Monday, November 15, 2010

Maandag 15 November

My volgende lang rit is op hande. My mikpunt was 12uur en 200km met 'n paar ernstige klimme. Sak is Sondagaand gepak en ek het met 'n saal, wat Gary van Cycles Direct vir my geleen het, eksperimenteer. Ek het 06:15 weggekom. Vanaf Blouberg is ek direk Hillcrest toe, via Nitida, D'Aria, Majik Forest na Zevenwacht. Van daar was my roete oor die hoogste koppe, insluitend Bottelarykop, na die Klipheuwel/Bottelary kruising. Alles het goed verloop en ek was na 5 uur 40 minute daar. Die uitsig van die "koppe" af was asemrowend. Van Bottelary is ek met die Klipheuwel pad oor die N1 en daarna op die grondpad, wat langs N1 loop na die Eenzaamheid afdraai deur na die Durbanville/Agter Praal pad. Na ses kilometer in die Paarl regting neem ek die grondpad links. Na so 'n paar kilometer weer links en dan gou weer links op 'n pad wat my net voor die wind kragopwekekrs in die Perdeberg/Klipheuwel grondpad bring. Dan oor die R304 en met Wellingtonweg af tot by die Philadephia afdraai, waar ek regs draai en dan onmiddelik links op die Occultdale pad tot by Adderleyweg. Dan links en na 'n paar kilometer regs verby Fairview Melkery, oor Malanshoogte en verby Caltex huistoe. Die totale afstand was to net 150km en het my 12 uur geneem, maar die hitte was net te erg en dus kon ek nie my teiken haal nie. Ongelukkig het Gary se saal ook nie gewerk nie, want my boude is weer rou. Dit raak nou 'n ernstige probleem waarmee ek baie min vordering maak, ten spyte van verskillende eksperimente met sale! Gemiddelde spoed, terwyl ek in beweging was, was 14.6km, totale klim 1,948meter, 5996kilojoels verbrand en 10uur 20min se fiesiesse rytyd. Goeie dag in totaliteit en nou kan ek sien waarom die wedren in die winter plaasvind. Dit is makliker om warm te word as om af te koel en om lou water te drink is glad nie lekker nie.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rawsonville to Diemersfontein 17 October 2010

The alarm woke me at 04:30, in time to start the day with some quiet time and breakfast. I managed to hit the road at 05:36. Merwida is about 15km further from the start of Stettyns than Trouthaven, so I had quite a stint to do before the "real challenge". I arrived at Stettynsdam at 07:39. Fortunately I have "walked" Stettyns in March this year, so I had a good idea of what lay in store for me. I tried to stay as true as possible to the narratives as I did discover during my previous excursion that there are no "short cuts" in Stettyns. The markers set out by the Adventure Racers also makes life a little easier, although it still is very easy to take a wrong route and discover it to late and then you have to back track. The previous time I took the wrong route past the Shakelton wreck and this time I wanted to make sure I do not make the same mistake again. This is were the discussion with the Avidon's the previous evening really came in handy. I did once realise I was on the wrong route resulting in some serious "budu bashing", but it probably only cost me 30 minutes. After this I decided to "scout" the route before I take my bicycle along whenever I was not sure about the route. This ploy probably cost me an hour and a half in wasted time, but I am convinced that it was time well spent as the waste would have been more had I taken my bicycle up the wrong ally! At least I managed to find the elusive track through the reeds, which takes about 10 minutes rather than David's 2, but if you do not find it, it could take you more than an hour to get through! Once I got out on the other side I could see the ridge where I was due to end. What caught me by surprise was the number of smaller ridges and valleys I had to navigate through before reaching the bottom of the final "monster". 150 meters of climbing in a distance of 200 meters, that is some serious climbing, especially with a 10 kg rug sack and 13 kg bicycle on your back. It actually is surprising what one can achieve if you put your mind to it! With this hill you just have to grind your teeth and keep on going. It is so steep that it will be dangerous to stop and put your bicycle down because you may loose your balance and that will result in some serious damage to your body. I managed to reach the top by 15:30. That is 8 hours from the dam to the top, a total distance of approximately 12 km! Once on top, it is a scramble down the hill to the jeep tack that joins up with the road out of the valley. I reached the bottom of the old Du Toits Pass by 16:30. Then it was just a grind up the old pass and down to Diemersfontein where I arrived just after 18:00 to end two days of amasing cycling. After this i feel I really do have the ability to tackle the Freedom Challenge. What really also amases me is that there are some ladies that does this. I have renewed respect for them after this trip up Stettyns! I hope to get another one or two real training rides in before next June.

