Winter in South Africa
I'm writing this final post from my comfortable seat on my flight back home. No I'm not flying business class but even economy class feels so much better after sleeping in a tent for almost 6 weeks!
No doubt, last week was the hardest week of the tour. Roads were bad, heavily corrugated, mountains were steep and we had rain and cold. Not that strange if you consider mid May in SA to be the equivalent of our mid November!
I started the week confident and I was well prepared for a tough home stretch to Capetown. Still I almost had to give up on the 5th day. The 4th day already had 2 long and steep climbs for which I had to go deep. But the 5th day I had another challenge. TDA had planned lunch on top of a huge mountain, so after 3,5 hours of riding (and getting cold rain) we had to do some serious climbing before getting new fuel. This was really too much for me. I was "bonking" and had to come of my bike several times to continue walking. And although I was one of the first to arrive at lunch (12:30) I had already made up my mind. No way I could do another climb in the 65 km remaining.
Then something remarkable happened as I was eating and feeling new energy. I had to think about the village where we had to camp that night: "Dorp op die Berg". Damn! I have to get there cycling, not in the back of a truck. And so I gave it another go and made it to the campsite (where they were expecting snow the next day!)
So yeah it was tough, but what a beautiful place SA is! Not the north part which was flat and boring. But then we rode to stunning landscapes with alternately beautiful country sides and rough mountains and canyons.
But the best had yet to come. Everybody was getting anxious to get to Capetown. Some people got nervous. A lot of riders had been "on tour" for 4 months. For them a different life was about to start. Some of them hadn't even booked their home flight (or even had a home to go to :-)
And then Capetown ... Well, I have to hand it to TDA. They certainly know how to end a tour. On the final day they had arranged for a police escort to guide us into town, where they had booked us a great hotel at the waterfront. So we all arrived together on the beach where people were cheering at the finish line. We had drinks, a dinner later on, speeches and all kind of other festivities. And as a cherry on top of the cake, I even got to see a good part of Capetown including a ascent to Table mountain.
Flying over Turkey I can look back on a great tour. I met some really interesting people, got to see Africa from the seat of my bike and live outdoors for 6 weeks enjoying sunsets/ - downs and bright stars. It was a great experience: Africa rocks!