Day 104, stage 80, 159km
Start, bush camp, road works yard
Finish, Arebbusch Travel Lodge, Windhoek
Up at 4:30am (which is standard practice) to pack up and get ready for breakfast at 5:30, and be on the road by 5:45. It was freezing again, 4C. It was my birthday. I was 60. What did I do to deserve this?
But in spite of only wearing thin lycra shorts and being frozen I was smiling. I was having a great time. This was a good place to be. Dozens of other riders came up and wished me happy birthday. There was hot porridge to be had and the sun would soon be up. Somebody had brought the embers of last night’s bonfire back to life and put a little more fuel on it. I went over and stood as close to the fire as I could and tried to warm myself up. It was my birthday and I was not going to leave at 5:45. I didn’t leave the warmth of the fire and get on my bike until 6:05. What luxury. Pure self-indulgence.
Sometime during the night Bob had put pink, silver and purple streamers on the ends of my handle bars. They went perfectly with my orange bar tape and mean black croix de fer frame. It was the kind of look I would have died for when I was six years old. I had to wait until I was sixty. But worth it.
We set off in the morning with the 2nd peloton again. They were going fairly slowly today because Lizzie was not feeling well so they were pulling her along. After lunch Bob and I went off on our own. After a while his legs went into involuntary spasm again and he shot off my front end like a rocket. The only reason I caught him about 3okm later was because he had a puncture. But no sooner had he fixed his puncture and we were back on the road when his new tube exploded. It was quite an impressive sound. Bob was not so impressed though. He fired the old tube into the bush on the side of the road with a few well-chosen words of encouragement. The same thing had happened the last time he had had a flat. That time I had lent him a tube, which he was still running on on his front wheel. The flat this time was on the back. When I look at the exploded tube I saw that it was a skinny road tube for a tire 18 – 20mm wide. Bob was running 35mm tires. No wonder it had exploded. The tire he had punctured was the one the bike had come with and was the right size. When Bob checked his spare tubes he found they were all 18 – 20mm. the guy at the shop had given him the wrong size. There will be words I am sure. Fortunately I had a spare tube of the right size with me and so we were shortly back on the road with tempers as well as punctures mended.
We were now in the hills again. After a week or more of very flat country we had about 900 metres of climb today, not a huge amount but enough to remind my legs what hills were. I actually enjoyed the day. It was a nice run and the ride through the hills into Windhoek is lovely.
When we got into town and to our camp I set up my computer and was able to get wifi right away – for the first time in about 10 days. I had a great chat with Liz and the girls and with my sister Pam. Lots of good birthday wishes. It was great.
Alex B has identified a good restaurant – the Stellenbosch wine Bar and Bistro. So after a drink at the bar at our lodge, about a dozen of us set off to the restaurant. We had a lovely meal complete with champagne, a fair bit of a lovely Pinotage and a sweet and spicy South African desert wine to go with the tart lemon tart, the baked cream cheese pie and the cheese platter. We sat at table until well after 10pm, well past our routine bedtime.