Monday, September 20, 2010

Then came the second day

The plan was to leave earlier this day because we knew it was exceptionally far. In fact we had two points where we would make a call on whether to push on or not.  There was some debate as to the total distance for this day - 135k or 150k. Either way, we realised it wasn't going to happen.

We left Makutsi camp and meandered along a stunning 4x4 track but typically, it required many river crossings and pushing.  But what beautiful riding along the narrow valley.  We eventually summited out of there with a rather steep climb and wound our way towards Mafefe camp on the African Ivory Route.

Glenn was instructed to check out a track while we descended into the valley. It had been burnt earlier and we spotted some gorgeous single track cutting out the corner and unfortunately Mafefe camp.  Glenn's route was the business - it will cut out about an hour of looping around.

It's hard to describe what followed. Technical riding both ascending and descending on a really good track and the final descent to the Oliphants river to the first habititation in a long while, was out of this world. My wrists and calves ached from the strain.

We eventually caught up with Glenn under one of the largest trees I've seen in a while and had lunch on the banks of the river and all to soon, we had to push on to the Havercraft mine.  Our group had split up earlier and we, the laggards, caught up with them crossing the Oliphants below the dam wall. There was rather a large cliff face to be scaled on the other side so we chose another route.

We waded through ankle deep water, found a cattle path and were back to together again.  That was the last we saw of that group.

Ben, Neal and I chose to explore an optional route which turned out to require more work than we were prepared to do on this day. But there is great potential for when we return. By this time, we were at least an hour behind the others. The road was fast and flat and of course we had to stop at the local spaza/bottle store for a top up.

I found the next stretch long.  The dirt road was quick to ride but it seemed to drag on.  About 22km from Burgersfort was a tar road and we met up with Glenn again.  By now the consensus was to stop in this town as it was late.

There were also three groups of riders scattered all over the landscape.  It took a serious amount of calls to and fro between them and the support vehicles to bring everyone together.  I had manufactured a meeting (actually it was necessary) with some mountain bikers in Burgersfort so I headed off there by car.

Finally we were altogether and drove up to Crystal Springs. What a difference in scenery - green and lush compared to barren, dry and hot lower regions.

It was a big day out and some more research required for this day of the tour.

Tomorrow should be easy by the previous day's standards.

Posted via email from Go Cycling

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