8th March 2023 – The Third World As Seen From The Saddle – Barrydale to Bredasdorp

Distance – 118 km
Climb – 708 m
Time – 8 hr 36 min
Av Heart Rate – 130 bpm
Max Heart Rate – 168 bpm


Wind is possibly the rudest 4 letter word in a cyclist’s vocabulary, especially when it is a headwind. Yesterday was all about the bloody wind. Yesterday’s 118 kilometers was more like 218 kilometers in terms of effort.


Our day got off to promising start when we rode the Tradouw Pass first up. The mountain pass would have been hugely more memorable hadn’t it not been followed by hours and hours of bloody wind, but it was, and my recollections of yesterday have been heavily redacted, leaving me with only vague recollections of massive, take-your-breath-away stonewalled canyons towering above us, with waterfalls plunging hundreds of meters to their deaths left, right and center. We rode the Tradouw Pass with a sense of wonderment. Nature sure does put on a good show in the Western Cape. I think I said wow over and over again.


I think we must have climbed, but it was one of those climbs that felt downhill all the way up, if that makes any sense.
And again, if the Tradouw Pass were in France, it would be world famous as a Tour climb.


There were also some vague recollections of riding through some postcard-pretty countryside after the Tradouw and either side of the little village of Suurbraak, before turning east towards Swellendam and into the teeth of the bloody wind.


I have no idea how fast the winds that hammered us were but I watched a flight of swallows in full flight standing still above me like they’d been paused. Our average speed on the bike bled off to almost negative, and the 10 kilometers into Swellendam took hours. I enjoyed some brief relief when I was able to draught behind a pedestrian for a few hundred meters, but then the bastard stopped walking, and it was back into the teeth of the wind.


We took refuge in a coffee shop in Swellendam for not nearly long enough. Left to me, I’d be blogging to you from that coffee shop. But Adam the cruel bastard forced me back onto my bike, crying, kicking and screaming.


After forever, we turned south towards Bredasdorp, hoping the head wind would become a kinder side wind, but if anything, it was worse, gusting ever more violently, threatening to blow you off the bike, off the road even.


Yesterday quickly denigrated into my worst day ever on the bike. I absolutely hated it. I got more and more pissed off with the bloody wind, and with life in general, and with cycling as a sport. If my bike was a horse, I would have happily shot it. At one stage I was reduced to a King Canute temper tantrum, swearing at the wind, telling it to sexually depart, but it didn’t. And apparently we have the prospect of more of the same tomorrow as we continue east to Hermanus. Alas.


Lying in my bed as I blog at 04.00, I am seriously thinking about taking up badminton as a sport instead, or better still, origami.
Moving on to more positive things, I saw a Bat-eared fox lying dead on the road yesterday, and a beautiful pair of Blue crane still alive in a field. The poor fox was most probably bludgeoned to death by a flying boulder, and if the crane were stupid enough to take off, they’ll be in Madagascar by now.


Come hell or high winds, the Old Legs Tour will blow into Hermanus tomorrow. Please be invited to join us at the Golf Club at 17.30 for drinks and to listen to my talk about our Old Legs adventures to date and forthcoming, and to marvel at Rob Skinner resplendent in his pink wig and tutu.


We are riding to raise money and awareness for Zimbabwe’s pensioners. The hell our pensioners have been through following 30 years of economic stupid make yesterdays winds a breeze. Please help us help them by following the donate prompts on www.oldlegstour.com.


Until my next blog, enjoy more by staying indoors folding paper flamingos if the bloody wind blows – Eric Chicken Legs de Jong.

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