Day 5: the long and (not winding) road

Distance: 131km
Time: +/- 7 hours

Today was really, really, really hard. And we weren’t even allowed to stop for hamburgers, pancakes, schnitzels or cokes! Our Leader, Tony, must be worried that we are going to be put on weight on this tour, instead of lose some.

We left Elsie’s B&B in Clocolan at 8am to head for Ladybrand. The weather was fine, sunny with a few clouds, no wind, cool. The cycle to Ladybrand was good, but then we had the most monster climb of the journey so far – 4km of hill from the valley up to the top of the mountain. It nearly finished me for the rest of the day.

Then it was onwards to Hobhouse. The road was straighter than straight, with more than a few potholes and we managed two punctures today, one on Kieran’s bike and one on mine. Stops consisted of a few, fast 10 minutes on the side of road to replenish with apples, energy bars, peanut butter sarmies, and to remix our energy drinks. They were so quick I didn’t even get to take photos. I think it had something to do with the rugby – three games on Saturday afternoon makes for four very anxious guys wanting to get to the hotel as quickly as possible! All I wanted was to be horizontal for a while to relieve the pressure on my legs and bum!

Eventually, we made it into Wepener after the obligatory uphill 10km from the town (town planners are obviously not cyclists) and to the lovely Lord Frazer guesthouse. We even had candles on the dinner table last night.

One thing we have learnt on this tour is to not trust the distances given in map books because they are way out. Adding up the distances (in the map book) between Clocolan, Ladybrand, Hobhouse and Wepener, we thought we had a total of 114km to do yesterday, when in fact it ended up being 131km. But hey, when you are on a bicycle, what’s a mere 17km? Even the road signs have proven confusing, with three signs within 2km of each other all indicating 10km to Wepener. Go figure!

Today will be a doddle – according to the road sign just before Wepener we have 49km to Zastron, our overnight stop. We will leave a bit later than usual because, being so fit and strong now, it should take us about 45 minutes to get there. And we are not too sure what entertainment we will find in Zastron on a Sunday.

Can you believe we are halfway already – five days down, five to go? We have cycled over 500km. I am very proud of what we have achieved so far.


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