Monday, October 6, 2014

Ride to Rhodes - Day 4 Masakala to Ongeluksnek

I was very apprehensive when I got up for this day.  The really hard day yesterday was very fresh in my mind and I was nervous of what this new day would bring.  We set off in the dark with lots of discussion between our erstwhile navigators as to how to actually get out of Masakala village and how to navigate across a floodplain.  This very same floodplain earned Doug the name of Shrek as he (on one of his previous forays in this area) went straight through the floodplain until the freezing water reached his manly bits - then it shocked his thinking brain into going back and trying another route!).  There was no water but there were also no paths so it was really bumpy with cattle hoof-prints and short sharp grass.  Anyway there were no Shrek incidents and we got onto the road heading west.  Once again I was feeling strong but held back a little.  I regulated my breathing so that I never got into a panting phase.  Then when I did find my breathing got too irregular I would stop and take 4 deep breaths.  This was the answer - I stayed at a more steady pace on the bike as well as when I was walking or carrying my bike.  All the panicky feelings dissipated.  I also suspect the pace slowed down anyway.

Chris photo-bombing us!
We went through a few small villages.  They were so neat and orderly.  Neatly fenced off properties and neat paths through the villages - I really loved them.  We crossed over the Queen Mercy floodplains.  This picture really does not do them justice.  They were an emerald green nestled in a valley with majestic Drakensberg in the background.  

Tea with Ollie outside the Queen's Mercy shop and off again.  Just past this stop there were these 2 little girls on the road.  They laughed so delightedly and from their bellies at the sight of my little proboscis on my helmet!
This day was heritage day and there were celebrations all around as well as horse-races.  We passed lots of riders decked out on their horses travelling to Mpharane Village.  We also came across this group of girls - the Ngobu dancers.  They were fantastic - and loved the interaction with us.  When I asked them a question they all answered in unison!  They asked Doug to take a photo put them on Facebook as they wanted to be famous!
The Ngobu Dancers

Then we started to make friends with some beeeeeeeeg hills.  It was amazing terrain to be on.  We could see for miles around beautiful mountains and shrouded valleys.  The ground was a rich red colour and made up of sandstone.  We rode along these tracks called "sleep-pads".  They are wide tracks that are made by a span of oxen pulling wattle trees behind them.  I loved them - no skinny single tracks!

Mpharane Ridge

Doug and Derek on a sleep-pad
The ridge is about 4kms long and the track drops and climbs a few times.  Eventually we came to a ridge where we carried and pushed our bikes down.  I loved this part of the adventure.

Straw bakkie at Gladstone Farm

We then headed off to the Maria Zell Mission.  It is a beautiful old mission which has a catholic school and boarding facilities attached.

From there it was about 5kms to Ongeluksnek - our resting place for the night.  It was brilliant to get in early for the day and just spend time chilling and eating!
Vetkoek became a firm favourite of mine.  Doug placed some strapping tape over the chafing as I had opened the skin up and quite frankly anytime on the bike was a form of torture!  I had to laugh as the guys call this a rest day - and it really was.  After all we only did 59kms and were out for 9 and 3/4 hours!

  • 59.2km
  • 6:45:38
     Moving Time
  • 1,027m
  • 62W
    Estimated Avg Power
  • 1,504kJ
    Energy Output
Elapsed Time8:44:09

No comments:

Post a Comment