Monday, November 28, 2016

2016 Coronation Double Century

My poging om vanjaar ‘n span vir die DC in te skryf het weereens misluk en alhoewel ek ‘n “tentatiewe” uitnodiging gehad het om by ‘n Gauteng span aan te sluit het ek daarteen besluit as gevolg van ‘n redelik vol fietsry program. Woensdag voor die wedren kry ek egter ‘n Whatsapp van Leon Erasmus wat my uit nooi om saam met hulle te ry. Ek gaan hoor by die wederhelfte (ja dit is nog goed om na 42 jaar se getroude lewe toestemming te vra) en sy stem in dat ek mag ry. Gelukkig is ek redelik fiks, maar was maar bekommer oor hoe ek die pas gaan volhou saam met die jong manne. Leon het verlede week genoem dat hulle strategie gaan wees om al 12 saam klaar te maak. Dus was daar hoop vir my.

Ek werk tans by ‘n kliënt is Brackenfell en reël met my broer, wat die ondersteuning gaan behartig, om my 15:00 daar op te tel oppad Swelledam toe. Soos gewoonlik sluit die roete wat hy volg ‘n paar grondpaaie in en ons kom 18:00 by Kam’Bati, 20 kilometer duskant Swellendam, waar ons gaan kamp, aan. Nadat ons ons staanplek bevestig het, skiet ons gou deur Swellendam toe sodat ek die nodig verandering kan doen as plaasvervanger in Leon se span, genaamde “Flash”!

Ons is 19:30 terug by die kamp, slaan tente op en ontmoet ‘n paar ander manne wat deel van die span is en ook daar kamp. ‘n Vuur word gemaak en ons wag vir Leon wat die vleis bring. Hy was weg op besigheid en het eers 17:30 op Kaapstad lughawe geland. Terwyl die ander manne braai, wag en en Leonico vir Leon wat ons vleis moet bring! Hy en Niel Rossouw kom 22:00 daaraan en ons eet eers 23:00! Ek is onmiddelik tent toe om ‘n slaappie in te kry terwyl van die ander manne besluit om aan te gaan met “kuier”. Hulle het eers na twaalf in die bed gekom.

Ons wegspring tyd is 05:55 en ons moes 30 minute voor die tyd daar wees. Die gevolg is dat ons in die omgewing van 04:00 moes begin roer. Ons kom ongeveer 05:00 weg en is 05:30 in Swellendam. ‘n Paar manne moet nog verstellings aan hulle fietse doen en ons kom drups gewyse by die wegspring hokke aan. Teen die tyd dat ons moet deurgaan is Corne en nog ‘n manne nog oppad van die parkeer plek af. Hulle daag uiteindelik op en ons gaan deur na die wegspring area.



Die groot tog begin offisieel om 05:57! Die pas is redelik gemaklik en ek het geen problem om by te hou nie. Die weer is bykans perfek met ‘n begin tempratuur van 11 grade Celsius en geen wind nie. Die eerste 28 kilometer is ‘n lekker opwarmings rit en dan kom Tradouwpas, wat heel skaflik is. Oor die volgende 16 kilometer klim ons 226 meter, met ‘n paar klein afdraandtjies in gegooi net om die ‘n bietjie makliker te maak. Na die aansluiting by die Barrydale/Montagu pad (R62), is daar ‘n gelydelike gradieënt tot aan die voet van Op de Tradouw, die groot klim van die DC wat na 59 kilometer aangedurf word. In die volgende 4 kilometer klim ons 245 meter.

Ons handhaaf ‘n goeie pas en ek ry self ‘n stukk voor! Bo-op die pas is daar ‘n geleentheid om eet en drinkgoed by ‘n pakstoor te kry. Die “offiële” besluit is dat ons gaan verby hou, maar ‘n paar manne dring daarop aan om voorrade op te tel met die gevolg dat party van ons verby ry en by die uitgang wag vir die wat afgedraai het. Ook net lank genoeg om ‘n bietjie water af te slaan. In die volgende 9 kilometer daal ons 250 meter. Ons “vlieg” letterlik die bult af. My maksimum spoed was 76.8 k.p.u. Dit was asemrowend, maar ek wil nie by wees indien daar iets teen daardie spoed verkeerd gaan nie! Die volgende 30 kilometer tot in Montagu is gelydelik af met so ‘n paar kleiner klimme net om die spoed te breek. Ons bereik Motagu na 3:40 met 104 kilometer agter die blat.

As gevolg van die padwerke deur die Kogmanskloof, het die organiseerders besluit om ‘n neutrale sone van Motagu tot by Ashton te handhaaf. Niemand mag vinniger as 30 k.p.u gemiddeld ry nie en ons moes in enkel gelid ry. Dit neem ons 23 minute om die 11 kilometer te ry. Ons ry die Ashton “ruskamp” binne na 4:04 en 115 kilometer. Ons mag 30 minute hier vertoef en maak ten volle daarvan gebruik. Waterbottels word weer volgemaak en mae word met allerlei lekkernye gevul. Wanneer ons hierdie neutral sone verlaat, staan die horlisie op 4:34, maar ons offisiële ry tyd is nader aan 3:34. Daar is nog ongeveer 90 kilometer oor en ‘n tyd van onder 7 uur is beslis ‘n moontlikheid.



Die pad van Motagu na Robertson en af Bonnievale toe is redelik gelyk en die “trein” loop dat dit klap! Dit neem ons 50 minute vanaf Ashton tot by die ysterbrug net voor Bonnievale. Van hier af begin dinge moeiliker raak met heelwat bulte en ‘n windjie wat van vooraf begin stoot. Ons arriver na 6 uur in die saal en 163 kilometer op die pad by die laaste “ruskamp”. Die keer stop ons net vir 26 minute.

