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.