Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Day 8 - Wind + 1 gear = ouch

What a day! When you finish 2 portages at 12:30pm, then have to ride another 80km, then you know you are on the Freedom ride. I don't think many other races in the world have that element of toughness to them.

Our stop last night was fantastic - Lizzy, our host, managed to wait on all of us without a problem including a full cooked breakfast and packed lunches. The niceties stopped soon after leaving with a harsh hike-a-bike up an unused jeep track. Strangely enough all 9 of us suffered up the climb but not one person complained. All you heard was, "where to now?" as each person arrived at the top.

By mistake, luck or skill, our navigation was spot on for the first difficult section and we had completed this by 9am. We also had the luck of meeting a local farmer who gave us some tips for the second scratchy bit. This was also a major slog but once again we came out at exactly the right spot. It was at this point during lunch that we still had 80km to go. During the portages the wind was gale force but we hoped it would be better lower down. Sorry for us!
The entire 80km's to Boschofskraal had a hectic side wind and a number of us ended up in ditches on the side of the road. On rare occasions I was being blown uphill unable to pedal but most of the time it was really hard work. I rode most of the last 80km on my own as I could not ride as slow as the others. I would ride hard, then rest a while then do it again. 80km of interval training.

The views were awesome over the 2 portages with scenery all the way back to the Southern Drakensburg and on into the flatter portions of the Eastern Cape. The terrain is slowly becoming harsher and grasslands are slowly being replaced by Karoo bushes and some barren areas. Huge mountains are being replaced by dispersed mountain clusters and koppies.

Tomorrow is supposed to be an easier day but I think it will be a nightmare if this wind persists.

Xolani pitched up tonight after 2 nights out in the cold - he is unsure of where he was but seems none the worse for wear. Dillon's knees gave problems so he got picked up in a town before the support station so he will need to go back there if he wants to continue. He will lose the group but could link up with Kevin who is still trailing the group by a day.
I am feeling relatively better than the others everyday and with reports that some of the lead group are struggling, I'm considering a push, but we'll see.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi my boy,
What a day for you all, have been watching on the tracker and wondered when you were going to stop, not knowing the wind was blowing you all to pieces, glad you managed to get good food in before your start today. Our whole family is so proud of you, what with Dad and Tanja's police buddies tracking you and Lynn and the rest also tracking you, are you getting hot under the collar with all these eyes watching you... well at least you should feel the strength coming from them all. Hope tomorrow goes better, although the cold is closing in.
Keep up the fantastic work, look after yourself.
Love MOM.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Andre we are wondering how you are getting on in the wind, cold & snow!!!! As usual you have it all under control. Well done and all the best for the road (or should that be tracks?) ahead.
With the usual admiration, pride and love Lia & Mike aka Eminem aka mother-and-step-father-in-law

8:07 PM  

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