Day 4….Heroes on and off the saddle
We arrived rather weary in Ficksburg after a long day to the welcoming hospitality of the Woodpecker Lodge. Tony quickly rounded up the troops for what he says was highly recommended stretch exercises. He however was looking more enthusiastic than most however the regime soon commenced.
After welcoming showers, we were treated to their legendary braai and once again our videographer Louis demonstrated his hospitality skills when he assisted in explaining which chops were what and then even dished up. A secret talent of friendly host has emerged ….. Maybe an additional business opportunity in the Midlands Meander could be a tranquil restaurant Mr Bolton?
After a scrumptious breakfast we all got prepared to leave on today’s journey.
Rodger had asked me to keep his shammy cream in the Response unit yesterday and would get it when he needed it. This morning he asked me if I had it for him, as he had taken out the item above from his bag and was going to use Long Lasting Chain Lube! When Louis questioned Rodger if this was true …. He admitted yes and it does roughly the same thing. We love you Rodger. Ever practical!
On a serious note can you please support my co blogger James to raise extra funds for the foundation? For extra donation he will ride the last leg of the tour in a pink speedo, which he proudly paraded last evening!
A word of gratitude goes to our Chief of Support Nathi, who at the last minute, stepped in to a huge responsibility. And he is doing a sterling job and has everything worked out and does not stop at the bottom of a hill, all are grateful. He and I are working together well and hope to have you back again!
Another really special thanks goes to Jen. We may not see what she does but she does so much behind the scenes organising and planning as well as making sure all goes off without a hitch, I think more than we realise! So much that we take for granted being done is because she is working behind the scenes making sure it is perfect. And for all your support to Tony and the ride we all salute you. Thank you for joining us cycling today.
Thank you to our hosts from the Woodpecker, Nadia and Johnathan for their kind donation to the ride today most appreciated. And for cycling with us today.
We all feel that Diesels colleague , Welcome , is greatly relieved that today is not a working day so Diesel was not demanding him to attend to emails he was copied in on ….. At every 20km rest stop.
From me, I am in awe at what each and every one of you are doing. Giving a child a chance at an education through your own selfless sacrifice. Not many would and that makes you all heroes in my eyes. You deserve every hand clap as you arrive as heroes at the Rec next Thursday and I am truly honoured to be a part of this team and to be your Paramedic
After a very well deserved rest following our monumental 148km ride from Reitz to Ficksburg, all the cyclists (including Ntsika), were ready to hit the road on a pretty chilly morning in the Eastern Free State Mountains. Cold weather doesn’t seem to affect the local folk very much, as Jonathan and Nadia, our hosts from the night before, who along with Jen decided to take on the first 30km with us with no warm gear whatsoever, Jen was wrapped up though. Cold weather does, however, affect tourists to these parts. Rodger, our eternal source of wisdom, decided that chain lube would do a better job at keeping the tender regions from chaffing than chamois cream would. In all fairness, this is an easy mistake to make considering chain lube comes in a bottle and is marked Squirt and chamois cream in a tub marked chamois cream.
Milk tart and cherry pancakes were in sight as we made our first stop 20km out of Ficksburg, little did the leading pack know that the wait would be a bit longer than usual as Katiso had hit a pothole and Tony and co had hung back to help him change his flat tyre.
10km of solid agricultural talk between myself and the Diesel locomotive took us to Constantia Padstal, the home of the “Best Pancake You’ll Ever Have” according to Tony. Although when quizzed on what he used as a reference he was a bit vague. These were pretty darn good though! Pretty darn good enough to keep Rodger from setting any decent pace at the front of the parletone. We’re still unsure whether it was due to his choice of lubricant or the fact that 3 pancakes take a lot of time to digest, that slowed him down. A quick rest stop and obligatory Katiso leg rub by Magic Mike, which was performed on his knees this time (new technique?) and we were off on the final stretch to Ladybrand. Rodger and Ntsika were told to set a pace for all of us to follow into Ladybrand or the next 2km, whichever came first, according to Cameron. Lungisa has consolidated his title of the Diesel locomotive, by showing us just how to get up any tricky hills. Slow and steady, and never over rev a diesel engine. The big guy definitely took a few tips from Charles Mansfield, who rode the 35km from Ladybrand to Constantia to join us for the return trip.
On a tour where individual excellence is frowned upon and team work encouraged, Cameron blitzed his way into Ladybrand, only to be told off by our tour organiser. In the same way Annie van Avermaet and Diesel Tshele had been 2 days previously. Cameron did offer to go back and fetch our Lanterne Rouge, Ntsika, and bring him home. This just caused Ntsika to pace away from the group with Cameron to our accommodation for the evening.
P.S. As has been previously mentioned, I have been challenged to ride in a pink speedo. We won’t mention any names of challengers, but we will tell you it’s for a great cause. A board meeting was held and the target set at R10 000, if this is raised by Wednesday evening, I will be doing the last leg into Queenstown in a speedo.
James “Sweeper” Moorcroft