Old Legs 2018 Tour
Blog Entry 31 - Day 14
In my next life, I do not want to come back as a passenger waiting for a bus in South Botswana. Dave resumed his car cricket innings on 56 for 2. I needed to take eight quick wickets with 8 busses to stay in the match.
Despite shining my balls industriously, exactly 5 hours and 34 minutes after the start of play the first bus drove past. At stumps, 6 hours and 38 minutes into the ride, Dave was 346 for loss of just 4 wickets. Just 4 busses passed us in 2 days on a national highway. Dave refuses to declare. He says he wants to build a commanding lead. I have yet to score a run. I’ve told Dave that I now hate car cricket, it is dumb and I don’t want to play it anymore. I’d rather play root canal treatment.
Our ride was 136 km today to a centre of the universe also known as Phepeng. We rode out of Khakhea as dawn was breaking. It was the best ever start to the day, riding on empty road through the empty Kalahari bush with stars, the moon and the early sun all sharing the sky. In a car the Kalahari bush might come across as boring and monotonous, on a mountain bike it doesn’t get much better.
Ryan put up his drone named Amelia Earhart and took an incredible aerial photo of the riding group dwarfed by the vast nothingness of the Kalahari bush surrounding us. It is a stunning phot that captures the scale and space of the place. Check it out on the Old Legs Facebook page. But don’t know so much if it is so clever to name a flying aircraft after a woman pilot most famous for not landing her plane.
The bush wasn’t completely empty. Apparently I almost saw an Ostrich, but didn’t. Then I went on to almost see a jackal but again, didn’t. If Dave was a game guide, he’d be unemployable. Apparently Jenny saw real live meerkats today but also failed to share them. Am feeling a tad left out.
Bruce, Leachie and I are into bird watching and were very chuffed to put up very raucous Black Korhaans time and again which was very cool. And I saw Shaft Tailed Whydahs for the first time ever.
Dave fired up his headphones first up this morning. From behind, he looked like one of those nodding dogs so often seen on the back dashboards of elderly Ford Lasers and / or Mazda 323’s Judging by his very muted air drums and a reluctance to share the name of the artist, I am sure Dave is a closet Barry Manilow fan
We rode in a tight disciplined bunch, all taking turns on front. Until we were attacked by a herd of furious cows, six or more, all mean looking and quite possibly carnivorous. The alpha female cow waited until she saw the whites of our eyes and then charged. Had to be mad cow disease . Had it not been completely innocuous, it could have been a life or death situation. Because there is unity in strength, it was vitally important that we stick together as a group. But unfortunately Dave never got that memo. As quick as a flash, he sprinted off to the right hand side of the road, putting his fellow Old Legs between himself and the charging bovine. I think I might have heard him shout out that he was going for help but I was listening to Wheezer in my earphones st the time. Later at dinner, I obviously put Dave up for Dick of the Day but alas, neither Bruce nor Leachie seconded the nomination. Bruce said the cows were just not used to cyclists and were just being curious. I’m sticking to my near death experience.
A delicious Road side breakfast was served at the 55 kms. By which time the sun was in full attendance. So no one was in a hurry to climb back on bikes for the next session into Werda, a border town.
I have seen the light and am now powered by E-Pap and now expect to win both Hill and sprint finishes going forward, provided of course Dave, Bruce and Leachie ride slower than me.
Jenny served a snack lunch at the 102 km mark. Mostly I was completely knackered and suffering with severe hot foot in both feet, burning arse syndrome, severe global warming in my man bits and a deep despondency entirely car cricket related. My man bits think we arrived in Hotazel 3 days ago when I adopted the three padded strategy. But all of that aside, I was in fine fettle and loving life and all the stupid humor and banter on offer.
Bruce,Leachie and I power napped despite the harsh runaway heat while Dave listened to Barry. Reluctantly we emerged from deep sleeps to climb back on bikes for the last 30 kms. The 30 kms were tougher than the 100 kms that had gone before, courtesy of a viscous head wind and the harsh heat. I rode with feet on fire and a sullen arse despite lashings of Arnica Ice. Don’t think Old Legs are supposed to pedal all day in deserts.
But as I type we are resting up good in the Phepeng community meeting centre . The villagers are kind, polite, and curious as to what we are doing and why. They fully relate to charitable assistance for the elderly. The villagers are also shocked when we tell them how broken Zimbabwe has become after 30 years of stupid.
Dave cooked best ever pasta dish and everyone emptied their plates. For sure we will be strong for the Day 15 leg which is just 125 kms and takes the Old Legs Tour out of Botswana andM into South Africa through McCarthy’s Rest. We are sad to be leaving Botswana with her huge open vistas of nothingness and her happy, friendly, peaceful people. From the day we arrived in Francistown forever ago, people have only been happy, friendly, nice and helpful. Long may that continue.
Legs permitting, tomorrow’s blog will come from Springbok Pan Guest Farm in SA’s Kalahari Northern Cope.
Eric Chicken Legs de Jong