Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Day 2 - what a difference a year makes

Waking up this morning, we got news that another 3 riders had gapped it in the early hours of the morning in an attempt to make up ground on those that had doubled-up the night before. It turned out to be a day of collapsed strategy.
The riding started with some good singletrack through tyhe neighbouring farms, and then we linked up with the Sani2C route, and did some of it in the opposite direction. (Note to self: Do Sani2C at some stage). There was some really tricky navigation, but a fair sized group decided to stick with Ian, who knew the trail really well. This was a good decision, as we soon caught up with the 3 early risers, and made up valuable time. Our lunch stop was at Centacow mission station, which was built pre-1920's - the stained glass windows, and murals are exquisite, and in pristine condition. I'll post some photos after the event.
From there our group split up a bit, and we went through towards the end in smaller groups of 3's and 4's. From this stage my past experience really paid off, as we quickly moved up to the big portage of the day. We passed one of the previous days breakaway riders, Glenn, who had spent a night in the forest - he did not look too happy, but was still moving and I expect another breakaway attempt from him soon.
I got a tactical advantage accidently by teaming up with Andrew, who can speak fluent zulu, so within minutes he had arranged a guide up the portage section for R10 and we were home free. The stop we're at is Ntsikeni, a nature reserve owned by the local community, where there is a wonderful guest house, and well worth a visit if you are in the area.
So that's all for tonight. Tomorrow we're going to start a bit earlier just to make sure that we get to Masakala in good time. No chance of doubling-up yet. The riding is too good in this area.
Earle says "Hi" to his fan club which is apparently quite extensive.


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