Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Arsing about and Ostriches
Thanks to all of you who have posted comments. We really enjoy the contact with our friends and families - so keep it up. It is very appreciated.
We left The Townhouse in Uniondale just after 5.30 while it was still cool. For most of the morning, the weather gods were to be kind to us. Most of our ride was the 2007 Stage Two of the Cape Epic but Leon Evans advised us on some alternative routes which would give us a total of 110km for the day.
So we set out with Dave, the barman, telling us it was all downhill as we were following the Kammanassie River. After about 7km of tar, we turned onto the dirt and rode a brilliant piece of dirt road winding along the river. It undulated gently and the morning was cool with that special light that only the Klein Karoo offers.
Our spirits were high as we enjoyed the easy riding allowing our legs to recover. The river wound its way next to us and we just enjoyed the moments and pretty scenery unfolding. Our first "checkpoint" was were the Epic route branched off. Poor Eddie and Vanessa missed this spot and toured another mountain range before realising their mistake.
It was also here that the Kid decided to explore the loop of the Epic route to give him something more challenging than meandering along with us. Well, we gave the relevant sections of maps, made an arrangment to meet him where the route rejoins the dirt road, offered him extra water and bars and watched him whizz off down the hill.
Malcolm and I shared many giggles that finally we would be ahead of him - or at least for while. We turned back at one point and saw the jeep tracking heading up the mountains and we giggled some more. Well that was the last we saw of Billy for many, many hours.
On we rode to the point where we thought he would emerge. The VW should have caught us at that point but stupidly, we didn't have a phone - so what to do. We asked a bakkie load of farmers how far it was to Dysseldorp to try and figure out whether we were at the right spot. In the end, we decided to carry on riding. Not two kms further on the VW caught up with us. They had been in cell phone contact with Billy who was still somewhere in the mountains. Vanessa had made us ham and cheese sammies which were wolfed down along with ice cold Lucozade and we agreed that we would continue to Dysseldorp (with cell) while they drove back to wait for Billy to finally emerge.
To put it in perspective, it was another 22km to the dorp where we found a cafe with coke, we lay down in the shade then phoned Eddie. No Billy. About another half hour later, they phoned to say they had him in the car and were driving to meet us. We were finally re-united after many hours and decided to carry on riding to Outdshoorn. A top up with water and energy drinks and we were off again. But by now the temperatures had started to climb.
Leaving Dysseldorp ( a small coloured town which was neat and well laid out but with no obvious business infrastructure other than licquorice extraction!), we made a small nav error but were soon back on track. Then we searched for Leons turnoff for a 20km pretty meander along a river! Not!
When we found it, we climbed over two gates (there for a reason, like keeping ostriches in) and headed blythely up the jeep track. What Leon forgot to mention were all the other tracks heading off in all directions. Now it was very hot and the sense of humour was beginning to fade. Eventually, we decided to cut our losses and head back to the tar. Malcolm was mortified that we had only gained about 2km on where we last left the tar. But we had our souvenirs of our ride through the ostrich farm. I must admit to a few moments of worry every now and then when we passed them too closely.
The it was head down and get to Outdshoorn asap. Luckily it was flat and we could get a pace going. Several bread rolls later,many cups of tea and anything else handy, we felt a whole lot better.
Billy's epic....well, its best explained by him. From Oudtshoorn, we head to Calistzdorp. Oh, and Malcolm and I did 121km with 6:15 riding time and 1301m of ascent.