Eish. The spelling in my previous write-ups...
Bucklands is still as magical as I remember with lush gardens from the rain. As we arrived, Hannes came out to meet us and shepherded us to have dinner. This was 5.45 - a mere 90 minutes after we had last eaten!
Well trained support station that it is, Rini has prepared piles of bobotie and veg and pudding for us.
All of which had been taken from the farm. They were also on a Banting mission - it's everywhere! I kept my Malta pud and custard for later and we walked across to the renovated cottage for the evening. What a quaint place now with electricity.
During dinner we spoke about the various farms we'd passed through and discovered that the farmer at Stuttgart had a relapse of cancer but was beating it through his own natural methods. Brave man.
We left at 7.30 and I became concerned early on. Kelly's knee was limiting her ability to pedal which meant our average speed was low. We thought the day would be about 76k to Mount Ingwe but the ascent out of the Groot Rivier was always going to be slow. The fine drizzle stayed on the surrounding mountains and it was brilliant riding conditions.
When we eventually turned onto the road towards Hadley, we did Dave The Myth's injury treatment. Double the dose of everything.
This finally gave Kelly some relief except she complained of sparkling eyeballs. We staggered on with quite a few pushes until the descent to the river. The road was being fixed and was great to this point. We'd already crossed the river on Bucklands farm and it was flowing quite deep and in the valley, it was wet shoe time as the water came to our knees.
The long push out
At least 2kms of straight up pushing stretched and strained already tired muscles. It was rocky and stony and the drizzle was now coming down in earnest. There had been quite some rain as the puddles were deep and the mud copious. We slipped and slid our way up every climb and the rain picked up. I finally got cold and had a chance to wear my new improved rain jacket. This one worked. Reaching the plateau was a relief but there was no view of the sea or Baviaanskloof. Just mist and an ever darkening sky.
In the distance and rich green of the hillside, we could make out the descent to Osseberg.
It was now about 4pm and there was still far to go.
We pushed on and up again. I thought the next section would be about 10km and to both of our relief it was only 6km - a gift.
At the summit of the hill about a km from the t-junction, we called Daleen at the lodge to give her an update and to check how far to go still.
Bad news. Another 17km but she said she would send Lukas to fetch us. Instead of waiting we started off and it was fast and exhilarating... Then came the mud. Black and viscous. I raced straight into a rut and two shakes of the bike and I was flying into the mud bank. As Kelly stopped to check she fell off, unable to uncleat. Cold, wet, hungry and now very muddy.
We set off again a little more restrained. Another km later was another mud patch with two cows coming for us and a shouting herd boy in pursuit.
At the same time, Lukas arrived and chaos ensued. He reversed out the mud, we loaded the bikes and headed on down the road, broadsiding at times as the 4x4 slipped through the mud.
We managed 72km and it had been hard.
Mount Ingwe was a stunning Lodge in completely different terrain and grasslands.
We decided to call it a day. Kelly's knee wouldn't hold out for the 70km the next day but we were well satisfied with our adventure.
Lukas's farm borders the Osseberg and he has a permit to go in and fix the track to the river. We strongly suggested that he build single track....
But what an interesting man. Film maker, farmer, collector of Anglo Boer war artefacts, and now mountain bike route builder.
He had business in PE so the next morning, we were back in the bakkie with three quad bikes, two mountain bikes and two tired cyclists.
There are more bits to write about and photos to post.
In the meantime, thanks to Kelly for agreeing to come with me. For a novice rider, she was amazing. I think there might be a RASA in her future.
Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.