Wednesday, June 18, 2014

RASA Day 8

RASA Day 8
Day 8 starts with two difficult navigation sections in the first 20 km. We therefore decided to start at 06:30 to ensure we could see where we were going. During the previous evening our hostess warned us that it could be very cold and that it is at the coldest just after sunrise, which was due at 07:06. She even warned us that all the water pipes could be frozen and for that reason she had buckets with water for general use.

When we got up, we found that the water was not frozen, but we all dressed for the expected cold and got going at 06:33. The lowest the temperature dropped to was 5.1!

The route took us over the mountain behind the farmhouse. Most of our progress during the first 2 hours consisted of pushing or carrying our bicycles. We managed to get over the mountain and down the other side in 2 hours covering just under 10 km. This was followed by a short section on a farm road and then we tackled the next mountain. This was longer and higher and the descent on the other side was very tricky. In total it took us 5:06 to cover 20.67 km and we ascended 1,005 meters and descended 940 meters. At the highest point we were at 2,150 meters above sea level!

This was followed by some good farm tracks and district roads. The only problem with district roads are that they go over hills and down valleys, not like modern high ways where all the hills are cut through and valleys filled up. The result is lots of fast down hills and some major climbs. We reach the town of Rossouw at 14:00. With 14 km left, I started contemplating the possibility of stopping of at Moordennaarspoort rather continue through to Kranzkop, which is 38 km further down the road. George's rear tyre was also giving him problems and he had to replace the tube.

Whereas struggling with all the climbing and carrying my bike up mountains, I suddenly started feeling stronger while George was not performing as well as during previous days. I came to the conclusion that I just do not perform that well above 1,800 meters and we now were down to below that level. About 3 km from Moordenaarspoort, George called me. His rear tyre was getting flat again. I suggested that he put some air in with a CO2 bomb. We also started discussing the possibility of stopping over at Moordenaarspoort so that he can attend to that tyre.

As we arrived at Moordenaarspoort, our two riding partners, who dropped us after the final climb, just left for Kranzkop. We were welcomed by Regina Schoeman, wife of Danie Schoeman who the eighth generation of Schoemans who have been living Moordenaarspoort. We were invited in for lunch which consisted of freshly baked "mosbolletjies" and butter nuts soup. Over lunch we mentioned to Regina that we would like to stay for the night and that was that.

We had a very relaxed lunch, cleaned our bikes and converted George's rear tyre back to tubeless with two plugs. The problem is that one of these is next to the beading, so we will have to see how well it works. Currently it is holding the air.

Our strategy from here is to go to Brosterlea tomorrow and Romansfontein the day there after. Two 80 km days with today's 58 km rather than a 90 and 130 km day. In the process we loose half a day, which we hope to make up somewhere along the way.

Total time 8:50; total distance 58.1 km; total climbing 1,924 meters.


  1. Dit klink goed. Nou is julle Tweemanskap. Ek dink dit was goeie besluit om oor te slaap. Jan Smuts was mos op Moordenaarspoort tydens Boereoorlog