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Friday 21 October 20:00 Day 7 RASA/RTR

A tough day at the office

“With great power comes much responsibility”. This is the mantra and motto of a Freedom writer. Although stressful, the benefits of being a Freedom writer does come with great perks. Not only are we on a very select, head-hunted ‘whattapp’ group of writers, but our head-writer (Induna Buffalo Herder Mike Roy) encourages us to cover a wide spectrum of topics ranging from the contents of historical suitcases to the migration patterns of sacred Geese. On occasion we do write about the trail. The complimentary iPad and bottle of Tanqueray gin is also a nice perk.

Today was certainly an eventful day on the trail with heat, lightning, rain, mud and some flooded rivers. Um, who suggested that summer RASA was going to be easy? It was very stressful for me. I started writing my report at 1PM. My reasoning was to get it done by 2:30 PM and then have a celebratory gin. I now realize that this was (and is) a rather foolish strategy. Cyclists, like migratory Geese, can get lost. Some go around in circles. Some turn back and head towards home. Some don’t have a plan. Some just follow blindly. Others have a plan but don’t stick to the plan. Others might stop to breed, or lay eggs. Some never stop. Some just poo on the go. It is best to leave the intricate details of the report to the evening. Hopefully I will have more clarity on the behavioural patterns of Geese and riders by then… let’s hope that the effects of the gin will not be too apparent.

Hello, I am back! With two gins under the belt, I am now able to finish my report. I have much information. Wow, what a day.

Andrew Rose is at the head of the field. He delighted the dot-watchers with some wanderings around Bontehoek. Some dot watchers (on the group) reminisced about their own wanderings with a box of eggs. He is now heading to Kranskop for a wonderful meal and rest. Stefan Coetzee is setting a fine pace enroute to Chesneyworld. He will be foolish to leave the hospitality of Minky and head out into the darkness of Kapokkraal. But who knows? Hopefully he knows that the garage at the start of the Kapokraal portage is not a Vida E café. Ok, my nastiness stems from pure jealousy. Stefan spent last night at Tenahead Lodge. Wow! Even Janine Oosthuizen was impressed.

Janine Wencke and Greg Henderson are safely in at Rhodes. Well done! The lightning on Lehanas Pass knew not to mess with a woman carrying a huge backpack. Joining them in Rhodes are Craig Rosenberg and Mark Preen. Congrats for reaching this milestone.

Nicole Morse and Marelise Badenhorst are riding a truly inspirational race. These two super brave ladies (both novices) are really impressing with their navigation skills and tenacity. They started the day in Tinana and pushed through Vuvu at 11am. This afternoon, a lightning storm over Lehanas made them turn back to Vuvu. Sensibly, they are now taking shelter in a village at the base of Lehanas and will head over Mcambalala tomorrow. Well done ladies!

Ian Henderson and Mrs (Gavin) Robinson are heading to Vuvu. Gavin caused much excitement on the group with some navigational mishaps enroute to Tinana Mission. I cannot comment as I too have found this to be a very confusing place on the trail.

Gary Preston, Jacqueline Shaw and Dave Templeton looked like they were enroute to Vuvu. I now see that they are back at Mrs Kibi’s house. I can only assume that they did a recce to check out the exit. Good thinking Jacqueline. A clever lady indeed. I now read that they were indeed off to Vuvu, but they were thwarted by a hail storm and elected to head back to Mrs Kibi. A wise decision indeed.

Mike W and Janine Stewart are still heading to Mrs Kibi. They were making good progress but have had to back-track due to a flooded river and are now attempting to cross at the bridge. Hold the phone! I have just heard that they are NOT able to cross at the bridge and are sleeping the night in a local house. Yoh!

The delightful support station of Malekolenyane will host Lucy Erasmus, Richard Erasmus, Andy Wonnacott and Kathleen Rausch. Unfortunately, Sean Privett is not feeling well and has withdrawn. Kathleen is an excellent bike mechanic and bee-keeper. This could be very useful.

The Payne brothers are heading to Two Springs. They had a navigational error in the Donnybrook Forests. There is so much that I could say about this mishap, but alas, I too have got lost here. Mist is distracting. So is a lot of talking, too.

Sally and Josh Hayman are heading to Ntsikeni for the night. As are the father and son combination of Tim and Murray James. Joining them will be Ingrid and Mike Talbot. The Talbot’s had a navigational mishap in the Donnybrook forests. Hopefully they are still talking to each other. The Donnybrook Forest is known to cause much marital strife. I too have experienced this challenging phenomenon.

The R2R racing snakes are off record pace. Unfortunately, Arno Crouse had to withdraw at Ntsikeni with a broken shifter. It will now be a race to the end between Alex Harris and Jacques Tattersall. When I last looked at their trackers they were heading to Malekolenyane. I can only assume they have no plans to stop. Unless they need to chat to Kathleen? Alex has just confirmed that he is officially in tour mode and will sleep at Malekolenyane tonight. So now you know.

Wow, that’s a wrap for the evening. What a day it has been! Africa is not for sissies. The debate between winter and summer RASA continues.

Ride strong and stay safe.

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Love your writing Ingrid. You are a real treat 😁

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