#1000km in a day

Garry van As's picture

Points: 6



#1000km in a day


On the morning of Saturday 25 November 2017 I got up to a very early start, 3 am, to get ready for 1000km day trip to the Middelpos region. As I left home around 04h30 to meet the fellow two riders at the famous Engen rendezvous in Plattekloof, I was filled with excitement about the trip that lies ahead. Upon arrival at the Engen we had a quick discussion about the route to be travelled and the speed we would be maintaining in order to get the trip done in a day. We left at 05h00 and we rode through Malmesbury to miss as much of the N1 as possible, a road which is very frequently travelled. Riding that time of the morning one can only but appreciate the crisp clean smell of the air around you, met with the tranquillity of the early morning darkness. Before we reached Ceres we had to content with high winds of the Wolseley area which caused us the almost ride sideways for most of that stretch. After that it was quite and beautiful all the way till Touwsrivier.


We reached Touwsrivier before 07h00 where we stopped off at the BP Garage at Komkyk motors. Around 40 minutes later we saddled up and went off Matjiesfontein where we turned off for Sutherland. I was leading the pack of three riders at a rather brisk pace towards Sutherland through Verlatenkloof when the most profound thing happened. I went through one of the many bends and in the middle of the road on the white line was I big snake lying and enjoying the morning sun. As I approached the snake lunged itself towards me and I had no choice but to kick it away. The worst for me at the time was that I was unsure whether I actually kicked it away or is it hanging somewhere on my bike. With my mind playing tricks on me and as the wind is pressing down on my jacket all I can think is that this snake is hanging on my bike. As we turned left onto the Bo Visrivier Road, shortly after the Merweville turn off, we stopped off to have a quick last minute chat about the road ahead. Olaf who was riding behind me said the snake flew past him. Loads of laughs were shared and off we went on our journey, led by Francois van der Westhuizen.


The start of the gravel section was very exciting. We stopped off again at the Ouberg turnoff to take some pictures and enjoy the beauty of the area.


I then took over but unfortunately missed the turn off to Middelpos which caused us to have a 50km detour. No one was amused. Eventually we got back onto the R354 to take us to Middelpos. The long and winding road was a bit tiring and I constantly needed to hydrate under my helmet by means of my camelback. After a fairly eventless ride I almost missed the town of Middelpos as it is slightly off the road we were on. In fact the town looks like a farm from the main road. Once we stopped we immediately topped up with fuel as the garage was to close in a few minutes time. Middelpos is exactly in the middle of nowhere but they the most friendly and humble people I ever met. I spoke to some of the locals about what happens in Middelpos and I had quite a few interesting replies.


At this stage we were about half distance and we headed off to Gannaga pass. We decided we are going to stop for our lunch or snack break at the view point of Gannaga pass. Upon our arrival at the lookout area I realised how beautiful our country really is. It was simply breathtaking.


About 30 minutes spent at the view point and we were about to hit the road when I made the gruesome discovery that I have a 60 - 80mm nail stuck in my rear tyre. I was not amused at all. I had no idea how long this nail was in my rear tyre but it looked pretty warn. My laziness to fix the tyre got the better of me and I decided to leave it as is. If it does not itch don’t scratch it.


I said to the guys that my tyre pressure shows normal and the tyre was not deflating and I am going to continue on our journey with the nail in the tyre. I will just monitor the tyre pressure as I go along. We then started our decent down Gannaga pass and I can honestly tell it is even more breath taking once you ride it then your view from the top. We all made it safely down the pass and off it were to Tankwa padstal. About 30km down the road I saw a slight kink in the road but did not think anything of it until I got there. I hit a serious amount of sand which caused the bike to tank slap and weave from side to side. I managed to get the bike under control but as soon as I did I hit another sand patch. This all happened within a few meters. The first sand patch I hit at about 130km/h and the second was a lot slower. The second one was a lot worse because it caused me to somehow paddle my feet next to the bike, fast approaching the embankment of the road that was ahead of me.


I hit the embankment with such force that I thought I was off the bike for a while. I can remember using my right leg paddling and trying to keep the bike up. I knew for sure this is it, I was going to crash any second now. All of a sudden the bike pops up straight and I made it through with no damage whatsoever. I stopped about 800m away to just get my hands to stop shaking and some of the adrenalin to subside a bit. I turned around to see where the other two riders where and I saw they made it safely through or missed the sand completely.


The next part of the journey towards Tankwa padstal felt extremely long and tedious as I think fatigue started to settle in on my side. All I could think of was sitting down to a well-deserved Ale when I reach Tankwa padstal. After every little hill I was hoping to see the T junction to padstal. When I finally reached the T junction I do not think that there could be a happier moment in my life. We reached padstal and sat down to one of the coldest refreshments I ever had. At the time the guys tried to make up their mind to either go over Katbakkies pass or straight through to Ceres. Katbakkies won the battle and off we went. There was high car traffic on Katbakkies so we had to take it easy as you never what might pop up around every bend. Moments later we reached the end of our gravel journey. I am not sure whether I was relieved or sad the gravel was finished.


We stopped along the road to pump up the tyres. We then headed off to Ceres were we would say our final goodbyes and head off home. When we reached Ceres Olaf had a nail in his rear tyre which we had to repair as it was losing pressure quickly. All the while I was still riding with my nail in my tyre and no pressure loss.


When I got home at around 18h00 it was off to a shower and straight to bed. Dead tired. This journey was definitely one for the record books.



Matewis's picture
Joined: 2013/08/03

Do you maybe have a gpx file of the trip??

“Don’t go where the path my lead… Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail…” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson https://kettingsaag.wordpress.com/ https://witvosblog.wordpress.com/

Garry van As's picture
Joined: 2017/06/27

Hi Im not sure if its a gpx file but here is the link of the map https://goo.gl/maps/AFopHQx3zV92

Committee: Vice Chair / Ride Leader

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