#ConquerAsOne Entry: Warrick Kernes


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Warrick and Camilla Kernes raised R157,000 for Qhubeka charity. – Image Supplied

This is an entry to the Absa Cape Epic #ConquerAsOne competition, submitted and written by Warrick Kernes.

Camilla Kernes and her husband Warrick (AKA #TeamKernes) have been riding their bikes and going on adventures since they met over 10 years ago. Wanting to spend every spare minute on their bikes and their passion for adventure lead to an idea being sparked… To cycle from Joburg to Kilimanjaro! At the same time however they had a love for the Qhubeka charity and decided to use their expedition as a fund raiser for Qhubeka. To make the expedition even more challenging they undertook to do this cycle on the Buffalo bikes which the charity donates to kids to ride to school on. These single speed, 23kg, rigid steel framed bikes certainly added another dimension to the challenge!

Leading up to the departure date two friends Gareth Pickering and Derrick Fourie asked to join the expedition and so on the 30th of June 2016 the four of them cycled out of Joburg heading North!

The #Joburg2Kili Expedition lead them into Botswana, across Zambia, along Lake Malawi and up through Tanzania. As anyone can imagine they had once-in-a-lifetime experience and many #ConquerAsOne moments – from fixing mechanicals, navigation challenges, finding food, water and places to sleep, getting scammed at border crossings, and hours upon hours on the single speed bikes day after day…

10 weeks and 4,650km later they peddled their tired Qhubeka Buffalo bikes into the town of Moshi at the foot of the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro having raised R157,000 for Qhueka which equates to 57 under-privileged kids receiving a bike each. They then exchanged the cleats for boots and a few days later they watched sunrise from the highest point in Africa! A dream finish to a dream come true!

After returning home and recovering from “post expedition blues” (it’s a real thing!!) they set their minds to upcoming goals: Comrades, Expedition Africa AR, The Freedom Challenge, SkyRun 100km and, of course, The Cape Epic. These plans took a knock as Camilla developed a pain in her right leg which she couldn’t shake. After months of physio she went for blood tests which revealed a blood clot in her leg and (scarily) a pulmonary embolism in her lungs. This brought all training and activity to a complete halt. Treatment began but the doctors orders was for minimal exercise during the 6 – 12 months of recovery. Even though swimming and walking was encouraged the swelling of the leg caused too much pain. As any active person could imagine this this is like a prison sentence!

Image Supplied

Recent tests have thankfully proved positive and Cam should be allowed back on her bike soon enough. Starting from scratch will be a massive challenge on its own but setting your sights on a big enough goal is the best way to motivate you to get back in the saddle.

Warrick would like to take to see Camilla on the bike, challenging herself again. Competing in and completing the 2019 Cape Epic would be the ultimate goal!

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