Bonnievale to Rawsonville

16 October is here. Set alarm for 04:00 because I have to be at Diemersfontein at 06:00 to pick Trevor up and along the way I must also collect my brother who will be bring my vehicle back to Diemersfontein. Everything went according to schedule. Treveor arrived at Diemersfontein at 06:05 in his new Kia Sorento. We transferred his bike to my car and set off for Bonnievale. Arrived at the turn-off to McGregor just before 08:00. Set of on the first leg at 08:06. Nice leisurely ride through to McGregor and onto Coenies River. The pace was reasonable, but I picked up that Trevor is struggling up the hills. We had a snack at the top of Coenies River while we enjoyed the awesome view. Just past Kasra Trevor's chain broke. Fortunately he had some spare powerlinks so we were on our way within 15 minutes. Up Trappieskraal Trevor started picking up problems with cramps. By this stage I started preparing myself mentally for tackling Stettyns the next day on my own as I though Trevor would not make it. Trevor had to walk up most of Trappieskraal due the cramps so it took us quite a while to get to the top. Once there, it was nice to cruse down the hill with no major climbs right through to Rawsonville. We were fortunate not to encounter Brandvleidam's notorious wind and had a quiet cycle around the dam. Due to Trouthaven being booked out for a wedding, we had to stay at Merwida, just outside of Rawsonville. Arrived there just in time to see the last 35 minutes of Western Province beating Free State in the Currie Cup semifinal. Trevor was pretty much "nackered" and decided, rightly, not to tackle Stettyns the next day. As we parked our bicycles we saw to other bicycles with map boards, which raised our curiosity. At supper we were surprised to find the Avignon' s, who did the Freedom Challenge this year, there. They took the train/bus from Gauteng to Lainsburg and was cycling from there to Bloubergstrand via Bainskloof. We had a nice chat and I picked up some more useful tips on how to navigate through Stetyns. Trevor was gone the minute his head hit the cushion. I was planning to get going by about 05:30 the next morning, so I also was gone by 21:30.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Our party for our training ride from Bonnievale to Diemersfontein is down to two! Errol Derricke injured himself and pull out and Bret Rightford has allready arranged to take his wife away for the weekend. We will miss Errol experience, but we will manage!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Next training ride

A group of us are planning to do the Bonnievale to Diemersfontein leg of the Freedom Challenge on 16/17 October. We will hit the gravel at the turnoff to McGregor just past Bonnievale on the Stormsvlei road at 08:30 and travel through to Merwida at Rawsonville on Saturday 16 October. On Sunday 17 October we will leave Merwida before sunrise and hope to be at Diemersfontein by sunset. Stettyns here we come!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


My first sponsor is aboard! A special word of thanks to Dave May of CABS Car Hire who has stepped up and covered 20% of my budget for the 2011 Freedom Challenge. He also agreed to help me get from Durban Airport to Pietermaritzburg for the start of the race in June next year. What would we do without people like Dave around? Thanks Dave.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Oefenrit 6 September 2010

