Nieuwoudtville to Clanwilliam (136km) - South Africa

South Africa
Day 118 – May 10 – Stage 84

Sunrise over a chilly Nieuwoudtville

Started the ride with Philip, and left a still-sleeping and cold Nieuwoudtville; riding to lunch on one of the worst corrugated roads we have encountered on the whole trip, it made the corrugated roads in Sudan, Namibia and Namaqualand  look like nursery school training rides! There was no regularity to them, it was just a continuous jumble of irregular, rock-filled corrugations, where riders were unable to pick a preferred line. At approximately 50km into the corrugations, I had a rare sense of humour failure, fortunately not witnessed by any of the other riders, as Philip had left me on my own to battle my own demons.

Philip setting out from Camp final destination Clanwilliam

Closer to lunch, I was joined by Peter (Peter the 4th) and the dirt road improved considerably, as we approached the Botterkloof Pass, where we were treated to an amazing vista. While the ride down the Pass was truly sensational, it was long, fast and a white-knuckle occasion,. We were travelling at high speeds down a Pass which had no side railings whatsoever separating us and the steep drop-off into the valley floor below.

Arriving at the top of Botterkloof Pass

Peter 4 admiring the view from the Pass

At 70km I reached the lunch position, had a long slow lunch while most of the back markers and the Sweep Rider caught up to me, then decided I had ridden enough dirt roads for the day, and caught the Lunch Truck. Peter joined me later, when he flagged the truck down as we passed him.  He had also decided to take a break from the dirt roads.

Arriving at the lunch position

Liz enjoying some grapes at lunch

We stopped at the coffee shop previously known as Khoisan Kitchen (the day’s designated Coke Stop) for Coffee and Ice-cream (with coffee sauce) before continuing onto Clanwilliam.
As the Bokkeveld gave way to the Cederberg Mountains we were treated to some amazing views of the Cederberg.

The start of the Cederberg Mountains

Deborah about to enjoy her cake at the designated Coke Stop

Both Judith and Murray did not cycle on the day, and on arrival in Clanwilliam, they went shopping in Town, where they bought cheese, biscuits and wine for our planned “Seniors Ditch Day” tomorrow.  A group of us had decided to skip Stage 85 (because we can) and to have our own Cheese & Wine in the “Dog Box” (Main Truck) tomorrow while traveling from Clanwilliam to Dorp-op-die-Berg.

Camp was situated at the Clanwilliam Dam, where we were joined by Charles’s parents, Anthony and Colleen Butler, who would be following us for the next three days all the way into Cape Town. Tony had been a Sectional Rider and had ridden with us through Malawi.

Mike T

Charles's Parents Colleen & Tony talking to Judith and Peter 1

Riders relaxing and enjoying some quality time at the Clanwilliam Dam Camp Site

Tallis at this evenings Briefing Session

Briefing board - Clanwilliam to Dorp op die Berg (tomorrow's ride)


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