All in all, it was over 17 hours of riding last week, mostly due to fellow riders bunking work.
It was mostly the usual suspects - Nutty, Gadget, Badger and now Stompie (no, you won't know him). Friday was a stunning ride to Magaliesberg (94km), meandering through wattle forests, jeep tracks, lots of powerlines before ending up at the Wimpy in the little town.
Nutty likes to show off and made sure he was on his second cup of coffee and page 6 of the newspaper before we got there. We're convinced he takes a short cut. He also likes to live dangerously. When asked by a motorbiker for the newspaper, he said; "Oh, do bikers read?" We all looked the other way.
We briefly met "Jamie", an Australian who has ridden from Canada to the tip of South America on this 20kg (unloaded) steel bike. This is another breed of rider altogether. He was currently touring South Africa but his steed was built for endurance, not speed and we left him and Dave Collett all too soon.
Admin and The Monk (I'm sure he took a vow of silence) joined us on Saturday for an excellent training ride into the Cradle of Mankind on Saturday. Although only 60km, it is hard going with a lot of technical riding, lifting over fences and not a few short sharp hills. Plus we had some rain just to add to the experience. Did I have my rain jacket? Of course not.
The highlight was the Bridal Trail which is in excellent condition and Gadget's home made fruit cake. Oh ja, the boys were dosed with tonic and goji berry extract which I had been given to test. Can see these being an addition to the 2lt boxes.
These last two rides were done with the pack that I will use on the race and I shoved in some t-shirts and stuff to create weight. The pack is brilliant but I can certainly feel the difference in the extra weight. Climbing is suddenly somewhat harder and lower back tends to take more strain. My shoulders are a bit stiff too.
So, from now on, all the rides will be with the race pack. Except Sunday. I couldn't face the weight so seeing it was a 60km amble up the Braamfonteinspruit, I did without. We met two more riders doing R2R whilst out on our round and it was great to chat to Lesley and Brett of Swazi Frontier Mtb Race fame.
So now it is only 3 more weekends left.