Day Eight: 9 April: Passing Penhoek Pass

Aliwal North to Penhoek Pass (110km)

An early start with frost on the lawns saw us head off from The Umtali Country Inn onto the N6 heading for Hazelmere at the foot of the Penhoek pass, some 110 kilometers away.

A big thank you must go to the Umtali Country Inn for the lovely accommodation. There are always a few extra special people on tour. Reg, seemed to be the only person who struggled to find his shower in his room until John Ralph advised him to stand next to his bath and look up!

Our best photo opportunity spot
Our best photo opportunity spot

There was also a surprise visit to the group, leaving Kelly Godley “roomie-less” for the night. Shelly’s husband, Gary, surprised everyone by arriving during the groups afternoon “veg out” session, to ride alongside his wife as extra support for the last two days.

After riding only one day with the team, Gary managed to clock up a total of two punctures and one blow out. Taking him up to half of the total of our current leader Ryan Schnell, who is currently at 6 punctures (and counting).

Our first stop was at the entrance to Rob Dorrington’s farm where he delivered a consignment of bottled Spring water, which was greatly appreciated. The start again enabled everyone to practice their starts on an up hill (much complaining).

Our next stop 25km further was greeted with surprise as we had not stopped on an uphill. Jenny R complimented John F for acquired the skill of recognizing a level area for tea to which he responded “I could not find an uphill at the 25km mark”.

At this point, Ryan Schnell decided that it had been far too long since anyone had had any action, so he took it upon himself to do yet ANOTHER graceful dismount!!!!

At tea time the group was spoilt with the MOST AMAZING koeksisters, sausage rolls and drinks. Thank you to Karen and Johnny Jelinek for such a treat. It was just the right amount of sugar that everyone needed to keep going until lunch…
Which was a mere 10km down the road!

Lunch was once again a delicious spread sponsored by the Gallery. Many thanks to Johan de Beer and his team for getting us refueled and back on the road. A big thanks to Bruce Pitt (MD of sponsor Imperial GM) and fellow old Queenian Mike Dovey. We then headed for the Peak of Penhoek Pass where we couldn’t possibly pass up the opportunity of having yet another group photo.
We all thoroughly enjoyed the downhill that Tony had been promising us since we left Jozi!

Everyone arrived safely at Hazelmere where we were all split up to our respective accommodation.

Goals and objectives:

Brendan (Slim) stated that if he loses 35kg by next year, he would buy a new bike. We wanted to share a photo with you but because of poor cell phone reception he couldn’t email the pic to the blog editor.

Ongoing bets:

All bets are on between Bruce Raasch, Marc Bradley and Shelly Goldschmidt as to who can last the longest without shaving their beards (men) and legs (lady).
Pictures to follow……….

Tonight we are going to enjoy our last braai together as a group before we are joined by the Queenstown masses.

Shelly G, Kelly G and John R

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