A hearty breakfast, some sandwiches made for the long-haul ahead and we depart from Kranskop a little later than usual at 6am.
Riding out on district road, it is freezing cold again and plenty frost around. Tony and Caren are ahead of us, the first to leave and before us. Barring the cold, it is a picture perfect morning with clear skies and no wind. It would seem we have a pretty straightforward run to Romansfontein with around three sections that would take us off onto the beaten tracks. Our first section is shortly after we leave Kranskop, a track leading us to the main tar road, the N6. We climbed over two fences, Gerald had front tyre issues which Neville managed to help sort out. The section was pretty flat and we manged to pick up a rideable jeep track to take us to the tar road. This was sort of a special moment for me as the crossing was effectively 100km from my hometown, Queenstown and my 'back yard" training grounds.
Once the cross over was concluded and back on district road we decided to take a quick snack break. We had caught sight of Tony and Caren earlier but then lost them again as they pushed ahead. Our next stop would be the farmstead Brosterlea, which was just an intermediate checkpoint. The wind had started up again and we were fighting a headwind all the way to the stop. My right knee was gnawing away with pain but I just kept pushing it aside, as hard as what it was. "The desire to succeed is stronger than the desire to fail" the thought that I kept playing through my head ongoing.
|Fixing tyre issues|
|Frosty morning after Kranskop|
|Crossing the N6|
What needed to be done needed to be done! We were out of Brosterlea and on our way shortly and headed for the next section that would take us in the known Eastern Cape area called the Stormberg. We were headed into early afternoon and stopped again for a short break before heading out to navigate the track behind a farmhouse we had stopped at. While sitting on the farm road outside the farm, it would have appeared whoever stayed there were having an afternoon braai and the smell of cooking meat on the fire drifting past with the wind, was most appetizing! The so-called traditional South Africa pastime! Before the hunger pangs set in it was a short few minutes and we were on the go again.
More climbing over jeep track and eventually at the summit on top of a hill we were able to look down in the valley below. We were looking for the old blockhouse used in the time of historical South African wars many years ago.
This was spotted and so we started plotting our descent in the direction of this. I was the last to arrive as the continual scrambling down over rocks wasn't doing the knee any favors but I managed. A quick photo shoot of the historical blockhouse and we made haste to get back onto district road as the sun was starting to set low over the Eastern Cape skies.
|Gerald AKA Recce & Neville AKA Spartan|
|Sun setting on a windy day|
We had one more section of track to cross before we could get to Romansfontein and by the time we started on this section it was dark already. The sky was clear and the moon was out. Passing a farmstead we were hounded by a pack of dogs trying to nip at the heels but got past with a little cursing and shouting. Riding single and jeep track we ended up taking a left turn instead of a right but it was a slight blunder which we rectified quickly when I realized we had done an almost complete U-turn with the moon always on our left, now on our right. We backtracked and soon found our way back onto the district road to Romansfontein.
We eventually rode through the farm gates and arrived at 20h45 to a hearty welcome at the farmstead. Tony and Caren were there too. An awesome shower, fabulous meal, some washing done and it was sleep time again.
The Trio shared a room. I remember falling into a deep sleep. I remember waking up with Neville throwing a pillow across the room at Gerald and giving him a lecture to stop lying on his back, the snoring was 'killing" him. (Neville). I remember falling asleep again, but not before I had a quick chuckle and then drifted off with a humorous smile!
The day had been long, yet riding the Freedom trail had been pretty good......