Monday, January 12, 2009
Finally, we are in Montagu
We left Anysberg at 6 and once again, the Karoo is beautiful at the extremes of the day. The road was much more enjoyable for purist mountain bikers with rougher tracks, rocky river beds and narly twists and turns.
We had thoroughly coached Eddie on the directions for this day as we would turn off the Reserve road after 19kms and meet him at the intersection with the Touws River and Ladismith roads.
We turned into a WWF property which adjoined the Anysberg Reserve. The road was flat and fast and we saw springbok, jackal and ostriches. We were surprised by the extent of the reserve which Malcolm calculated to be about 48km in length (the amount we had ridden through). This was not technical but we cruised at 25km plus along here, well on schedule to meet Eddie after two hours and 40km of riding.
At one point, we stopped to stretch cos this had gone out the window the last couple of days, and we could feel the tightness in the various muscles. What a place to contort oneself while looking out over the vastness of the Karoo. The mountains were further away and there was just a huge plain in front of us.
Eventually, we came out at a farm called Hoek van die Berg (very appropriate as it nestled in the lee of a large mountain) and we hit the main public dirt road. Anxiously, we scanned the dirt for the VW tire tracks and literally, 1km before the meeting spot, Eddie and Vannessa came roaring past us. Cold water, some ice to top up and we were on our way. Again, I forgot my camera in the vehicle here and was bummed because there was some awesome shots ahead.
We were a little concerned cos the car's GPS said 53km to Montagu while we had calculated 37km - happily, we were right.
There was a gradual climb to the top of Ouberg Pass but man, what a reward for so little work. The pass dropped away for about a multi km descent (dunno how far exactly - too much fun and spitting out the stones from Malcolm's tires).
Then we followed the Langkloof spruit which meant a constant downhill almost all the way into Montagu. Malcolm tried jumping the river everytime we crossed it (about 10 times) and I was too close to him and got right royally showered by river water. Kids all over again and loving it.
We started to come across more and more fruit orchards and olive groves but sight of the town eluded us. It was tucked behind one of the mountains. This was my first visit to the town and the huge mountains do close in around it - no more wide open spaces here.
Billy had ridden away from us after the water stop and headed straight for the B&B. We elected to stop at a outdoor cafe as we entered the town and sat under the trees and relaxing after a surpisingly easy ride. We chatted to a local lady who told us about the floods a couple of months ago which mean't we couldn't go to the Springs and then we feasted on bacon/egg on the best croissant I have had in a long time.
Eventually, we sauntered down the road slight bemused by the traffic which is little by any standards unless you have been wandering around the Karoo.
We pulled in at Koo Karoo and Shirley kindly did some washing for us. A sleep for a bit and we back on track and online. It's pretty hot here but very picturesque. We're out for dinner tonight - someone else can do the cooking.
Our ride was 71km with 552m of ascent and 3.23 hours - magic!