Sunday, 15 July 2012

Day 8 - A brief encounter with the flat karoo

We faced a long ride today over Aasvoelberg, through Hofmeyr and on to Elandsberg. We were hoping to get through that section quick enough to allow us to push through to Stuttgard. The weather had finally turned and although the nights were really cold the days were pleasant enough.
We left Romansfontein well before sunrise and were climbing up Aasvoelberg as the sun crept over the horizon. Popping over the crest we were met with yet another freshly bulldozed track. We alternated between short rides, long walks and the occasional bike scrape and wash for the first few kilometers. Eventually the track returned to the condition we were expecting and we had a quick ride down to Magdala. A few kilometres on we dropped down Vlekpoort into the Karoo. What a contrast. It was warmer and the roads were flat and dry. Theo hammered it and Trevor was happy to tuck in behind. The pace was just a bit hot for me and my injuries which I had been trying to protect were niggling.
We made it into Hofmeyr just before the pie shop closed and ordered tea, coffee, coke and a pie X 3. Bellies dragging on the ground we pushed on to Elandsberg a little too fast with my legs squealing. Arrived at Elandsberg just after 4pm and found Chris, Dave and Dawn there. Dave had some health issues and was out of the race. Dawn (his wife) was riding on with Chris. It was a tough call for her but it was something they had discussed before the race.
A 45 minute turn around had us out the door with 30 minutes of daylight left heading for the next support station about 70 km's away. I was starting to hurt a lot and although I was keen to make up time I had to drag myself out the house well dosed with pain killers. Once again the pace set by Theo wasn't doing me any favours. Trevor was happily chasing along like a dog after the butchers van.
Entering the Spekboomberg reserve we joked about the sign on the gate warning about dangerous animals. Our mirth was cut short when Theo spotted 3 rhino standing in the road less than 50 metres ahead. Trevor and I hadn't seen them. After a 10 minute wait the rhino moved off and we were able to scuttle passed. Climbing back into the mountains we arrived at Stuttgard farm just before 11pm where one of the daughters took charge and fed us and attended to our laundry. I got some ice and applied it to the aching parts of my legs took a dose of anti-inflammatories and got in to bed.

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