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.

Time for a sense of humour transfusion

14 weeks to joBerg2c

How the weeks seem to fly by. Too much to be done, too little progress. And it’s not all about the adventure; there are mundane things like completing my tax return (and the wife’s) before the end of the month. I’m due a nice rebate, but she has an equivalent bill. so it means juggling finances until everything is settled.

Then there’s the new bike, which has been paid for, but I’ll have to wait to order the bling bits from Hope – which now includes a set of wheels because Will’s Mavic Crossmaxes won’t fit the frame. The cost of the new bike and some parts will be covered by the sale of my old Saracen Ariel, but that is still waiting for a willing buyer (any offers?), so I must fork out the readies in the meantime, and put money back in savings later.

Ride-wise, this week started off well – a windy, hilly 55km on Sunday and a flatter, faster 45km on Tuesday. And then today happened. For no reason I felt totally drained, despite a couple of rest days, and my heart rate was jumping all over the place. I blame old age, and the cold weather, and on both counts there’s no respite in sight.

I started checking through the list of what I need for the ride. The organisers have a list of what we should take along – spares, tools, clothing, medicines, toiletries. Pack light, they say, because everything has to fit into one large bag. They then suggest that we pack five to nine sets of cycle clothing. I don’t know if I’ve even got that many. But most essential is their final advice: