Day 22 MONTAGU TO McGREGOR 55KM
I awoke early and as we had decided from the night before, we were going to really just take it easy and have a short day, we wouldn’t be leaving too early. Neville had arrived back from the hospital just as Gerald and I were sitting down to tuck into some dinner the evening before. All bandaged up and the deep cut accounted for the four stitches he was given, Neville was not completely free of pain. We decided to embrace the day and take a leisure trip through to McGregor and stay over at Pony Cottage.
We had 26 days within to complete the race across South Africa and we still had four days in the bag to cover the next two hundred plus kilometres to the finish. We guessed the race office was not going to be too thrilled with the idea as they would have to sit for a few days more to wait for our arrival and monitor our movement in the process.
I lay awake in the dark of the room with the almost predawn shade of light wanting to start forming. I had had a good night’s sleep. The wind was blowing outside but I was no longer apprehensive. I stared up at the ceiling and found myself reflecting on the journey this far.
Each day leading up to now had been different. There were the highs and the lows. The laughs and the sullenness. The endless roads and daunting climbs. The riding and the walking. The animals and the warmth of the people. The friendship and the loneliness. The calm and the rough. The cold and the warmth. The pain and the desires. The encounters of the jungles and the bareness of our countryside. Most of all, there was yearning for my family I had not seen in 22 days even though we had spoken rarely along with a number of messages. All in all, I felt an inner peace and a feeling of pride and privilege that I had embarked on a dream and it was about to conclude with a happy ending, hopefully.
I felt a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunity I had been blessed with and the people that had shared my dream, even counting Neville and Gerald.
Once all up and our ‘famous coffee maker” Gerald had delivered our coffee in his usual unselfish way as he had done throughout this journey together, we packed up, chains lubed, said our thanks and headed out at 8.30am, destination McGregor.
The trip took us through some tar road sections and through a number of roadworks which proved beneficial to be on a mountain bike as we could get through all the traffic while the actual traffic had to wait at the stop go’s.
We passed through some wine-lands and even had the odd farm dogs chase us as we raced away in glee and laughter. The weather was twirling all around and it was almost like having four seasons in one day. Neville, in a little silent discomfort with bandaged hands on the handlebars was pushing on bravely.
The ride to McGregor was pretty effortless compared to what we had acheived in days gone. There was rain clouds all round not far from McGregor and we eneded up putting on rain jackets but only for a short while. We were graced with an incredible display of natures way in the form of a majestic rainbow appearing.
Not long after this we were heading on the steady descent into the valley that harboured McGregor, a quaint little town establishment. The town itself, clean and quiet was what I noticed. We found our stayover just off the main street and walked into Pony Cottage at 12.30pm
After settling in we decided to go on a walk about into the main street and visit a coffee shop we had spotted. Milkshake and ice-cream celebrations all round! Later, early evening we went on to visit a local pub, ordered dinner and indulged some of the locals about our adventure endeavor. Again! looks of madness as well as in awe of our achievements so far, yet, we felt pretty normal in our madness this far.