Boet werrie June 17 Day 7: Slaapkranz to Kranzkop

We started off late this morning, at 5:30 am.  Partly because I was the cook of the morning, but also because we started off with 2 portages straight out from the back door of the farm house.  None of us had done this section before, so we decided to do most of it in daylight.  The first bit is a climb straight up the mountain behind the farm.  Marnitz’s advice to do these portages as early as possible was wise, because everything was frozen at the start.  I’ve heard horrible stories of the black mud in this area.

Worried Gazza mentioned that it was -7 degrees when we started, but we worked so hard getting up the mountain that we warmed up quite quickly.  We followed Andre’s instructions on the route and got the Slaapkranz portage over fairly quickly.

Next on was the Bontehoek portage.  This one is a bit longer and trickier to nail.  We misinterpreted the narratives and map, and took a much wider approach to the neck.  Whilst taking a break near the top, we saw 3 bearded vulture passing above us about 30m away.  The bearded vulture is South Africa’s largest bird of prey, with a wingspan of about 2.8m.  It was a special moment.

Bontehoek portage

Marnitz warned us not to try riding down the other side of the portage.  The downhill doesn’t appear to be innocent, but it definitely looks sort off ride able.  And to save the knees going downhill, I attempted the beast… and saw my arse within 20m.  The black mud!  To be quite honest, I was spending more time sliding on my arse with my bike either on top of, or next to me, than I was spending on my feet.  It was a different kind of fun.

Rossouw is a small town to be missed.  However the descent after the Rooiberg pass to Moordenaarspoort was an enormous amount of exhilarating fun.  Again we waited another 30min for Worried Gaza to arrive at the soup stop.  He got lost and just doesn’t seem to enjoy downhills.
On the wat to Moordenaarspoort

For the next 40 odd km Worried Gazza stuck to my rear tyre like super glue.  He said nothing, didn’t enjoy the pretty country side, just hung onto my slipstream.  He was struggling with all things life, basically just being absolutely miserable.  As we dropped down to the farmhouse we scared an Aardwolf from its hiding place.  It’s amazing how much wild animals and birds you see after you’ve passed Rhodes.

Just before dinner I got stomach cramps.  I mistook it for hunger pains, but spent most of the night in the toilet.  I took some Imodium and rehydrate thru the night, but I couldn’t keep anything down.  At least the toilet had a heater inside!

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