After a long run-up of excitement , preparation and anticipation , the weekend arrived …
HOGSBACK TO HAMBURG !
Friday night, a quick riders briefing, introductions and we all issued with awsum “ H to H “ T- shirts ( Thank you 🙂 )
Greeted at a spritely 6 am with complimentary coffees and a huge smile from Rudi at Happy Hogs, added to the already invigorating enthusiasm of all 29 riders.
Looking around, we had all sorts, ranging from quads to adventure bikes to various off road bikes …… along with the “ good, the bad and the ugly “
Setting off, we hit the dirt roads and paths toward Middledrift. Right from the very beginning, DUST played a major role, resulting in the group having to be quite spread out .
Just before reaching Middledrift our first casualty was claimed, Allan from Hamburg backpackers limped in with a slashed tyre …. Game over.
Swift backup arrived, bike loaded and his day ended way too soon.
Minutes before reaching our first stop with the backup vehicles for scrumptious sarmies curtesy of Happy Hogs, in what was now becoming intolerable heat, Quintus ( or navigator ) Quad gave up the ghost ….and
Kevin managed to get his bike there with a rear flat.
much activity at this break, ranging from maintenance, repairs, hydration and exchanging of experiences so far.
The loss of Quintus was a problem …..
We were very fortunate to have Mervin in the group ( An incredibly experienced route planner and a master at GPS mapping ) … so there was some light at the end of the tunnel
Kevin , ziptied his tyre to the rim and was good to go.
We then proceeded to the first river crossing ….. which after so much dust and heat so early in the game , was welcome, but not so easy.
Round rocks covered with green slime provided a testing time, but everybody got thru with their heads held high.
The word HEAT and DUST will come up quite a lot here, as it only got worse.
We then got issued with a challenge..
“ you see that village over the 2 koppies ….. GO “
Well, it was a bit like skittles, everybody had their own version of direction and took off. Once we all ate some humble pie and realised we had to stick together to make this work and find our way, the group recomposed and made it work….. but we were missing a few riders.
Best thing we could do, was stay put where we were in this box valley where temps were making your eyes bubble.
One of the guys brought his remote controlled “ Flying camera “ and put that to good use to be our eyes.
Missing persons were found, but we had a few more bike casualties.
With Mervin now setting the pace, the terrain started to change and provided some interesting challenges.
After a fairly demanding section thru a donga and a climb up a hill, we had to regroup.
By this time most of us had run out fluids and feeling a tad dry ….. and dare I say it …… FREAKING HOT !
Somebody said it was 41 degrees at that stage !!
Peter nursed his quad up the climb as it stated to give some problems.
It was here where RESPECT came into play, this was a group of riders, from all walks of life and different riding skills, taking up the challenge and nailing it.
By the time we reached the backup crew for lunch, we were now well and truly “ COOKED “ and the number of bike casualties was growing.
Some serious hydration and off we went to Peddie petrol station. Some opted to take the tar to Hamburg ( mechanical issues ) and 10 of us carried on route.
Jeff had to retire with punctures in both wheels.
As we started to see the coast in the distance, the air cooled and the wind picked up.
Mervin took us on some incredibly scenic routes, with some tricky wash aways and gulley’s /sloots.
Rory and Lisa`s children, Kathryn, Rogan and Roaul had me in awe as they negotiated their quads thru some of these sections ….. without even so much as a grumble.
These kids made me proud !!
The pace picked up with the anticipation of the end in sight, when with just a few kilometres to go, Adrian was running on petrol fumes and a some gentle riding was required and a prayer or two.
HAMBURG at last – not sure how Adrian did it, but he made it !
Left at 6.30am, arrived 4pm
Buzzing of stories filled the air as we all collapsed at the local pub.
Much appreciated boerie rolls thanks to Woodlands went a long way that night
Would like to say we danced the night away, but man, the sleep monster got me.
What a great group of people, displaying comradery and determination.
This event could not happen without the ladies in the backup vehicles, who waited in the heat at all the service points and tended to everybody`s needs.
WELL DONE TO ALL INVOLVED
A special thanks to Mike and Christine for being our backup vehicle and crew, Greatly appreciated !!!