by Rohan Sturridge

Mountain Biking - Blog Entry 20

Spine of the Dragon - Blog Entry 20

Mountain Biking - Blog Entry 20
Mountain Biking - Blog Entry 20

Day 37

Start: Willowmore
Finish: Price Albert
Distance: 148km
Climb: 1289m
Another big day with notorious westerly winds to contend with, so the nightly conference, flight plans, etc. resulted in us starting out at 4h00 to ‘race the wind’. Usually for us at Detour Trails it’s ‘racing the tide’ on the Wild Coast! By the time Sarah and the Mother Ship managed to catch us up, we’d reeled off 80 km in 4 hours much to her amazement and the wind was just starting to make its presence felt. "Good move" we thought!
The rest of the day was spent battling into the westerly, so it was impossible for us to have any meaningful chats which meant we were each left to our own thoughts. The only exciting event to break the monotony of the ride was when Colonel One Speed’s pedal disintegrated and if it hadn’t been for a quick response from Sarah Spanner (who backtracked the Mother Ship with a spare pedal), he’d have ended up as Colonel One Leg!
Back to our thoughts though! Crossing the border into the Western Cape brought up a mixed bag of emotions for me as it registered that this incredible journey was nearing its end. I felt a little sad that this chapter will soon be over, but also really pleased that I have been privileged enough to undertake such a journey of discovery in my own country with these few people who are each amazing in their own right. But the most important thing for me was that I have been able to undertake this journey on my bike.
It is impossible to describe to anyone the experiences and lessons to be learnt from travel and the intimate contact that can be made with the land, its people and its animals when riding a bike. It simply has to be experienced. On this trip, my education ranges from history, geography, geology, sociology, economics, agriculture, and the list goes on.  I intend reading up about and researching stuff I had never even thought of before! Even with so much wrong with our country, it’s refreshing to experience so much RIGHT when making close contact with people from all walks of life as we have. It gives me faith that we can become the Rainbow Nation many of us dream of – so let’s stop dreaming and take action!
Congratulations to David Bristow on his concept of a trail to rival the Great Divide! I believe that this Journey on the Spine of the Dragon should be undertaken by any biker with a wanderlust and who is interested in getting a ‘coal face’ look at our diverse country. The intention is for the Spine Trail to be open to all and we would encourage people to consider touring on it. Given the logistical and navigation challenges, I am pondering an annual journey on the Spine supported by Detour Trails as it is our DNA to take mountain bikers to amazing places and on amazing journeys.

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