Today we have 208 km to ride, which is the longest ride on trip. We have only 470 metres up, but it feels like a slight up gradient all day which added to the head wind is adding up to a long day. Not to mention the nasty 3 km of sand that we have to get through first.
Thankfully because of the rain overnight the sand is not quite as horrid, but it still takes 45 minutes to get out to the main road. Today Veronica is riding with us, as she also wants to make the day and is not confident that she can do it by herself.
We set off trying not to be too daunted – 1 km at a time. At 70.1 km I came across the very upsetting sight of a young horse about 1 years old standing at the side of the road with a broken forelock. There was nothing I could do but ride on. I felt dreadful but as soon as I get Wi-Fi coverage I will report him to the Maun animal services to refer onto the best agency to assist. 2 km up the road I came across two horses who had been run over, who I assumed were his parents.
The road was the same as the past few days, it’s like we are riding the same road over and over.
Lunch was at 80 km, usually lunch is half way but today there is still 128 km to go!
On the road there are no shops to stop at, apart from one that Carl and Fritz found down a side road at 120 km, when they rode an extra 1.5 km there and back and bought back a drink for me as I sat at the side of the road and waited. Also Tallis came back a couple of times to fill up water and gave us a fizzy drink as well.
At 170 km Tallis advised us he didn’t think we were going to make it and he was going to take us off the road at 6pm, as that was the cut off for us to have time to make it to the border at 207 km and into Namibia at 208 km and then to camp at 209 km.
I was focused on trying to break 200 km in a day’s ride. At 185 we realised we had a chance to do the 208 and pushed really hard. I called out every km and Carl, Fritz’s and Veronica took turns on the front. I was too stuffed and just worked on keeping up. Jen the Doctor was riding sweep and she sat behind me yelling out encouragement. We got to the border at 5:56pm, and into camp just as it was getting dark, and 5 minutes before it poured.
There were 6 riders who made it in only 5 minutes before us, plus about 5 riders who didn’t try to do the day but the good thing was that everyone who wanted to do it made it.
Brett had got a room which was great in the pouring rain. Carl and Fritz ate dinner with us. Dinner was potatoes, peas, gravy and vegetarian patties (or sausages for meat eaters) plus a well-deserved cold beer. In addition, Carl had chocolate which he shared.
Tomorrow is another 169 km day into Windhoek, will see if I can walk in the morning.