Saturday, 23 June 2007

Day 5 continued - Long walk to Vuvu

87km and about 2000m of ascent. At the 20km mark my front shock fell apart. So I tied my bike to my back pack and hauled the combined weight of nearly 20kg's off the mountains, a distance of 12km, taking me 4 hours to get to the low lands.
When I arrived at a mission station at 3.30pm the race director informed me that I still had 45km's to the support station. He had arranged somewhere for me to stay near the mission. I told him I would rather move ahead because the only obstacle ahead was a river crossing that I could make before nightfall.
I stuck my fork together with duct tape which meant that I could ride, but only slowly - not more than about 10km/h - because every time I hit a rock the wheel would abruptly change direction. I found the steering was a little more reliable when the handle bars were set at about 45 °. Even this was tricky as a jolt would still twist the wheel.
The road sufrace was rather bad in places so riding was often impossible. I arrived at the Vuvu at 10.30pm after 11 hours of walking/trickling down the road, giving me a total of 16 hours for the day.
When the shock broke at 11.00am I put in a call to Eben of West Rand Cycles in Johannesburg. He took the shock off his own bike and put it on a plane to Durban. He arranged for Mike of Leigh's Cycles in Durban to drive through and fit the shock. Mike arrived at midnight and had it sorted within an hour. So I went to bed knowing I could move on the next day.

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