1965Ride Day 8: Tackling Penhoek Pass

Today was a surprisingly good day. Maybe because it involved eating ALOT of food.

We eventually left Aliwal North at around 9am and tackled the first 9km hill with aplomb. We had a quick stop to much on chocolate biscuits and energy bars. Then about 45 mins later we stopped at Karen and Johnny Jellinek’s farm about 3km before Jamestown. There we were treated to cheese pastries and koeksisters (for our overseas readers these are traditional Afrikaans plaited doughnuts, deep fried until crispy on the outside and then dipped in syrup – absolutely delicious and exceptionally essential cycling food).

It seemed that no sooner had we set off when we were stopped again, this time by Johan, Sascha and Nico from The Gallery, a new restaurant and b&b in Queenstown. They are also involved with Hangklip, the Afrikaans school in Queenstown and thus they are helping spread the 1965Ride message to the broader community. They had brought delicious smoked salmon, avo, pesto, carpaccio and mozzarella cheese sandwiches. So we made this the lunch stop. THANKS GUYS!

We tackled the climb up to the top of Penhoek pass with relative ease, the strong wind literally propelling us forward when we needed it most. A quick photo underneath the “Penhoek Pass 1844m” sign and then it was time to descend into the valley below. I did not enjoy this at all so kept my hands firmly on my brakes. Clint’s top speed was 95,6km. Madness. The worst was having a gust of wind almost blow me off my bike as I reached the bottom.

We are now sitting on the lawn at Hazelmere Guest House eating crisps and laughing. Brendan is desperate for a shower; we are desperate for him to have one. So I have taken the opportunity to ask everyone what has been the hardest part if the tour for them. Here’s what they said:

Brendan- going up the bloody hills today at 3km an hour. (But it was great when Mike pushed me)

Owen – I didn’t have a hardest part (said with a sly grin)

Bruce – the hill coming out of Aliwal North but I really enjoyed it and would do it again

Clinton – the section between Bethlehem and Fouriesburg because of the traffic. Also all the pot holes – I really had to concentrate

Toni – my worst day was the day from Ficksburg to Ladybrand. I think I was panicking about cycling for another six days

Ryan – stressing about everyone’s safety and hurting my back when cycling

Leon – the wind coming down Penhoek was scary

Julie – the wind at the bottom of Penhoek Pass

Rob – after 8 days in the saddle my butt is feeling it

Tony – herding cats (same as last year)

Michael – stopping myself from peeing in my pants when Owen tells a joke

Greg – getting used to putting shammy cream on in the morning

Ashley – doing justice to all the food

Rodger – believing people when they say it’s all downhill to Queenstown

Jen – the ride from Wepener to Zastron

So dear readers, here we are on the eve of our final day, a short 60km ride to Queenstown. We’ve had a great time and I can’t wait for the final leg which will take us to The Rec at Queen’s College.

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