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" You have never lived until you have challenged life, and for those who have, life has a flavour the protected will never know " Marnitz Nienaber
" Make your journey count, make a difference " David Grier Miles for Smiles
Boet Werrie June 18 Day 8: Romansfontein to Newlands
We only left at 5:30am. Leon, Picasso and I were always fairly
organised in the mornings and at soup stops.
It was a case of getting up, get food down and get going. Enter Jacques Tattersall… Our customary 45/30 min in the mornings/soup
stops turned into 1h30m – 2 hours in the mornings and 1 hour for soup
stop. He just can’t get going. Different story when he’s on the bike though. The problem of wasting time like this is that
you spend much more time on the bike at the end of the day, always at
night. But alas, he makes up for it with
his very witty, dry sense of humour.
At the start of the ride, Jacques (JT) rode
with Picasso, whilst Leon and I were galloping like runaway horses at the
front. When we got to the turnoff to the
Aasvoëlberg portage, only Jacques emerged from the darkness. Picasso wasn’t feeling too good and decided
to turn back. I had mixed feelings about
this. A bit guilty about our galloping
pace upfront, but also so relieved that I’m away from Picasso’s always negative
presence. Picasso went back to
Romansfontein, got some rest in (and some spray painting…), and got going again
around late morning, without his helmet.
When/how he found this out I don’t know, but he had to turn around again
to go fetch it. I suppose he knows the
route out of Romansfontein by heart now.
JT is a blanket wearer and has done the
Race to Cradock earlier in the year. He
knows the route fairly well, but still made use of his maps. He enlarged the normal maps, and made clear
narratives on it – fairly detailed, i.e. pass old car wreck on left; left at 2nd
fallen tree; etc. However, Leon & I
devised a system that worked for us. I
kept track of the narratives and distances between, he was using his compass
extensively with the maps. So JT just
grunted his confirmations about our decisions every now and then, not
interfering at all.
The Aasvoëlberg portage is a bit of a slog
on the ascent side (JT helped us in not slogging up all the way, with a
well-timed short-cut) and one of the best downhills of the route. It’s flowy, includes a few speed humps and
goes on for miles. Leon and I had some
serious kids’ fun, elderly statesman JT took the more conservative option. To top it off we were accompanied by a few
reedbucks on the way down as well.
An old car wreck on Aasvoëlberg
At the top of Aasvoëlberg
The riding to Hofmeyer is on fast flat dirt
roads, so a bored JT pulled Leon apart a bit.
He ended up calling Leon:”Brackenfellar”. Partly because Leon grew up in Brackenfell,
but more because of Leon’s nature to say things before he thinks. I suspect that he had some really big friends
when he grew up to protect him after he blew his mouth off. He is a really funny person.
We had the famous, sumptuous pies at the
Karoobos Padstal. A beautiful padstal
that we suspected is the hub of the town.
Karoobos Padstal in Hofmeyer
Fuelled up properly we headed to the
Elandsberg portage. The narratives for
this little beauty will have to be re-measured by the race office. I was very thankful for riding with JT and
doing it in daylight. There were quite a
few newbies that slept out on this portage.
House in the Karoo
The Elandsberg support station is a very
old, but very beautiful farm house. With
old wooden floors and thick internal walls (app 1m in width), this house has
got a special charm, as if it wants to tell you its history. Whilst stuffing our faces on the great
spread, a dassie ran under the table between our feet. It turns out the she’s tame, but is not too
fond of Liezel’s youngest daughter.
On route to Newlands, we’re fortunate
enough to pass through Spekboomberg nature reserve. We saw lots of animals, including quite a few
sable antelopes. These animals go for
between R500k and R6m a piece! We heard
lions roar on quite a few occasions, so did not linger too long.
When you exit the nature reserve, you get
to the Graaff-Reinet tar road. We only
rode on this road for 2km, but were in more danger than anywhere else on the
route. It was late Sunday afternoon, and
there were a lot of CA taxis going home.
We planned to go to Rockdale, but when we
got to Newlands, we were won over by the warm hospitality of the farmer and his
family. They’ve got 2 boys the same age
as my own. I missed them so much, that I
ended up having a proper wrestle and pillow fight with them. We chased each other thru the house, luckily
not breaking anything.
Pierre and Azelia
just let us be – all were having fun.