentathlon championships; Western Cape Modern Pentathlon Association; Boland Modern Pentathlon; BMP”

Skywalker goes to Bloemfontein

Tuesday, 12 April, 2016

Going on a road trip

The Modern Pentathlon national championships South Africa were held in Bloemfontein in April this year.  Kleinboet made it into the Western Cape team, and I decided to join the lot going up to Bloemfontein.  Just to keep an eye on him.

We made up part of the Boland contingent of the Western Cape team, which in turn were made up to a large extent from the boys of Paul Roos.  We departed early on the Thursday morning with a minibus and trailer from Stellenbosch.  Well, for me half past five in the morning is early, given that I had to leave home before 04h00 that morning to get to Stellenbosch.

We have not even left Stellenbosch when a quietness setlled  down on the bus with everyone asleep.  Except Coenie, of course, which was rather reasonable, given that he was driving the minibus.

There had been a mutual and total misunderstanding by all the athletes as to how the pit stops would work.  At the first post dawn stop just past Worcester, they were advised that this was a 10 minutes loo stop only.  But no, everyone also ordered some takeaways to eat.  The result was that a planned 10 minute stop became a 35 minute stop.

Near De Doorns Coenie’s lack of sleep the previous night (and obviously whilst driving too) caught up with him, and he swopped seats with Gerhard.  We managed to not stop at Laingsburg.  Trucks ruled supreme on the road between Laingsburg and Beaufort-West.

As we entered Beaufort-West I noticed that Club Lipstick does not exist anymore.  Not that I ever visited it, but two decades ago we considered it a bit of a landmark on the Southern side of town.  I just knew that this is a snippet of information that the readers of this publication were just dying to know.  We had to take on fuel, so this time the kids were free to take their time.  Which they duly did.  We considered this our lunch stop.


The exercise was repeated at Three sisters.   To our dismay we realised that we had been on the road for close to 7 hours already, and this was only the half way mark.

The upside of modern times is that all kids nowadays have are-we-there-yet deflectors, powered by either MTN, Vodacom or CellC.

Are we there yet suppressor

That, of course, takes some strain off the driver of the vehicle not having to provide running commentary on the progress being made.

There were not much planning put into fuel stops. As we stopped so often, we just filled up as we went along.   Somehow, though, we got it wrong.  At Colesberg the designated petrol stop was under construction, so we attended the nearby KFC instead.  They did not have unleaded fuel on offer.  Nor any  other fuel, for that matter.  The kids ordered food yet again.  I don’t know what it is with them.  If they don’t need to pee the need to eat!

Hop on the bus gus

With the fuel gauge still sitting comfortably at half, we set off for the last stretch to Bloemfontein.  As dusk approached, though, we realised we are running out of both fuel and towns.  After missing Springfontein South, we managed to get the Springfontein North turn off.  I’m not making this up.  This town with a population of 3699 people, has two entrances, duly marked, and really far apart.

After filling up yet again, we could then set off for the last 140 odd km’s knowing we will not run out of fuel. I even allowed my full weight back on the seat.

At 19h07 we reached Bohmer secondary school, where we were to stay in the school res.  The lady on the GPS had some fun first by making us drive right around Böhmer school’s residence before allowing us in at the main gate.

After getting everyone settled in, and some showered and cleaned up, we went to the nearby pizza outlet to get dinner.

Pizza order

For the rest of the weekend, most of us were spoilt with good meals at the res, which Coenie had arranged with juffrou Anna.

And that was the end of day one.

Getting ready

On Friday morning Gerhard and Coenie had to go to the airport to fetch one of the team members who flew in from Cape Town.  For reasons that will in due time will become evident, this member will be referred to by a pseudo name to prevent any embarrassment to any parties. And because fiction and facts might have become slightly mixed as far as the tales relating to him is concerned.  Skywalker still attended a maths olympiad the previous evening, hence his inability to travel with the team.

Anyway, Coenie and Gerhard left shortly after six the morning for the airport.  The flight would land halfpast seven. They allowed ample time for Bloemfontein’s pre-peak hour traffic.  Bloemfontein she is mos big.  With the plane being delayed, they had lots of time having fun at the airport. Bloemfontein airport is mos also big.

After the plane landed and everyone disembarked, though, Skywalker was nowhere to be found.  After calling in the assistance of security to go check and recheck the plane, Skywalker was found.

Luke Sky

Sitting at a table, minding his own business, having a coffee and toasted sandwich, totally oblivious to various search parties sent out to find him.

Team talk

Later, with everyone back at the res, a team meeting was held.  Amongst other things, the purpose being to check everyone’s clothing was in order.  That is no small feat.  Modern pentathlon requires you to have swimming gear, running gear, fencing gear, shooting gear, and if you are a senior  participant, also a horse and gear for riding same horse.  Fortunately, though, the horses are normally supplied at the venue, so no need to bring your own.

I digress.  At this briefing it dawned upon Skywalker that he left all his fencing gear at home.  The good news was that he had his speedo and running shoes with him.  As good fortune would have it,  another team member still had to join the team, and he would be departing within the next hour to catch the plane.  Hasty arrangements were made to have the left behind clothing shipped out to Bloemfontein.