Die laaste 40 kilometer het ‘n hele paar “knoppe” en ons sal moet skouer aan die wiel sit om onder 8 uur op die pad in te kom. Ons finale tyd sal heel wat vinneger wees as gevolg van die neutral sones. Die windjie wat waai is darem nie ‘n te groot problem nie en help om dinge so ‘n bietjie af te koel. Teen die laaste bult voor die Drew afdraai, tel Jaco problem met sy voorste ratte op. Na ‘n gesukkel kry hy dit reg om die ketting op die groot rat te kry. Hy besluit om vooruit te ry aangesien hy verwag om teen van die bulte op te sukkel as gevolg van die fiet dat hy net sy voorste groot rat kan gebruik. Die res van ons volg teen ‘n redelike pas. n Pas wat vir pary manne ‘n bietjie problematies raak met die gevolg dat Leon ‘n paar keer die voorste manne moet vra om die pas nie so “warm” te maak nie. My bene hou goed en ek hang in die middle rond, uit die wind en agter van die groter manne wat die pas aangee.

Ons draai regs op die Ashton/Swellendam pad na 7:06 in die saal en 182 kilometer agter die blat. Nou bly daar net 20 kilometer oor met drie lastige opdraendes tussen ons en die einde. Ons handhaaf weereens ‘n goeie pas en die kilometers vlieg verby. Almal wonder wat van Jaco geword het en ons hoop net dat hy vir ons voor die eindstreep wag sodat ons as ‘n span van twaalf oor die eindstreep kan ry.

Die DC het deesdae ‘n minder aangename angel in die stert! In die laaste kilometer is daar ‘n klim van 35 meter na die eindstreep toe. Ons vreugde was groot toe ons vir Jaco net voor die einde sien en as span van twaalf saam oor die streep kon ry.

Totale ry tyd was 7:55 met ‘n offisiële tyd van 6:36. ‘n Baie aangenaam rit en ‘n span waar daar goeie samewerking en kameradie was. Dit was ‘n voorreg om weereens ‘n DC te voltooi!



To Hell and Back 2016

Ek net na BB2BB vir Hoffie Conradie gevra of ons nie vanjaar To Hell and Back saam kan doen nie. Hy het ingestem en ons het albei ingeskryf. Planne werk egter nie altyd uit nie en Hoffie moes kanselleer as gevolg van werk verpligtinge en het sy inskrywing aan my broer se seun, Leon, verkoop.

Ons reël dat ek hom Vrydag 18 November 14:00 by sy huis optel. Ons vat die pad Oudtshoorn toe so net na 14:00 en kom net na 18:00 daar aan. Val gou in by Pick n Pay om ‘n paar nood voorrade aan te vul en vertrek na De Hoek kamp terrain, net langs die Kongo Grotte, om te registreer en slaapplek vir die aand te soek.

Registrasie verloop glad en ek kry my bors “pasta” wat ek saam met die inskrywing bestel het. Daar is ongelukkig nie kos vir Leon nie omdat Hoffie nie die opsie geneem het toe hy ingeskryf het nie.

Nadat ek ge-eet het, is ons terug Oudtshoorn toe sodat Loen iets kon eet. Ons besluit op Jamino’s en Leon kry ‘n taai steak en ek gaan vir ‘n lekker merang met roomys.  Ons is so teen 21:20 terug by De Hoek, betaal R170 vir ‘n nag se verblyf en slap in my twee man tent op die kampgronde so 100 meter van die wegspring af.

Die trok met ons begasie vir die dag in Gamkaskloof (Die Hel), vertrek 06:15 dus moet ons teen daardie tyd reg wees . Daarna volg die groot wag tot 07:00, die offisiële wegspring tyd.

My fiets was die afgelope twee weke by die fietswinkel sodat hulle die “bottom bracket” kon vervang en die skobrekers diens. Die gedienste skokbrekers voel soos nuwes en ek is baie be-indruk met die werk wat gedoen is.

Ons spring op die kop 07:00 weg. Die eerste deel is redelik maklik op die teer pad uit die kamp en die aanloop na die Swartbergpas. Na 5 km draai ons af op ‘n plaaspad en begin klim. Na ‘n verdure 5 km, waar tydens ons 210 meter klim, sluit ons weer by die teerpad aan. Dit verander egter binne ‘n paar meter na grond en die klim van die Swartbergpas begin in alle erns. Gedurende die volgende 12.5 km klim on seers 600 meter tot by die bopunt van die pas en daal dan 150 meter tot by die afdraai na Die Hel, op 22 km en na 1 uur 40 minute se ry.

By die afdraai Hel toe is daar ‘n kennisgewingbord wat aandui dat dit 48 km tot in die Hel is, maar dat reisigers, met motors, moet twee uur reis tyd toe laat as gevolg van die moeilikheids graad van die pad. Vir ons was daar nog 38 km oor. Hierdie 38 km het my 2:15 geneem en ons het omtrent 1,00 meter geklim! Een van die redes hoekom die reistyd per motor so lank neem is as gevolg van die pad oppervlakte. Groot dele van die roete se oppervlakte is baie grof met die gevolg dat normale mense nie teen volspoed teen die bulte kan afgaan nie. Daar is egter “malles” wat teen ongelooflike snelhede teen van die bult af snel! Daar is ook nie eintlik enige gelyk sukke nie, of jy klim of jy daal meeste van die tyd. Die konsentrasie veroorsaak dat die skoonheid van die kloof tot ‘n mate verby jou gaan onderwyl jy die ongelykheid in die pad oppervlakte navigeer! Mens kan egter nie help om be-indruk te wees met die grootsheid van sekere van die klowe nie!

