Wednesday, April 6, 2016
BB2BB Day 6
What a day!! Probably my most difficult day on a bicycle ever!
We were treated like kings last by Jan and Ronnie Ferreira, friends of Hennie de Clercq.
We got going again at about 05:00. The fist 12 km was tar and then we took a left turn, which would take us to Crystal Spring. We had some problems getting a security to open a gate for us, but Hennie conversed with him in his mother tongue and after a lengthy discussion, he opened the gate.
Within the first kilometer we saw a beautiful giraffe bull in the middle of the road. Unfortunately is was still too dark so we could nit take any photo's. A little while later we came to split in the road. My GPS said right, but Hennie said left and as he knows the area, we followed his advise. The weather was overcast but actually perfect for cycling. We saw zebra, oribi, warthog, koedoe and waterbuck. Just before we reached the resort, my GPS joined our track. Hennie informed us that there is a fence across that track and that is why we could not use it.
We stopped for a second breakfast at the restaurant. As we left, it started to rain! We put on our rain gear and got going. Hennie new about a track which followed the ridge line. We took a tight turn where the road to the resort entered from the left. We reach the signage to Mt Sheba and took a left turn into the resort, losing a lot of elevation in the process. When got there, Hennie realised that we mussed the ridge line he wanted us to take. I looked at my GPS and saw that we could ride through Mt Sheba and pick up the track I would have taken from Pilgrims Rest to the Long Tom Pass.
It took us awhile to find our exit route. This turned out to be a long forgotten and disused road, but it was ridable by bicycle. After quite a while we picked up a forestry road which we saw linked up with my GPS track. We now were into forestry area and followed this road until it linked up with the GPS. We though it would be easy going from there, but when I looked at my GPS I saw that we still had 30 km to go! Every now and then we were guided onto some very interesting and lesser used roads.
At just over 7 hours my GPS informed me that the battery is low. I stopped to connect my Power Monkey to recharge the batteries and we were on our way again. The GPS and the track which I downloaded from Steve Thomas' book Riding the Dragon's Spine was invaluable! We would have had major problems selecting the correct tracks without it. Every now and then it would peep "off course" and we had to back track until it "found course" again. Hennie also felt that he would have had problems finding his track in this weather.
We reached a plato with no trees and thought that we were near the end, but another 30 minutes of riding, we were amongst the trees again. We then got to a point where the obvious road went straight but the GPS directed right up a track which was very disused! We started pushing our bikes up this track. We were amazed. It definitely was not used and most 4x4's would have major problems going up there. We came to the conclusion that it must have been an old wagon trail. The effort which went into building this trail was obvious! It took us another half an hour to get to the top. There my GPs indicated that we still had 7 km to go. We also though that our guest house was a further 5 km up the road! We reach a gate and nearly made back flips when we saw the entrance to the guest house across the road!
So ended a real character building day and I hope the most difficult day of thus journey.