Day 2 – Frankfort to Reitz
How do you eat an elephant? asks the old riddle. And the answer – one bite at a time. Well, I’m 210 bites into this 850 bite monster. Before today, I had never cycled as far as 145 kays in a single day, nor had I ever woken up after that and climbed on my bike to do the same thing again. So a tour of firsts, so far.
Today we woke up in Frankfort*, and headed for Reitz**; a relatively short day of only 65 kilometres journey. The road was straight and undulating – we climbed approximately 800 metres today. Being on the bike gives one a fantastic sense and feel of the country – the endless farmlands that extended past the roadside were bordered by crooked barbed-wire fences and lop-sided telegraph poles and the roads were lined with pink and white cosmos.
The team performed well today, but one could sense that we were all still tired and sore from a long first day; and more than one team member was struggling with an ill-timed tummy bug. We had the mandatory tea breaks every 20 kilos and all reached the delightful Poelanie’s Guest Lodge by lunch time, and what a fantastic lunch (again) – croissants stuffed with a choice of beef strips, biltong or chicken. The beers went down equally well.
So as I face wolfing down the rest of this mammoth – 7 days and more than 600 bites to go, I am nudged gently from behind by my supporters and generous sponsors, and tugged forward by those deserving and in need, onwards to a better life for them and surely a better South Africa for us all.
*Frankfort is a small farming town situated on the banks of the Wilge River in the Free State province of South Africa. The town was laid out in 1869 on the farm Roodepoort, and named Frankfurt (after Frankfurt-am-Main in Germany) by Albert van Gordon.The town later received municipality status in 1896
**Founded in 1889, the town was previously known as Singer’s Post, its name was changed to Amsterdam, and again to its current name Reitz after the Orange Free State president, Francis William Reitz.
After a comfortable stay at Frankfort Guest House and a delicious dinner where the rules of engagement were clearly defined, ie. Dish up first or eat less, the 65ride crew awoke to overcast a cool and overcast day, no wind to speak of. With a 9am start, it gave us all an opportunity to rest the weary bodies for an extra hour or so. Although the Breakfast spread was typical Eastern Free State (plentiful), there were some comments that the lady who made the breakfast treats last year was clearly no longer in the guesthouse employ as there were no gourmet “ thingies”.
After a quick stop at the Frankfort Chevrolet dealership for a photo Op, and Marc Bradley asking a very confused pump jockey to “fill his bicycle up with 95 please”, we set off on the 67km to Reitz.
Day 2 seems to have garnered quite a reputation as being a really tough day as Adie Peltenberg found out when he spoke to his wife this morning who rode the ride last year and the comment was not terribly complimentary. These thoughts were confirmed by a farmer speaking to Vata Ngobeni who told him “the road to Reitz is quite hilly but nice”. Half the distance of yesterday, but the same amount of climbing, with some sore rears and tired legs.
The first Coffee and rusk stop was interesting when we realised that the water supplied in Frankfort for the coffee and tea was cold – only which meant that it was only iced tea or coffee for the riders – Leon Jacobs was the only rider who took this option and enjoyed his cold water iced tea??? Each to their own I suppose.
Arriving at Poelanies Gastehuis in Reitz with some stretching on the lawn before a truly scrumptious beef/Biltong/or Chicken Croissant for lunch and Louis Bolton taking command of the Logistics and dishing out room keys for a shower, beer and relax – 25% of the ride complete in 2 days with 7 days of downhill cruising to go.
I for one am looking forward to getting through to Queens Reunion for the Rugby and Hockey against Dale – with the form that the Boys were in over the KES Easter Festival – it should be a cracker.
Tomorrow we have another big day, Reitz to Ficksburg, 148km. tonight we will rest and enjoy the ride tomorrow.