ER Consulting Inc Qhubeka Handover

Hi all

Today we handed over the donation from 9 Peaks Tour’s sponsor ER Consulting Inc to Qhubeka, a total of R37724 (enough for 17 bicycles!). We are very fortunate to have had ER Consulting Inc supporting us as part of their ER Adventure initiative for their employees, not to mention allowing me to take 6 weeks of leave to complete our epic cycle/hike. Colin’s Buffalo bicycle, with over 30000km on the clock, was admired by all. We are looking forward to our next challenge, Ocean2Sani, starting this weekend. In the meantime, some photos from the handover.

Bianca

DSC_5751

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Day 45: Seweweekspoort Pass

27 April

Start 09:00 End 11:30 Distance: 32km Average: 19.5km/hr

A fun day out on the bikes, mostly downhill (fortunately as the quads are a bit sore today) and down a stunning dirt road, with walls of rock towering over us on both sides for most of it. It’s a bit bumpy in places and I have to hang on to the front end of the Buffalo to prevent crashing. It is still one of my favourite sections of road this trip and I highly recommend it to any cyclist (a full sus 29er would love it! Any bike would love it!)

I will just let the pictures do the talking.

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Day 43: Oudtshoorn to Seweweekspoort

25 April

Start 08:00 End 14:30 Distance: 85km Average: 18.0km/hr

Cycling to our final peak today. The day is hot from early and the road straight with no yellow line for most part. The mountains are in the distance head on. They gradually grow bigger as we trundle down the road. I feel like I am in a video game and that we will reach a certain point and an invisible barrier will prevent us exploring further towards the peaks. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen. Unfortunately, it does mean we have to start climbing some hills. Once again, the Curse of the 60km Mark (the Curse of the Lunch Stop?) strikes again. Continue reading

Day 41-42: Willowmore to Oudtshoorn

Day 41: Willowmore to De Rust

23 April

Start 08:30 End 14:10 Distance: 105km Average: 20.1km/hr

Howling winds and cold temperatures most of the night. We are camped next to the church tower which rings the bells every fifteen minutes. In the morning, we hear a claxon in the distance, likely summoning people to work. Does no one own a watch in this town? Regardless, 2 out 3 people have a good night’s sleep.

The chilly air soon clears up and we again have to take off our long sleeves. Colin has declared THIS to be the best Qhubeka road so far. Undulating with some climbs but no pushing. Fantastic scenery first through a valley and then into the mountains. There’s a mild tailwind for the first 60km.

Crossing into province number 9.

Crossing into province number 9.

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Day 39-40: Graaff Reinet to Willowmore

21-22 April

21 April: Start 09:00 End 15:30 Distance: 111km Average: 21.1km/hr

22 April: Start 07:50 End: 13:10 Distance 80km Average 18.1km/hr

The day of the first leg of this ride dawns clear and warm. Much to our delight, instead of the pervasive headwind that has dogged us for the last few days, we have a crosswind that borders on a tailwind. The road is flat and straight, cutting between the koppies. We pass a trig beacon on a hill; it’s less than a 100m climb. At the risk of sounding like someone who is constantly dissatisfied; we are actually desperate for a hill to climb.

So very flat.

So very flat.

The problem with riding a bike on flat terrain at constant speed, is that one’s bottom gets rather sore from all the sitting. Hill climbing, while tough on the legs and lungs, allows an opportunity to get out of the saddle. On a bike with gears, you can achieve this on the flat by changing down and chasing on for a stretch but on a singlespeed, you merely end up spinning like a madman after three metres. Continue reading

Day 38: Murch Point Peak

20 April

Start 10:30 End 15:30 Distance: 30km Average: 19.5km/hr

Peak: Murch Point (Northern Cape) 2156m

Some schlepping up and down today to locate the starting point of today’s hike. Fortunately once we get going it’s a relatively easy hike despite there being no clear path. Due to some excellent advice (thanks Kobus!), we have brought our trekking poles with us for the first time since we left. These are excellent ground probers, third legs and snake distractors. Fortunately of the last qualification, we have only one encounter with a harmless grass snake (that we are aware of – there are always more snakes present than the ones you see). The first two save me many falls flat on my face. As there’s not a path, it’s a combination of tufty grass, rock scrambling and loose slabs of shale. Rule of hiking: rocks that look stable aren’t always stable. Continue reading

Day 32-37: Matatiele to Nieu Bethesda

Day 32: Matatiele to Maclear

14 April

Start 07:30 End 14:00 Distance: 111km Average: 18km/hr

The first 70km of the ride today was relatively easy. There were still constant hills but all within Buffalo-riding range. We make excellent progress to Mount Fletcher where we stop for early lunch. Mount Fletcher is a rural town set upon the side of a mountain. The main road is one straight steep schlepp uphill. I think that maybe once this bit of climbing (walking) is done, the road will flatten out and we can continue at our excellent pace. It doesn’t, there’s a long pass following Mount Fletcher that has us both walking. We found out later it is called Moordenaar’s Nek (Murderer’s Pass). Appropriately named… Continue reading