Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Race to Rhodes - Day 1

I woke up at 04:00 for breakfast at 04:45. We left for the town hall at 05:15. Everybody gathered there and the "race" got going at 06:00.

We were escorted through to Bisley Nature Reserve. I teamed up with Gavin Robinson and Henry Fengove. They were going through to Cape Town. In the end we stayed together up to Rhodes. The first section through the Reserve went pretty easy up to 8 km. We then took a farm road through the cane fields to the Richmond road. We then proceeded down to Baynesfield. After 14 km we turned left onto a forestry road and the first climb. This took us through some plantations onto Cunningham Castle, a distance of 5.28 km and 290 meter accent. After a short descent we were at Minerva where we were treated to some hot soup and drinks. We then descended down into Byrne and through to the Umkomaas Valley, which included a crazy descent down a concrete road at an angle of up to 30%!
We had the option of crossing the river, which was about thigh high or along the bushes on the left bank. We felt that it would be better to stay dry and therefore tackled the bushes and crossing via the road bridge. This led us onto Hela Hela. An ascent of 607 meters over a distance of 5.71 km, taking us about 68 minutes.  
From the top it was a short hall to Allendale and our first support station. Total distance 109 km; 2,609 meter ascent; time 10:12.

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