Day 5, 12 April, Ladybrand to Wepener, 96km
Breakfast started with the keen riders waiting for eggs due to management stocktake showing a shortage of two eggs (thank you Marc and Andy Mills).
The riders took off looking very smart in their Build It kit. And after two photo shoots at the Build It and Chevrolet dealerships, we took on the dreaded Ladybrand Hill. After climbing 150m in 3km the biggest climb of the day was done and dusted.
At the peak of this climb it felt like we were on top of the world looking down on creation. With a mere 72km left the three selfish musketeers (Andrew N, Adrian and Leon A) took off leaving the bus in its dust.
After dodging some potholes on the downward spiral chasing the Pied Pipers of the Peloton (Adele and Danie) who clocked 83km/h on their tandem bicycle, we met Charles Mansfield at the Wepener turnoff on his BMW 1200 Adventure. The debate: pedal power versus horse power was the topic of conversation for the next 20km.
We were now on a very well pot-holed but luckily very quiet stretch of tarmac where an average speed of 40km/h was achieved behind the pied piper’s bus. It was here that Shelly stepped up to claim the “Queen of the Mountain” title achieving 50km/h UP A HILL IN HER BIGGEST GEAR, and at one stage leading the peloton. This gave Shelly umbrella status thanks to Pete.
There is no truth in the rumour that Bruce Raasch smiled the whole way due to his early morning smooch and rub down by Mike the Magic Medic.
At the lunch stop, after enjoying a packed lunch from Cranberry Cottage, our community responsibly kicked in and the well-rested cyclists proceeded to clean up the badly littered picnic spot which they had chosen for their lunch break.
It was then that the peloton took off together for the next 15km in order that Leon A with a Go Pro strapped to his chest could get some video footage of the cyclists. Unfortunately Leon rides up front so the only footage available is 50 shades of grey – next time strap it to his back, Louis!!!!!
After a couple of steep ascents, Rodger, looking for reasons to rest, mastered the art of his chain coming off – many would love to master this art Rodg!!!
Andrew N (on his new Trek bicycle) was very grateful to Vata for allowing him to use his trusty steed following Andrew’s spoke malfunction at lunch time.
We then cruised down to the Caledon River where we had a surprise visit from Queen’s College Deputy Head, Mike Boy and family, who were very impressed to see some unexpected old boys (Lwandile, Vata and Dini) pumping the pedals in aide of education in Queenstown.
It was then a chip and a put to the Lord Fraser Hotel in Wepener, where Adie Peltenberg invented a new recovery drink, being tequila chased by a chocolate Steri Stumpie. It was then on to the compulsory bike wash and mechanical repairs. Gladly Rodger and Andrew N’s mechanical skills resulted in Andrew’s spokes and Rodger’s pedals being repaired and ready for action tomorrow morning.
We all look forward to the Lord Fraser ”kroeg bar” and legendary supper before we put our heads on the pillow dreaming of stage 6 which is a mere 67km to Zastron.
A big thank you to LIFE Healthcare for the all the gifts along the way and the thought put into them, and to Pete, Mike and John for the awesome back up service and always being there to attend to our every need.
Blog by Bruce Raasch and Marc Bradley
Kindly assisted by Shelly G on the keyboard