Monday, January 5, 2009
Plett to Uniondale
Despite laying my stuff out the night before, it takes time to get it all together - the worst and slowest was trying to swallow the Animal Pack vitamins (Your idea Craig). There are about 15 bullets in the pack which I cut in two to get them down, Imagine trying not to projectile vomit these things across the kitchen as they stick in your throat. (long hours on the pass later, I decided to have half the night before riding to cut down on time taken - it was that bad)
So one shake later, 15 million pills and an attempt at some cereal, we were ready for the obligatory before picture. This was taken on the Keurbooms River which was like glass at that hour.
Finally we left at 5:30 and headed out towards Uniondale many kms away.
About 10kms of tarred farm road got the legs going plus the the company of Tom who was out on a training ride and then, we left the tar and got into the serious riding of the day.
What a wonderful ride.
The road undulated through farm lands (where we saw probably the ugliest house in the world), some short climbs and longer downhills. The Kid disappeared from sight but then if he is going to do 1000km training in December and a mere 350 in the week before this ride, it will be rather tedious riding with Malcolm and I. We thought he was being friendly waving from the top of the passes but in hindsight, we think it was him singing "I'm the king of the castle and you are still behind me".
We headed for De Vlug which was 51km into the ride and what a descent to get there. Around the corner we rode and below was a series of swrichbacks leading into this stunning valley. No brakes - pure momentum! At the bottom, the delivery van...oh, I mean VW Transporter, caught us and we sat at this tiny tea garden eating cheese and ham rolls and gulping down ice cold Lucozade. Eddie (our driver) couldn't resist buying the grapes marinating in Witblitz. I feel a fines meeting coming on.
Then we headed off into a spectacular gorge with towering cliffs and plunging streams next to the road. The weather had been great so far and even on this section, we got a cooling breeze at times.
On we wound and eventually Malcolm and I spotted this shady spot for a rest and a picnic. Casually I asked him why he hadn't mentioned this particular long climb before we did Prince Alfred. To my delight and immediate mood change, he told me that we were on the Prince Albert's Pass and we had only 4km left! Woohoo - how to keep a woman happy.
Three kms downhill to the delivery van, a huge bottle of Lucozade and we were ready to do the final 13km to Uniondale. Oh and the Kid had done a stretch session, phoned home, had a sleep all before we arrived!
The final section was tar through a lovely gorge but the road had been washed away severely by floods a couple of years ago but what a finish to the day.
80km with 1755m of ascent and in Uniondale by midday. Great Day, great start.