Day 18 – Cradock to Pearston
After a good night’s rest, we headed into town for supplies and made our way to the gravel road leading to Pearston. Nice warm morning and took off my long sleeve shirt, starting the ride in short sleeves. The road is in fairly good condition and some nice farms along the way. Not long and a road sign indicated the start of Swaershoek Pass. I pedalled along the gentle climb again passing nice farms, lots of sheep and some cattle. Trucks loaded with sheep passed on their way down and the climb now started in all earnest as the pass got steeper and steeper. The views of the mountains and surrounding area changing with every turn going up. Looking up you can see the road winding up the mountain side and disappearing out of sight. Fortunately I stopped to take photos and in the process rested, got my breath somewhat back to normal and managed to ride all the way to the top. Going down the other side was adrenaline stuff as the road was badly rutted and big rocks scattered all over. The temperature and weather changed and it started getting cold and clouds moving in. Temperature dropped to 10c and the wind picked up to a healthy blow from the front. More ups than downs, with scenery changes around every turn. After 43km, we turned towards Pearston and now the wind was really pumping from the front and cold, I put long sleeves on and continued climbing away. The sheep does not enjoy opera as they ran away as I got closer, the Angora goats again would follow me to the end where the fence stopped them. As I rounded a bend, the landscape dropped away and it was a downhill run of note, all the climbing of the day turned into a magic carpet ride down the mountain. Stopped to take photos and heard baboons barking, leaning over the side I saw the sentinel and not a happy baboon as Jean-Michelle Jarre was pumping out of the Music Angel. The landscape ahead was the flat Karoo view and made it a great ride for the next 20km into the nice little town of Pearston. Loaded the bike and travelled by car to the Stone Cottage on Ebenezer farm for the night. Experienced one of those magic Karoo sunsets. Tomorrow it’s on to Jansenville. Today’s ride 87km, time 04h40, avg speed 18.4kph and avg heartrate 118bpm. A great ride, but not easy, enjoyed the last part. When I rode into Pearston, something in me said that I have arrived home. Life is good.