DEPARTURE - SPONSORED BY ROYAL CAPE CATAMRANS
SONG FOR THE DAY- HERE I AM SEND ME BY DELIRIOUS
In order to save a day’s travel we are going to drive from Kloof straight through to the Protea Hotel in Knysna in one day. This will be our home for two nights. Entrants from other parts of the country can join us there. To ensure an early get away on Sunday 6th May 2018 , we will ask that all the bikes be delivered to us on Saturday the 5th May so that they can be packed onto the support vehicles. All bikes will be transported on rooftop carriers to avoid dust and create more luggage space. We will also hand out all sponsored items on the Saturday, so that riders can pack their travelling kit accordingly before bringing it to the departure point early on Sunday morning. The song for the day – Here I am send me by Delirious is all about putting your hand up and standing in the Gap – That’s just what you are doing by joining this adventure.
STAGE NAME - HEADS UP
SONG FOR THE DAY -PERFECT DAY BY LOU REED
The beautiful town of Knysna , the lagoon, and the Heads awaits us . A different ocean edge to start from than in previous years. The morning of day 1 will be at leisure- time to eats lots of carbo’s, do some last minute tweaks to the bike, get to know you fellow riders and focus your mind & body on the task ahead. We shall congregate for a 20km prologue in and around the town of Knysna, a pedal around Leisure Isle and then a relaxed climb to Knysna Heads - our official geographic start point and the handing out of the first of our traditional stage beads. It will be a moment to stare out across the Indian Ocean and reflect on the training we have done and the effort and sacrifice it has taken to arrive at this moment. It will also be an opportunity for our media crew to get some great video footage and images for our sponsors and for the media. A downhill run to Thesen Island for an early dinner and race briefing in a beautiful restaurant on the water’s edge and then early to bed to ready ourselves for Stage 1. Lou Reed’s classic a Perfect Day sets up what we hope is just that – Getting nervous yet ?
Stage 1 - Ysterhoutrug- sponsored by Cargo Services
STAGE 1 STAGE NAME –YSTERHOUTRUG ( TRANSLATION :IRONWOOD) SONG FOR THE DAY –GET UP STAND UP- BY BOB MARLEY
So we leave the beauty and tranquillity of Knysna and transit into the lush Knysna Forest for the start of stage 1 at the forest station of Ysterhoutrug ( Iron wood) That’s what the riders legs need to be, made of “Iron” in order to complete this stage. In the Book of Proverbs 27:17 it says “As Iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another” Encouraging each other is what will be required on what is always a nervous day 1 , a day that has always delivered a really tough opener to the Adventure. This stage is no exception , it is relatively short at 65km , but the there is a tough and steep climb from the base of the Prince Alfred pass and into the little Karoo. It is probably Thomas Baines greatest work and is the longest publically accessible Mountain Pass in South Africa. It is an undulating stage, but the sting starts at 35km where there is a 14km climb of 750m in ascent. An average of 5,3% , but there are some big ramps in there somewhere. From the top and into the Little Karoo a nice ride even a bit of tar ! We pass over both the Outeniqua Mountains and the Langkloof. If you want to read more information on the pass and look at some video footage then paste this link into google and enjoy the tour. https://www.mountainpassessouthafrica.co.za/…pass/…/142-prince-alfreds-pass-part-1 Our song for the day is “Get up, Stand up” by Bob Marley , it goes……. Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights! Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights! Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights! Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight! That’s what we are doing , getting up, making a difference and standing up for children who can’t stand up for their own rights – we are standing in the gap for them !!