Een van die interressanthede van ‘n wedren soos To Hell and Back is die deelnemers en die onderlinge mededinging met mense in jou omgewing. Daar is gewoonlik so ‘n paar mense van soortgelyke krag wat in mekaar se teenwoordigheid bly. Dan is daar weer die, wat vir een of ander rede agter geraak het en dan teen ‘n spoed by jou verby kom. Daar is egter so ‘n kern van deelnemers wat jy gereeld sien. Oor sekere gedeeltes is jy sterker en oor ander is hulle sterker! So was daar die ou in die Barloworld Centurion klere. Ek het hom die eerste keer teen Swartbergpas opgemerk. Hy het op ‘n kol by my verby gekom, maar na ‘n ruk het ek opgemerk dat hy nie vir my wegry nie. Later op die stuk oppad Hel toe het hy egter onder my uit getrek en ek het him nie weer gesien nie. Ek het later gesien dat hy so ongeveer 5 minute voor my klaar gemaak het.  Ons sou mekaar die volgende dag weer sien. Dan was daar ‘n dame, nommer 85. Ek het haar ook teen Swartbergpas by my verby sien kom, maar sy kon nie eintlik weg kom nie. Sy het agter ‘n bietjie tyd op my opgemaak by die Spur ruspunt waar ek langer as sy vertoef het. Later het ek haar so ‘n ent voor my opgemerk en daaraan begin werk om haar in te haal. Aanvanklik was ek nie eintlik baie suksesvol nie, maar so halfpad teen Heartbreak Hill op het ek haar gevang en toe 3 minute voor haar klaar gemaak.

Heartbreak Hill is “die” uitdaging van die “in” rit.  Ek het al drie keer vantevore die “in” roete, tydens oefeninge vir en met die Freedom Challenge gery, maar ek was nooit werklik bewus van Heartbreak Hill nie. Gelukkig was daar ‘n teken aan die begin was aangedui het dat dit 4 km lank is. Volgens die totale afstand kon ek ook die gevolgtrekking maak dat daar na Heartbreak Hill net die laaste afdraend oorbly. Die Heartbreak van Heartbreak Hill is in die feit dat daar ‘n aantal “vals” bopunte is. Ek kom myself dus goed “pace” en nie “val” vir die vals bopunte op 1.4, 2.4 kilometer en verder aan nie. Dit was ‘n groot verlingting toe ek eindelik bo kom en daarna net die laaste afdraand tot by die einde oor gehad het. Toe ek oor die lyn gaan kondig die kommentator aan dat my tyd 3:55 is, dat ek 88ste algeheel en 3de in my ouderdomsgroep is. ‘n Heel skaflike rseultaat vir ‘n goeie dag se fietsry.

Leon het vir ons tente in die skaduwee gekry, maar ons sou die laat middag son vang, dus nie veel kans dat ons in die tente sou bly nie. Na ‘n vining stort het ek iets te ete gaan kry en daarna die res van die middag onder een van die twee oop tent beddekkings deurgebring aangesien dit weg van die son was en daar ‘n ligte briessie deur getrek het. Vir aandete was het hulle vleis en braaibakke met kole voorsien sodat elke person sy eie vleis kom braai. Daar was ook slaaie en poeding. Later die aand is ons deur ‘n “troebadoer” met ‘n kitaar vermaak. Dit het tot na 21:00 aangegaan en ek het so teen 22:00 in die bed gekom.

Die volgende oggend is ons weer vroeg op vir ontbyt en om ons sakke teen 06:15 op die vragmotor te kry. Die wegspring was weer 07:00.

Die eerste 4.8 km is dit net klim en dit neem my 41 minute en ons het 570 meter geklim. Halfpad teen die bult op kom hier ‘n ouerige vrou by my verby. Ek probeer byhou, maar sien gou dit gaan nie werk nie en laat haar gaan.  Anderkant af vlieg ek by haar verby aangesien sy skynbaar redelik versigtig is oor die rowwe afdraand. Teen die volgende opdraand syl sy weer by my verby! Die gaan so aan vir ‘n ruk totdat die opdraandes meer word as die afdraandes en ek sien haar nie weer nie! Dit blyk dat sy oor die twee dae 26 minute vinniger as ek gery het en die Grand Woman afdeling gewen het!

Ek het ook vir Leon langs die pad raakgeloop, oppad af! Hy het besluit die wedren is nie moeilik genoeg nie en die eerste bult twee keer uit gery!

Ek het weer van die mense wat ek die vorige dag in my omgewing gesien het langs die pad tee gekom, onder andere my vriend van Barloworld Centurion. Hy het aanvanklik vir my weggery, maar ‘n minder ernstige problem opgetel wat veroorsaak het dat ek by hom verby is. So ‘n rukkie later toe kon hy weer by my verby. Maar teen die laaste helfte van die dag se klimme het sy “gewig” teen hom getel en ek skop stof in sy oë. Ek klop hom op dag 2 met 10 minute en met 4 minute oor die twee dae.

Die ‘uit” het 200 meter se ekstra klim, met die gevolg dat dit so ‘n bietjie langer neem as die “in”. Die watertafels en die Spur stop was albei dae op dieselfde plek. Die keer het ek egter net ‘n Spur burger gegryp, twee glassies Coke gedrink en in die ry verder ge-eet.

Ek het dit reggekry om ‘n goeie pas oor die tweede helfte te handhaaf en haal dus ook heelwat ryers, wat vroeër by my verby gekom het, in en sien hulle nie weer nie. So halfpad teen Swartbetgpas af sien ek dat my tyd op 3:37 staan met 16 kilometer oor. Ek besef toe dat en nie 4 uuur sal breek nie, maar trap nogtans so hart ek kan om die beste moontlike tyd daar te stel. Met 2.5 kilometer oor, slaan my meter oor na 4 uur en met die grootste gedeelte van hierdie 2.5 kilometer bult op, neem dit my ‘n verdere 6 minute voordat ek in 4:06 klaar maak.

Leon het dag 2 in 4:34 voltooi, ongeveer ‘n uur langer as normal weg as gevolg van die eerste bult wat hy twee keer uit gery het.

Ek het die twee dae baie geniet en is bly ek kon hierdie een van my “bucketlist” afkry. Sal dit weer ry indien iemend my saam nooi want dit is ‘n goeie uitdaging, maar sal dit nie sommer weeer net vir die “lekker” doen nie.









Sunday, May 8, 2016

BB2BB Reflection

Refleksie

As most of my followers are Afrikaans speeking, I am doing the reflection in Afrikaans.

