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.

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