At 6 o’clock this morning another 10 brave souls lined up at PMB City Hall ready to tackle the Freedom Trail in somewhat chilly conditions. Andrew Walker, Angela Green, Cassandra Stremmelaar and Philip Lee all plan to ride across South Africa. Andrew and Angela have both ridden to Rhodes before and are now in pursuit of their blankets. Cassandra and Philip are diving in the deep end with this RASA being their first time on the trail.
Andrew Donkin, Greg Dingley, Johan Erasmus, Marius Hickley, Mark Olivier and Tony Lindsay all left PMB this AM on their way to Rhodes, Tony being the only one to have previously done so. The second batch had a pretty good first day on the trail, mostly riding in small groups and steadily finding their way up and over Minerva, through the Umko and up Hella Hella to Allendale. Angela, took a wrong turn on her way into Byrne and lost a bit of time looking for water but she has been soldiering on all day on her own and should be at Allendale by 22h00. Tony, Greg, Mark and Andrew arrived at Allendale at 16h15 followed by Cassandra and Philip at 16h40 and Marius and Johann shortly after them. They will all be enjoying some well-needed recovery time before the BIG day to Ntsekeni tomorrow.
The first batch all left Allendale between 5h30 and 6am, looking to maximize daylight hours. The second and third days are arguably two of the toughest on the trail and these guys will attest to that as they were still making their way up the massive final climb and through the Ntsekeni Nature reserve when the sun dipped below the horizon. Kevin and Nigel were out in front again with no tracks to follow and made a little extra work for themselves when they took a wrong turn and rode about 10k’s down a hill on the way to Centocow before realizing and riding back up again. They lost about an hour but still managed to arrive first at Ntsekeni just after 5pm. Tweet (Graham) and Terror (Sarah) didn’t fall for any navigational shenanigans but their legs are still recovering from Expedition Africa and felt every bit of the endless climbing en route to Ntsekeni. They arrived half an hour later at 17h35.
Andrea, Dominic, Justin, Keith and Roger all had a solid day but slowed towards the end meaning they had to trudge through the Ntsekeni grasslands in the dark. This is a wild and vast place and with no lights around them what-so-ever, so they would not have had much idea of exactly how much further to go, which can be mentally challenging but they kept moving nicely and arrived just before 7pm to a cheerful Mr Ncgobo and some delicious soup and stew.