Stage 2 - Over the Mountain- sponsored by Impro Technologies
STAGE NAME – OVER THE MOUNTAIN SONG FOR THE DAY – I COULD SING OF YOUR LOVE( MOUNTAINS & THE SEA) by Delirious
Mountain Pastures Game Lodge lies snuggly in the De Hoop valley between the Kouga and Honniball mountains, far from the madding crowd , only 18 kilometers from Uniondale. A great overnight stop on a buffalo farm , surrounded by the beauty of the mountain ranges, just allow nature to refresh your mind, body and soul. We are in the Little Karoo which is separated from the Great Karoo by the Swartberg Mountain range. Geographically, it is a 290 km long valley, only 40–60 km wide, formed by two parallel Cape Fold Mountain ranges, the Swartberg to the north, and the continuous Langeberg-Outeniqua range to the south. A beautiful flat and downhill section into Uniondale and then a short climb out before we find the valley dirt roads . We are over the big mountains of yesterday and the next big one is constantly on the horizon ahead of us but that’s for tomorrow . Our ride through the beauty of the Little Karoo will take us to the quaint Victorian village of De Rust and the House Martin Guest Lodge. It is a unique place for an overnight stop on route to one of many destinations. Nestled between the Swartberg and Kammanassie Mountains, the village is the gateway to the Great- and Klein Karoo. The stage is almost 100km and is fairly undulating with a gentle drop from about kilometre 30 all the way to the finish–no nasty passes like yesterday . It will be a great day just to enjoy being over the Mountain and into the valley and a quick stage for the rouliers. Our song for the day is subtitled Mountains and sea – a beautiful song , for hopefully a beautiful day. “……….Over the mountains and the sea Your river runs with the love for me and I will open up my heart and let the healer set me free………..”
Stage 3 - Criss Cross- sponsored by Dezzo Roofing
STAGE NAME – CRISS CROSS SONG FOR THE DAY – Are We human – The Killers
Leaving De Rust after a later start, we ride immediately onto a 25km climb which Criss-Crosses the Meirings River an incredible 25 times. A pass built once again by our man Baines . It bears a tough history of floods and landslides amongst incredible hardships, yet our engineers and road builders mastered the art of building a magnificent road through this awe-inspiring poort. The climb is not steep around 2% and passes through the fold mountains of the Swartberg and it is impressive. This is a road riders dream, a beautiful tar road, a gradient that is possible in the big chain ring and from the top of the pass a fantastic undulating ride on the Great Karoo side of the Black mountains all the way to the Victorian town of Prince Albert –our home for the next two nights. Have a look at the Mountain passes of South Africa web site and you will find some footage of the pass and a great description. https://mountainpassessouthafrica.co.za . This will be a fast stage , The riders can race to a picnic site near the top where we will stop for lunch and a re- group and then a bunch ride to the finish – unless someone wants to race some more ?? You could of course stop at the Interpretive centre, take a leisurely walk to the waterfall and just enjoy the beauty of our Country, then cruise along to Prince Albert –stopping at a wine farm on the way. – your choice!!! The song for the day Are we Human by the Killers, the 3rd time it has been in our Trans Africa song list – why – it’s just a great song !! and a great one to cycle to. “….Are we human or are we dancer My sign is vital, my hands are cold And I’m on my knees looking for the answer Are we human or are we dancers…..” ? Make of the words what you will .
Stage 4 - To Hell & Back- Sponsored by the Leigh Group
SONG FOR THE DAY – The road to nowhere- Talking Heads DISTANCE 64 KM After a great overnight stop at Dennehof , we have the pleasure of knowing that we don’t have to pack our bags and move on. Dennehof being home for two nights – why ? Just because it is at the base of the Black mountains and perfect for our assault of the Western side of the Swartberg Pass. A high mountain pass at an elevation of 1,583 meters above sea level climbing 1.000 metres in 12 kilometres, it’s one of the steepest passes in the country. Thomas Bain, with the help of some 250 convict labourers built the pass from 1883 to 1886. He managed to keep the gradient lower than 1:8 throughout the pass. The road encompasses miles of stunning views through twisty hair pin corners, high elevations and steep grades. Along with striking warped and twisted rock formations and interesting plant life, you will see some amazing drystone work supporting the picturesque hairpin bends. There are relics of an old prison, toll hut and other interesting historical sites too. Running between Prince Albert in the north and Oudtshoorn in the south, the route offers spectacular views over the Little and Great Karoo. This road is usually open all year, but it can be closed anytime ( it was closed in April this year due to flood damage) when the access is not cleared of snow. Avalanches and heavy snowfalls can sometimes block some sections of the road and can be extremely dangerous due to frequent patches of ice. Conditions can change quickly and be harsh. Road closures can be frequent. We are going from Prince Albert to the top and back – but just to make it more interesting we will divert on the way up and turn down the Road to Die Hell. We are not going all the way as it is too far for one day to go there and back, but we will push into the valley for around 15km , find a convenient turn spot and the come back and continue to the top of the Swartberg. Average speed on the way up maybe 8km per hour , but it is very fast and hairy on the way down, lots of hairpins, lose stones , spectacular scenery – enjoy it but don’t overdo it !!! Mountain passes of South Africa website has some great video material of the pass- go take a look. Our song for the day – Road to Nowhere- pretty apt I think !!! “…….Well we know where we’re going, But we don’t know where we’ve been And we know what we’re knowing, But we can’t say what we’ve seen……. We’re on a road to nowhere, Come on inside, Taking that ride to nowhere,We’ll take that ride I’m feeling okay this morning, And you know, We’re on the road to paradise Here we go, here we go…………..”
