Day five: the fast and the furious

Blog Day 5: The fast and the furious

Well, what can I say about today except that I think it was our best day so far? Everyone was strong.

We tackled the 2km climb outside Ladybrand, at just after 9am, with consummate ease. Pete had just started his climb when he felt the strong hand of his mate from yesterday, Charles, on his back – so he was sorted for the rest of the hill. The rest of us had to power up on our own steam, but we managed well. I was dreading this particular hill after last year, but it was not as bad as I was expecting. We were then rewarded with a phenomenal downhill on a newly-tarred road – although the gusts of wind at the bottom of the hill were a bit unnerving.

Thereafter, we were helped along the mostly flat straight road by a nice tailwind. A few gentle climbs and some really fast downhills kept it interesting. Not sufficiently interesting for Marc though, who decided to spend some time in the rough on the side of the road after losing concentration for a few seconds!

We were so fast that we literally had to squeeze in our tea and lunch stop (peanut butter & apricot jam sandwiches again, as there are not eateries between Ladybrand and Wepener).

We are now esconced in the Lord Fraser Hotel in Wepener, a delightful establishment with wooden floors, high ceilings and resident dogs. I am slaving away writing the blog while my cycling mates make a helluva noise outside my window while they enjoying a drink. I think I heard one of them say he was hungry – can you believe it?

Because we had such an EASY day, I thought I would ask everyone what they thought was the hardest part of the tour so far:

John R: Staying awake

Jen R: Keeping up with Brendan on the downhills

Me: keeping up with Jen R on the uphills

Jen W: the Clarens and Fouriesburg hills

Tony: herding the cats

Renier: Clarens hill

Alan: my very sore bottom

John Sturgeon: (it’s obviously been tough for him because he’s still thinking about this one)

Marc: being hungry all the time

Pete: the hills – in future I will be a downhill specialist

Mike S: waking up before 8am every day

Brenda: trying to keep track of John S’s green tea

Brendan: the “flat” hills

Ryan: stressing about cyclists being hit by cars

Alan did an “Ashley” by doing a somersault with his bike attached to his cleats at the finish as he tried to ramp the pavement. Of course, he didn’t achieve the spectacular feat as gracefully as I do!

So far we have covered approximately 519km of the total distance. Only three days to go. This time last year I was praying for the days to come and go quickly, but this year I don’t want it to end. If any of you readers out there are considering joining us next year, just do it!

Until tomorrow (Wepener to Aliwal North)

Ashley

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