What gift arrives today? replied Gwen, who recognised Wilson’s number but not the content of the message from the jovial and effusive charity liaison.
Arrive Gift today, make you happy forever.
Eternal happiness was not the first grand claim Wilson had made, but the transactions between Gwen and the children’s charity usually flowed in the opposite direction. Appreciation letters were common, especially approaching Christmas, but never before a gift. Thabani’s letter had impressed Gwen and Dara immensely, for its linguistic competence and the cute drawing of a tropical palm tree, despite the children’s home lying in the heart of southern Zimbabwe’s arid region.
He’s clever, Gwen had told Wilson.
No, is not Clever, is Thabani, he’d replied.
“You should give Wilson some lessons in grammar, and tactful language,” quipped Dara light-heartedly. The grammar lessons did not eventuate, nor did the sponsorship the couple had initially requested. They’d been matched with 3-year-old Rose and had been quite content. But they soon discovered that Rose would not be receiving their benevolence. When they contacted Wilson, he informed them Rose had never existed. Maybe they were thinking of Primrose, or her identical sisters Prudence and Privilege.
Sensing their disappointment, and determined to find a child to benefit from the couple’s goodwill, Wilson had messaged soon after,
You want Charity?
Us, charity? This wasn’t making any sense. Gwen understood the difficulty of communicating in a second language, her students faced it every day, but now Wilson seemed to be offering them charity. What is happening?
To be honest, Wilson, we’ve almost lost hope, they’d confessed after hearing the news of Rose and failing to secure another sponsor child.
No, not lose Hope, Hope and Faith I see today with my very own eyes, this I am sure.
Gwen was buoyed by Wilson’s irrepressible optimism and his continued dedication in undeniably challenging circumstances, and she and Dara were determined to provide an impoverished child with a better life. But even after endless trials and tribulations with their charitable efforts, they still had no idea why they would now be the recipients of a gift.
“Maybe it’s a thank you for the water pump we funded, suggested Dara. “or the equipment for the sewing and carpentry workshops. Wilson did say the sewing machines were ‘great for Blessing’ though I’m sure he meant to say ‘a grateful blessing’.”
“Perhaps, but why send us a gift, and how can Wilson be sure it’ll arrive today? Nothing sent between here and Zimbabwe has ever arrived on time.”
Then the couple heard a noise. A noise that would change their lives forever, just as Wilson had promised.
Gwen opened the door. Standing in front of her was not a harried delivery driver demanding a signature. At their door stood a shy young African boy gazing up at her with big, brown eyes.
Djamolidine Abdoujaparov – It just rolls off the tongue so well. The road cyclist from Uzbekistan was also known as the Tashkent Terror due to his blistering sprint finishes and wild style. He won the green points jersey in the 1991 Tour de France, and a mountain stage in 1996. How many athletes have a British Rock band named after them?
Nathan Leeper – Nathan is naturally a high jumper. The leaper from the USA finished inside the top 10 at multiple major international events, including a fourth place at the World Indoor Championships in 2001.
Anthony Whiteman – The British runner competed in middle distance events. Every time he lined up in international competitions against a field of mostly African runners, his name was abbreviated to A. Whiteman. Anthony won gold at the 1997 Universiade and bronze at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in the 1500 metres.
Will Power – The name says it all. Australian race car driver who enjoyed success in the IndyCar series.
Zinzan Brooke – I just like the way it sounds. A lot of Kiwis like the way the former All Black played the game of Rugby Union.
Usain Bolt – A marketing dream. Lightning Bolt, world’s fastest human. A signature pose and a charismatic personality. The Jamaican is also a multiple world record holder and international medallist.
Ben Swift – Ben Swift is fast. Just as well. The cyclist won the scratch race at the 2012 Track Cycling World Championships and the British national championships on the road in 2019.
Conor Swift – Ben’s cousin Conor is also a professional cyclist, and is also rather rapid. He won the British road championships in 2018.
Endurance Ojokolo – An athlete with a contradictory name. Endurance competed for Nigeria in the shortest race on the track, the 100m. She was multiple African champion and Olympic finalist.
Cody Rodeo Tyler – Yes, it’s on his birth certificate. Yes, he rides Rodeo. The American bull rider is one of the best in the world and competes on the world Pro Bull Riding circuit. I guess his parents didn’t give him much choice.
Beast Mtawarira (Tendai) – Beast may not appear on Mtawarira’s birth certificate, but the nickname is so appropriate it is how he is known. Tendai was born in Zimbabwe but he is the most capped prop for South Africa’s Springboks, with whom he won the 2019 World Cup.
George Best – The best ever? Some people think so. The northern Irishman won many games and accolades for Manchester United and is regarded as one of the most talented footballers in history.
Bradman Best – What a name to live up to. The young Australian Rugby League player shares a first name with Australia’s most beloved sportpserson, Don Bradman, and his surname indicates he is better than anyone – No pressure
Bastian Schweinsteiger – a guy who sleeps in the pig sty. However, after winning the 2014 FIFA World Cup with Germany and the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League with Bayern Munich, as well as many other titles, I don’t think Bastian sleeps in a pig sty.
Winner Anacona -The Columbian road cyclist enters every race with a positive mindset, and has enjoyed success at international level, including a stage win at the 2014 Vuelta a Espana. ironically, his name is a mistake. It was meant to be Winnen, after cyclist Peter Winnen.
Fuifui MoiMoi – His name rolls off the tongue. He rolled over opposition players. Tongan born ‘Fui’ had a big body, big hair and a big personality which earned him cult status at the Parramatta Eels club in Australia. He also played for New Zealand and Tonga. His brother-in-law is NFL player Star Lotulelei, who also had a name to live up to.
