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Offline Fuzzy Muzzy

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Re: So I opened a Czech account...
« Reply #40 on: April 15, 2019, 04:09:23 pm »

Friday morning early, I get up and hit the road to Himeville and then towards Sani.  I go past the Sani Pass hotel and see the signs.  My heart drops.  Is this the day of the Sani Pass Marathon?  Watering points appear at regular intervals and half way to the SA border post I start to see runners who are all on their way down now.  Over 700 of them apparently.  I wave at the leaders, the next bunch are like zombies, the back bunch are your typically jovial marathon back markers. 
The runners enjoy right of way.  They force me to take very bad lines and I am grateful for 4x4 but so sorry for my tyres.




Yo dude, I was one of those idiots running around all over the pass.

Hope you had a nice ride in the sky country.

Are you the guy going the wrong way  :imaposer: :peepwall:
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Offline JustBendIt

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Re: So I opened a Czech account...
« Reply #41 on: April 15, 2019, 04:54:07 pm »
Stunning RR thus far

Keep it up Kevin and Martin  :thumleft:
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Offline Buff

Re: So I opened a Czech account...
« Reply #42 on: April 15, 2019, 05:19:58 pm »
Geepers, you okes are blessed to have such amazing riding terrain right on your doorstep. The best thing about Lesotho is the whole "there's a mountain, lets see what's on top" ability. No fences, no farmer wanting to shoot you, nada :drif:

Great RR & photos, they make me extremely lus to ride my bike... and green with envy  :-[
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Offline DanieW

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Re: So I opened a Czech account...
« Reply #43 on: April 15, 2019, 05:20:42 pm »
 :drif:
 

Offline Xpat

Re: So I opened a Czech account...
« Reply #44 on: April 15, 2019, 05:31:51 pm »
Geepers, you okes are blessed to have such amazing riding terrain right on your doorstep. The best thing about Lesotho is the whole "there's a mountain, lets see what's on top" ability. No fences, no farmer wanting to shoot you, nada :drif:

Great RR & photos, they make me extremely lus to ride my bike... and green with envy  :-[

Amsterdam just finished 7 day loop in Lesotho on some of the tracks Losper and I gave him (hopefully he will do little RR). So it is doable from CT, but yes, you need time and be willing to commute. The good news is that we have done quite a lot of heavy lifting already in terms of finding rideable routes all over Lesotho, so if you get there, you can enjoy them without having to find your own, which takes a lot of time (over tge last year i have spent about 2 - 3 months in Lesotho looking for doable routes and mostly failing). So come and use it  ;).

And yes, tge main attraction of lesotho is tgat you can ride literally anywhere you want, terrain being the only limiting factor

Offline Xpat

Re: So I opened a Czech account...
« Reply #45 on: April 15, 2019, 06:39:24 pm »
Thanks again for comments and following  :thumleft:

Attached below are the GPS tracks for Day 2 (Thamathu to Sani) and Day 3 (Sani to Mokhotlong over Thabana Ntlenyana).

Kevin, Jon, I can highly recommend the Sani to Mokhotlong route if you start from Sani at 8 - 9:00 am, you should be in Mokhotlong by 14:00 easily and you can make it home the same day comfortably. So it is nice one day trip, and if you would find it too tough (it is much easier than even trying to get to Rhino from Sani), you can just simply turn back. The advantage is you are not deep into the mountains having long way to go each way.

Offline dw1

Re: So I opened a Czech account...
« Reply #46 on: April 15, 2019, 09:45:32 pm »
Fantastic report - thanx guys
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Offline Highsider

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Re: So I opened a Czech account...
« Reply #47 on: April 15, 2019, 09:48:15 pm »
Thanks Martin it looks like a very cool ride, I am sorry I wasn’t there to ride it with you the first time.  I am sure JonW will be super keen for it.  Thanks for all the excellent photo’s, they tell a story all on their own.


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Offline Xpat

Re: So I opened a Czech account...
« Reply #48 on: April 15, 2019, 09:52:16 pm »
Thanks Martin it looks like a very cool ride, I am sorry I wasn’t there to ride it with you the first time.  I am sure JonW will be super keen for it.  Thanks for all the excellent photo’s, they tell a story all on their own.


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 :thumleft:

Till we ride again...  8)

Offline OomD

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Re: So I opened a Czech account...
« Reply #49 on: April 16, 2019, 07:23:31 am »
I am in awe.  :thumleft:
 

Offline CUZZY

Re: So I opened a Czech account...
« Reply #50 on: April 16, 2019, 08:47:47 am »
Xpat and Epic are synonymous !!!!  Great RR  and fantastic pics.  Well done guys.
 
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Offline Buff

Re: So I opened a Czech account...
« Reply #51 on: April 16, 2019, 11:04:03 am »

Amsterdam just finished 7 day loop in Lesotho on some of the tracks Losper and I gave him (hopefully he will do little RR). So it is doable from CT, but yes, you need time and be willing to commute. The good news is that we have done quite a lot of heavy lifting already in terms of finding rideable routes all over Lesotho, so if you get there, you can enjoy them without having to find your own, which takes a lot of time (over tge last year i have spent about 2 - 3 months in Lesotho looking for doable routes and mostly failing). So come and use it  ;).

