One down, eight to go (groan)

Well, I’m glad that’s over. It wasn’t the most difficult day of cycling, but it certainly wasn’t easy either. Long stretches of of dirt road, corrugated and sandy, bracketed by first of all muddy single and dual track, then sandy single track, which was almost worse than the mud.

But it was a glorious day, total sunshine so that we soon warmed up. Very soon after the start was a short, sharp hill which got the heart rate up (alarmingly so in my case – I blame the altitude). But it was full of friendship and fun, everyone encouraging each other. And the water stops were something else – braaied boerewors (barbecued farmers sausage to the foreigners), potato salad, boiled eggs, and cheerleaders. What’s not to like.

I think I was longer on the road than I would have like – 7 1/2 hours, and I drank about to litres of water when I finished, so clearly I didn’t drink enough on the ride. The veld is dry and yellow, but the roads and track are lined with lovely cosmos – White and pink flowers with the occasional maroon one thrown in for fun. No wildlife so far. Not a lion or leopard or even a zebra crossing.

Tomorrow promises to be warm again – 25 deg and clear skies. At least it’s a bit shorter than today, with about the same amount of climbing.

I was pretty shattered when I finished, but I managed to shower straight away and get something to eat. I am trying to be organised for the morning. I have prepared my hydration, cleaned and oiled the bike, packed away what I don’t need for tonight, and now I’m having a beer and writing this. Second supper shortly, then massage at 7.30 and the bed. I think I might sleep well.

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