Junior Paulo – Another bullocking prop from the Parramatta Eels, Paulo has represented his homeland of Samoa at international level and was selected in the NSW State of Origin team in 2020. Paulo’s name is significant because if he is Junior, how big is Senior Paulo?
The Kiwi Contingent – New Zealand rugby league players whose names challenge even the sharpest commentators:
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and
The Athlete Formerly Known As: Saif Saaeed Shaheen was formerly known as Stephen Cherono until he swapped allegiance from Kenya to Qatar and won multiple interntaional medals in the 3000m Steeplechase, for which he still holds the world record.
Loris Vergier – The world’s fastest loris. The French downhill mountain biker hurls himself down mountains at ridiculous speeds and won a world junior title in 2014, as well as the most recent UCI World Cup Downhill race.
Sam Hill – The Australian rides a mountain bike very quickly up and down…hills.
Annie Last – A remarkable name for the wrong reasons. Annie rarely finishes last. The experienced British mountain biker and Cyclo-Cross rider belongs to the elite level of women’s cycling and won gold in the 2018 Commonwealth Games MTB Cross County.
Carl Ernest and Carlos Ernesto Morgan – Identical twins from the Cayman Islands, who competed in the sprints and jumps and attended the same college in the US, as well as sharing the track at events such as the Commonwealth Games.
Alvin and Calvin Harrison – Another set of identical twins, who became the first twins to win Olympic gold medals together in Athletics when they joined forces in the 4 x 400m relay at the Sydney 2000 games. Alvin won silver in the 400m in Atlanta 1996.
English Gardner – She is American, not English, and she rose to fame as a 100m sprinter, not a gardener. She won multiple national titles, made finals at multiple world championships and Olympic Games, and won Olympic relay gold. Maybe she does enjoy potting around in the backyard?
They both had their own feel, their own personality as such, and the sensation was very distinct, but I must say I enjoyed the experience.
One was distinctly harder than the other, it’s curves tighter and sharper, it’s surface coarse and less soft to the touch. A number of its more salient protrusions sent my hands and head cascading giddily. The propensity of its tiny bumps would normally deter me, but are something one must tolerate in the pursuit of pleasure.
The other, despite its proximity, was far smoother and provoked an entirely different response. Its soft, flowing contours guided my hands and the rest of my body around its entirety and at times caused a feeling of weightlessness – as if I were floating on air.
That said, both set my heart racing, sped up my pulse and left me with a dry mouth. They both left me weak at the knees and slightly out of breath.
Fred and Man Boobs are both mountain bike trails in Squamish, British Columbia, Canada. The trails lie fairly close to each other and can be ridden consecutively after climbing on this famous trail network.
Man Boobs is a fun, flowy trail with a decent gradient, berms and small jumps which encourage the rider to let go of the breaks and enjoy the chance to get some air.
Fred, on the other hand, is a more technical trail with small rocks and tree roots and is also known for a few short climbs which lead to some reasonably steep and short rock rolls which set the heart racing.
I almost fell on Man Boobs. Not from an errant rock or obtrusive tree root, but from surprise. As I rounded a corner and looked ahead to negotiate the trail, I glimpsed its eponymous artwork. Halfway up a tree, a manikin with a garish wig and lacy bra strapped around the chest caused such a distraction that it nearly threw me off my bike. Luckily I stayed on and managed to negotiate and enjoy the rest of the trail and make it to Fred, where the trail became flatter but also more tight and technical.
The two trails were as distinctive as their names and it made me wonder, how do mountain bike trails get their names?
Essentially, mountain bike trails are named by their builder. You build it, you name it.
The names of mountain bike trails, therefore, tell us something about mountain bikers.
Trails attract names like Toads of the Short Forest, Handsawand Gretel, Butthead, A Reptile Dysfunction, Sleeps 3, which provide some insight into the mindset of the average mountain biker.
Many trial names carry a back story, but the average rider knows nothing of that story as they set off on trails like Misty Mushroom, Curse of the Were-rabbit, The Ducks Guts and Wine Shanty, while riders descending Dirty Little Secrets must surely have their curiosity piqued.
Some trail names are informative, and carry words like loop, creek, hill or link. Some examples, like those in Adelaide, South Australia, include Uprising, a climbing trail connecting riders to a downhill trail, or Blue Luge, an intermediate trail whose lower half boasts long sweeping turns which hug the banks of the small creek and are enormous fun to ride. One of the world’s most famous trails is Top of the World in Whistler, Canada. No prizes for guessing that this massive trail starts on the top of a mountain and descends to the Whistler resort area.
Mountain bikers have a peculiar sense of humour.
The trails of south Nowra, in NSW, Australia, are managed by the local organisation called South Coast United Mountainbikers – proud to be known as SCUM. Another trail in the Nowra region is called How Roo’d, and if you’re lucky, you might spot a kangaroo on these trails. Meanwhile, close to Man Boobs and Fred, riders can start on Tinder and finish with Your Mum – how rude indeed.
Mountain bikers are mad.
Many trails suggest impending doom. Names like Certain Death, Widow Maker, Verge of Ruin, Rock and Roll Suicide, Treachery and Tombstone, reflect the inherent danger of this extreme sport.
Ultimately, mountain bike trail names reveal their fun-loving irreverence of the average mountain biker, and while I don’t know why a couple of Squamish locals called a trail Fred, I do know that a fellow local has a serious obsession with man boobs.