Day 6 – Witsand to Stilbaai via Vemaaklikheid, 99.5km, moving time 07h00 – avg speed 14,2kph
Tried for an early start as I knew it was going to be a long day in the saddle and the weather man predicted a windy, hot day. Left after 08h00 as my neighbours made me coffee with homemade rusks and wanted to talk. Headed north on the tar road and received my daily check in call from Marc, gave him the outlook for the day and got going again. Thanks for checking on me every morning. Well looked after rural school along the way before turning right onto the Vermaaklikheid road.
The wind hit me full force in the face, the road stretched for kilometers ahead with the usual for type of road that I have been travelling, 1 small short downhill, 3 to 4 long never ending uphills.
From this viewpoint they do not look very steep, but with a 45kg Kruzer, 20kph wind, gusting to 30kph, it becomes hard work to keep momentum and move forward at a decent speed. Downhill, pedalling to maintain a speed of maybe 20kph, hit the hill and speed drop to below 10kph and walk. This was the trend for the rest of the day. At last I made it to Vermaaklikheid with a steep downhill run into the village, hoping to get food, nothing, not even a roadside shop. Headed out the other side and what goes down must go up, a mother of a climb out the other side to Puntjie. Walked most of it and stopped for a talk to locals on their way into Vermaaklikheid.
Not easy pushing the Kruzer uphill and had to stop a couple of times to catch my breath and have a rest. Made it to the top, turned East and into the full force of the wind. At last the Jongensfontein and Stilbaai turn showed on the gps, a nice downhill but, on the other side a hill of about 1,5km and fairly steep. A bakkie raced past, covering me in dust and I so wished I saw it earlier to ask for a ride to the top. Slowly but surely I made my way uphill, head down, bearing into the wind, temperature 37c, the next thing I heard a voice, “Trap hom boetie”. Immediate reaction was that I am starting to halucinate, but through the sweat, or maybe tears, there was Deon and Edith, as we arranged to meet in Stilbaai.
Lifesavers they were, ice cold Coke, energy bar and a sympathetic ear to my complaining about hills and wind. They lightened my load by taking some of the items off the Kruzer and I managed to ride the rest of the hill. They escorted/supported me into Stilbaai, stopped, had food, more Coke, rested and now the search for a spot to sleep. Asked at the garage and was directed to 2 caravan parks, one out of town on the way to Riversdale, the other across from the “Preekstoel” in Stilbaai east. Decided on the one out of town, Deon and Edith said they will go ahead and sort it out and I should follow. The wind was now from the back, Kruzer even lighter, I made good time on the climb out of Stilbaai. Not seeing them I passed the first place, turned in at the second, no sight of them and decided to head back. As I was approaching the other place they came out and headed back towards town. Made it to the Preekstoel caravan park, which was deserted, but set up camp and a couple also looking for a spot for the evening set up their tent.
I was way beyond tired, 99.1 punishing kms and that was me. Cold shower, but at least the dust, sweat and grime washed off that was me for the day and I was out for the count, long difficult day done, knowing that my ride will start with a climb out of Stilbaai, again, this time with a fully loaded Kruzer. Thanks Deon and Edith, you made my day……….