Saturday, 17 December 2016

Racing The Munga 2016 - Onward to Pumpkin Fritters at Pampoenpoort

The route out of WP5 had us winding along farm tracks. By the time I had stopped to open and close a handful of gates it was dark. Looking back I could see the lights of the riders behind me. That's not to say they were particularly close. The Karoo is big country. The air is clear and the landscape in places so flat you can see forever. Out there you get to appreciate the fullness of the platteland saying; "The land is so flat you can watch your dog run away for a week!"

I pressed on eventually reaching the district road that would take me to the next water point at the farm Pampoenspoort and then on to the third race village in Loxton. I dropped onto the aero bars and got into a good rhythm. On the good surface the kilometres got ticked off in good time. But there's the rub of it. A good road with zero navigational challenges equals good speed but it's less likely to engage you mentally. No mental stimulation leads to sleepiness. After a handful of kilometres I could feel that I was getting drowsy.

I looked behind to see if anyone was close. If I could ride with someone to chat to it would help keep me alert. I couldn't see any lights. I slowed down and got back to listening to my audiobook. That was good for about 15 minutes before I started nodding off. Looking back I could now see a few lights. I decided to keep moving forward at a moderate speed and wait for the riders to catch up. I pedalled along steadily and was eventually caught, not by Tim or Brandon as expected but by Rafeeq Safodien. He was flying. We fell into a good pace and although we didn't chat much it was good to have someone around. In no time at all we were at the Pampoenspoort water point.

It was after 11 pm and the water point was in full swing, never mind that we were only the third and forth rider to pass through. Mother and daughters got the espresso machine hissing away and pointed us in the direction of some food which included pumpkin fritters. I wolfed down at least half a dozen pumpkin delights before it occurred to me that it was a little excessive if not greedy. I was assured that there were plenty to go around.

By the time Rafeeq and I left the farmhouse the riders behind hadn't yet made an appearance. We had 60 km to get to the next race village and set off intent on banging that out as quickly as possible.

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