The Freedom Challenge is about covering great distances over a prolonged period. As preparation for this I decided to spend a day on the bicycle once a month until June 2011. My first trip was on Monday 6 September. The aim was to do 160km. Errol Derricke, who has done 3 Freedom Challenges agreed to join me for part of the way. We agreed to meet at Zevenwacht at 09:00. That meant I had to leave Blouberg at about 06:00. I did managed to get away at 06:18. My planned route was through the bushes north of Parklands via Hillcrest, Nitida, Majik Forest, Kenridge, Oakdale, Protea Hoogte and Kuilsriver Gholf Club to Zevenwacht. Despit a "small" flip over the bars when I came down a hill at Nitida, I made Zevenwacht by 09:10. We then proceeded over Zevenwacht hills behind Stellenbosch Kloof, over Papagaaisberg, behind Coetzenberg to the entrance to Lanzerac in Stellenbosch. As the South Easter was picking up and Errol did 130
Km on Sunday, he decided to head home. I then proceeded up Bothmaskop, down Helshoogte, over the hills to Rustenburg. Unfortunately I could not get permission to cross the farm and had to revert to the tar road to Klapmuts. From there down the gravel road to Fisantekraal via Spes Bona and Fairview to Bloubergstrand, arriving home after 170 km and 13 hours in the saddle.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

6 June 2010

We got going at 07:50. had some problems find to route after going through the farm yard at Die Fontein, but somebody has erected a small sign of a bicycle and when we saw that we knew we are on the right route. Towards the top the surface was perry rough, forcing us to revert to pushing. The rest of the route was easy to find and easy to ride. The owner at the Doornrivier shop and post office mentioned that the Cape Epic came past his place during a previous year, so we were in good company. Encountered a vicious headwind around the Brandvlei dam. At one point it was so bad, we had to get off our bicycles as we were just about blown over. Arrived at our parked car by 12:30 after doing 71km.

By now I have covered 41% of the total distance of the Freedom Challenge. Will have to see if some additional distances can be done before June 2011!

Since the previous trip I changed to an old saddle off my old road biker and encountered no "backside" problems this time.

5 June 2010

I managed to convince my friend, Mike Smit to tackle to Montagu/Rawsonville strech of the Freedom Challenge with me. We decided to do it over two days over the weekend of 5/6 June.

We left Cape Town at 06:00. Left my vehicle on a farm near Rawsonville and Mike's son collected us there and dropped us off in Ashton just before 09:00. We decided to skip the Montagu/Ashton section as it is all tar and generally fairly busy, having done that section while doing the Double Century.

We got going out of Ashton at 09:06. Quite a bit of tar from Ashton to Bonnievale, but the shoulder provided a nice asphalt surface most of the way. The going was good got to Coenies River just after 12:00. I did not read the narratives properly and turnoff too quickly. We, fortunately discovered our mistake and found the right route, ably assisted by the kids at the labourers cottages. The track across the koppie down to Kasra was once again out of this world. We measured a gradient of 29%! Arrived at Kasra at just before 14:00 after doing 72km. Had a wonderful evening with Alda & Elsa. The food was divine. As there was no DSTV in the house, we opted for an early evening.

Saturday 1 May 2010

After watching the Stomers demolish the Waratahs on Friday evening, I was off for an early start, 06:30, with 140km to cover with a sore backside! Got the Wagendrift turn-off but then I turn right too early and got bitten by a dog and ended up on the tar road again. As the right route was past the "dog" again, I opted for the safer option and took the tar road to Volstruishoogte. The route via Klein Spreeufontein and Skerpkranz was once again out of this world. I must congratulate David Waddilove on the "interesting" road he discovered when he put this trail together. The route through Anysberg down to Montagu was nice and uneventful except for the fact that I pedaled about 50% of the way in a standing position due to my tender backside! The last bit into Montagu seems to be never ending with corrugations and a slight headwind. Arrived safely at 16:15 after a wonderful six days and a determination to tackle the Freedom Challenge in 2011. 145km in 9:50 hours.

