Sunday, April 17, 2016

BB2BB Day 16

I really had a wonderful time with Bruce and Judy Hanson. Their hospitality was out of this world.  They had breakfast ready at 05:00. Trudy made me some fresh sandwiches and two boiled eggs to take along with me as a mid morning snack. I  hit the road at 05:27.

I identified today's ride as one of the major challenges of this adventure. This forms part of day 3 on the Freemdom Challenge, but they start from Nsikeni Nature Reserve and the total distance is 93 km. The section from Nsikeni to Glen Edward is very technical, so I felt I should be able to get from Underberg to Glen Edward, which is considerable longer, but technically easier, in about the same time. I was quite relieved when this did work out.

I chose to follow the gravel road through Coleford Nature Reserve rather than the R627. It probably is a bit more hilly and about 5 km longer, but I felt this was a better option than 50 km on the tar road between Underberg and Kokstad. It really was well worth the effort. The early morning scenery was exquisite. The were a fair number of hills but they were not nearly as severe as yesterday's.

The gravel road was 47 km. That was followed by 18 km tar and the rest of the day was on gravel. I stopped at a Spaza shop in Taylerville for a Coke. While sitting their I had a look at the narrative for the rest of the day. There still two quite technical sections to negotiate and then my eye caught an insert which stated that there is a touring option by staying on the rutted district road, which is longer but will  be quicker. I looked at my GPS and saw that the touring route did reflect. I also had 50,000:1 maps giving me the detail. I therefore decided to follow this option. It was a master stroke and probably saved me an hour in riding time, cutting out both technical sections. My new route joined with the technical route right where the second section ended!

The road was pretty rutted and there must have been some protest action recently. Large sections had massive rocks in the road. There also a number of telltale signs of tyres which were set alight, in the road. I did not notice any hostility and everybody whom I passed exchanged friendly greetings.

I arrived at Masakala Guest House, a Freedom Challenge support station, at 16:45, having done 128.08 km in 11:15:27 with 2,471 meters of climbing.

The next two days are relatively short at 65 and 67 km. I should by able to complete both in under 9 hours.

Today is halfway in terms of days for my adjusted plan which is 2 longer than the original. Distance to date is 1,572, just under halfway.

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