Old Legs 2018 Tour
Blog Entry 29 - Day 12
I think the internal combustion engine was invented by a guy on a bike on his way to Hotazel.
In keeping with the principle of baby steps, my personal focus has shifted from reaching Gaborone to making it to Hotazel which is bloody far off the beaten track.
Some background. Dave and I had just finished plotting a +/- 2800 km more direct route from Harare to Cape Town when Hotazel, a town in South Africa’s Northern Province, leapt out at us. We had to ride through it. So we replotted. At a cost of an extra 350 kms.
Which is why we rode out of Gaborone today headed west for Kanye and then Jwaneng and not the nearby Lobatse border post.
Ian Khama was not able to ride with us as he was away on business. He sent his regrets. Instead we were escorted out of town by members of the Ultimate Cycle Base racing team. They said they would ride with us to Kanye, 90 kms west of Gaborone. What nice polite young men they were. They kept calling me Sir.
Bruce rode next to Lebopo Mompe, Botswana’s Under 16 National Mountain Bike Champion and Leachie next to 22 year old James Masimo. It was very cool to see a pair of Old Legs deep in bike conversation with a pair of Young Legs. Lebopo hopes to qualify for a Botswana Government scholarship to ride and study at a University in either Europe or the US. If only Zim had similar initiatives for our young riders. Alas.
The ride into Kanye is dominated by 2 monster hills in the last 10 kms, and instead of hills, read mountains.
Unfortunately the testosterone sloshed. On the first foothill, I told the guy I was riding next, Thato Madimabe, that I’d see him on the top and I put the hammer down. Thato was the rider who beat Dave in the Gaborone sprint finish. He was not expecting an attack from the elderly in the hills / mountains 80 km into a ride and was slow to react and I took him, earning 160000 points in the Old Legs King of the Mountain classification. So far, Dave has only 7.5 points in the same classification.
Thato told me well done on beating him. And threw down the gauntlet for the next, steeper hill / mountain outside Kanye. Buoyed by my early victory, I told him Bring it on, Loser. Because I went to Allan Wilson, I was never given many opportunities to learn how to be humble in victory.
Chicken Legs are good at pedaling up hills. I attacked Thato and James early on the first uphill. Again Thato was ill prepared and I got away from him. I was celebrating a magnificent victory for the Old Legs prematurely when two things happened. Firstly we rode around the corner and there was more mountain in front and yet more mountain on top of that. And secondly Thato put his own hammer down and it was way bigger than mine.
Alas. Dave Wingman and I attacked valiantly. I even pulled scary faces to make me go faster but got left for dead. Well done Team Cycle Base.
Once they turned back to Gaborone, we stopped for breakfast. Ryan pulled his bike off the trailer and rode the last 70 kms into Jwaneng with us.
Green Day and the Chilli Peppers helped me home today. Loud music makes me pedal faster. Dave is jealous.
I changed buttock padding strategy today to three up sets of padding and whinged less. And I lost the gel seat. With regular pit stops for Arnica Ice applications, my bum and I did well but have now shifted our concerns to the global warming now going on in my nether regions.
We paid Hotazel tax all afternoon, riding into a very harsh headwind, very quickly wiping out any rest day gains.
And what a rest day it was. The Cresta Lodge was luxury. Thanks to Jonathan Cox and General Manager B Dass. Some of the riders were treated to massages by Berenice Muller, formerly of Bulawayo.
In afternoon we went shopping at Ultimate Cycle Base. It is so well stocked and we were like kids in a sweet shop. I bought the new pair of padded riding shorts central to my new buttock protection strategy.
In the evening we were invited to home of Neville and Danielle Sparrow for a braai and to meet members of the local community including many of the guys who’d rode in with us. Thank you to Sean, Sean, Bruce, Budgie, Brenda, Robyn , Jacs and other too numerous to mention.
They were very interested in our route choice, especially why we’d opted for a long section of dirt road on the SA side of the Makopong border. Whoops. Dave and I have since replotted and we’ll now exit Botswana 140 kms further on, at McCarthy’s Rest.
We gave Old Legs thank you trophies to Neville and to Brenda from Coastal Hire who hosted our welcome when first we arrived in Gaborone.
Ryan has made a real Dick of the Day charge. We bought 3 local SIM cards when we crossed over into Botswana, 1 for the riding group and 1 each for Jenny and Ryan in the support vehicle. Ryan very efficiently entered the new numbers into our phones so riders and support vehicle could keep in comms. We’ve tried to phone each other a million times but the cell phone coverage has been so bad, we haven’t been able to make a single call in the 5 days in Botswana, not even in the city center. I was bemoaning the state of the local networks to Jonathan Cox when he pointed out that Botswana cell numbers don’t start with a zero. My first successful call was to RYan to congratulate him on his latest Dick of the Day award.
We have spent the night at Jwaneng, home of the richest diamond mine in the world. We are booked in at the Sawasawa Lodge. Well some of us booked in. They messed up our reservations and only held two rooms for us. We were going to cram 3 in a room but Leachie and Ryan opted to camp on a tiny piece of Astro turf outside. Good choice. The air con unit in our room had our temperature up to 29 degrees in no time. Our tiny room feels like the inside of my multiple riding shorts.
Until tomorrow’s blog from our bush camp on the side of the road in Kakhea, a dot on the map 140 kms closer to Hotazel, enjoy and pedal if you can
Eric Chicken Legs de Jong