That dark place -Day 5 #TransAfrika
In every long distance, endurance type race, there is some point when one enters that deep, dark place. It can be equated to a black whole. Today was that day…
Waking up at 03:00 and taking five and a half hours to do 50km to the border, in the mist and rain was how the day started. The downhills were fun and the one stretch of 9km ascent made for character building cycling.
When the mist cleared.
After opting to wait and get food on the South African side of the border (we were ravenous) – the closest spaza shop was 20km from the border.
John & Paul passed us while we were enjoying the snack. Looking like machines powering their bikes in almost Tour de France style.
The rainstorm started soon after leaving the spaza shop and progressed to a hailstorm. I discovered another off-label use for bicycle helmet – protective gear against direct hail on cranium.
One of the mental exercises I preformed was guessing which part of me would be the last to remain dry. It was my left toes, but they eventually succumbed and followed the well established progression of wet – cold – numb.
The second and more substantial stop for the day was in Chrissiemeneer: freshly fried Russian sausages, chips and coffee. Johann managed to find some expired Whispers chocolates. Definitely one of the highlights of his day.
Another landmark event today: Being beaten by two locals on single speeds. Now Johann and I can get rather competitive so this was a problem.
Driving into Ermelo we had the wind at our backs while driving through an electric storm. Now that was great.
We booked into the first half decent place in Ermelo that looked like they food and hot water. It was here we discovered that the bags weren’t as rainproof as we thought. We may well be wearing wet clothes tomorrow (again).
Tomorrow we are gunning for Warden. Today was the first day with no major mishaps. A welcome break.
We have decided to start the following collection:
Reasons we almost retired from the race:
1. Subdural haematoma. Slipping and falling in the bath / shower at yesterday’s hotel because one was jumping around due to the cold water. Bumping head. Getting a subdural haematoma. Cycling partner watching this all happen and not doing anything because he was using the bathroom and that could just be awkward.
2. Boom: cycling into the boom across the road to get out of that hotel at 4am, all lights on full intensity.
3. Falling down steep stairs with bike on top while navigating to the only upstairs room in the guest house.
Find your line. Go beyond it.