Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Stormberg to Romansfontein.

Although the wind was strong and icy we were counting on it pushing us toward Romansfontein. Exiting the blockhouse we would for the first time on the race have to wind at our backs. A funny thing happened during the ten minute ride toward Vegkoppies - the wind stopped blowing and a while later the rain followed suit. It seems you can't have everything your way - in our case it seemed we could have almost nothing our way. We still had to deal with the effects of the deluge - huge puddles and loads of mud. We picked our way through these obstacles as we went through the Stormberg battle site and arrived at the nearby farm house where we hosed our bikes down and filled our bottles. It was around 10am and we had been at this for 29 hours with minimal sleep. Having said that, apart from the spirit damping effect of being soaked to the bone for 9 hours we were in fairly good shape evidenced by our humorous exchanges. Casper laughs easily and has an infectious cheerfulness about him. We had commented on the toughness of the riding but neither one of us had complained or wished we were doing anything else. 
A short distance up the road we hit a climb with the worst mud of the whole race. It took us a good ten minutes to cover about 400 metres. Once through we wound our way through some challenging bits but were not reduced to walking. Once at the Molteno tar road I expected a fairly clean 20 kilometre run toward Seekoeigat and we had just that. At one stage Casper stopped briefly while I rode on slowly and once again he accused me of making it difficult for him to catch me. All a figment of his imagination, mostly.  
The Seekoeigat section through the farms was really wet and the going was slow. I never realised before just how long that section is. We were happy to see the district road and with sleep monsters tugging at our eyelids made haste to get to Romansfontein where we could get some hot tea for the first time since leaving Kranskop nearly 15 hours earlier. It had taken us 4 hours longer than we had anticipated. As such, the prospect of racing my age, while not impossible to achieve, got a bit tougher. We signed in and noticed that Alex had left Romansfontein less than 3 hours before we arrived. It seemed he hadn't fared any better than us through the rain and mud. 

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