Stage 5 - Vlaktes- sponsored by Buckman Laboratories
SONG FOR THE DAY – HORSE WITH NO NAME DISTANCE 130KM
After 4 stages , of which 3 have been in mountains, It is time for the 3rd longest stage, over 130km of arid , flat and dusty dirt roads. The stage name “ Vlaktes” gives the terrain away – its flat ! We will need an early start from Prince Albert ( promise we will not miss breakfast) This will be a day for the rider who can put the bike in the big ring and just go “El Tempo” all day long. Don’t underestimate this stage though, riding on the flats all day is tiring – and let’s hope no headwinds . By now you should know your bike pretty well, and maybe it is time to give it a name , there won’t be much else to think of whilst we are in the Great Karoo headed for Rietbron . Rietbron is one of the few Karoo villages that is truly tucked away from the passing traffic hurrying through the Karoo to reach their destinations on the coast or up-country. If one travels to Rietbron it is a conscious decision and you will discover a genuine Karoo village without any of the trappings of the helter-skelter World in which we live. Once at Rietbron we have a 90km transit to find our accommodation at the beautiful Karoo National Park – a great place for some reflection and a good overnight rest. We used this song in 2016 and we just had to use it again – the lyrics are just what the Karoo feels like on a bike. ‘……On the first part of the journey I was looking at all the life. There were plants and birds and rocks and things. There was sand and hills and rings. The first thing I met was a fly with a buzz And the sky with no clouds. The heat was hot and the ground was dry, But the air was full of sound I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name It felt good to be out of the rain In the desert you can remember your name ‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain La, la, la la la la, la la la, la la… La, la, la la la la, la la la, la la…
Stage 6 - Double Trouble- sponsored by the Momentum Group
It is going to be difficult to get up for an early breakfast at the Karoo National Park, but we need to get the team to the other side of Beaufort West for the start of stage 6 – the longest of 2018. The route will be familiar to those who rode in 2016, but this time it is two stages combined , hence the stage name Double Trouble. It is 151km , passing through ( sadly) Murraysburg and some spectacular Karoo scenery encompassing the Camdeboo National Park. From the highest point of the stage we shall descend 850 metres over the last 50km mainly on road and down the pass into the beautiful historic town of Graaff Reinet . Not sure if anyone will have any legs left to give it full gas down the pass and past the dam wall, like the roadies did last time. The reward for the long, long day is a night at the 5 star Drosty Hotel owned by the Anton Rupert Family. Dinner will be at a top restaurant in town – and what’s better is that it’s a rest day the next day !!!! Are we getting soft on you or what ? You will need courage to complete this stage and a great deal of faith – hence our song for the day being Oceans by Hillsong which is our Adventure theme song . It’s all about stepping out in faith and walking upon the waters.
