Ride to Dullstroom. Going beyond 310km under 16h

By Carl Scholtz read his complete blog here   

The plan. In 2013 a couple of us twice did 200km+ mountain bike rides, just to see if we could. We could. So what next? 250 did not seem a significant enough stretch beyond 200 so it would have to be a 300 then. We wanted a destination so there was a carrot at the end and we intended to have support vehicles. Dullstroom has Harries Pancakes and just sounded like a good target to aim for.

 

The ride. After a few weeks of planning 5 of us (Carl, Alwyn, Bertus, Brian, Monique) eventually set off from Pretoria East on Friday, 8 August 2014 after work, destination Dullstroom. The first 50km was spent breaking the shackles of the city. Just past Bapsfontein, along the railway line, someone shouted “TRAIN” as we could see an approaching light stalking us and slowly but surely creeping closer. Quite an experience to have a 100+ car train come past for a few minutes as we cruised in the dark alongside its snaking and noisy body, the next minute it was gone and the silence of the night settled in.

 

The night.We had started after work so it wasn’t long before darkness approached, 12 hours of darkness, 12 hours of low temperatures, 12 hours where the unknown lurks just beyond the reach of your light beam. Fortunately we had come prepared so we were not afraid. There were a few of us so we could share lighting duties, we had a full moon and a cloudless sky and then I had my Extremelights Extreme1200 MKII handlebar light. I had used this light for a few months leading up to the ride during frequent night rides at Modderfontein Bike Park and also on the very rough roads during Race to Rhodes. It had become a trustworthy piece of equipment and it again did not disappoint. It lasted through the night on dim setting with the odd bright needed on rough stretches, stretching the light perimeter far enough to keep the monsters at a safe distance. We cruised quiet district roads through the night as we edged past Bronkhorstspruit, Ekandustria, Meulstroom en route to Loskopdam. A special moment was riding under a full moon with our bike lights turned off, simply using ambient light to see our way in the night with an ever present moon shadow as companion. We did this often, to this dismay of our support crew who thought we had gone missing. I’ve always enjoyed night riding and somehow the hours flew past peacefully and quietly. The plan was to ride about 200km through the night and it worked out pretty well. We had a few sleep monsters pay us a visit but there were no incidents and everyone managed to stay upright.

Read the rest at Carl Scholtz blog here 


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