Sunday, 9 October 2016

Durban Dash Up 2016 - Once More unto the Breach

Shakespeare was obviously an endurance cyclist. Why else would he have written:

...thou and I have thirty miles to ride yet ere dinner time - Henry IV Part 1, Act III Scene 3.

I had more than 30 miles to ride before the sun went down but in the Bards day dinner was midday. 30 miles would get me to Vereeniging where I could stop and get a lunch snack before pressing on to the finish. 

The brief stop with the agitated shopkeeper did little to keep the sleep-monsters at bay. The side wind had intensified and the road continued to be boring. The scruffy verges teased. I was desperate for a power nap but there simply weren't any options. 

Up ahead I could see a bend in the road. It was a good sign. It meant I was getting closer to the turnoff to Vereeniging which would put the wind at my back. Unfortunately the bend meant I would be riding into the wind for the next while. 

Rounding the bend I could see the gloomy edifice that is Sasolburg. It glared down on me from the horizon. Maize fields gave way to open land. The settlement of Coalbrook was visible on the slopes below the brooding ogre.  

The change of scenery should have put some distance between me and the monsters tugging on my eyelids. Alas, it didn't. The lugubrious atmosphere that surrounds Sasolburg is enough to wipe the smile off a court jester. 

I saw an abandoned building a few hundred metres from the road. I rode over and gave it the once over. It was situated in the middle of a huge field that had recently been burnt and was good distance from from prying eyes. Once inside I wouldn't be seen from the road or from the houses in the distance.

I propped myself up against a wall enjoying the shade offered and closed my eyes. I was out of the sun but not out of the wind or out of my imagination. The wind swirled around the enclosed space. My brain swirled around what might happen if someone snuck up on me while I was asleep. I was surrounded by building debris. It wouldn't take much to incapacitate someone with a brick or two while they slept. In less than 5 minutes I was back on my bike. 

The turnoff that would turn my wind foe to friend was only a few kilometres away at Coalbrook. I knew it would be a mixed blessing. While keen to get the wind on my side I knew the road traffic over the next 35 km to Vereeniging was going to be hectic. Once through Vereeniging it would be easy going to the finish. But first, I needed to get to Vereeniging. 

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