Monday, June 26, 2006

Day 9 - Don't follow someone elses tire tracks

FUBAR is the key word for today - Google if you are not sure what this means.

Its now 00:20 and we still haven't got to bed. Gerrit is bathing, I'm eating (more), and Xolani has passed out. Not sure if he even had a proper supper. There is no elecricity here, so I can't charge light batteries, or my cell phone - but I haven't had a signal for 3 days, so doesn't really matter. There is, however, hot water and a huge log fire, so its not all bad. Boy is it cold here - I don't think we have had a tempareture higher than 10deg since my antics up in the drakensburg. We are learning to deal with frozen water bottles, and camelback pipes. We generally ride in full leggings, 2pr socks, and over about 4 layers of under-garments our all wether jackets - full gloves the whole day.

Today's route was 2 big navigation sections early in the day, followed by a dirt road grind to the next stop.

We did 2 the 2 navigation sections without becoming too unstuck - a little detour here and there, but we're used to that now. We picked up Ben and Cornel's tire tracks, which we followed - fatal. Unfortunately they took the wrong route, which made the trip about 30km longer. At our late-in-the-day pace, that's about 3hrs riding.

The dirt road to the town was a killer; 75km starting at 3:30 in the afternoon. No intermediate landmarks, rain, cold and windy - nothing to do but turn the legs. After night fall it got even worse. You cannot see if yuo are going uphill or downhill, just change gears till you feel comfortable.

We got here at about 11:30pm - shattered, but happy to be here.

Today's scenery was the best yet - we could see snow covered peaks back towards the Drakensburg, and ahead of us the apparently flat Eastern Cape region - we now know that it is not quite flat. While sitting on the top of one of the peaks Gerrit said, "We MTB for moments like these". Even the rivers look pretty - ice forms along the edges, and long ice crystals form on the reeds.

Tomorrow we'll leave a bit later, as there are no portage sections, and hopefully we'll get there before sun set.

My clothes need a good wash. My bike needs a good wash

I really miss talking to Corrinne when I feel like it - especially when days get a bit long - there is so much I want to share with her.


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