So wat sê mens na so 'n wonderlike avontuur? Ek wil 'n blaadjie uit 2 Samuel 24 haal, waar David na die helde van sy gevegsloopbaan verwys en eindig met onder andere drie helde. My drie helde was Hennie de Clercq, Olof de Villiers en Hoffie Conradie Snr.

Hennie het Johannesburg toe gevlieg, 'n bus Ohrigstad toe gehaal en vier veel eisende dae saam met my gery. Daarna het hy en Sy vrou, Helena saam met Sue deur gekom Tulbagh toe op 1 Mei sodat hy die laaste dag ook saam met my kon ry.

Olof sou net sy BMW GS in Rhodes by my aangesluit het, maar sy aandag was by die motorfiets se GPS en nie op die pad nie tie sy reis begin het, met die gevolg dat hy 'n klein ongelukkie gemaak het, die GS nie reg wou loop nie en sy enkel gekraak het. Ten spyte van dit klim hy in sy bakkie en ry Moordenaarspoort toe (ongeveer 80 km SW van Barkley Oos) om my vir een aand te kom bemoedig en die goedere wat ek gevra het hy moet saambring, af te lewer. Die volgende dag ry hy terug Plett toe.

Hoffie Conradie koop 'n buskaartjie, klim op die bus met sy fiets en ry Queenstown toe. Van daar ry hy met sy fiets Moordenaarspoort toe en sluit by my aan vir die volgende agt dae.

Vir die drie helde wat vir my besonder baie beteken het op hierdie avontuur kan ek nie genoeg dankie sê nie!

Dan al die mense by wie oorgebly het. Party staan natuurlik 'n bietjie meer uit as ander.

Jan en Ronnie Ferreira het die aand op Ohrigstad spesiaal gemaak met daardie "steaks"! Dit was onverbeterlik.

Ester Craffert, wat my net buite Utrecht kom haal het na 'n lang dag waar ek teen die einde GPS probleme opgetel het en redelik moedeloos was.

Gavin Ryan who went out of his way to make life easier for me. Without his help my bike would surely not have made it to Bloubergstrand! The parts fitted at Callan's Bike Tech is still doing their job.

Bruce and Judy Hanson of Underberg, friends of Gavin, who opened their home for me even though they did not know me from a bar of soap!

The "Mama" from Vuvu who gave up her bed for me so that I could sleep in it while she shared accommodation for the night with her family.

Alta en Barry Stretton van Brosterlea wat bereid was om vir twee baie nat en misrabelle fietsryers, op die ingewing van die oomblik, in te neem, te voed en slaapplek te gee. Julle het ons van 'n baie moeilike situasie gered en 'n makliker uitkoms verseker.

Francois en Ina Botha waar ons lekker ge-eet en geslaap het en waar Francois hemel en aarde probeer beweeg het in 'n poging om my fiets se agterste skokbreker opgepomp te kry, al was dit net gedeeltelik suksesvol.

Elsa en Garth Featherstone wie se gasvryheid onverbeterlik was, maar veral vir Garth, wat toe ek hom van my skokbreker vertel, net verdwyn het en drie uur later terugkeer met 'n skokbreker pomp wat vir my skokbreker gemaak is! Wie sou dink dat 'n boer, wat tussen Graaff-Reinet en Aberbeenweg op 'n plaas bly, my die oplossing kon aanbied. Ek het hom amper gesoen!

Nelis Meiring en my swaer Chris wat 'n uur en 'n half vanaf Kirkwood na Kamferpoort toe gery het om 'n hek vir ons oop te sluit!

Martin en Lucia van Marlu waar ek nog altyd lekker gekuier en ge-eet het. Dit was ook 'n goeie idee om die relatiewe rit na Willowmore, eers na ontbyt saam met hulle, aan te pak.

Daniel en Marlene Hugo, Hoffie se neef, wat ook op kort kennisgewing ons ge-akkomodeer het.

Karel en Susan van Rooifontein, waar ek twee dae oorgebly het omdat ek 'n dag voor skedule was.

Danie Kotze en Mike Smit wat drie uur langs die pad vir my gewag het om die laaste 60 km saam met my en Hennie, wat weer op Tulbagh by my aangesluit het, te ry. Veral ook vir hulle hulp teen die Suid Oos vanaf Duynefontein deur Melkbosstrand tot in Bloubergstrand. Ek het daardie paadjie al baie teen die wind gery, maar dit was 'n plesier om in hulle "slip stream" te sit en baie makliker as wanneer jy alleen teen die wind moet sukkel.

Dan is daar die getroue ondersteuners op die BB2BB WhatsApp groep. Sekere name staan uit as gevolg van hulle gereelde en positiewe terugvoering en hier moet ek vir Gerrit Bruwer, Leon de Bruyn en Rene Kitshoff uitlig.

Ek moet ook na my broer verwys wat die relings van hierdie avontuur noukeurig gevolg het en ook die pad tussen Prins Albert en Lainsburg, uit sy eie, vir my gaan verken het en die nodige toestemming dat ons daar mag ry, gekry het.

Sonder die ondersteuning vsn my familie sou die avontuur nooit gebeur het nie! Dit was besonder lekker om elke aand met Sue te kan gesels en ek is haar vele dankies verskuldig dat sy my toegelaat het om dit te doen.

Ek het nooit, op enige tydstip terwyl ek gery bedreig of in gevaar gevoel nie. Almal langs die pad was vriendelik en meeste verbygangers het vriendelik gegroet. Ek het selfs 'n oomblik in Natal beleef waar 'n vragmotor, toe hy my op die grondpad sien aankom, stil gehou het sodat die stof kon gaan le, en nadat ek verby is verder gery het.

Ek is ook baie dank verskuldig aan ons Here Jesus Christus wat Sy hand van bewaring heeltyd oor my gehou het. Ek het ook tyd gehad, veral onderwyl ek alleen was, om met Hom te praat. Ek moet bieg dat ek nie antwoorde op van die vrae wat ek gevra het, gekry het nie, maar dit was goed om, in afsondering, met Hom te kommunikeer.

So kom alle goeie dinge tot 'n einde. Dankie aan een en slmal wat gedurende die afgelope maand hierdie avontuur saam met my beleef het.