REST DAY SONG FOR THE DAY – WHAT MAKES YOU STRONGER
We trust that you will have enjoyed the dinner from the night before , a lie in and a great breakfast along with the hospitality of the Drosty. Unfortunately we can’t stay forever. As with the Tour De France that transitions between the Alps and the Pyrenees, so we need to transition to the next part of our Adventure. Week one has been centred around the Little and Great Karoo and the traversing of the mountain ranges that separate them. We now move to the mighty Drakensberg and the rolling hills of Natal . This next week is going to be bumpy & lumpy and there is another epic stage that covers an iconic mountain pass. Your legs should have kicked in nicely by now and hopefully you have not pushed too hard in week 1. Our transit is 320km – approx 4hours. We are on our way to the Aliwal Riverside Lodge. It is a lush haven in the tranquil surroundings of Aliwal North, nestled in on the banks of the Orange River. Our luxury accommodation is seated amongst green lawns and surrounded by indigenous trees. We will overnight here and then have a short drive to the start of stage 7 which will be a 100k stage through the foothills of the Drakensberg. Our destination – Well, we will tell you about that in next week’s blog. Our song for the transit day is what ( doesn’t kill you) makes you stronger - by Kelly Clarkson – We hope that the rest day does just that !! “……………..What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger Stand a little taller Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter Footsteps even lighter………………………………….”
Enjoy the rest day , the transit and the re-grouping with your fellow Adventurers- !!!!!
Stage 7 - Hang 10- sponsored by Constantia Flexibles
SONG FOR THE DAY – THE CLIMB .
Hanging 10 is a surfing maneuvere where the surfer positions the surfboard in such a way that the back of it is covered by the wave and the wave rider is free to walk to the front of the board and hang all ten toes over the nose of the board. Stage 7 is the Trans African equivalent. This stage will be the only one not checked out before the event , although the last part was ridden in 2016 with the run into Rhodes village, which will once again be our home for the night at the Walkerbouts Inn ( who will forget Will’s dog !!) We thought this was going to be a bit of a transition stage to get us to the base of Naude’s Nek, but looking at the stage it is far from that. There are 1800 metres of climbing over 10 nasty looking spikes on the profile, hence our Stage name Hang 10. The riders are going to have to hang tough on this one, grip those pedals with their toes on the climbs and grip those bars on the descents. The starting altitude is at 1900 metres and the finish in Rhodes pretty much the same. The riders will have had a day’s rest, so after getting rid of some initial stiffness the legs and body should be well recovered. Our song for the day “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus “…….I can almost see it. That dream I’m dreaming, But there’s a voice inside my head saying, “You’ll never reach it.” Every step I’m takin’ Every move I make feels lost with no direction, My faith is shakin’
But I, I gotta keep tryin’ Gotta keep my head held high
There’s always gonna be another mountain I’m always gonna wanna make it move Always gonna be an uphill battle Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose Ain’t about how fast I get there Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side It’s the climb…………………..”
Stage 8 - Misty Mountain- sponsored by ED Export Services
Naude’s Nek is the great challenge for the day, built by the Naude brothers in the 1890’s, it is the second highest dirt road pass in South Africa and the highest point we will reach on Trans Africa. We start from Walkerbouts Inn our overnight stop at an elevation of 1817 metres and we climb gradually steeper to the top of the Nek at 2587 metres.
The stage is split distinctly into two parts, 20 kilometres of climbing and then 78 kilometres of fast running dirt road to the pick up point near Matatiele. In 2016 the stage started at the top of the pass and we completed the downhill section in under 3 hours. 5 hours for this stage will be good going. That is of course if the weather is kind. We could have anything on this day , from Misty rain, snow to beautiful cold crisp clear skies . And if the weather does not hamper us then the altitude will. Some of the riders experienced some altitude problems at these heights last time out , so the rule is take it easy on the climb and let the bike go on the way down. Our ultimate destination for the night is Matatiele , once again at Resthaven ( no liquor licence but there is a bottle store in town !!) the transit is around 80km from the pick up point , but unavoidable as the tar road is too busy to ride. We leave the Eastern Cape and finally reach the borders of Natal. Our song for the day is Misty Mountain Cold from the film the Hobbit . It is the song the dwarfs sing before embarking on their journey over the Misty Mountains to claim their fortune. The hobbit is a tale of a band of strangers brought together in pursuit of a common goal. An adventure story like no other . ( Sound familiar) The song ends with the following lines: Farewell we call to hearth and hall! Though wind may blow and rain may fall, We must away, ere break of day Far over the wood and mountain tall.
