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Offline OomD

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Ben10 - Yes, yet another ride report.
« on: September 26, 2019, 02:07:17 pm »
Intro

The sun eventually rose over the first day of our Ben10 Eco Challenge. We had planned this for a while, and had read all the other Ben10 trip reports in the meantime, but we had to wait until it was school holidays in order for mini-me to join us.

It was @JonW’s ride report that got our planning started, and further reports from others like @Noneking, @Highsider and @m0lt3n just fuelled the flames of anticipation. We had originally planned for a 7 day trip, taking it at a mellow pace as the idea was not to chase time goals, but experience the views and passes. Also, we initially had a colleague joining the trip, who is a trail runner. He was planning to run all the passes, but after a spell of flu some time back decided to cancel. We decided to reduce the trip to a 5 day one, including the 2 days to travel there and back from Pta. It was going to be mini-me and I on bikes (KTM 500 and BMW G450X) and a friend (Gerhard) in a bakkie.

After booking the accommodation and planning the routes, Jaco (the trail runner) decided to join after all, so he had a new target of running all the passes in a 3 day period. Dedication? Or madness? You decide.  ???
 
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Offline OomD

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Re: Ben10 - Yes, yet another ride report.
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2019, 02:12:01 pm »
Day1 - Joubert’s pass
Everything loaded on the bakkie, the bikes on the back courtesy of a XRamp-dual. The drive down to Lady Grey started, and we stopped in Bloem to pick Jaco up who had driven down the previous day. To ease things for Jaco we decided to try and get Joubert’s Pass done as soon as we arrived, that would save hime from having to squeeze it in the next (first official) day.



Arriving at Lady Grey we quickly unloaded the bikes, checked in to Blue Pepper guest house and set off for the pass.



This time around I did not ride it in the early morning, so the sun was not going to blind me. Well, not much. Joubert pass was a breeze, and enjoyable as this is also mini-me’s first real trip where he’s riding the 450 and taking on some challenging routes. On previous rides he was always a pillion on my GS/A, or riding his XR125 but now he was big enough to take it on with a proper bike.







As is probably usual, given the name “windy corner” (or something to that effect) the wind was howling through the neck of the pass. We stopped for photos, and waited for the bakkie to catch up. Jaco was dropped off at the start of the pass and he was slowly making his way to the top. Mini-me and I continued to the end of the pass, where Gerhard and I swapped vehicles for the return ride so he also has a chance to experience it on a bike. I waited for Jaco to complete the pass, and we drove the bakkie back to the start and headed to the guest house - and supper at the Plaaskombuis.



Mini-me is a bit of a piano player, so upon seeing the piano at Plaaskombuis he started playing a rendition of Claire De Lune by Claude Debussy, but the piano was so horribly out of tune I think Debussy would’ve turned in his grave if he could hear it. So we decided to just sit and wait for our food instead.

« Last Edit: September 26, 2019, 02:12:57 pm by OomD »
 

Offline Noneking

Re: Ben10 - Yes, yet another ride report.
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2019, 02:12:26 pm »
Sien uit na die res!

Mag ek nooit so lus wees vir Ben 10 dat ek dit sonder enjin doen nie..... :eek7:
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Offline OomD

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Re: Ben10 - Yes, yet another ride report.
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2019, 02:30:46 pm »
The ride from Lady Grey to Otto Du Plessis was slowish, we chose to stick to 80km/h or less on the tar. We had the tyres at 1.2bar and did not want to overheat them unnecessarily. First up, Otto Du Plessis. I should probably have paid more attention to previous reports (and even mountain passes website) because on the pass I rode past the summit point stone structure, I was looking for a big white board. Having realised my mistake we rode back and saw the stone structure and we duly stopped for the obligatory official photos.

Jaco starting Otto Du Plessis




The mad man himself, still feeling energetic.


Mini-me approaching




The rest of Otto Du Plessis was a breeze and we headed to Elliot for fuel and to go up Barkley pass. It was getting colder and riding with a turtle suit was probably not the wisest of choices. Nonetheless we got to the top of Barkley pass and after the summit photo we checked in to the Mountain Shadows hotel.









32 odd years ago I had my last fill of OBS during the cold winter months in the army, I recall it always heating up your ears first. So I declined the complementary sherry at the hotel check-in, although mini-me welcomed the warmer ears after sipping his. The hotel was kind enough to quickly make us some sandwiches even though their kitchen was technically closed as we had not eaten for the day yet. In the room we also turned on the electrical blanket, it was getting seriously cold! This was about when Jaco arrived, after running the extra 1km or so from Barkley pass to the hotel. I duly switched his electrical blanket to #3, even though I know he hated those things. I was sure he would thank me later.

We headed out to Bastervoet pass, it was about 13h00 or so. Mini-me and I on the bikes rode ahead while Gerhard took Jaco to the start with the bakkie. Mini-me and I continued onto the pass, and this is the one I had worried about after watching the video of the pass on www.mountainpassessouthafrica.co.za. It was rocky, loose rocks on inclines and descents equally and it was the first pass where we could not simply relax and ride it. We had to work a bit too, and during one of the ascents I appreciated the time we put in at Wolwekloof enduro track beforehand.







Reaching the summit we stopped for the photo, and encountered another rider on a 500 Kawa also doing the pass. Not sure if he’s a wilddog or not. He set off again before we did, and we started pushing on when a light drizzle began. The rocks were really making us work for this one, with the front wheel twisting and turning as the loose rocks gave way just as you crossed over it. When we reached the end we had to decide on continuing straight to the tar road and loop back to the hotel, or turning back and doing Bastervoet again. We opted for the latter, reckoning it would be much faster.



