Yesterday I finished my race to Willowmore and to borrow a golfing term I am the Leader in the Clubhouse. RTW like golf has competitors starting at different times which means the final outcome is only known once all players are off the course. Those competing for line honours generally start on the last day. I was a last minute entry and as I was still saddled with a single speed I opted to start a day earlier as I knew it was going to be tough riding against the likes of Anthony Avidon and the doctor duo of Axel Poser and Daniel Otto. Arriving yesterday evening I was the first rider home. Now we wait to see who from the racing batch betters my run from the Baviaanskloof Reserve gate to the finish.
I had the pleasure of riding through the Reserve with Shaun Tischendorf and Grant Cowen. The occasional rain shower had us donning and then discarding our rain jackets. We had the pleasure of seeing Cape Buffalo on 2 separate occasions and they were polite enough to move off without any fuss.
Reaching the exit gate of the reserve having fully complied with the requirement to stay as a group I scarpered leaving Grant and Shaun to make their way to the finish. They lingered a bit at Damsedrif and then made their way through to Willowmore arriving around 8pm.
Mark Basel and Christopher Mortimer set off from Hadley at midnight with the intention of making the 1pm gate which they did. After being escorted through the Kloof they refuelled at Damsedrif and set out at 21:30 for the final push arriving outside The Willows at 04:30 this morning. Was a huge 28.5 hour push to secure a sub 3 day finish.
The runners arrived in Cambria after dark accompanied by Anthony on his bike that has been nicknamed The Rocking Chair. Daniel got in ahead of them. The buffalo herders had a dozen mouths to feed with runners, snakes, herders, Mark Cowley, David Holyoak and Deon Vrey settling in for the night.
The mix of race disciplines resulted in the formation of 2 escorts. One for those who walk a bit—cyclists—and those that walk and occasionally shuffle along on sore feet.
Dropping into Mordor this morning we have Ingrid Avidon, Omphile Motaung, Craig Cockburn, Emma Lombard and Arn de Haas. Those with experience will know the challenge awaiting them. The rookies are in for an interesting afternoon.
Guy Dudley, Axel Poser and Blaine Peckham have recently arrived in Hadley and are no doubt being regaled by Benny with the challenges of life in the wilderness frontier of the formidable Baviaans mountain range.
Daniel and Axel have always been a racing pair but not this time it seems. As it turns out Axel stuck to his pre race plan of riding with friends and it seems that the sight of Anthony charging up the Swaershoek Pass out of Cradock was the passing car to Daniel’s inner stray. It was race on.
As I wait in the Clubhouse I notice that The Rocking Chair is stranded on route leaving Daniel in the race for first place. Daniel left Damsedrif at the same time as I did yesterday. So it comes down to a race between a single speed bike and a geared bike with two determined jockeys. The answer as to which is faster will be known by 17:58 this evening.