by Rohan Surridge

Mountain Biking - Blog Entry 17

Spine of the Dragon - Blog Entry 17

Mountain Biking - Blog Entry 17
Mountain Biking - Blog Entry 17

Day 34

Start: Nieu-Bethesda
Finish: Graaff Reinet
Distance: 109km
Climbing: 1247m
 
One fire, one pot, one chicken, some potatoes, carnivores and vegetarians! Need I say more! It’s our private story to be told and laughed about over a beer or two.
 
Moving on, it was a little chilly this morning, so the adventurers reluctantly rose from our tents, had breakfast, packed up and left for the long gradual climb out of the Nieu Bethesda to get over the ridge and into the Sundays River valley. It’s some 30 km before cresting the ridge to another amazing view of the Karoo (which just when you think it’s time for a change of scenery, it obliges! Amazing!). By the way, the Karoo isn’t flat as is the common misnomer, there are some quite challenging climbs here.
 
Once into the Sundays valley, the scenery changed once more as we rode into a canyon of rouged cliffs whose walls look like rocks balanced on each other. We criss-crossed the river which was just full enough to get our shoes wet as we rode through, but no worries as the weather has warmed considerably here. About midway into the ride, the trail leaves the river and climbs up into a kloof between two ranges of koppies. This section is a good pull to keep us honest, but once again the scenery was a great distraction.
 
Just as we reached the highest point of the climb, we spotted the Mother Ship and Sarah coming the other way. What excitement! Coke! As we’d spent the day in farm land with no spaza shops. This became the lunch stop as Sarah had brought us a treat of pies to add to the coke. By the leisurely rate we ate and basked in the sun, it was obvious that we weren’t keen to make a speedy get-away. Eventually we were off again for the last 30 or so km.
 
After some exciting descents, we leveled out on a plain and were ambling along when we came across a tortoise in the road bounded by impenetrable fences on either side. Being conservation minded, we decided to help the tortoise over a fence to a safer place. The only problem was, which side of the road he wanted to be on?! We are still not sure if we chose the right one – what if he’d taken a decade or so to get to the other side!


For more info and photos: www.detourtrails.co.za

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