Thanks to CyclesDirect who serviced my bicycle before I left and got it back to me last Friday after fixing the little things which needed attention after the trip. A special word to Specialized, who manufacturers the Stumpjumper, which now had done 35,000 km in just over three years and have given me hours of joy and pleasure.

Monday, May 2, 2016

BB2BB Day 32


So the last day is here. My wife Sue, Hennie de Clercq and his wife Helena joined me in Tulbagh yesterday. We had a lovely meal at Patriot Restaurant, when the chef agreed to stay open after 17:00 to serve us even though his closing time was 17:00!

We got going at 05:56. Our aim was to reach the top of Oukloof Pass by first light. We achieved that but found that the pass was very eroded with the result that we had to push our bicycle for a large proportion of the time. The pass leads into a large wind farm with no fence on the mountain side. The security guard at the gate was quite surprised to see us, but before he could make up his mind on what to do with us, we said goodbye and were on our way.

We now were on the gravel roads serving the farms in the Riebeek Kasteel district. Generally the condition of the roads were good although we had negotiate more than our fair share of corrugations. We reached the Riebeek West/Moorreesburg road at the PPC Cement factory and then took a gravel left and left again to go via Riebeekrivier. Over the hill and down the other side to link up with the Malmesbury/Riebeek Kasteel tar road.

In meantime Danie Kotze and Mike Smit, who decided to join us half way was way too early. I told them that we should be at the agreed point between 11 and 12. They arrived at 10! I informed them that we were still more than 2 hours away. In the end we only reached the agreed point at 13:30! Fortunately they waited for us.

At the bottom of the dip we turn left and shortly afterwards right. Here we encountered a locked gate. We had no option but to climb over and continue. We encountered another locked gate before we reached a public road. That took us down to the Malmesbury/Wellington tar road. We crossed that and continued on the local district road up to the farm Welgemeend of Fanie Basson. We stopped for water and a bite too eat.

I visited Fanie Basdon and his two neighbours six weeks ago and received their blessing to ride over their property. This led us past some chicken broilers, over some fences, a 4x4 track where we saw Springbuck and Ostrich down to the Paardeberg tar road, which ends in a T-junction with the Klipheuwel/Malmesbury tar road.

The Spaza shop where we were to meet Danie and Mike was just around the corner. I was quite glad to see then appear out of the shadows as we arrived. Now we were four. We followed some back roads, a railway line and over a number of farms which took us over the Philadelphia and Adderley roads down to the Diep river. The water level was about knee high with a green substance floating on the water. We all got through by either walking through the water by negotiating the river via some tree stumps. My and Hennie's bicycles looked rather green when we got out the other side. The green stuff was quite harmless, being some water plant which grows on the surface of the water.

When we reached the old Malmesbury road we realised that we would have to ride into a south easter from Duynefontein to Bloubergstrand. We turned right on the Botterberg road, travelled over Phil Stofberg's farm Keert de Koe, with his permission, De Anker, a short distance on the old Darling road, left past Vaatjie's sand mine and on to Duynefontein.

Here we formed a train with Danie leading the way into the wind. Just after Van Riebeekstrand we received an escort in the form of Gerrit Snyman on his Harley Davidson with some pink lint to guide us through the traffic. Olof de Villiers formed the rear guard from Melkbosstrand onwards. Danie was setting the pace with Mike protecting me from the wind on the right and Hennie holding up the rear. I have never before had such a pleasant ride into the south easter from Melkbos to Blouberg! Normally I have to battle on my own. Now I was riding in people's slipstream. We continued like this right up go Big Bay Beach Club. Here the other riders fell back and allowed me to ride into Eden on the Bay on my own.

A large group of friends and family were waiting for on the grass in front of Eden on the Bay and so ended an epic journey of 3,314 km in 32 wonderful days.  

Data for the day: left 05:56; time 11:02:36; distance 146.8 km; average speed 13.29 kph; ascent 1,791 meters; descent 1,915 meters.

For those following the blog, I will be posting a "reflection" in Afrikaans by the end of the week.

Thanks to everybody who followed my wonderings during the last 32 days. This definitely was the pinnacle in my cycling career and something I will not and do not wish to improve on!

All the glory to our Lord Jesus Christ who gave me the physical and mental strength to complete this amasing journey.        

Sunday, May 1, 2016

BB2BB Day 31


Susan agreed to make me some Jungle Oates for breakfast, which would be ready at 06:00. My plan was to leave at 06:30 so that  I could ride up the kloof as the sun was rising.

I got going at 06:25. The ride up the kloof was something to behold. The rock formations were quite beautiful and the rays of the sun light up to top peaks of the mountains. The road was quite rough in some sections, but generally in a good condition. There were one or two very rocky and steep sections where I had to push, but I mostly managed to keep pedaling. It took me 1:39!to cover the 13.2 km to the top with an ascent of 486 meters.

Once on top, the road condition improved and it leveled out allowing for nice crusing. I stopped for my morning break after 3 hours, having covered 36 km. The gravel road connected to another even better gravel and then with the Ceres/Citrusdal road, which was tarred. At the top of the Gydo Pass I took the turn off to the Witzenberg Valley. This led me on to the old Witzenberg wagon trail, which was used in the Cape Epic this year.

On the Witzenberg Valley side the track was very rough and very steep resulting in lots of pushing at under 2 kph! Once on top, I picked up the single, which I presume was specially made for the Epic. There were some very rocky and steep sections, but though it was quite technical most of it was ridable and turned out to be one of those outstanding high lights of this adventure. I quite like technical riding and this fitted very well into my liking. I did managed to take a wrong turn towards the end, resulting in me ending up in the back garden of a farm house. There were ordinary barbed wire fencing around the house, but I managed to pick up a track again. Unfortunately this led to nowhere and I was forced to do a little bundu bashing, climb over a number of fences before I finally reached a road. From there it was easy going into town to Cape Dutch Quarters, where we were staying. A good day's riding!

