Today we have 123 km to ride, with 610 metres up and 1280 down.
To start the gravel wasn’t too bad but still lots of places it was so thick and deep I can’t ride through it and have to get off and push my bike. This morning Elaine and Vicas both fell off, Vicas was about 5 minutes out of camp.
We stopped at 29 km at the Tropic of Capricorn and took a photo, plus a photo of Elaine and Peter. Peter is a pediatric ICU Doctor. It’s his first TDA tour and Elaine is a pediatric oncology nurse. They currently live in Canada although Peter is from South Africa. They have two adult daughters and two black cats, one called Nelson and one called Whilem.
Peter is fundraising for a campaign called “Transforming Faces” which works with Children in Africa who are born with a Cleft lip and or Palate. These babies are often otherwise abandoned by their families as they don’t have the means to care for them.
By the time I got to lunch it had started to get windy. I am pretty much over eating sandwiches so today I am eating rivita crackers with marmite and cheese.
The 3 km after lunch took 35 minutes as it was on loose thick sand and with a head wind, and I was feeling a bit despondent about the afternoon. Thankfully the road then turned away from the full on head wind, and despite the gravel and sand and up gradient I soon found my way to the top of Spreetshoogte Pass. This was a jaw dropping view – incredibly beautiful, scenic and desolate, and it took my breath away.
After enjoying the view, I then had a steep 4 km 400 metre descent into the valley below, stopping 3 times to let the rims cool down from the braking.
Unfortunately, back to nasty sand and a head wind. I was riding from the top of the pass with Fritz and we stopped at a drink stop at 92 km. The lunch truck arrived at the drink stop at the same time and I was very tempted to get in. I decided not to, for some reason I thought 32 km more of horrid gravel, taking 3 hours in a head win was a good plan, so off we went.
Finally got to camp to a desolate spot called Solitaire just on dusk. Dinner had already started so Fritz and I stopped for a cold beer at the shop just before camp. Another 10.5 hour day on the bike to celebrate.
Dinner was vegetarian tofu with pasta, and my favourite tomato and cucumber salad.