Saturday, August 15, 2015

Finally on the trail

So the trip to Cradock was tedious and more expensive than anticipated. The welcome from Margaret made up for that and it was with a small amount of trepidation that we finally set off. 
There were a few mechanicals to deal with: brake pads that had closed, saddle  again that kept hitting get the rear wheel and a slight adjustment to my saddle. 
A Wimpy coffee sorted out my grumpiness and then we couldn't put it off anymore. Time to commit. 
We crossed the Fish River and began the climb. It's a great route. Gradual ascents of 4-5%.
A lone cyclist came at us head on in his rugby shorts and fleece, intent on having the first of many conversations today. Now we know that most of the Cradock cyclists are at Trans Baviaans,  and that he had ridden out to check on his sheep. With a detailed description of what lay ahead of us, off he sped. 
We rode leisurely and took photos. After all it was only 55km. It was a cool day and joy, a tailwind. When we finally submitted, we tucked out of the wind to snack and enjoy the Freedom of where we were. Cradock lay behind and a vast Valley lay before us encircled by Hills stretching away into the distance. 
A white Bakker pulled up next to us. 
"Why aren't you doing Trans Baviaans? " We explained why? 
"Look where my bakkie turns off, that is where you must turn. Stop at the farm. It's Eldorado." 
We watched from our lofty perch barely able to make out the white vehicle against the sun bleached winter veld. 
Eventually the wind got cold and we headed off down the pass.  As we turned off the full force of it hit our backs and we flew along the road. 
There was a moments hesitation then we swung into the farm, with Pierre Oosthuizen's experiences spurring us on.
Eastern Cape,  Karoo and Farmers. The hospitality doesn't get any better. Water or whiskey? 
Water, whiskey and rooibos tea. 
The parlour was wall to wall hunting and fishing trophies and of course the topic moved to Cecil the Lion.
Much shaking of heads.  "Gives the industry a bad name." Seeing we were in hunting country and would be staying at a hunting Lodge, we agreed. 
With multiple have good wishes and offers of help in PE, we left the Moolman's for a fast 20k downhill with shunting wind at our backs.
Grootdam awaited.  And therein probably lies another story. 

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

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