Day 4 - Romansfontein - Hofmeyer (72km) - Elandsfontein (33km)
We set off altogether the next morning and Fi and Trevor successfully navigated getting out of the farm which saved quite a bit in time and kms. The boys went ahead, Trevor and Jacques missed the turn and went off for ages on the wrong road. It is a silly but easy mistake to make. One has to be conscious the whole time where you are on the map and distance-wise.
|Good morning God|
Aasvoelsberg was a slow tortuous portage for me. I was limping and couldn’t flatten my left foot going up the hills. It certainly wasn’t a difficult portage but I struggled. Coming off the portage on the other side was hell. Downhills, at the best of times, are not my strong point. I couldn’t stand on my pedals and I could not take the weight on my hammie. So I had to sit with my right leg straight to get some weight off my backside, however this made me off balance. I cursed and swore and cried my way down the hill. Fi was waiting for me (again) and we set off after I had a breather. So normal cycling was manageable but certain movements really caught me and hurt.
|A very sore struggling body|
We had a long climb up a pass. The beginning bit was so deceiving as it looked flat but it was a gradual up with a side and head wind. It went on forever. I took a decision that if I did not get into the lunch stop timeously, which was the pie shop in Hofmeyer, then I was going to pull out. There was a portage at the end of the day, Elandsberg, and I did not want to be on that portage at night – with or without Fiona. She agreed with me but in fact we were making slow steady progress into Hofmeyer. On the last hill down into Hofmeyer this cyclist suddenly came past me. “Good morning” he says and zooms on past. It turns out he was on a training ride from Queenstown and had already ridden 140kms. 140kms – is he f*&^$!!ing mal!? He (Clint Le Roux) had been following us on Twitter. Clint joined us for a yummy lunch – I had a coke and a toasted chicken mayo sandwich. It was one of the few meals I could get into me easily. We left at about 1:30 and some of the riding after that was my best! There were big clouds building but we were hoping they would miss us. Fi navigated Elandsberg perfectly and we went as fast as we could as there was stormy weather around with lightning and thunder. I was relieved to get off the top of the mountain. The last part seemed to go on forever and I was getting so frustrated but as per most things in life, all things come to an end. We got into Elandsberg overnight stop at 4:30 - a short day – ha ha 11:30 hours.
It was an awesome rest for me – slow trundling around, a mini bike wash, tea drinking and a dinner I absolutely loved and wolfed down. It really does make a difference getting in early and having time to recover and spend time off the bike. There was a menagerie – 5 dogs, 2 cats, lots of birds that were being bred, a dassie. The dassie was so cute and enjoyed being picked up. 105kms down and one more day to go.
Day 5 - Elandsberg - Newlands (51km) - Cradock (80km)
Fi and I set off at about 4:50. It was so fast – there was a tail wind and a gradual downhill for the 1st 20kms or so. We got into the breakfast place at 7:50 – the boys hadn’t caught us! Muffin and cheese and tea went down a treat.
Sadly thereafter I got slower and slower. My legs were so tired and my butt in such pain that sitting on the saddle in any one position could only be held for a few minutes at a time. At one point I got on and off the bike about 5 times on a flat stretch of road over about 400 metres – it was crazy!!
We had a long portage over the Schurfteburg. We agreed that at the top we would separate and Fi would go on to complete the rest on her own and me on my own. I was so glad – I was so so slow and really holding her up.
|Its a long way up|
I carefully made my way off the mountain and set off on the 30kms home. Shoowee it was slow going. But I was gentle with myself and did not stop encouraging me. I was no longer able to ride the flat rocky stuff – my legs couldn’t hold me off the saddle and bum could not take the pounding. There was one final climb 20kms out of Cradock – the Swaershoek Pass. The weather was coming in and I thought I was going to be drenched. In fact it was low level cloud (or a frooken high climb??!!) and it was quite beautiful and eerie. It was also very cold. It was a slooooooow walk up the pass. I got to put my new rain jacket on although that was for warmth not rain. Then there is an 18km down hill on the other side. I kept steady and in control – I did NOT want a repeat of my entry into Rhodes with a huge gash to the knee. I was exhausted and yawned my way down – those huge jaw cracking yawns! I was so so grateful for the downhill I tell you. There was whooping and whooing as I got to the finish. Fi was there and Meryl came dashing out. I DID IT!!!! There was much hugging and happiness. This was a 14h30min day and I was toast! But a very happy piece of toast!