Another pearler of a day out on the trail, the weather for the last two days has really been amazing. And good weather usually means rapid progress down the trail for most riders.
The first riders to venture up Stettynskloof this year will be Anton Wood and Gert Peens - they rode through from Montagu this morning, stopped off for a quick lunch at Good Hope and then pushed on to Trouthaven for the night.
Behind them is Jacques Tattersall, he rode through from Rouxpos this morning and arrived in Montagu early evening, had some supper and then pushed on to McGregor, booking himself into a BnB for the night. His plan is to have an easier day tomorrow to Trouthaven, so he can rest up in the afternoon for Stettynskloof on Sunday.
Rouxpos is busy tonight, with Gary Green, Mike Ward and Ant Jankovic-Bessan scoffing waffles there. Stu Brew arrived a bit later to join them and the lights are on for a possible late night arrival of Tim James, Theo van Dyk and Fjord Jordaan, that is if they don’t fall asleep somewhere in Gamkaskloof. The early arrivals are heading for Montagu tomorrow but the racers will be on their final push toward the finish, so it will be cat naps until the end for them.
Dennehof is bursting at the seams tonight - Prince Albert local Johann Rissik was welcomed like royalty, Ian Verwayen, Paul Dalton and Alan Haupt are there too, Lee Fuller, Dave Telford and Gary Preston are present, as well as Liehann Loots and Beat Jegerlehner. The Andrews Barnes and Hunt arrived just in time for dinner, so there was much merriment around the table, with riders swopping stories from the trail and the last two weeks of riding. Most are leaving early tomorrow to attempt the tough double to Rouxpos.
Back in Willowmore, the Talbot couple, Mike and Ingrid have the place to themselves, peace and quiet at last.
Still in the Baviaanskloof at Dam se Drif are the banana boys, Andrew Blackburn, Nic Jordan and Mike Potgieter, they rode through from Cambria tray, opting not to double to Willowmore. With them are Mike Roy and John Bowen, late arrivals after serving their 6h time penalty at Kudu Kaya earlier in the day and only leaving at 13h00.
Kudu Kaya plays host to Marnitz and Ivor, who came through from Bucklands and made quick work of the Osseberg section thanks to Marnitz’s route knowledge. Pierre Oosthuizen left Hadley early this morning to take on the Osseberg and was on track to get through before dark. Tomorrow he needs to get to at least Dam se Drif. He looks likely to miss the Willowmore cut off but will be allowed to continue as long as there are still other riders behind him.
Mike Glover and John Exley had another consistent day on the trail, they started at Toekomst and went through Bucklands in the afternoon, pushing on to stop at Hadley for the night. An early start could see them getting through the Osseberg and still being able to push on to Dam se Drif.
Our back markers are still Mike Devereux and Nico van Zyl, slowed down by Mike's failing rear wheel - a spare wheel is waiting at Kleinpoort, so they still have to get there. It comes with a 3h time penalty but if they leave Toekomst early enough, they could get to Bucklands and serve it there before sunset, which would not impact on the following day’s riding. Whatever happens, Mike will be glad to get the spare, there’s still a lot of riding between him and Diemersfontein.