Words: Ingrid Avidon
Where is Wally?
My eight year old son loves the ‘Where is Wally?” books. For those of you out there who are not familiar with these books, count your lucky stars. Looking for a stupid little lad, clad in a red striped scarf and hat, in a sea of other objects, with similar colours, is not fun. But, last night, what was fun, in a sick kind of way, was watching Dr Richard George du Toit feature in the new adult version of the Wally book: Where is Dick? Oops, I digress. In my excitement to share the release of this new book I have almost forgotten that I am supposed to be reporting on the day’s activities on the Freedom Challenge Trail. So, I will have to report on the whereabouts of Dick (er Richard) later.
Back to the trail.
Graham Bird (Tweet) arrived at Trouthaven at about 14:00 this afternoon, but did not venture off into the tricky Stettynskloof fynbos and thick reeds. I don’t blame him. It was, and probably still is, drizzling. Understandably the warm cottage fire was definitely far more inviting to Graham Bird than a night of thrashing through the thick fynbos, lost in the dark. I am sure that Graham knows that at least 15 hungry, thirsty and smelly riders will be sleeping at Trothaven tonight. Already at Trouthaven, and probably creating a huge noise are Derrick Muller, Johann Radcliffe, Philip Erasmus, Charles Hughes, Francis Bradford, Fanus Vorster, Nigel Basel, Richard Erasmus and Brad van der Westhuizen. Arriving later will be Mark Basel, Kyle Dohne and Gawie du Plessis. Much, much later Gavin Horton, Fjord Jordaan and Leon Erasmus will arrive. Wow, that’s a lot of riders enjoying the cozy fireplace and romantic ambiance of Trouthaven. The mood will be made more romantic if Brad insists on playing his mixed tape of Barbara Streisand hits. Brad is already in trouble with the Race Office for his route deviation into McGregor today. I am sure that his choice of music will land him in even more trouble with his cycling mates. If Brad starts playing his Kenny G music I am sure that Graham Bird will slip away from Trouthaven at about midnight (or earlier depending on the singing) for his trek through Stettynskloof. If this does happen, then the dot watchers might still be treated to the X rated Afrikaans version of the book, ‘Waar is die VOËL nou?’
About 50 km down the trail, the very stylish Pony cottage, in McGregor, is hosting Willem Kamstra and Arno Crous tonight. At the tender age of 55 years old, Willem will feel like a teenager in a hamlet that has an average age of about 78 years old. I am certain Arno will not linger for too long in McGregor and will probably leave at about 11pm en route to Trouthaven.
Further along the trail and staying in Montagu tonight are Graeme Green, James Cruickshank, Bryn Roberts and the Czek mate, Radislav Zemandi. Compared to McGregor, Montagu is a thriving metropolis with traffic lights. Maybe the guys will treat Radislav to a Saturday night of Karaoke, if their energy levels allow for such excitement.
Once again, Rouxpos farm will very busy tonight. With only about seven beds on offer, it will be first come, first serve for the 11 riders heading towards Rouxpos today. Arriving first, and scoffing the first waffles, were Sandra M Bailey and Johann Lombard. In their wisdom, and in need of a night’s sleep without snoring, they have moved on to the next support station, Anysberg. Next to arrive at Rouxpos at about 5 pm was Anthony Avidon. Anthony spent last night in Die Hel converting his already modified bicycle from a dual suspension into a hard tail. I know this bicycle well. Anthony (my husband) absolutely loves his bicycle. He has had this bike for about 15 years and has already converted it from a 26 to a 29er, thanks to epoxy and duct tape. At least I know that when I get older I will not be tossed away, but I will be converted into a newer, better version of myself. Whether I still manage to move my limbs with all the epoxy and duct tape glued and stuck to my body remains to be seen. Guaranteed of a bed at Rouxpos tonight will be Anthony, Renier van der Merwe, Grant Hill, Grant Cowen, Gary Scoular and Leon Kruger. When Alex Kingwill arrives later tonight he might have to share the double bed with some-one. I hope there will still be some waffles left to eat. As I sign off at almost 9 pm Harko de Beer is still making his way up Die Leer. I hope all goes well for him as this is a tough part of the trail. .
Further along the trail, Kobus Nell, Francois Roux and Alan Rainnie are enjoying the luxury of Dennehof Guest House in Prince Albert. They arrived pretty early in the afternoon and have been having a jolly time eating gourmet food and drinking cold beers. Tonight, electric blankets will keep their crisp cotton sheets toasty as they dream of their trek tomorrow up the Swartberg Pass and into De Hel.
Now, at last, back to Richard. Well, earlier this morning, Richard was rescued by Jacques Tattersall on his way through Stettyskloof. Together they moved very quickly through the fynbos and reeds of Stettynskloof and ended their journey at Diemersfontein at 6pm. Jacques Tattersall’s time of 11 days 12 hours has earned him second place in the Freedom Challenge. Congrats Jacques on a fantastic ride! You continue to inspire us all with your sheer determination and dedication. Richard George du Toit, you have entertained us from start to finish. Congratulations on your Freedom Challenge blanket and welcome to the clan. Hopefully your wife will enjoy her new jewelry.
It is raining in Cape Town tonight. That means that it will most probably be raining along the route tomorrow. Good luck to all those brave riders who will have to soldier on in the cold, wet and mud over the next few days. Suddenly my FOMO is all gone.