Day 12 ELANDSBURG TO GROOTDAM 140KM
The road out of Elandsburg was pretty much just that. Just road. We had a long haul ahead of us and left at 5.15am.
Clear skies, full moon and open roads made for fairly easy navigation. The odd stops to take in nutrition and take some photos became regular occasions. We were all in the same train of thought about wishing the sun to come up quicker. That warmth was always much needed to revive the body from its shaking stupor.
Our first stop for the day was Newlands where we could pick up some more pain meds for Neville and I that had been arranged by race office for us on request. I still battling with my right knee and Neville having developed some form of splints in his shins. Before arrriving at this stop we would pass through miles of farm track, herds of sheep and the beauty of the karoo landscape. It was a rather picture perfect winter’s day!
|Trio @ Newlands|
After arriving early mid morning at Newlands and a hearty brunch, we moved on to tackle the Schurteberg mountain pass but not before stopping at Rockdale at around 13h00. An unmanned stop nestled just off the route we were on, we found some food and the thought of maybe stopping over for the night here, was abandoned. Out in the middle of no where and a real dead end of a stop over we decided to push on. Off we went chasing the Schurteberg and after an endless grind that eventually took us into the early afternoon, we reached the summit.
What goes up must go down and an descent after the Schurteberg summit was a screaming affair. By early afternoon I was already feeling rather fatigued and put it down to the medication, the climbing and the long number of days we had been through already.
The run to Grootdam seemed endless and other than the undulating roads, there were still a number of reoccurring climbs which made it feel like we were never going to get to Grootdam as we were eventually shadowed by the chilling night air and the darkness that set in after sunset.
Out in the dark, there was a slight breeze blowing which did nothing to alleviate the wind chill. I started praying silently that Grootdam would come soon. For some reasons I felt like I had had enough for one day. Its hard when you are in no mans land and never been to the place that you were looking for, especially in the dark. This is where distant splits and keeping tabs on your odometer played a vital roll.
At a 140km for the day and at 19h00 we eventual found the turn to the gate before Grootdam. The gate seemed locked and in the freezing cold, after trying to get some attention from someone to open, shouting and whistling, with the buildings being some distance from the gate, in our fatigued state we failed to realize that the massive sliding gate just needed to be pulled open…..
We were through.
It had been a long, hard, uneventful day and all I wanted was sleep…..