by Sarah Sawers

Mountain Biking - Blog Entry 8

Spine of the Dragon - Blog Entry 8

Riding the Spine of the Dragon - Blog Entry 8
Riding the Spine of the Dragon - Blog Entry 8
Day 25
Start: Thaba Tseka
Finish: Mansonyane (St James Hospital)
Distance:  48.3km
Climb: 119m
 
Today was the second day of our detour around the 120-million- year-old lava plug, which makes up the Lesotho highlands. Having been received very hospitably at the Sisters of Charity B&B, we left Sarah and David to load the Mother Ship as we made our way out of town for the 18km climb back up to 2900m above sea level.
 
Then we get back into story-telling mode to keep us distracted from the continuous granny gear climbs we have to conquer. Stories about hairy helicopter rescues and some near escapes while flying jets whose engines conk out, make the long climb go almost unnoticed.
 
After a break at 2900m for hot chocolate from Sarah Quench (much appreciated, as the temperature was 5 degrees centigrade) we kitted up for the run back down the mountain to Mansonyane.
 
The roads here resemble those leading up to Leh, with what used to be tar (only a year or two ago), now reduced to something resembling the lunar surface pock-marked with potholes and rough dirt road. But quite nice for riding bikes really. It’s also pretty stark at these altitudes as nothing much grows but a few scrubs and some tufts of grass.
 
We encountered many cars on our journey through Lesotho and another similarity with Kashmir is the friendliness of all drivers from truckers and taxis to bread trucks. With a flash of lights or a friendly toot, they would drive by, giving us right of way! This was something unusual for the average South African biker and driver to experience.
 
About 10km from our destination we stumbled across a sheep shearing and wool grading operation and we were invited inside to see it in operation. This was quite an eye-opener as every one of the 20 people was working flat out; shearing, grading and packing wool. It is one of many community run operations in Lesotho.
 
Our minds are now focused on the next two big days as we head south to Semonkong and Bethel, which should be an incredible ride. Danie and Craig are a little apprehensive at the remoteness and potentially rough trail, but I’m convinced they are going to love it.

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