Day 3 – 14th April 2017

Battle of the Winds

A brief comment on the meal at the Steak Ranch in Reitz. A great evening, good food and good company, but it would appear that the ‘Blonde Lady” was forewarned that Ian was not with us this year and did not grace us with her presence – perhaps next year.

After a stout breakfast and photoshoot, the team departed Poelanies marginally ahead of 7am – the first ever!

The day did not start auspiciously for one of the blog authors. On mounting his bike, he realised that he had failed to apply the obligatory “bum butter” and hastily returned to the support van to do the honours. Then in a state of agitation, he turned left instead of right and headed for town as opposed to Bethlehem. Had it not been for Mike the medic, he might have been lost for good. A full half hour of chase ensued before he caught up with the parlotone. In his state of fatigue and agitation, he misplaced his dark glasses after assisting the resetting of his partner blogger’s seat. The dark glasses were duly discovered, on his head under his helmet, while the parletone patiently awaited his return.

Just outside Bethlehem, we were met by the Bethlehem traffic officers, led by Plaatje Mokoena and in the midst of the blaring of traffic department sirens ably supported by our very own support ambulance we were ushered like celebrities to the GM dealership in Bethlehem. The old friend of the 1965 ride, Phillip Sterley, the Dealer Principle of the GM franchise in Bethlehem, had for the 7th year running hosted us for drinks and muffins in the show room. Despite it being a public holiday, Phillip personally opened the show room, met us and served the refreshments. Tony presented certificates of appreciation to both Phillip and the Bethlehem traffic department for their continuing support. We were quietly escorted out of Bethlehem by the traffic department. Despite the state of the road and the lack of a shoulder, the friendly tail wind assisted us to Fouriesburg. Once again, the Plaasstoep and Grill served a delicious burger buffet. The meal was rounded off with ice cream and chocolate sauce, and it was noted that some of the team (namely, Cameron and Annie) preferred chocolate sauce with a tiny bit ice cream.

Our friendly tail wind turned traitor and as we turned for Ficksburg and encountered an aggressive/nasty/persistent and cold head wind. Today’s ride was marked by never ending up hills followed by short downhills. We have three questions for the road builders of South Africa:

  1. Why does the steepest part of the incline always fall in the last 20% of the uphill?
  2. Why do all turns on an incline turn into the headwind?
  3. Why do all the turns on the decline turn with a tail wind?

It also came to our attention that Katiso and Mike have developed an intimate relationship. This was evidenced by the look of ecstasy on Katiso’s face as he was spread eagled over the bonnet of the support vehicle as Mike was tenderly massaging his cramped hamstring. May the relationship last to Queenstown. Annie and Lauren were also grateful that the new Stallion on the team (Cam, with his fresh legs) had arrived on the scene to pull them through the tough times. Cam, watch your back, Vata arrives on Sunday.

The Woodpecker Guest House in Ficksburg has been on our route since the inaugural ride and for many of the multiple riders over the years is “home from home” on the 1965 Ride. As in the past, the hospitality, accommodation and braai are beyond comparison and we look forward to riding with Nadia and Jonathan to Constantia Padstal in the morning.

James has chirped that he will ride down Penhoek and onto the Rec awfully attired in a pink-spangled spandex speedo, if you folk out there will chip in to the bursary fund a total R10000. Can you imagine James in a pink spangled spandex speedo – not sure whether we need a clearance from the traffic authorities for such a distracting event.

Lauren and Rodger

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