Friday 30 April 2010

Gamkaskloof to Rouxpos. Looking forward to a not too stressful day with the Ladder as the major obstacle to overcome. Got going at 08:01 after picking up unit left with Estelle for charging during the night. Arrived at the foot of the ladder just after 09:00. Was amazed at how comfortable it is to carry a bicycle on your back if you have a rucksack on your back! Took me 1:15 to cover the 1.8km with an accent of 700m. The feeling of exaltation when reaching the top is difficult to describe. The ride from the top of the Ladder to the public road, a distance of 15km is very rough. Once you hit the public road the going is easy and I reached Rouxpos at 14:15. A distance of 66km in 6:15 hours with 1.6km of climbing.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Thursday 29 April 2010

After a lovely breakfast, I hit the road at 08:00. Steady progress up the beautiful Swartberg Pass. Was rather surprised when a BMW 650i came past me, but he was only going about 10 k.p.h. faster! The up and downs to Gamkaskloof seems to never end, but I finally got there at 15:00. 66 km for the day. Had my own little house for the night and went to bed early.

Wednesday 28 April 2010

My brother arrived at The Willows just after 08:00. We then proceeded to ride the route to Rondavel. The 83 km took us 3:08. Beautiful scenery and very interesting roads we travelled on. My brother left me at Rondavel and I hit the road by 11:45. Very easy going and very little navigation required. Did the 73 km in 4:07 and arrived in Prince Albert at 15:52. First went to see Dr Piet Rynders, formally from Bloubergstrand, about my backside. He said that there was nothing better that he could and suggested that I stop riding for awhile. OK, once I get home! Had a very evening with Lindsay and Ria.

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Dam se Drif to Willowmore. Leasure day ahead. Got going at 07:33. Arrived at The Willows at 13:19. 85km for the day. Corrugations between Dam se Drif and Nuwekloof Pass really gets one down. During this period I wondered if it is worth while spending R15,000 to "suffer" for three weeks from Pietermaritzburg to Paarl! Also decided that I will call for some backup as my backside was not in a state to do the 140km between Willowmore and Prince Albert in one day!. As my brother was visiting some family in the Steylerville aera, I called him and asked him the meet me the next morning and drive me to Rondavel, from where I would resume my ride.

Monday 26 April 2010

Cambria to Dam se Drif. Got going at 07:42. Expected reasonable day with a lot of climbing. Beautiful area that I rode through. The second pass seems to never end! Towards the end the undulations and corrugations with a head wind made going less enjoyable. Arrived at 13:28. 75 km for the day. Spend relaxing afternoon and evening at Dam se Drif. Unfortunately my "hosts" had a family gathering so I was all on my own. My saddle was giving my backside a real work over. It was so bad that I a raw patch on the right and a very tender spot on the left. Tried some plasters in the hope that it will work.

Sunday 25 April 2010

During the week of 25 April to 1 May 2010 I rode from Kleinpoort to Monatgu. Day 1 started at 07:04 from Kleinpoort to Cambria. I had some problems finding the route from Bucklands to Tretyre, but got there without losing too much time. made good time to Perdeberg. Discovered that the "farmstead" was nothing more than a large "sheppard shed". Could not find the "fence" as described in the narrative. Did find a track further to the right. Halfway up the hill, I took a calculated decision and decided to that I may end up at the top of a cliff with no way down and went down to the valley and straight west to Hottentotspoort. From there I took the public route to the Groot River gorge. by the time I got to the entrance of the Osseberg Pass, it was 16:00. I once again took a calculated decision and decided that it will be better to take the long way round with the public road, rather that go down the Osseberg Pass and through 11 river crossing and trying to get over a 3 meter high gate in the dark. I eventually arrived at Cambria at 20:00. 164km in 13 hours.

On 20 March 2010 I, together with my brother and a friend "walked" Stetteynskloof. We started at the dam wall at 07:30 and reached the top by 14:30. Halfway on our way to the N2 we got a lift. Reach the parking at the new tunnel by 17:30.