Data for the day: started 06:25; time 6:36:52; distance 71.2 km; average speed 10.76 kph; ascent 1,051; descent 1,640 meters.



BB2BB Day 30


Due to the fact that certain people, who wanted to join me on the last day could only make it on the 2nd of May, I decided to stay over for two days at Karee Kloof with Karel and Susan Botha. It was quite an interesting experience. I gave all my cycling clothes to Susan to wash and decided that if everything is dry before 12:00, then I will go for a ride. The air here is pretty dry and everything was dry by 11:30. We had a lovely branch at 10:30. There after I went with Karel to replaced the gas cylinder at Commando, where Ross and Jill were spending the weekend. When we got back it was 12:30 and I decided that I could not resist the temptation to go for a ride to the Tankwa Karoo Padstal, which was about 35 km away.

The ride there and back was pretty uneventful, but for all the cars on the road returning home after attending Africa Burn. For those who do not know what Africa Burn is, it is a yearly event on a farm far away from normal civilisation. People come from all over the country to just have s "good time". Some "props" are built and set alight on the last evening, which was yesterday. You must also take all your waste back with you. There are no waste bins and you are not allowed to litter. Generally a "free spirit" tend to prevail and people just have a good time. It actually us amasing to what lengths people will go to just get away from "it"!

The 37 km there took me just over 1:40. I bought ginger biscuits, a Lunch Bar and a Coke. While I ate the biscuits and drank the Coke a number of people came across to enquire where I was off too. The place was quite crowed with people returning home from Africa Burn. My stop lasted about 20 minutes and then I started the return trip. This did not go quite as fast as the out trip and after an hour I covered only 15 km. A Durban car, with people who obviously was at Africa Burn stopped to hear if I wanted water. I informed them that I was fine and they continued on their way. I picked up my pace and finally got home after 4:30 there and back. A nice "loosner" for tomorrow.

I hope to get going at 06:30 so that I do not have to ride up the kloof in the dark.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

BB2BB Day 29


It turned out to be quite an interesting day, although I did not think so after 12 hours in the saddle, but more about that later.

I did managed to get going at 04:20 in the hope of beating the wind! My hope did not materialise as there was s breeze going as I left. Initially I made good time, but once I got to the turn off take me west, the climbing started and the breeze was in my face. The wind was not too bad and once I got to the top of the climb, I managed to maintain an average speed of around 14 kph. This continued for the first 30 km.

When I started, I could see a number of stars, but there were some clouds in the sky. Once dawn broke, I noticed that the bad weather tended to move to my left. This did not last and eventually the rain caught me. it did not rain that hard and my windbreaker and warm top kept most of the wetness off my body.

I had my first stop at sunrise (07:07) and was not disappointed. It was quite spectacular! I had my second stop at Patatstivier, out of the wind after 5 and a half hours riding. The rain was coming and going, but never became a real problem. The wind was in my face, but not too strong. My average speed came down to about 12 kph. During this time I had to negotiate a number of gates. The Patatsrivier then linked up with a large, well kept district road.

The going on this initially was good, but then the wind picked up and I was labouring along at 8-10 kph. To make matters worse, the road had a steady incline. This continued from km 86 to 121  when I turned right on the R355. Now the wind was on mu back and I was crusing along at between 20-30 kph. The 11 km to the Kareekloof turn off was completed in no time.

My brother arranged for me to stay with Karel and Susan at Kareekloof. On my way to Kareekloof, I passed the dwelling of Rooifontein. Further up the road was a rock with Kareekloof written on it. Next to it was a board indicating Uitkyk. I continued up this road, which went up and up and up! There were no houses, but the scenery was breath taking. After quite a while some unoccupied dwelling appeared. In the meantime the road continued to climb. Eventually I got to the last house where a 4x4 was standing in the yard. A guy came out of the house and I said I am looking for Karel. He informed me that Karel was in the first house as I came up from the R355! I therefore rode about 7 km up some very steep inclines, to be informed that I have passed the hone if my hosts more than an hour ago! I had no option but to go back. Along the way I met Ross from Rondebosh, who was out on his mountain bike, exploring the local jeep tracks! He agreed to take me to Karel's house. The ride down was much easier and also considerably quicker. This ride added about 2 hours to my days riding time, but the beauty of going up this valley more than made up for the extra time spend out on my bike. Ross took a selfie of us and was on his way back to Commando, one of the cottages let by Karel. I finally arrived at my hosts after a ride of more than 13 hours!

Data for the day: started 04:20; time 13:08:47; distance 151.72; average speed 11.54; total ascent 1,309 meters; descent 1,247 meters.

What a day! It also what a human being is capable off. When I turned off the R355, I was exhausted and ready to turn off at the first house. In the end I spent another two hours on my bike, riding an additional 14 km and climbing nearly double of what I did during the rest if the day, during this little "excursion"!

Total distance after 29 days: 3,023 km.

Môre is my enigste rusdag aan gesien ek een dag voor skedule is. Hennie de Clercq en Mike Smitvkan eers 2 Mei saam met my ry, dus bly ek twee dae oor op Rooifontein(Karee Kloof). Indien my gewasde firtsry klere betyds droog raak, nag ek by die Tankwa Padstal 'n draai gaan maak.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

BB2BB Day 28


I had oats and coffee for breakfast. Daniel boiled eggs for the road and made two egg and mayonnaise sandwiches for each of us and after we bid fair well to our hosts, we got going at 05:10.

The road out of Prince Albert was in an excellent condition and we constantly lost elevation with the result that result that we made very good time for the first hour and a half. We then left the main road and had to continue on farm roads, some of which were just two faint tracks through the veld.  We also encountered lots of sandy patches, with the result that our average speed reduced markedly. Sunrise was due at 07:03 and we stopped for some beautiful photos. Although the road was a farm track through the veld, I did downloaded it from Track4Africa and there were telephone poles, with lines, next to it. So this must have been a well used road.

