Tuesday, June 24, 2008

21 June 2008 - Vuvu to Rhodes

Another early morning start at 05:30. We started in the dark riding down the sand road looking for a hairpin bend about 5km away. Eventually we found one (or so we thought) and headed off into the valley. After an hour or 2 of pushing the bikes, because the mud was so thick, we stopped to re-evaluate our position. No matter how hard we tried we couldn't get our surroundings to tie up to the map (this is unusual because you can normally convince yourself you are anywhere).

We decided to head up onto higher ground to get a better view, only to realise that we had entered one valley too soon, and now that had split into another valley. We are two valleys away from where we should have been. There was nothing we could do except start walking with our bikes slung over our backs. The terrain is too steep and rocky to push or ride. Slowly step by step, hour by hour, we could see the top of the Drakensburg getting closer. As we neared the summit the wind picked up and was throwing us around with our bikes on our backs, you have to use your bike like a sail to keep you balanced. At one stage Fiona managed to pay a sheapard R50 to carry her bike for a while. She then felt so guilt that she ended up carrying some of the other bikes. It does make a fantastic photo though.

Seven hours of carrying our bikes we reached the summit. We could now start riding again in places. Eventually we got to Tenahead Lodge where we quickly drank down some steaming hot coffee and continued on our way

The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful, but quite boring as it was all on district sand roads, with the exception of a monster 1000m decent down Naude's Nek pass into Rhodes. It was very exciting to see our family and friends waiting for us in Rhodes ofter one of the most challanging, yet rewarding events of my life.

4 comments:

Pembo said...

Hey Doug...thanks for your interesting feedback on this event. Sounds like quite a challenge in some places especially with the mud, rain and wind?
Bet you're looking forward to a nice hot bath, a good meal and your own warm bed!
Congrats to you and your team.
Cheers Mark

Mari Els said...

Hi Doug.

Thanks for sharing all these stunning pics. It makes want to go and explore that part of the country.

Still tired?
Mari

steve said...

hey this little blog came up on a google search of naude's nek!

nice work Doug, and follow the road from rhodes to paarl here:
www.theblanketsaga.blogspot.com

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog