Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Looking back- Beitbridge to Pietermaritzburg

Not over yet
When I arrived at Table Mountain it was quite a relieve to see Ilette with the little rental car, but the ride was not over yet. Fortunately the last tar climb into Pietermaritzburg was safe because of the protection of the little rental and just after 13h00 I was sitting on a bench at Aintree Lodge having my last “padkos” from Christa (Christa’s  in Darlton). A perfectly boiled egg and a biltong and cheese sandwich.
 I rode 1054km and felt quite good. This has a lot to do with careful management of rest days as well as being forced off the bike 2 times whether by mechanical issues or the weather. Sure, there were sections that I did not ride, but that decision I had to make after day 4. It was quite important to me at that stage to not only connect the Beit2PMB part with the Freedom Challenge, but to actually revisit the Freedom Challenge Race across SA (FC-RASA).
Aintree Lodge
Orrie Barahwanath
Of the Northern leg that stands out for me is day 4 from Haenertsburg to Lekgalameetse Nature Reserve over the Iron Crown and through the Wolkberg Nature Reserve, following the Mohlapeate River and riding up Orrie Baragwanath Pass. This must rate as one of the top 5 days if not the best day of riding from Beit2Cape.The bit of riding I did in Swaziland was absolutely stunning, the riding through the Valley of 1000 Hills is amazing, so I think the route will work in the Spirit of the Freedom Challenge.  
 I enjoyed riding on my own, but I also cherish the riding with Joyce and riding with Steven and Paul during the first 4 days made me aware of the nature of riding in groups.
Valley of 1000 hills
It was amazing how the support from Elbie and Wouter came at the perfect time when my rain clothes failed me completely near Rorkes Drift. Me and the Pretty one did some shopping on Sunday and I now should be able to survive the rain and I hope to have enough clothes to keep me warm.
Apart from the failure of the bike’s rear axle on my Shimano XT rear wheel , the bike has not given me a single hassle and everything seem to be working 100%. I did bleed the back break as it started feeling soft after a very long downhill. I did not concentrate and most likely overheat the back break a bit. The oil then boils and some gas are trapped in the system. I have put new pads in on the back as a precaution and that was that!
I am looking forward to the ride down to Cape Town and I am not planning any heroics and finish in 25 days will be good enough for me. I will hang around here at Aintree and be at Pietermaritzburg Town hall tomorrow morning at 06h00.
Stay tuned

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