After a while I noticed that correspond 100% with the track, but it was along side and we were following the poles! It then started moving away and we realised that we needed to move left. This relatively easy in the Karoo and after half an hour we were back on track. In this little excursion my front wheel got stuck, I lost my balance  and fell over. Nothing serious. When we got back on track I noticed something peculiar with my rear brake lever. It seems as though something broke. It was still working but I had to keep it in place with my hand. I later managed to keep it in place by putting my wrist band around the lever assembly.

Yesterday the wind came up at 10:30. Today it came up at 08:50! The elevation of the road also did not count in our favour. The general direction was up. The hills were not very steep, riding up an incline against a wind is not conducive fir a good average speed, which came down to 10.2 kph. Poena Jordaan, a farmer from De Doorns came past and stopped for a chat, commenting "julle ouens ry darem lekker"! I thought afterwards that our ride against the wind was not that pleasant!

We eventually reached a district road and noticed a sign indicating 53. I realised that we had 53 km to the R329 tar road to Lainsburg. This was quite a taxing road. It had umpteen hills followed by a small dip and another hill, a dip and another hill and so it went on. With each hill we were also gaining elevation. With wind and these elevations, we were traveling at between 8-10 kph! This continued up to the point that there was 23 km left. We then encountered our first reasonable down hill. We thought(hoped) that this would continue up to Lainsburg, but no such luck. The hills continued, but at least they were now followed by nice down hills.

We passed below the dam wall of the Floriskraal dam and had to go up the steepest hill of the day. Still it was not the end but due to the good descents, we were making good time and our average speed was moving up to over 11 kph. We eventually reached the tar road, only to be confronted by another little monster and when we hit a flat section, the wind tried to blow us off the road!

Olof de Villiers agreed to pick Hoffie, who had to be in Cape Town on 29 April, up in Lainsburg and take him back home. He came looking for us and found us about 8 km out of Lainsburg. He waited for us on the edge of town and showed us the way to the guest house where I wad booked in. We spent some time chatting, he went to get us something to eat and drink while Hoffie disassembled his bicycle to get it into the back of Olof's vehicle. Once Olof was back with our refreshments, Hoffie loaded his bicycle and shortly afterwards they left for Cape Town.



I settled into my room, had a shower, oiled the chain, arranged a breakfast pack for the morning, settled my bill and went for supper at Cafe Hart, the restaurant of the Lainsburg Country Hotel. One of the items on the menu was "lamb afval" and I just could not resist the temptation to order it, with vegetables. The meal was good and I was back in my room at 20:00.

I think I will start a little earlier in the morning to get more riding time without wind. The weather do not look to promising for tomorrow with a 50% chance  of rain. I will be North of the N1 abc can only hope and prayer that I encounter the dry 50%!

Data for the day: start 05:20; time 11:31:55; distance 130.01 km; average speed 11.28 kph; ascent 1,671 meters; descent 1,580 meters.

Total distance after 28 days: 2,871 km

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

BB2BB Day 27


We had a good supper at The Willows Historical Guest House and they provided us with breakfast/lunch packs which contained two boiled eggs, a bacon and egg sandwich, a peanut butter and jam sandwich, a pear, a fruit juice and a bottle of water.  

Our alarm woke us at 04:00 and we got going at 04:54. The ride out of town was reasonable. It was mostly at a small incline, therefore it was difficult to maintain a good average speed. After 15 km we turned right and went through Leeukloof. Unfortunately is was still dark do we could not really appreciate the beauty of the the kloof, but even in the darkness it looked awesome. Once we emerged from the kloof the road leveled out and we started to pick up speed.

The road surface was good and our average creeped up to 17 kph. We turned left towards Strydomsvlei and 5 km later right towards Prince Albert. We made our first rest stop of the morning here. During this period we also came across about 10 bonte buck grasing about 50 meters from the road. They looked at us and then continued grasing. We continued up to the turn off which would take us past Rondawel, one of the Freedom Challenge lunch/emergency stops. After 5 hours we covered 85 km and then the wind came up! We decided to stop at Rondawel to replenish our water supply. Only the cleaner and gardener were at home, but the lady offered us coffee. We had the rest of our sandwiches and then set off the face the wind.

The wind really picked up and the road tended to go up, which made it difficult to maintain any form of reasonable pace. We also encountered lots of corrugations and sandy patches. All we could do was to grind it out. In no time our average speed first dropped to 15 kph and then to just below 14! After 9 hours of riding we took a rest at the Groot Sleutelfontein gate. Our average speed for the last 4 hours, which included two rest stops, was 10.25!

The road sort of leveled out and we managed to increase our average speed. After passing through a second Groot Sleutelfontein gate, we eventually reached the Prince Albert/Beaufort West gravel road. When I rode this road with my car in 2012, it was in an excellent condition. Today it was a minor disaster! It was either corrugated or sandy, which made going very difficult. I was also expecting the road to go down towards Prince Albert! In stead, we were gaining altitude. This continued most of the way towards Prince Albert. There were a number of down hills, generally we were going up or maintaining our altitude with the typical Karoo "dips" followed by another incline.

We finally reached Prince Albert after 12 hours of riding. While we covered the first 85 km if 5 hours, it took is 7 hours for the last 78 km, largely due to the strong headwind. Some of the locals directed us to Hoffie's cousin's house in Meiring Street, where we were welcomed by our host waiting in the road for us.

Daniel and Marlene Hugo opened there house for us and provided us with a bed, a warm shower, rinsed our clothes and gave  us an excellent supper. We hope to get going again the morning at about 05:00 heading for Lainsburg, a distance of 144, only 19 km less than today!

Data for the day: started 04:54; time 12:02:46; distance 163.22 km; average speed 13.55 kph; total ascent 1,320 meters; total descent 1,513 meters.

I have now done 2,741 km in 27 days.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

BB2BB Day 26


We had a wonderful stay with Lucia and Martin Dorfling at Marlu. As the stage to Willowmore was only about 70 km, we decided to have breakfast with our hosts at 08:00 and leave there after.