To Rivendell, where Elves yet dwell In glades beneath the misty fell. Through moor and waste we ride in haste, And whither then we cannot tell.
With foes ahead, behind us dread, Beneath the sky shall be our bed, Until at last our toil be passed, Our journey done, our errand sped. We must away! We must away! We ride before the break of day
Stage 9 - R U Ridin or R U Hidin ?- sponsored by Travel Dynamix
The second longest stage of the Adventure and fourth in terms of elevation gain. This could be one of those days that after a prologue and 8 hard stages and 134km’s coming up – you might just want to duck the ride. When Lance Armstrong used to see his team slacking or in need of a rest he used to text them “… R U RIDIN or R U HIDIN ? Which is it to be today ? We leave Matatiele and head out of town on the main road , before traversing across country for some 50 kilometers of fairly flat riding. The beautiful Drakensberg ever present on the horizon in front and too our left. Then a long climb of some 34 km on tar up to an altitude of 1875 metres . Average gradient 5.5% - so not easy over that distance. Once over the top it is very fast descent before we head off into the country again on good dirt to our remote location at Penwarn in the foothills of the Berg. If there is some cold wind off the Berg , this could be a long day out – so a fun rapp song that you can sing to as you pass the day | MY BIKE, MY BIKE, I’m ridin on my bicycle MY BIKE, MY BIKE, I’m ridin on my bicycle Two wheels with a big ol’ frame, when i roll by chicks callin my name Snapback for a cap with a backpack strapped all around my back, I’m on MY BIKE Swerve, swerve I’m on MY BIKE Swerve, swerve I’m on MY BIKE Pop that, pop that, pop that Wheelie Pop that
Stage 10 - Two Rivers- sponsored by Chep
Cutting across country through Natal is always a navigational challenge and involves lots of ups and downs and river crossings. Stage 10 is no different . Leaving Penwarn via Coleford Nature reserve , the destination , the dirt crossing of the Umkomaas. In between the Umzimkulu valley . This is a real big dipper day, lots of quick downhills and a fantastic final 22km descent into the Umko valley. The profile tells the story, 1835m of climbing and 2894m of descending. It should be a quick day but two tough ascents in between, a 5km climb out of the Coleford Nature reserve and a 10km climb out of Creighton will keep us honest. We pass through rural Natal and the beautiful lands between the Two Rivers. Our Song for the day Two Rivers by the Adventures “…………They might say we can’t go on They will try to burn you down What they say can make you strong But they can’t see no reason when I’m talking to you Don’t forget the reasons why we’ve come this far You’ll feel the pride of what we are Two Rivers run to see and catch your falling stars……..”
Stage 11 - Ekhaya
After a thrilling finish down the Umko valley and a scenic drive up the other side to our last night accommodation at the Oaks in Byrne, we will be able to relax just a little , enjoy our last few hours together and get ready for a fantastic last day ahead Today, we are EKAYA ( going home), a new way back to the village, but riding through some familiar territory with a little bit of single track just to tick the box . For those who have Adventured with us before will know what an amazing African Village welcome the riders will receive . It is a special moment to ride in together with the support crew, if the journey has not changed you yet, the finish will. Beautiful day by U2 is almost the Trans Africa theme song, we will have had many beautiful days on the road , some highlights, some dark moments , great camaraderie and new friendships formed. Take time on the last day to reflect what brought you to this point, where your strength and courage came from . Be grateful for what you have and that you have been able to give back. It’s a beautiful day Sky falls, you feel like It’s a beautiful day Don’t let it get away You’re on the road But you’ve got no destination You’re in the mud In the maze of her imagination You love this town Even if that doesn’t ring true You’ve been all over And it’s been all over you It’s a beautiful day Don’t let it get away It’s a beautiful day Touch me Take me to that other place Teach me I know I’m not a hopeless case