Friday, 27 March 2015

Rhodes to Chesney Wold

Leaving The Rubicon it was apparent that the three big guns were intent on getting on with the show. As we rounded the first turn down the driveway Alex slowed briefly, turned his head toward me and wished me a good ride - a nice touch. With that he was gone. By the time we had cleared town Casper and I were officially last in a race of 25 seasoned riders - being the inaugural Race to Cradock it was opened to only finishers of a previous Freedom Challenge event. By the time we reached the first climb it was still dark and we could only make out two riders ahead of us. Alex was nowhere to be seen. 
Crossing the Bokspruit river we caught up to Robbie. Just beyond the river the road splits and the race takes the right hand fork. Casper decided it would be fun to mess with Robbie. Robbie turned right and Casper sprinted up the left fork and shouted back, "Robbie, where are you going?" 
Robbie dutifully turned around and followed Casper up the wrong road. Casper chuckled before turning around and headed back the way Robbie had just come. Robbie did a big loop and fell in behind us. In truth it was really funny until we heard Robbies laboured breathing.  He hasn't enjoyed the best of health lately and he was wheezing like an emphysema sufferer. Safe to say we felt awful. 
Robbie stayed in touch for a few kilometres before the elastic snapped and we could no longer see him behind us. In truth we were concerned about him. We heard later that he battled through to Chesney Wold where he retired from the race. 
I had originally intended to skip the interim support station of Chesney Wold but gave in to the temptation of a good cup of tea as well as wanting to show appreciation for the effort Minkie makes in catering for the riders. We arrived to find Tim's bike propped against the fence next to the house. As we walked in we passed Tim who was on his way out. Minkie went out to see Tim off and we surveyed a table set with enough food to feed an army. But it was tea we sought more than food. Fortunately, I know my way around the kitchen and by the time Minkie had finished chatting to Tim outside and returned to the kitchen we were gulping down mugs of tea and tucking into the spread before us. 

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