Thursday, July 1, 2010
Day 16: Kasra to Diemersfontein
145km/17hours. The final day, starting from Kasra at 3:30am, the initial jeep track portage in the dark went slowly when my left shoe started falling apart. Duct tape and cable ties kept it together but I had to stop often to fiddle with it. Once on the bike, I had to plug a stubborn puncture but as the sun came up, I got into a better rythym and raced across to Trouthaven. Once there, I had a quick meal and refuel and got going towards the dam wall to start the final Stettynkloof portage. The kloof is about 8km long and spectacularly beautiful and I was lucky to have good weather too. I started down the path at midday and got to the halfway mark in about 2 hours, but then slowed a bit when my shoe started falling apart again. The new firebreak at the back of the valley was a welcome sight as it meant an easier passage along the second half of the kloof, although the final climb out is still as steep as ever! Topping out of the kloof at 17h30, I had some daylight to spare, but got a puncture within the first 50m and after another plug fix, the light was almost gone. The last stretch includes some steep cement tracks that I had to push up and a long uphill on tar to get up the Du Toit's Kloof Pass. I had a snack break on the way up and then also got a bit lost dropping down through the forests thanks to the vague route narrative! But at 20h20, I finally rolled across the finish line at Diemersfontein, tired after another long day in the saddle but elated and happy to finally be there. A small group welcomed me in, and after some food in front of a roaring fireplace, David presented me with the finisher's blanket and congratulated me on the new singlespeed record: 15days 14hours 20min.