And yes, tge main attraction of lesotho is tgat you can ride literally anywhere you want, terrain being the only limiting factor

Time is the one thing I don't have a lot of but once I'm finished with my 450 build then I think I'm going to take your advice and plan a week trip up there. I've done some free riding there before on my 690 and 250 but just day outings around the Roof of Africa stages. Something longer and more adventurous is due   :thumleft:
The Transkei is calling as well  :ricky:
« Last Edit: April 16, 2019, 11:05:04 am by Buff »
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Offline andrew5336

Re: So I opened a Czech account...
« Reply #52 on: April 16, 2019, 01:45:48 pm »
It’s been a while since this ride, nearly five months.  Maybe I was waiting to see if Xpat was going to do a RR.  Maybe my uncharacteristic shortage of decent photo’s or video from the latter part of the ride discouraged me to write a RR.  Perhaps some experiences are so epic that they cannot be committed to paper without losing something in translation.  Whatever the reason, this was a sleeper, woken up by JonW’s concerns over the demise of the RR on the forum.

Sometimes things develop so quickly that you’re left with a somewhat unnerving and uneasy feeling, finding yourself in radically unfamiliar circumstances far beyond your control and comfort zone.

This is how I felt, crammed into a tiny dilapidated herdsman’s hut on a hillside in the middle of nowhere with three strangers, whilst taking refuge from the mother of thunderstorms, peals of lightning splitting the heavens mere millimeters above my head, whilst hail and rain pelted down.  How did I end up here?!

Rewind one week.

I call my wife, she can hear I’m excited about something even though I’m trying to contain it.  It isn’t a good idea to be overly enthusiastic about bike stuff versus kids parties for example. 
“Remember that guy I told you about, the guy who came from Poland or somewhere ex eastern block, who rides solo in Lesotho and sleeps out in the mountains?”  (Her eyes start to roll) Uh huh?
“Well he’s just emailed me to see if Jon and I are keen to join him on a part of one of those rides in Lesotho, what do you think?”
She doesn’t like surprises, especially short notice bike related ones, however I get her blessing. 

Xpat admits over email that his inventory of usual suspects is exhausted, or feigning injury / family commitments / bike problems.
He asks if I recall the RR by Ian the Tooth about the Drakensburg escarpment traverse between Sehlabathebe and Sani.  I remember.  I remember thinking these guys are not well in the head.  As it turns out two of the “not so well on the head” guys have also been invited on the ride.

I try to convince Jon to join us.  Somehow Xpat has mistaken us for rock hopping hardcore adventurers of his ilk.  Jon is not keen, citing our recent failure to reach even Rhino Peak from Sani a few weeks before, and his then state of riding un-fitness and newness to his 520. 

So it’s just myself and Martin, and two guys who will join us on day two for the actual traverse.  The two guys go by the names of Stuart Joyner and Ian Macdonald.  I only find out later that these two are the original human incarnation of riding gods.
Martin and I exchange ideas on routes and gear.  The plan is to meet at Sani Top, and in case I decide to join him for some of his remaining itinerary, I opt to put my bike on the back of my Bakkie and drive up Sani.  He will do the same from Afriski. From there we’d ride to Sehlabathebe via Matibeng Pass and stay over at Thamathu Lodge which is on the route.  The other two will ride from Matatiele and Ramatseliso and catch up to us somewhere on the route.

“Failure is always an option, pack for sleeping out in the mountains” is not the most confidence inspiring mantra, but I take it to heart.  Sleeping bag, tarpaulin, packets for kit, all stuffed into my Giant Loop Coyote.

I take another look at the original RR by Ian the tooth.  Holy Crap what have I got myself into? 

I go through my 525 carefully.  I notice my Metzler 6 Day Extreme rear is looking a bit worse for wear.  Should be ok for one last ride, right?

Friday morning early, I get up and hit the road to Himeville and then towards Sani.  I go past the Sani Pass hotel and see the signs.  My heart drops.  Is this the day of the Sani Pass Marathon?  Watering points appear at regular intervals and half way to the SA border post I start to see runners who are all on their way down now.  Over 700 of them apparently.  I wave at the leaders, the next bunch are like zombies, the back bunch are your typically jovial marathon back markers. 
The runners enjoy right of way.  They force me to take very bad lines and I am grateful for 4x4 but so sorry for my tyres.

It takes me an incredible two and a half hours just to get up the Pass, and I am running late for my rendezvous with Martin.  There has been no comms with him for a while.  Finally I get to the parking lot at the top of Sani, and get to meet Xpat in person who is wearing his polker face.

