Day 18 Riversdale to Swellendam
Distance 91 km; average speed 18.1 km/hr
Up early to try beat the predicted heat. The Cape Epic is on not too far away and the organisers have shortened the day’s stage to avoid the worst of the 38 degree plus predicted temperature. We get our earliest start of the trip although it is already 23 degrees at 6:30am.
Fortunately a good day’s ride, with no headwind, although with constant hills. We manage to get to the campsite at Bontebok National Park before the worst of the heat.
There are a few kilometres of dirt road before we get to the camp and then we are both off to the natural swimming hole to cool off. It’s refreshing but the effect is short lived, we are both dry and sweating again in minutes. Good time for an afternoon nap.
Day 19 Swellendam to Riviersondereind
Distance 53 km; avg spd 15.0 km/hr
Colin didn’t have a good night – stomach trouble and back pain. He decides to see how it goes on the bike.
The planned distance for the day was 90km. After a few km of gentle riding, we decide a new target which is to get to the next town rather than the final accommodation for the night. It’s quite a hilly day. Forget Riviersondereind, I feel like we are on the Padsondereind as the road rolls slowly by. Colin, in an impressive feat, makes it to town and we head to the campsite. It looks bleak so we portage on to Hermanus. Will do some catching up the next day.
Day 20 Hermanus
Distance 60 km; avg spd 17.0 km/hr
Colin had a decent sleep and is feeling better. We’ve got some kilometres to make up from the portage the previous day, so we head out for a cycle round Hermanus and surrounds. Good day for riding, slight wind but overcast for most of the ride. Bliss after the previous few days.
It’s pretty. What never fails to amaze me about the Western Cape is how near the good part of town is to the bad part of town. In Hermanus, the difference is about 300m.
In an attempt to do something nice, I book a table at Bientang’s Cave for a hearty seafood dinner. We arrive in an unexpected rainstorm, plunge down the slippery steps leading down the cliff face and find the place closed. No signs of life and no email from the restaurant to advise that they have cancelled the booking. Find another place to eat, seemingly doing fast turnaround tourist pleasing food. There are some young Germans eating waffles in their pyjamas. It’s OK but I’m seething for the rest of the night. Possibly due to the hottest chili poppers I have ever attempted to eat.