by Wimpie van der Merwe

Five cyclists came out of winter hibernation and had a brisk quickie to Auntie Evita in Darling. We left Vrede in thick mist and it started clearing up only at Wellington at daybreak. Since there were no clouds and the weather fair, we had a very crisp morning so that by the time we reached our first control in Hermon, we were in need for something hot and strong! We stopped for a couple of cups of coffee in succession.


We decided to make it a full value ride, all riding together, stopping whenever we needed and loosening up the carbon residue in the engines. Taking photos on the way was a way of resting…


We dashed over the first pass at Riebeeckkasteel like mountain goats. Rob took King of the Mountains and Nico Coetzee King of the Downhills. We found a sweet spot for the group to ride in. Whenever someone’s engine seized up, there was someone to help pace or push and keep the sheep together. We reached Auntie Evita’s monarchy in Darling, in time for lunch.


There was a Western Cape MTB race on in town. The locals eyed us with admiration when we moved about at the restaurant and in the street. It seemed that we were deemed the winners, because the others were still on the course!

We left Darling without meeting her majesty. For some the pace of the day was becoming too much and we all came to a screeching halt at the Malmesbury McDonalds to top up with ice-cream, cooldrinks and whatever could fatten one up for all the calories expended over 200+ km.


The faster riders then progressed ahead and though the others followed at their leisurely pace some still set a personal fastest Audax average pace.