Monday, August 1, 2016

DAY 8 FREEDOM CHALLENGE RACE ACROSS SOUTH AFRICA - 2016 DAY 8

Day 8 RHODE TO SLAAPKRANTZ 110km

Up early and leaving Rhodes at 4.30am in sub zero temps, we were barely 5m out of Rubicon and we were already sorting out a quick mechanical on Nev's bike. After installing the new rear brake unit the brake cables had not been cable tied into place. This all rectified instantly, we rolled on down the driveway into the pitch dark village of Rhodes, looking for the exit board south and couldn't find it for some or other reason resulting in riding two blocks around the village like tourist looking obviously lost. We found the exit shortly after this and were then officially on our way! And that was the start of our day eight, getting lost in Rhodes of all places, chuckling as we headed out!
Valley of ice


We rode through the darkness, through valleys and over hills crossing frozen streams, just blocks of ice over district roads. It was a mostly quiet ride in the dark with plenty climbing as usual on district road, steam clouds breathing through our buffs covering our mouths and clouding the beams of our lights. The main objective was to keep moving all the while trying to keep the cold at bay, tendering to frozen bottles and hydration pipes and praying that brake fluid didn't have the capacity to freeze. I was almost certain my tyre sealant within my tyres did! Extra thermal in these conditions are a sure must otherwise you would be flirting with severe discomfort! 
Sun worshiping!

When the sun came up it was literally the "light of life!"and at the first ray coming over the mountain signalling daybreak, we stopped for a quick snack and frozen liquid refreshment as well as to thaw out! The landscape around us was just one big mass of white wonderland. It had been a long time since I had seen frost this thick! 

Wheel of ice

Nev not too sure about this white stuff!



Once over the Bottlenek spruit pass we were well on our way to the intermediate stop Chesneywold and arrived before 12pm.

It was good to see Minky, our host again. Chesneywold was where one could say my journey officially ended in 2014. We tucked into some soup, bread and peanut butter as well as fruit. A pack of frozen peas on the right knee for the frustrating ITB band syndrome that had started to plague me the past few days (I had just basically held onto my two comrades all morning with the run into Chesney), 2 anti inflammatory tablets, KT tape strap on the affected area (I even scored a disposable razor to clear the leg hair), a prayer, thank you's and we were off again, this time chasing Kapok kraal and the short portage we had to negotiate before we could get to Slaapkrantz.
Frozen bag of peas come in handy for knee sprains!


By the grace of God I manage to put everything aside and focus on the task at hand, we all did! Nev fighting a little sleep deprivation and Gerald......well Gerald! 'Recce' Gerald! the quiet unassuming teacher from Hermanus, doing so well for his first time out! He cut his lower leg off one of the teeth of the bike chain wheel while all of us climbing over a fence line. The advice given was advice taken to clean and treat the area before any possible infection could set in otherwise there could be trouble later.

We manage to get the portage right even though a little slow going and eventually after taking a tiger line off the mountain down to Spitskop, after Kapok Kraal with the sun setting low we set off on district road chasing the sunset putting the hammer down to get to Slaapkranz before darkness set in. We were met on the way in by the farmer's two very young sons on horseback and the race was on to see who could get in first. Bike vs horse! The horses won! We arrived at 16.50pm!
Above the Kapok kraal portage


It was here we met up with Tony and Caren again. Slaapkrantz, a farmstead nestled away in a scenic valley with all its peace and ever friendly people, is a world of its own. Neville, Gerald and I, even though a little exhausted were all still in good spirit. My right knee was still a little tight and I was hoping that the pain meds and positive thoughts would eventually allow the concerns to dissipate. Time would tell.

An awesome evening had with our hosts and tummies full, it was once again an early night. There had been plenty rain in the area days before our arrival and we had been informed that there was plenty mud around!

The next leg to Krantzkop was going to prove another challenging day!

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THE STORY OF 2016 RACE ACROSS SOUTH AFRICA

The full 2016 Freedom Challenge race across South Africa race report https://view.publitas.com/private-18/2016-freedom-challenge-rac...