Alex the wonderful host of Ladismith Manor cooked me an excellent breakfast at 6.30 so I could put in some miles before the midday heat. It was deliciously cool as I bombed down the many downhills 🙂 After an hour I discovered The Hubb farm market and had a coffee and apple pie 🙂 The owner said it was downhill into Barrydale but kindly omitted to say about the uphills to come!
32 km later I came across the second stop of the day. The world famous Ronnie’s Sex Shop which has absolutely nothing to do with sex at all! (Apparently while he was away someone scrawled sex into the name) But boy does he pull in the customers! A very friendly bar man told me it was about to get very hilly 🙁 as well as the fact that places to stay in Namibia are well over 100km apart 🙁 and that at Easter places will be full 🙁 A cheery fellow 🙂 especially telling me how beautiful the West Coast is in spring.
By the time I left it was the full heat of the day with 15 miles to go and what turned out to be a steady 800 foot climb 🙁 Along the way a car towing an empty trail nearly had me, as the trailer was wobbling all over the place. Time to get a mirror I think as the R62 is very narrow.
Eventually the long promised descent into Barrydale came with the front brakes making a very high pitched screaming noise.
I stopped at Diesel & Cream to rehydrate and have the worlds slowest veggie burger but gorgeous smoothies. I’m staying at the equally quirky Karoo Moon Motel next door.
So another 49 miles and 2,504 feet of climbing done in extreme heat. The Strava is here and pics here
I now know my biking limit is 65.8mi Distance & 5,396ft of ascent with the temperature in the mid 30’s with my heavyweight bike and kit 🙁 I arrived wrecked and dehydrated 🙁
The day started with a very mediocre breakfast at The Queens Hotel principally I suspect because they had 30+ folks from the Titan party there.
I started pedalling at 7.30 and luckily found a shop that would top up my local SIM having used up all my 3GB in the past week 🙁 Mainly I suspect because the Air seems to love tethering to the phone.
It was a gorgeous day clear sky little wind so I made good progress, although a bit worried that I was totally surrounded my mountains 🙁 also the cars were coming by at 100mph 🙁 After just under 2 hours I spotted a cafe 🙂 So just had to stop! There were 6 local MTB’s there one of which was semi-pro. This country is certainly better suited for MTB’s rather than roadwork. I had a delicious Lemon Meringue pie and smoothie 🙂
At Calitzdorp, at the foot of the pass I stopped for a drink but started to get harassed by a beggar so left early – big mistake – there were no other cafes/shops/anything at all until Ladismith. The climbs are long and arduous especially in the heat, traffic & lugging all that kit. I certainly could have used some of Sally’s gels 🙂
After nearly getting pushed of the road by a succession of milk tankers I left the N62 onto The Hoeko Road, big, big mistake it was very hilly a lot further and worse very hilly on gravel roads 🙁 I ended up scrounging water of one of the houses 🙁 Interestingly the lady said that Sunday is the worst day for milk tankers.
I eventually made it to the Ladismith Manor. A great little place run by an ex Glaswegian. I managed to find a cafe open for yet more fish & chips.
Once again South Africa was excellent with The Acorn Guest House cooking a delicious breakfast that we all ate at the poolside under a clear blue sky. All traces of yesterdays rain storm disappeared giving clear views of the mountain range about to be crossed.
The dirt track Montagu Pass looked OK so I ventured up it leaving the tarmac behind. Whilst taking my panorama a runner stopped to chat and mentioned that several people had been robbed on the trail but that it was all clear now as he had just ran down it. He thought the track was way better than the tarmac as it was the end of the month, a weekend and so everyone would be drunk as it was pay day. 🙁
It turned into a fantastic uphill climb going up to 745 metres (2,444ft) so a worthy climb with all the kit on the bike. I only had to push it for a short section 🙁 The views were tremendous on such a clear day and only 3 cars came past me. Excellent!
It was a very bumpy free wheel down and one of my bottles escaped 🙁 The tea break at Over the Mountain Tea House was good. I crossed the N9 and kept on the dirt road all the way into Oudtshoorn arriving very parched, having lost the water and it being so hot in the mid 30’s, so I quickly drank 2 litres of water 🙂
The Queens Hotel is very faded grandeur but the shower is another jet washer and the WiFi is great. I met up with 10 or so folks on a grand tour from a UK company so I joined them for dinner.
Strava says today was 40.5 miles and 3,633 feet of climbing average speed was way down at 8.4mph – thats dirt roads for you!
What a day! Amazing day of bike climbing, wind, traffic and discovery.
The folks at my yummy Al fresco breakfast in Amber Guest Lodge all said it was a very pretty coastal route, they all omitted to mention the climbing and the Kaaimans Pass 🙁 which is probably just as well. Also no one seemed to like George (the town that is).
I set off and made a quick visit at Ultimate Cycles to thank Frank for adjusting my brakes and to scrounge a bit of inner tube to make a better clamp for the iPhone bracket. Then once past the lagoon it was straight up a climb 🙁 and then another and another. Unlike yesterday this section has no cafes or shops until you reach slow town Sedgefield where i had a coffee & scone for £1.15 (Returning to the UK is going to a real shock!) and I can begin to see why there are so many African swallows 🙂
Since it rates itself as a ‘slow town’ I decided to wander down the back streets eventually alighting on an amazing gate made from bike parts (The Africans love gates & fences( outside the Cycleworx shop. The owner Eugene invited me and my bike in for a coffee. He had his web designer there too. One hour later I had my route to Stellenbosch planned and someone to help me sort out my SmugMug pictures 🙂 plus if any SWNC members want somewhere to do winter mountain biking in the sun I now knew a man…
By the time I reached Wilderness the wind was blowing a real hoolie with the sand from the beach and passing trucks blasting in my eyes 🙁 and the mountains to where I was heading covered in thick black cloud 🙁 Yet another climb started with a rather auspicious sign half way up proclaiming it was The Kaiimans River Pass, the sign said I was at 67m above sea level and I could clearly see the next direction was heading straight down. However, the sign also said it peaked at 185 metres 🙁 🙁 Not nice with huge trucks snaking around the bends and the wind trying to push the bike across the road 🙁
Eventually I made it to the top and a much needed Coke at a petrol station. The clouds were now seriously dark. I shortly reached George, industrial as folks had said, but I prefer ‘real cities’ to tourist centres. However I couldn’t resist popping in to the Outeninqua Railway museum when I saw the sign! Stunning and well worth 50p of anyones money 🙂 To see the huge locos made in the UK and shipped over in 1896, amazing. Plus just how tiny the trucks were that I used to see as a kid at stations. Whilst inside the heavens opened! good job I wasn’t doing an audio recording.
After 30 mins I was on my way to the Acorn Guest House which is truly amazing at £30 per night for staying in one of the oldest houses in town, exquisite furnishing, persian rugs, modern paintings and even a decanter replete with sherry in my room! and she even let me put the bike in the room! Followed by a great pizza etc around the corner in a Mexican bar/restaurant.
An excellent if tiring day tomorrow a lot more climbing to Oudtsshoorn.
Here is the days 42.6 miles & 3,163 feet of climbing on Strava and Pics
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