Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day 12: What next ! - To Stuttgart

We are definitely not racing snakes like the rest of the field. Wer'e trying to be consistent & are suceeding to the extent that the weather will allow. We are unfortunately a day behind schedule because of the mud, rain, wind, strain & injuries.

We also didn't manage our double stage today. Whilst it was gusty this morning, we nonetheless made good progress until we got to the mountains around Cradock. Then the heavens blessed us with - you guessed it - more *€$%# driving rain & howling headwinds. Who ever thought that pedalling your whatsit off downhill would be necessary just to keep the bike moving ! We've nearly been blown right off our bikes several times and pedalling hard in granny gear whilst leaning precariously into a gail force wind on a dead flat muddy district road has become somewhat of an art form. The trick is in the recovery when the gust stops !

The mountains where we were headed to are covered in snow & it was bitterly cold again especially when the wind blows off the peaks down into the low lying area's. Wet icy shoes are not fun either & being exhausted from our lack of sleep we decided to stop at Stuttgart farm.

We rolled into Stuttgart farm down a very muddy clay farm road amid a snow flurry ! The pictures are not brilliant because of the phone but the one attached was taken from Amanda's kitchen window. We are headed towards & over the snow covered mountains in the distance / background (10km) tomorrow morning @ 05:30am along a goat track.

On a much brighter note the hospitality along the way after Rhodes has been awesome. Our hosts go way beyond the call to make us feel comfortable, fed & looked after with clean clothing. Yesterday Stephani of Romansfontein farm helped me out with a pair of K-Way winter gloves after my Sealskins mysteriously vanished.

Last night Margret of Elandsberg farm waited up (12:15am) for us to arrive, served us hot soup, homemade bread, bobotie, rice, vegies and pud too. Then she woke up before us to sort breakfast for 05:30 am.

At every overnight stage stop this has been repeated & one feels quite guilty about all the dining & dashing. It is extemely difficult leaving those wonderful farm kitchens with their warm glowing Aga's, Esse's & incredibly kind farm moms behind to head into the biting cold, wind, rain, mud & snow.

So to all those farthers, mothers, daughters & sons of the stage support stations who have made our race more bearable - Kudo's to you all for showing the way in generosity, kindness & care. We thank you, one and all.

PS - I'm going to be trading recipies with those ladies, believe me !

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