Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Munga 2019 - Part 10 - Loxton to Saaifontein

After signing the register I go to another table to fill my bottles. There's the usual lemon flavoured mix and I taste it to see how much fixing it needs. To my surprise it's perfect. "Wow, you guys are the first to get this right. All the other places have it far too weak."
"It's Lemos, like Oros but lemon flavoured," comes the reply.
It's the first time I've heard of Lemos and I'm an instant fan. Who knows, maybe it's not actually that good but it's a lot better than what I have been getting. Although the Oros at the last WP was awesome and Oros is my bike drink of choice. Bottles are filled and placed back on the bike.

A huge plate of food is presented and I dispatch it without mercy. It's a lot easier to eat in the cool of night.

"Do you know the wind is going to pick up later?" asks Ingrid.
"I know it's supposed to pick up a bit but how bad. Better or worse than today?"
"How far down the route?"
"Sutherland and maybe further."
"Then I'm going to ride until I drop."
"Good plan."

I need to knock off the 213km to Sutherland before I think about getting into a bed. The hour's sleep I got in the feed shed earlier should see me through. I expect I might have to have the occasional road side power nap between now and when the sun comes up and that's okay.

I check my phone and see that Janine Stewart, who was the front lady, has scratched from the race. She's as tough as nails so she must be in a bad way to scratch. I'm told there are over 30 withdrawals so far. I expect that once the sun comes up there are going to be more bikes that will make the short trip from lodgings to car bike rack.

I sign out and notice that I'm now in 6th position. John left just before I arrived which puts him 34 minutes ahead.

The first section is new and keeps me engaged lowering the risk of nodding off. A few zigs and zags and I'm on the district road that leads to Fraserburg. It's about 95km to Fraserburg with WP7 situated halfway. Navigational challenge = 0/10. Chance of nodding off = 10/10.

I've only gone a few kilometres and I'm struggling to keep my eyes open. My audio book while interesting is no longer having the desired effect. I stop and sit next to the road and close my eyes for 3 minutes. I've no intention of sleeping. I've found sometimes simply by cutting all stimulation for a few minutes I'm able to shake off the need to sleep. I'm up and about and for the next 15km's I'm okay.

I'm still 20 km's from the water point when I start nodding off. I pull off to the right side of the road where there's a clear drainage ditch and sleep for 20 minutes. When I wake up I'm perplexed at the direction my bike is facing. As a rule I always sleep on the left side of the road. I'm standing there assuming I have slept on the left side and my bike is facing backwards. I remind myself that I would have left my bike pointing in the direction I must travel. Then I remember pulling off on the right hand side and the fog lifts. I remount and make my way to the water point.

Think about this. WP7 is hosted in the double garage of the farmhouse at Saaifontein. I've rocked up there at 4am and the farmer and one of his children are awake and ready to help. They don't wake up as I get there. They have anticipated my arrival time and set an alarm—which I delayed by having a power nap—and are up and ready when I arrive. They make coffee and help fill bottles. There's food and the normal energy gels, snack bars and drinks. There are only 5 people ahead of me and their arrival times at this water point have been spread out over 8 hours. The ant trail of riders behind me is already tailing back 300km's. The farmer and his family have been serving riders since sunset, it's now 4 am and they will keep this up for the next 2 days. When's the last time you hopped out of bed at 4 am to sort out a tired, hungry and smelly visitor who'll be gone in 10 mins?

Folk like this and others spread across the length of the route are the heartbeat of this event.

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