Permission after all

Day 120, stage 93, 142km

Start, Eland Bay Camp, Eland Bay Hotel

Finish, Municipal Camp Yzerfontein

At the rider meeting at Eland Bay yesterday evening we had some very welcome news. The powers that be in charge of roads and traffic in Cape Town had relented and granted us last minute permission to use the paved roads. So we could use the original route and wouldn’t have to do the much longer off-road ‘work around’. Instead of 158 today, we would only have to do 142km. And tomorrow we would do 90 instead of 105km. This was very welcome news. There would still be some off-road today but only about 25km.

Since it was a non-race day there was no time pressure on anybody. It was a lovely day and the cycling conditions were great. I rode all day in a group with sometimes changing characters that included Vince, Wayne, Bridget and Phil Kissel. We didn’t doddle. We kept a good pace. But we didn’t race and we did stop for coke. It was a very pleasant touring rather than racing day

Yzerfontein was yet another seaside town full of holiday homes and little else. But Yzerfontein had a clearer purpose that simply sitting in beach chairs or walking the dog. It was a holiday town devoted to sport fishing and rugby. There was a sports club with a bar and restaurant at the boundary of the camp where we stayed. It didn’t take Vince, Bridget, Wayne, Trish, Sandi and I long to find it and to tuck into some cold Hansa draft beer. It was a real club rather than just a bar. Everyone knew everyone and several people came over to introduce themselves and welcome us to the club.

We went back to the club after supper. There was a live rugby match on with some team from New Zealand playing some team from south Africa. I know nothing about rugby – shameful to admit for someone who has had a house near Bezier for almost fifteen years – but told Vince, a rugby playing Kiwi, that I would keep him company. He tried to explain the rudiments of the game to me. It didn’t take. As the only Kiwi in the room he then got into the thick of it with all the South Africans. I enjoyed the beer.

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