Bowet Werrie June 21 Day 11: Hadley to Dam se Drift

We got going at 4am, JT… need I say more?  We picked up another rider, Scott Rutherfoord, a very quiet, confident person.  He grew up in Mkuze, not too far from Richards Bay.  Whilst we climbed up the Osseberg I mentioned to Scotty that if the Freedom has not yet broken him, we 3 will.  He’ll have to take all comments in his stride.  He just nodded and off he went.
The 3 boetjies reunited again

As the dear man rode up the berg in front of me, I saw something very disturbing.  Scotty’s long pants showed pink in my bike light and to make matters worse it appeared that he was wearing a thick black j-string.  That was unsettling to say the very least.  This became a big point of discussion between the 3 boertjies. Every time we cracked a joke on the Pink Panther, he just smiled, which unsettled us even more.  

The Osseberg portage

I was forced to take it slow down the other side of the Osseberg protage, because my brakes started failing.  

The Pink Panther took 3 tumbles on the way down, the 1st tumble we nearly lost him – he just about saved himself going over a cliff.  Everything was frozen when we eventually got to the bottom.  It was light, but the sun was not up yet, and anyway the sunrays will not reach the bottom until closer to noon.  

We all reluctantly took off our warm clothes, but were thankful for the Pink Panther to return to Scotty – the verdict on him was still very much undecided.

You have to cross the Groot River 10 times whilst trying to find a very overgrown osse trail out of the kloof.  As explained to Brad and the newbies, when you get to the river, don’t hesitate, pick your bike up and just cross it.  The river is about chest high deep and very overgrown with reeds.  The 3 boetjies crossed without incident, and were battling to get out the other side when we heard someone use the holy cape flats phrase:” Ahh P***”.  We were just in time to see our Scotty and his bike going for a swim downstream.  Scotty!  That word shalt not be uttered anymore.
The Groot  River portage – there is a river there in between those reeds

We were utterly confused by the situation.  So we did what we know best, find the trail and continue downstream.  We nailed the portage and got into Kudu Kaya around noon.  We had at least 2 hours to get to the boom gate, which is only about 20 min away.

The conundrum of Scotty’s, err, situation got the better of Leon, and the Brackenfeller in him took over.  He approach Scotty very direct :”Scott, not that I’ve got any problems with it, but are you gay?”  Scott’s response was a very quiet, no – he’s got a wife and 3 kids.  The Brackenfeller was however very persistent: ”So you have not yet came out of the closet…”  Poor Scotty was a confused man, but responded in the best way possible:” F*** off man, you got me there!  You’re funny!”.  There was a very audible collective sigh of relieve

To our surprize and my luck, the Kamp Kommandant was in at the support station.  He gave our trackers new batteries, and he had enough tools to fix my brakes.  A quick topping up of brake fluid did the trick.  I was very concerned about going down the Bergplaas pass without brakes.

As if the boom gate curfew was not enough, the Baviaans Kloof bureaucracy thought it a good idea to force the race office to have someone riding behind us through the conservancy – its 60km long that include 3 proper climbs.  The beauty of the Baviaans is tainted by this.  We always felt under pressure to ride as fast as we can.  The engine noise rumbled away all piece and quite of the Kloof.  I tried to stop every now and then to take everything in, but it just was not the same.

The Baviaans Kloof is a very special, beautiful place.  It’s very lush and there are streams everywhere that you cross.  There are photo opportunities around every corner, if you care to linger a bit.  We did none of that.  We spent a lot of energy to get to the other boom gate as fast as possible.  When we did get to the other gate, we were a broken bunch. 

After the bakkie left, we just sat there on the ground, eating whatever we still had left on us.  I remember being very amused when I saw water trickling out of the top of my shoes.  I’ve got Gore-Tex Winter boots, which is supposed to be water proof.  But I suppose crossing the river 10 times in the morning, without taking off my shoes filled them up to the brim.  It was now 8pm and I’ve carried the water all the way to this spot.

The sleep monsters took proper control of us riding the last 26km to the support station.  Concentrating on the light in front of the bike did not help.  So I decided to chat to JT about his life.  He is a very private person, but was so tired that he told me a fair amount.  He’s CV is very impressive.  He got a lot of drive in him, once he has made up his mind.  And in his words, he also had some luck on the way. 

After a while Leon and JT spoke Russian to each other – we called it Russian, but its gibberish due to being so tired.  They continued with this for a long time, amusing Scotty and I.  
At least no one fell asleep whilst riding, which has happened to me before.

At Dam se Drift there were 2 sheep on the front lawn.  When I went thru the gate they walked up to me and greeted me like dogs.  According Hestelle that is just the case, they grew up with dogs and are totally confused.  I didn’t mind them at all, especially when they were standing around my legs, I was covered in fluffy warm wool.

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