We got going at 08:32. The road surface was quite good and we covered the 20 km go Fullerton in 1:12. We turned left zbc about 2 km down the road right to follow the flow of the Grootriver and then onto Willowmore. The road surface continued to be good and we it was easy to maintain a pace of 16-22 kph. The rock formations of the mountains was quite phenomenal. It looked as though the rocks were pressed together in a giant press. We stopped for a break and something to eat and rest after 2:30, having maintained an average speed of 17.7 kph.

The road had some interesting twists, making the ride quite enjoyable. The last 20 km was fairly straight and level leading us onto the single lane cement road. When reached Willowmore, we decided to first have a relaxing light lunch at Sophie's Choice before we book in at The Willows. Hoffie had a milkshake and a chicken salad and I had an Americano and a Greek salad. We spent an hour just relaxing and having our meal. We finally arrived at The Willows just after 14:00. I asked Lucia to make the booking for us and she indicated that we would pay R500. On enquiry and checking back on her WhatsApp, it was R500 for the room including breakfast. What a bargain! We had our showers, rinsed our cycling gear and spent the afternoon relaxing for tomorrow's big ride. We plan to hit the road at 05:00.

Data for the day: start 08:32; time 05:29:38; distance 72.56 km; average speed, including stoppages 13.58 kph; total ascent 603 meters and total descent 289 meters.

Monday, April 25, 2016

BB2BB Day 25


For the information of those who read yesterday's blog before I amended it, I duplicate the last paragraph here:

Yesterday afternoon I mentioned to Garth, Elsa's husband, that I will pay somebody to come from Graaff-Reinet to the farm if they can bring a shock pump with a release valve. He then "disappeared" and returned three hours later. He went to his farm in Aberdeen district and came back with a shock pump that works! So I am back with a working rear shock. I nearly kissed him!

Garth had to get up at 04:30 to assist with a fox hunt and fitted in very well with our timing schedule and we agreed to leave at 05:00. Elsa gave us Jungle Oats for breakfast, made us sandwiches and gave us two of her delightful "energy bars" come "crunchies" for the road.

We actually got going at 05:14 and made good time for the first hour. We were surprised by a number mud puddles in the dark resulting in lots of mud on our bikes. The last bit to Aberdeen Road was at a slight incline making it difficult to maintain anything above 12 kph. We turned left at Aberdeen Road towards Klipplaat. We stopped on a hill to capture the beauty of the sunrise. The road towards Klipplaat was fairly straight, but the road surface was excellent and there was some variation in the elevation, making the ride quite enjoyable.

We stopped at the still closed Charles Hotel for a bite and Hoffie replenished his water supply. Just outside Klipplaat we took the turn off to Kamferpoort. This little used road was in quite good condition and the shrubbery was typical Karoo with some mountain ranges thrown in for good measure.

The ride through Kamferpoort was something special. My brother-in-law come up from Kirkwood with Nelis Meiring, the owner of Kamferpoort, to unlock the gate for us. We stopped at Nelis' house in the Poort for a chat and some tea. This pleasure little sojourn took us 40 minutes.

My original plan was to do Allemanskraal to Prins Albert in two days. Fortunately sanity prevailed and I changed it to a three day ride. This resulted in today being quite a bit shorter than originally planned. So the ride from Kamferpoort to Marlu was shorter than anticipated and we arrived at our destination just after 13:45.

Data for the day: left 05:14; riding time 07:14:19; distance 106.86; average speed 13.9 kph; climb 759; descent 879 meters.

Total distance to date in 25 days: 2,505 km.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

BB2BB Day 24


We had a wonderful evening with Francois and Ina. Francois went to tremendous length to try and help me with the rear shock. He welded some pieces of a valve and cap together and we managed ti get some extra air into the shock. It still is not right, but it is better.

I decided to use an alternative entry to the Elandskloof/Erasmuskloof trail and we therefore decided to leave at such a time that we reach the turn off at first light., so we started moving at 06:07. We found the turn off without any problem. The weather forecast indicated that the minimum temperature would be 5 degrees Celsius. My GPS confirmed that about one kilometer into the trail, but then it started to drop further and in no time I noticed -1.8! I was freezing and looked with fore long eyes towards the mountains to see if the sun would not poke its head above the horison to heat things up a bit, but at this point my hope was in vain. My body and feet were fine, but my hands were freezing. It was not until after about when we started climbing some hills, that the temperature reached normal levels again. For once I was looking forward to the hills because the extra effort generated some additional body heat.

The first part of the road through this trial was in superb condition and we were making good time. The scenery was also something to behold. We also the restored house where Andries Pretorius lived before he joined "The Great Trek". The trail then climbed up a very steep neck, where the surface was also washed away in places. By the time we reached the top the temperature rose to about 8 degrees. A little while later we stopped for our morning break and to get rid of our warm clothes.

The climb continued for a while, but as steep as the first part. We then started our descent. This carried on for quite most of the rest of the trail up to Erasmuskloof. Here the road leveled off as we made our way past sone steep cliffs. Once again the scenery was exquisite! We finally reach the  Graaff-Reinet/Middelburg tar road and cycled into Graaff-Reinet having covered 82 km in 4 hours 30 minutes.

We stopped for water and continued onto Allemanskraal where my second cousin, Elsa Featherstone lives and where we were going to spend the night. The road from Adendorp to Kendrew was a real ordeal. The surface was bad with lots of corrugations and very boring straight sections. It was endless! We were really glad when we took the right turn to Marais Siding. The road surface improved and the direction of the road had some variation which made the ride a little more interesting.

It really was sad to see what have become of Marais Siding. There are no roofs on or windows in any of the buildings! The platform is covered in weeds. It is only about 5 km from here to the farm and we arrived there at about 15:30. It was a good day's riding.

Data: started at 06:07; time 08:24:05; distance 138 km; average speed 16.45 kph; climbed 857 meters; descended 1,621 meters.

I have now covered 2,398 kilometers. I also managed to weigh myself! My normal weight is 71-72 kg. I now weigh 68 kg!

Garth, Elsa's husband went to his farm in Aberdeen district and came back with a shock pump that works! So I am back with a working rear shock. I nearly kissed him!