The Recovery Foundation 947 Cycle Challenge: The Spirit of Recovery

The Recovery Foundation Cycle Team

The Recovery Foundation Cycle Team members were filled with excitement and nervous energy in the lead up to the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge. This was most obvious on the evening before the 947 Cycle Challenge, when The Recovery Foundation Cycle Team members all joined together for a pre-race carbo-load dinner at the Piatto Restaurant in Carlswald Centre, Midrand on 17 November at 17:00.

The night before the 947 Cycle Challenge

The Recovery Foundation had booked a section of the restaurant that slowly filled up with the hum and chat of excited, friendly cyclists and supporters of the Foundation. When everyone had arrived, directors of The Recovery Foundation, Roberto Ferreira and Brendan van Staaden, gave speeches conveying their thanks and appreciation for the support shown to the Foundation.

Roberto began by greeting the crowd of 35 and expressing gratitude for their willingness to support the cause. He informed the group that they had a cyclist from Zimbabwe as well as a team from Nigeria riding under The Recovery Foundation banner. He went on to say that the goal originally was to secure 30 riders for the 947 Cycle Challenge and the Foundation had managed to obtain 38 riders.  The fundraising goal was R50 000 and on the morning of 17 November, Roberto discovered that they had raised just over R55 100. The Recovery Foundation was smashing its goals ahead of the Cycle Challenge!

Roberto Ferreira, director at The Recovery Foundation

Roberto, director at The Recovery Foundation with Frank, winner of the evening’s raffle.

After revealing these amazing results, Roberto thanked the gathering:

“On that note, I want to thank everyone who is here, because you did most of the work in terms of getting the money in. We’re grateful as it’s going to go a long way in helping people in need…One of the things that I fight strongly towards is breaking the stigma of addiction for everyone – for addicts and non-addicts. It may sound weird but both addicts and non-addicts have misconceptions about what an addict is. We’re all human and can achieve things. Just because a person may have a substance abuse issue, it doesn’t make that person different from anyone else. One of the ways we like to showcase this is by entering the 947 Cycle Challenge.”

Roberto then asked those in the room who are recovering from addiction and cycling the 947 Cycle Challenge to raise their hands. The majority of the gathering raised their hands, reinforcing how addicts can achieve and strive for healthy, purpose-driven, and meaningful objectives. Roberto continued by explaining more about his personal efforts in entering several running and cycling races over the course of 2018 for The Recovery Foundation:

“I dedicated my efforts to Alex Reichman [Read more on Alex Reichman’s story here]. Alex was a friend of mine who I met in recovery from addiction. He had quite a hectic story of addiction. He landed up in the South African prison system where he found recovery. It might seem strange as the prison system is seen as one of the least likely places an addict would find recovery. He cleaned up in prison and came out off of drugs. He passed away clean from drugs after between five and six years of recovery time at the age of 48. It was bittersweet as he achieved the recovering addict’s dream of passing away free from addiction however, he died at a young age. He turned his life around. He can’t be here tonight but I ask his brother Carl to be here to represent. [To Carl] Thank you for being the brother that you were to Alex and we want to thank Alex for everything he has done in my life and for countless others.”

The Recovery Foundation hands Carl a gift bag

Carl receives a gift bag from The Recovery Foundation.

Roberto gave Carl a gift bag to express The Recovery Foundation’s gratitude and asked Carl to do the honour of selecting and announcing the lucky winning ticket for the evening’s raffle, which included a prize of a Scott cycling helmet, Google Home Assistant, a hot pack and Biofreeze.

After the winner was selected and had received his fantastic prize, Roberto handed over to Brendan.

“Thank you to everyone who attended tonight and for those soldiers who are riding tomorrow. The lekker part about riding a bike for me is that it is a hell of a parallel for life. In recovery, we talk about life on life’s terms. Life is this thing that happens regardless of whether we’re trying our best or whatever is going on for us. Sometimes, I have to really think about things that I go out to do. I’ve got to pay attention because I can’t just run on default. So sometimes, I use the parallel and I remember that when I ride a bicycle, as in life, there’s one thing that I’ve got to keep doing. I can look ahead and plan ahead or look behind me, and risk crashing or riding into a pothole. But there’s one fundamental thing I have to keep doing and that is that I have to keep peddling. No matter how difficult things get or how tough my day gets, I just have to remind myself to keep peddling,” asserts Brendan.

Brendan, director at The Recovery Foundation, smiles during the gathering.

“I’ve done some of the most phenomenal races in this country on a mountain bike. I was blessed to participate in the Cape Epic in 2016. This involved six to seven months of flat-out training for us to race that thing and we didn’t just ride it, my partner and I went out to race it. We did very well in the Grand Masters but there were times during that race where my self-belief came into question. Why am I doing this? I paid money to come and do this!? This is ridiculous! But I think that that taught me about resolve, resilience and human spirit. It wasn’t just about me, but also about the partner that I rode with. We had to lift each other up and be each other’s strength. And that’s really what this fellowship and The Recovery Foundation is about. It’s about the power of one person helping another. We can’t do it on our own. We are so grateful for the people who help us and tomorrow will be another testament to our spirit,” finished Brendan.

The Recovery Foundation Cycle Team’s goals for the 947 Cycle Challenge act as a means for addicts and non-addicts to celebrate the privilege of recovery from addiction by being able to live a life filled with challenges and purpose – as opposed to a life of active addiction filled with self-pity, loneliness, and regret.

After the speeches, The Recovery Foundation gathering indulged in their carbo load before heading off with a spring in their step to get a great night’s rest before the Big Day!

The results of the 947 Cycle Challenge

In the early morning, on the day of the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge, The Recovery Foundation Cycle Team Whatsapp group exploded with excitement, team photos, fun selfies, and good vibes. The team spirit was palpable and the atmosphere of encouragement was plain to see. There were 38 riders for The Recovery Foundation at the 947 Cycle Challenge. The majority of the team started together and rode in a group, and judging by the pictures and the feedback afterwards, it was quite a fun and festive morning for the main group. As the race went on, they split into smaller groups or continued on their own until they completed the race. Some of the team managed to achieve personal bests and some members rode the 947 challenge for the first time and completed it! A brilliant achievement! Out of the 38 riders, 36 completed the race and two completed 30kms, which was a personal goal for them as they set out hoping to cover 20kms. Together, the team managed to raise a total of R60 971.17 for the cause!

According to Roberto, the 947 Cycle Challenge is one of the best events in South Africa:

“It was really hot! But that seems to be a trend at this particular race. Personally, I found the route to be easier than before but a lot of people found it more difficult. There were more-than-enough water stops, and the event was well run with a lot of support along the route. Definitely one of the best events in SA. There was a lot of energy at this event and from a charity perspective, I feel that it is the best charity-driven cycle race in SA!”

“We are really grateful to have had a great turn out at the event and the support that was provided in lead up to the event. It was really awesome to see everyone ready to go on race day! We could not have done it without any of you.”


For more information about The Recovery Foundation and its movers and shakers, follow this link.

If you would like to donate to the cause, click here!

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