Saturday 22 October Day 8 RASA/RTR 18h00
Updated: Oct 23, 2022
What an eventful last 36hrs. Heavy rainfall in KZN and the Eastern Cape Highlands has turned the trail to mush and swollen rivers to the extent they have become unpassable. Mother nature has certainly thrown everything she could at the riders. Bikes and bodies have taken a hammering!
Although this won’t console the RTR riders, at least the RASA riders can expect conditions to improve once they get closer to the Karoo and through the Stormberg section of the trail. Aptly named it seems!
Up ahead, Andrew continues to break the trail and should be at Romansfontein this evening with Will and Stefanie...(send regards, hopefully her back surgery went well). He’s has made excellent progress today after some scratchy nav on the Bontehoek portage yesterday. He still has to get through the “Pivots”, which although not a particularly complicated bit of nav, has been a spot that many have come unstuck (particularly at night). He’ll be dropping into the Karoo tomorrow on the way to Hofmeyr, and hopefully get onto drier surfaces. Having said that he must get over the Aasvoelsberg portage (nav tricky if its misty) and down to Magdala farm first(a glorious descent in the dry, but somewhat treacherous in the mud).
Stefan must have been somewhat frustrated today, and spent a good 3 hrs looking for the correct neck to drop down to the old Spitzkop Farmhouse on the Kapokkraal portage. So only 37 km today, amazing how weather, trail conditions and some nav errors can dictate one’s pace!
Having said that he’ll be at Slaapkrantz soon with some light to spare, so Joyce or Andre (his hosts for the night) should be able to give him some pointers on how to get over the next portage. Mark and Craig have leapfrogged ahead somewhat and are just coming down the Kapokkraal portage, and will join Stefan this evening. They’ll be going straight into the back-to-back Slaapkrantz / Bontehoek portages at 1st light, hopefully “the scar” would have dried out overnight (if not guys, head over the covered hillside to the south of “the scar”, that track is super slippery and thorny too ;)
Janine and Guy cruised through doing a half day from Rhodes to Chesneywold and are spending the night at Minky’s.
Mrs. Robinson got in to Rhodes today at about 16h00, well done Gavin, solid finish for a “Ballie” who’s not to fit at the moment. Ian, Marelise and Nicole are all over the highest point of the race (so hopefully no more lightning strikes) and in at Rhodes being looked after by the Buffalow Herders. Well done guys, a sketchy few days, but you got in!
Andy is with JT halfway up Lehana’s. They’ll only summit in the dark. I suspect they’re having a wet and muddy time of it, and will be happy to duck into Tenhaead for the customary snack and warm drink. Barring any technicals (that includes being sucked into the warmth and luxury of the lodge) that will make Jaques the deserved winner of one of the more challenging RTR’s with one of the more impressive sub-3 day finishes. If there isn’t too much mud (that clinging cloying mud can seize up wheels and drivetrain) he should be in by approximately 22h00.
Mike, Janine, Dave, Jacqueline, Gary and Alex are holed up at Vuvu, sensibly not wanting to take on Lehana’s in this weather.
Richard, Lucy and Kathleen are with Mrs. Kibi in Tinana tonight. I think they do have the option of the alternate route to Vuvu (Dave, Jacqueline and Gary took this route on the district road today) which will be quicker riding with less likelihood of navigational errors. Good luck guys were rooting for you!
The Payne brothers rode from Two Springs and are almost at Malekgolonyane, great riding today in these conditions and no nav errors.
The Talbots and Haymans are due in at Masakala this evening and will look forward to a shorter day and some respite tomorrow. The James’s are overnighting at Two Springs and it seems they are enjoying a “Dads and Lads” tour after a late start from Ntsikeni.
Well thats a wrap for today...enjoy the dot watching and riders...stay safe out there!