Saturday, 8 October 2016

Durban Dash Up 2016 - Reitz to Heilbron

I was cold leaving Reitz and the climb out of town was welcome. Jason, still on the phone to me, was scouting ahead and giving me his take on the landscape ahead. The fog persisted so it was interesting to hear him describe the landscape around me. I remembered it from my last couple of rides but could see none of the landmarks. When the road flattened out he commented that it was getting very boring. That according to Google Street View. I told him that it was worse than that. Visibility was seriously curtailed so it was even more boring than he knew. 

We kept up the chatter for a long while before Jason decided it was late enough to track down a spot for me to have coffee. He said Google indicated a bakery in Petrus Steyn town and he was sure they would be open. He was going to phone them. When he called back it was to tell me that the tannie who answered his call told him the bakery was no longer in business. It was early and I imagined she didn't enjoy getting a call that early on a Saturday. Unperturbed Jason kept looking. He called me back with good news. There was cafe in town and he called and confirmed that they did serve coffee. "Although," he cautioned, "I'm not sure what kind of place it is."

The fog eventually thinned and the lingering mist was burnt off by the rising sun. I rode into Petrus Steyn under a clear morning sky. I didn't have to find Jason's proposed coffee spot as the first petrol station in town had an operating coffee machine. I grabbed a quick coffee and headed off toward Heilbron. 

Steve gave me a call and we tried to figure out where the rest of the riders were. John and Heather were last tracked near Kestell and not moving while Ted was last seen almost in Reitz but his tracker had also stopped updating. Kevin was last seen at The Border Post and Kenneth was nearing Winterton. My immediate concern was Ted. He was still within striking distance. I had to keep moving if I wanted to win the race. With Teds tracker not updating the speculation started. Steve suspected that Ted was through Reitz and his tracker wasn't updating. 

10 km short of Heilbron Andy pulled up. I didn't need anything and just stopped for a short chat, although I did share some of my fruitcake with him before he dropped a bombshell. As he was leaving I wanted to confirm that Ted was still 60 or 70 km behind me. He chuckled and said, "No ways, he's in Petrus Steyn!"  Then he drove off. 

I couldn't believe it, Petrus Steyn was a mere 38 km behind me. Ted was closing on me and closing fast. I scampered into Heilbron and met up with Andy at the KFC where I ordered a breakfast bun, coffee, soft serve ice cream and a Coke. When I questioned Andy again about Teds whereabouts he chuckled and apologised. He'd got the place names mixed up. Ted was still in Reitz. It seems that Ted hadn't fared too well in the freezing fog and was taking a timeout to thaw out. 

My closest competitor was 84 km back. I could relax. The race was now mine to lose. I had a little over 120 km left to do. The wind was picking up and it was getting warm. I'd been in the go for 29 hours, this wasn't going to be a doddle. 

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