Day Six: 7 April: Topples tally mounting

After a somewhat chaotic reception at the Lord Fraser in Wepener, all were settled in their rooms. Alan being displaced twice, finally settled in on a bed muscled into Flat 1 across the road. All this was completely forgotten when dinner was served. Amazing vegetable soup followed by ox tail stew – enough for seconds even after the bunch of hungry cyclists had satisfied their hunger, guess there must be a whole lot of tailless oxen wandering the Free State today!

A tough day at the office for the 1965Riders today
A tough day at the office for the 1965Riders today

The much awaited anaesthetising cream ordered by a couple of the lady riders, that Reg brought from Jozi, had the dining room in fits of laughter as he tried to negotiate his involvement in the application thereof, only to discover that an unnamed thief had purloined his negotiating “gold”.

On to day 6 of the Ride, which started somewhat unceremoniously for some. Without turning a wheel Rodger, so keen to get going, mounted his bike too enthusiastically and fell off the other side almost eliminating one of GM’s UTE Force bakkies. Talk about lending new meaning to the expression “leg over”! Tally for topples, Queenstown vs The Rest, now stands at 2 all.

So sorry three of last year’s lady riders are not with us this year but we have recruited a great group of gals to accompany us this year:
Debz – always in the leading pack.
Jen Ralph – pedals like a metronome – so consistent that they set the atomic clock by her.
Jen W – quiet but always there with a word of encouragement.
Shelly – just gets stronger by the day.
Debbie – known to confuse sheep for Free Stat rocks, probably the strain of the “flat” Free State.
Hester (aka Annie) – thank goodness she has only been cycling for 8 weeks – beware the 2015 riders.
Di – taken over King of Off-road from Rodger. When commenting that suddenly there was no tar in front of her Rob pointed out that when you ride on the road there is tar, off-road there is gravel.

On leaving the final rest stop Di called the “Hard Core Girls” to ride, and promptly pirouetted over Tony’s bike. Somehow saving herself and Tony’s $1mil steed from hitting the ground, well done Di.

There are a number of “pushers” in the pack. When the climb seems endless a comforting hand is felt on your back and the gradient seems to disappear. From those who have received a helping hand, we salute you. Andrew, a pusher, moved in on Debbie, lost his balance and went down, though quite gracefully, being the gentleman he is didn’t take Debbie down with him – Voltaren Gel to be applied later.

Topples tally now 3 : 2 to Queenstown.

The unsung heroes of the Ride are without doubt the support drivers, medic and film crew. Although John has been accused of extending the stages between rest stops he is always there with the table, biscuits and coolies.
The film crew, Louis and Richard, are always in the right place at the right (or is it wrong) time. Ask Alan. Mike – always there with plasters, pills, BP and ECG equipment and moral support. And Reg now hoots to warn of his presence as a remedy for his allergy to being “blogged on”. Neil, what can we say, is the Mother of the Ride, always concerned with the riders’ well-being, loading vehicles, buying supplies and managing the evening kitty and many more unknown tasks, all with a cheery smile. Thank you ALL.

Remember, if what you are doing does not take you out of your comfort zone, it’s probably not worth doing.

See you all next year.

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