Boet Werrie June 13 Day 3: Ntsikeni to Masakala

I left Ntsikeni at 3 am and got lost within 5km.  I struggled to find the jeep track turn-off.  I rode past it 3 times before finding it.  The darkness changes everything…  And the wired table knife lasted only little further.  I resorted to walking as fast as possible and riding with most weight as possible on my handlebar.  Glenn Edward is only 50km away, but the route out of the Ntsikeni is very tough on bike and body, let alone a broken bike.
I was much chuffed in getting to Glenn Edward around 8am (it normally takes 4 to 5 hours).  I reached a top speed of 57kph on the last downhill before the farm – I suppose the gatvol-ness took over.

Sheila (the farm lady) greeted me like a long lost child of hers.  You receive a big hug and then are dragged to the breakfast table, where the most wonderful spread awaits you.  It’s amazing how these people treats you.  To my surprize Carl Scholtz and Tim James were there.  Carl started with me, but he hurt his back and couldn’t continue.  Tim started a day after me, and rode thru to Glenn Edward in 1 day.  He was very delirious, mumbling a lot too himself, but got onto his bike and off he went.  It was very interesting to see how the racing snakes operate.
Ollie & Heinke fixing the bike.

Ollie and his mechanic arrived around 9am and immediately got stuck in rebuilding my bike.  They also gave me my 2 Able Centre cycling shirts – Dudley drove thru from Richards Bay to Pmb to drop off the cycling shirts!  Not totally unexpected, but ever grateful for him.  He’s just that type of person.  

When I left for Masakala, I only then realised that Ollie and his mechanic haven’t had any breakfast or eaten anything until my bike was sorted.  They put me before themselves…  The mechanic even regreased my bike’s bottom bracket and head set bearings, because he wasn’t happy with it.  Apologising for not bringing extra spares.  They left Pmb at 5am to get here in time.

I got going to Masakala at noon, nailed all the tricky navigation portions and even tried a new donga shortcut just before Masakala.  It was fun riding the new bike.  I got in about 5pm and started serving my 6 hour daylight penalty.  When you replace any part of your equipment, you have to serve a daylight penalty at the next support station.  For replacing a frame it’s 6 hours.  The penalties have to be served between 7am and 6pm.  You can’t ride thru the night between these hours, because you have to serve it at that support station.  This means that you’re losing out on a lot of riding time.

Masakala was full that evening.  I caught up with riders that started off before me; Tony & Caren arriving a bit later, and a few riders catching up with me that started the day before.  We had lots of banter the evening.  I played the local pharmacist in helping a few fellow riders out with anti-inflammatory tablets and explaining the route on the Knira Flats and up the Mparane ridge to Malekholonyane (the next support station).  Tony and Caren’s reaction about finding me at Masakala was very amusing to them.  They were taking it leisurely, I was riding fast.  Yet we were sleeping at the same support stations every evening.

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