We offload my bike and I go inside to relieve my bladder.  There was no privacy on the Pass today for a pee.  I come back out and Martin mentions my sprocket ratio may not be suitable and my tyre is a bit worn.  How bad can it be, Martin?  Indeed... If only I had read the “economically adventurising a 500” thread better, I’d have known about sprocket ratios.
It’s now that I notice my 10l fuel container is missing off my Bakkie, presumably slidden off the back on the way up a steep section.  Blast.  This sort of thing rattles me, I plan extensively and when something happens with no contingency, I don’t like it and it tends to rattle me a bit.
Martin sweet-talks someone and we get permission to park our bakkies side by side in the only afdak available.  Nice.

I kit up and we get under way.  The weather is good and even though we leave an hour after planned, it should be ok. The first section is tar and Martin stops to make sure he doesn’t have a flat rear, but is just his brand new CO2 getting squirrelly on asphalt. 
We pass the turn off to Sani Stone Lodge where hopefully we will exit tomorrow on our way back to Sani.


We hit the gravel and I realize that this Xpat guy who portrays himself as a “bumbling adventurer” is a seasoned experienced rider and I battle a bit to keep up on the gravel. 
In what seems like no time at all we are up and over Matibeng Pass.  Martin mentions more than once this is the easy part, that tomorrow is much tougher.  Just a year ago Matibeng was the goal; now it is just a road.  Funny how us humans can adjust to circumstances. 
We pass a few happy villagers.


We stop at the Chinese shop to buy food for supper.  Martin buys meat balls or bully beef, I will eat my instant pasta and tuna.  I buy what I think is condensed milk and a loaf of bread.  We commence with the usual fuel filling discourse and head for the shabeen for a cold one before completing the last 20km to Thamathu Village. 
I easily find the lodge this time.  Last time was in the dark.  We are met by the caretaker who gives us each our own rondavel.  No other guests that night, bonus.

The showers are hot and welcome after a long day that started at my home in KZN.  I now share a remote location with a relative stranger,  both of us foreigners in this foreign place.  We cook our respective meals.  Martin warns me he only eats once a day and proceeds to do a proper job of it.  My condensed milk turns out to be dehydrated milk or something horrid.  I only notice once I’ve taken a good suck on it expecting the sweet taste of condensed mik.

Our conversation turns to the traverse and specifically to the two gentleman who will be joining us, or rather, catching us. 
Martin shows me a picture of Ian and Stuart with a group of locals and Ian the tooth who for some reason was the only one dressed in kit...

What I didn’t know was this is how the Matat Farmers dress for riding, it’s whatever farm cloths they have on at the time.  Boy, looks can be deceiving.

We hit the sack, braced for an early start at 6am. 


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I was running too - saw you and said what an awesome bike you have at the border post haha.

 

Offline Amsterdam

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Re: So I opened a Czech account...
« Reply #53 on: April 16, 2019, 05:22:33 pm »
Geepers, you okes are blessed to have such amazing riding terrain right on your doorstep. The best thing about Lesotho is the whole "there's a mountain, lets see what's on top" ability. No fences, no farmer wanting to shoot you, nada :drif:

Great RR & photos, they make me extremely lus to ride my bike... and green with envy  :-[

Amsterdam just finished 7 day loop in Lesotho on some of the tracks Losper and I gave him (hopefully he will do little RR). So it is doable from CT, but yes, you need time and be willing to commute. The good news is that we have done quite a lot of heavy lifting already in terms of finding rideable routes all over Lesotho, so if you get there, you can enjoy them without having to find your own, which takes a lot of time.

Yes I will do a little write up soon.  I had not given this much thought during the trip so not a lot of photos but a few interesting events happened.

We started and ended in Barkly East, a little less than 1100 kilometres from Cape Town, about a 12 hour trip.

And you are right about not having to find rideable routes making it much easier.  It was nice to know that as long as you carried on you were going to come out somewhere where food and accommodation was available.  Makes the whole thing very relaxing.
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Offline hedleyj

Re: So I opened a Czech account...
« Reply #54 on: April 17, 2019, 06:29:53 am »
@Amsterdam. JL you should train your editor to take dictation. (No pun intended) after all a more subtly anecdotal scribe would be hard to find let alone be married to.  :ricky:
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Offline Sheepman

Re: So I opened a Czech account...
« Reply #55 on: April 17, 2019, 01:12:06 pm »
Thanks for the report - tough as hell, done by a couple of hard men  :thumleft:
 

Offline M3X3Z3

Re: So I opened a Czech account...
« Reply #56 on: April 18, 2019, 09:00:22 pm »
Well done to Highsider for starting the RR in style and ultimately coaxing Xpat out of his RR hiatus.
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Offline Tom van Brits

Re: So I opened a Czech account...
« Reply #57 on: April 18, 2019, 09:31:59 pm »
Amazing landscape. Beautiful pictures as always Martin  :thumleft:
 

Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: So I opened a Czech account...
« Reply #58 on: April 21, 2019, 05:15:50 am »
Wow. Another fantastic report. Highside, your writing is brilliant and confirms a lot of what I think many of us suspected in the modesty of the Czech. :laughing7:

Xpat You have been spoiling us with your photos and stories, thank you very much! :hello2:
« Last Edit: April 21, 2019, 05:16:41 am by BlueBull2007 »
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