Old Legs 2018 Tour
Blog Entry 39 -Day 22
Yesterday’s ride from Brandvlei to Calvinia was a 150 km slog through a lot of not a lot, in terms of scenery. I saw some meerkats on my way out of the village.
The ride was punctuated by punctures. Dave’s back tyre went first, at 47 kms. We fast forwarded the breakfast stop whilst Dave changed tyres. I watched carefully, to learn and helped where I could, in a futile attempt to rack up brownie points to ward off further Dick of Day nominations
Replenished and pumped up, we jumped back on our bikes. I promptly jumped back off my bike when I noticed my back tyre was flat. Crap. Damn those devil thorns. But it was just my third puncture in 2500 kms, so not too bad.
Because I went to a Technical school, I am not adept at repairing things. So Dave helped me fit a new tube. We told Bruce and Leachie to press on.
The tyre was a tight fit on the rim so even Dave struggled. But with skill, dexterity and his tongue protruding from the corner of his mouth, Dave managed to fit the new tube, unfortunately also puncturing it with the tyre lever in the process. Alas. So we got my last spare spare tube out the trailer. Having just failed spectacularly, Dave said he wasn’t comfortable fitting it, so I took over. Luckily I’d paid close attention and managed to fit the tube, unfortunately also puncturing it in exactly the same manner. Whence upon I said Oh bugger.
With no more tubes for my skinny slick tyres, I decided to put tubeless, puncture proof knobbly tyres on. I put the first knobbly on and pumped and pumped and pumped but to no avail. Alas. There was a hole in the side wall.
Long story short, we eventually got my second knobbly on and we proceeded on our merry way, with me on 1 slick and 1 knobbly, with half the day done and more than a hundred kms of slog. I really struggled to hang on to Dave’s wheel as he chased Bruce and Leachie down. We eventually caught them 50 kms from Calvinia.
Somewhere en route, we crossed the line from summer rainfall to winter. Both sides of the line looked equally dry. I saw a pair of Blue Crane which were very cool. And 2 herds of Sprinbok and one very lost looking Llama.
I was happy to finally see Calvinia, nestled beneath the imposing Hantam mountains which I was even more happy that we didn’t ride over. We are booked in a tiny guest house with 6 beds crammed into just 2 rooms but we were all too tired to care. Thank God tomorrow is a rest day.
We ate at the Blue Naartjie Restuarant last night. We met a fellow mountain bike rider Ulger Louw who told us we were nuts to even think of riding through the Tankwa Karoo. The Africa Burn festival is currently on with 11000 plus people in attendance. He said the levels of traffic on the one and only dirt road and the resultant dust would make the ride both horrible and dangerous.
I ate 5 bags of jelly babies on the day’s ride, petrol for my failing legs. Predictably my sugar rush was fashionably late and kicked in at 23.00 and I lay in bed wide awake last night, stressing about our route.
Rider safety is obviously paramount so after a recce in the car this morning in the car, we have reluctantly replotted a course further west through Doringbos, Clanwilliam and Porterville. I say reluctantly because the Tankwa Karoo is such an iconic ride that we were all looking forward to. And obviously we now have to find new night stops.
Today I would like to acknowledge our sponsors, Phil and Mandy de Chassart of the Surrey Group and the management and staff of The Directory, Zimbabwe’s Business Directory. Without their generous assistance the Old Legs Tour would not have been possible.
To date we have raised over $27000 for the Zimbabwean pensioners, half way to our $55000 target. We have posted another case study on the website and Facebook page to highlight the plight of Zimbabwe’s pensioners.
More good news is that my missing 5th favorite padded bike shorts might have pitched up in the Matopos Heritage Ride lost property office. My insincere apologies to Putin and Jeremy Corbin. I have told Frank Burns my arse that I’ll have the shorts couriered in before we get to Cape Town. He is both very happy and very gullible.
Our new route to the Painted Wolf Wine Estate in Paarl, our penultimate night stop before Cape Town is 350 kms but with 4000 meters of climb. Ouch.
On Thursday May the 3rd, we’ll ride into the Cape Town from Paarl to Durbanville and then onto Bloubergstrand. Pardoneiland and our end destination, the Vista Marina at the Waterfront. We hope to get in by lunchtimish. Join us if you can.
Eric Chicken Legs de Jong