DAY 15 FREEDOM CHALLENGE RACE ACROSS SOUTH AFRICA – 2016 DAY15
Day 15 KLEINPOORT TO HADLEY 80KM
I had to admit that I had a fairly good nights rest and after gathering our things we were on our way again, riding down the main road of Kleinpoort just on 6am. We were going to push through to Bucklands for breakfast and then onto Hadley where we would stop over for the night for good reason. The Karoo morning skies were opening up to an array of colours as the sun started it’s rise for another day over the African landscape. We had an excellent run into Bucklands which was rather fast moving and if not the imagination, the feeling was that we were feeling pretty strong for the day even though it would be a short one. If we had known the run to Bucklands would be so fast, we would have pushed through from Kleinpoort on arrival the evening before.
On the way to Bucklands
Blazing morning skies
We blitzed into Bucklands at 8.20am whereby we were warmly greeted and breakfast arranged by the farmer and his wonderful wife. I have felt bad in that I had not taken the time to write down the names of these awesome people that so selflessly gave of their time and hospitality to strangers like us. You sit around their breakfast table and the discussions and laughter flow freely like long lost friends uniting. It opens your eyes wide and the different perspective derived from these acts of kindness are mind blowing. There are good people out there!
After breakfast we were given sandwiches and fruit to take with us and a blessing to a safe ride further as we started making our way further down the trail. We negotiated jeep track behind the farmstead of Bucklands and slipped and slithered through river sand tracks as we made our way along a riverbed.
I had fielded a call from Johann, the race director just before leaving Bucklands as we would be entering a ‘dead zone” over the next 100km or so where there would be no comms. He just wanted to wish us well and give us some advice on the coming terrain we were to cover as it would become very tricky in places. He advised about ensuring we kept notes on the maps where we were at all times to ensure we would not get lost. He wished us well and as we would probably only have contact again in over 36 to 48 hours again. Their only means to know where we were and our movement would be by the blip from our trackers.
The rest of the ride to Hadley was over district road with a few more climbs and of course the downhills to compliment it. We eventually arrived to another warm reception at the farmstead Hadley and another awesome family with down to earth values. We had the rest of the afternoon to prep, and get some washing done with gear that could quiet easily have walked off to the washing machine on their own!
A quick explanation of things and to why we decided to stop at Hadley which obviously resulted in a short day was because the next 55km or so would take us through absolutely challenging terrain. We would need to negotiate the Osseberg which we knew was technical and no riding in places right down into a valley that harbored the Groot rivier “river of which we would have to cross around eleven times! One needs to understand, these river crossings provided no clear pathway way and one only had a map and compass to rely on to get through. We had heard from sources that the vegetated growth was thick and the worse that veteran riders had experienced in all the years.
The Trio had an awesome dinner with the whole family at Hadley and we practically said our goodbyes before settling down for the evening as we were planning to leave at 3am the following morning.
With all lights out, I lay awake for a short while in the darkness wondering what lay in store for us in a few hours time….