I wonder how many of you noticed my Oooops in yesterday’s newsletter? Of course we didn’t go to Bloemfontein, we rode into Bethlehem.
And this morning we rode out of a cool, 13 degrees, Bethlehem at 08:00, but very soon we were shucking our cool gear to get on with the job of getting to Clarens. We had beautiful riding conditions: great weather, smooth road and good wide shoulders so things progressed well towards to the towering mountain that hangs over Clarens and steals the sun from it early in the winter.
One stop on the way under some of the endemic poplars for coffee and rusks. In the field next to us were some sheep . While sipping on our coffee we had the privilege of watching one of them giving birth to a lamb. The rest paid no attention but continued eating the potatoes that had been scattered around the field for them.
We all enjoyed the sweeping downhill into the village, especially Captain Gravity (otherwise known as Pete Gerber) who wisely decided to give his neck a break again and hopped into one of the support vehicles a little further on.
The rest continued to our second stop of the day in a stunning spot surrounded by autumnal poplars and towering sandstone crags.
But then it was the 10 kilometre battle of Clarens Hill and a few kilometres after that the tough 8 kilometres climb out of the valley to Fouriesburg where krummelpap and lunch awaited us. Everyone was mightily relieved to have a break. It had been a tough 35 kilometres.
We even composed a little ditty sung to the tune of the Irish ballad, Danny Boy:
Oh Clarens Hill, our wheels our wheels keep turning
From town to town and up your mountainside
Your hill is long but our legs keep on pumping
‘til we reach the summit of your side
When April comes we’ll klap you in the morning
And laugh ‘til the sun sets in the west….
The rest of the day was a smooth ride into Ficksburg although the 2 hours it took to serve our lunch in Fouriesburg took its toll on the available light and we were becoming concerned that we would be riding in twilight by the time we pulled into our marvellously comfortable B&B Woodpecker Lodge. Anytime you are in this town you would do far worse than to stay here.
Everybody finished the day in good shape, although there had been some tough struggles during the day and young Queenian, Renier Landman finished particularly strongly.
An excellent braai and then bed.
Come and ride with us!