Sunday, August 16, 2015

Who's the boss

Not I. The wind bossed us from Struishoek to Gegun with just the 5km on tar to Pearston at our backs. 
Otherwise it was a master class in echelon and wheel sucking techniques. 
But that was later. 
Back at Grootdam we met Tienie when we arrived who dished out chicken soup and crispy vetkoek along with all the gossip. 
There was an American bow hunter, Gene, plus a couple of local hunters who work with boss man Neil. 
The braai was indoors. Next to the pub. I saw a couple of quivering slabs of meat being turned and tried not to wonder. 
The conversation was easy and the company relaxed. Starters were served and it was a plateful of braaied prawns which were dispatched in short order. 
Dinner was next and there were the slabs,  brown on the outside and decidedly pink on the inside. Ooh eh eh. 
The choice was reed buck or fresh eland,  as in hunted that morning by Gene. 
I went with the reed buck and hid the pink bits with mustard and mushroom sauce. Veges made an appearance which were delish. Rounding it all off was creme Brule. After the shortage of sleep, I couldn't stay up to watch the rugby so scuttled off to bed to lie back and stare up into a Leopard's arsehole. 

A leisurely breakfast of bacon and eggs and coffee got us out of Grootdam at 7.30am.

Tollies Torture 
Our first challenge of the day was the clambering over our first 3m fence. The bikes weren't too heavy according to the weigh in at Intercape.  So 14.4kg of carbon Santa Cruz porn went over followed by another. 

 The second challenge was to de-socknshoe or not. The idea of wet feet nixed that so off they came and freezing wade ensued. 
Way above us we could see the road winding it's way up the Koppie. Towards the top we reached 24% gradient then HC. 
I think I'm going to be very stiff tomorrow. After that came more water bars, 5m power intervals that went on and on until we finally got to the top of Struishoek portage and there were all the whitewashed stones in all their glory. Thanks Dave and all the Redcliff staff. 
A short picnic then we started down. One can never explain what these are like to novices so Kelly was left to her own devices to discover for herself. 
At Radcliff farm the family was settling in for a Sunday braai when two sweaty women arrived wanting water. True eastern cape hospitality meant water, homemade lemon juice and fresh oranges. 
Our detour into Pearston was put on hold as time was moving on and the wind had picked up,  ready to bludgeon us on  the last 25km.
Gegun was deserted, my phone died and we were cold and tired. Eventually - only 15min really - we discover the key in the pot plant via a portable charger and calls to race office. The entire region was without power so no tea to revive us. In the freezer was steak and chops and a frozen loaf of bread. The kindling for a braai was prepared outside in the cold strong wind. 
But help was at hand. Lisa and Lood arrived with a cooler box full of roast chicken,  salad,  pasta and potato salad. Topped off with chocolate eclairs. 
The lights have come on and all is good with the world. 

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

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