Astounding view







 

Offline OomD

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Re: Ben10 - Yes, yet another ride report.
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2019, 02:33:16 pm »
By now it was raining properly, and the mist had reduced visibility to about 10 meters or so. Dangerous conditions for such a pass, so we took it slowly in spite of the cold and rain. On the way back we crossed Jaco (running) and Gerhard (bakkie) to reach the summit again already soaking wet. The rocks started becoming slippery and I was wondering how wise the choice was to ride back. Anyway, we pressed on and finished Bastervoet in reverse, and headed out to the hotel again on the dirt road. Visibility was very poor, with the goggles steaming up too. But taking the goggles off made the rain sting your face, it was altogether an unpleasant return ride.







Back at the hotel we showered and dressed, and waited for the other two before heading out to supper. A group of 4x4 vehicles also returned to the hotel at this time, it was Trygve Roberts of www.mountainpassessouthafrica.co.za leading a Ben10 tour. After supper we had a quick chat with him, he was quite impressed with Jaco’s effort of running the passes… he was the first trail runner to attempt this so a photo of Jaco was duly uploaded to their facebook page.

Tucking in for the night I got the whatsapp, “Bliksems, die bed is warm!”. My response, “You’re welcome” was probably not too wel received,  :lol8:
« Last Edit: September 26, 2019, 02:33:51 pm by OomD »
 

Offline OomD

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Re: Ben10 - Yes, yet another ride report.
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2019, 02:40:09 pm »
Day 3 - Naudes Nek, TTT and Carlislehoekspruit.
Opening the curtains brought a beautiful picture to the scnene… Everything was iced over. It was -2 degrees, cold as hell. Wait, uhm, colder than hell. It took a few attempts to get the bikes started in the cold. The guys in the bakkie decided to push ahead to Barkley East for fuel, while mini-me and I kitted up and warmed up the bikes. The sun was out, no clouds, so we were looking forward to a warm(ish) day. As our jackets was in the bakkie we had to ride to Barkle East with our turtle suits, it was a bitterly cold 43km’s. I never felt this cold on a bike before, and I was admiring mini-me for riding without a single complaint. He was cold, but obviously enjoying this trip tremendously. After freezing his nuts off (oh well, no grand kids for me one day!) he was still living the moment and loving the ride. We reached Barkley, fuelled up, and headed to Rhodes. What a beautiful stretch of road. We rode right through Rhodes and headed to Naude’s nek.











On Naude’s nek we passed Jaco, and eventually caught up with Gerhard in the bakkie. This pass was in great shape, a real pleasure to ride. We decided to wait with Gerhard at the end of the pass for Jaco. This is a 32km (or so) pass, mostly downhill which is harder on the runners. Or so I’m told. Jaco arrived at his predicted time of 14h20 on the dot, and we started backtracking to get to the TTT turnoff. At this point Jaco started running again and mini-me and I rode ahead.














 

Offline Grunder

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Re: Ben10 - Yes, yet another ride report.
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2019, 02:43:22 pm »
Julle manne ry daai berge nou plat.   :ricky:

Soos dit nou aangaan gaan dit soos die Vrystaat lyk as almal klaar is
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Offline OomD

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Re: Ben10 - Yes, yet another ride report.
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2019, 02:45:30 pm »
TTT was rougher than I had anticipated, and riding west with a sun low in the sky tends to blind your view just enough so you don’t see all the rocks. This was cause for some ass-pinching moments when the front wheel suddenly goes in its own direction. At one stage we stopped and I got off the bike to take a photo. Walking backwards while framing the shot I tripped over a rock and fell flat on my back, with my right foot trapped underneath my bum. My knee objected to this severity of bending,  but I opted not to let mini-me see the pain on my face. Crying in front of your offspring would not be very motivating. So I sucked it up and we rode. Standing up over the rocks was difficult, and I did most of the wok with my left leg. It started tiring, but luckily not too much before we reached the end of TTT.









Carlisleshoekspruit was next, and all I recall from the video previews is the steep gradients and concrete. For which I was thankful! It was a breeze going down there, even the steepest corner with a 1-in-3 drop was fun as we opted not to take the short gravel bypass that had a lesser steep angle.





We were in a bit of a hurry to get to Rubicon for check-in, so we did not wait for the other two and headed back to Rhodes. After checking in to the room with a floorboard that is impossible to walk quietly on we waited for the other two. Jaco had completed TTT in the dark, and opted not to run Carlislehoekspruit down, but rather up the following morning.
 

Offline OomD

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Re: Ben10 - Yes, yet another ride report.
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2019, 02:53:57 pm »
Day 4 - Carlisle (again), Ben MacDhui, Volunteers and Lundeans Nek.
Going up Carlisle was great, we had bikes with ample power and again opted to take the steep 1-in-3 cornet instead of the gravel bypass. Jaco had left early the morning, and we found him waiting for us at the top of the pass. Hats off to him doing this pass upwards, and still having any sort of energy and motivation left.







We headed to Tiffendel and signed the indemnity forms, and started Ben MacDhui without too much of a delay. I was a bit nervous, and did not want my nerves to get the better of me. Most of the time I let mini-me ride ahead of me, as a few time while he was behind me I would look for him in my mirror and, when looking ahead again, realise I’m on a corner already. Lots of slamming of brakes and skidding, and mini-me behind me with huge white eyes! I decided it’s better if he goes first, for my safety and my sanity.



Here you can see Ben MacDhui zig-zagging up the mountain...




Up Ben MacDhui was the biggest challenge ever for me on a bike. I had not anticipated all the loose earth and rocks and it kept us very busy. On the short steep sections and switchbacks the bike would spin, and I was holding on for dear life hoping the engine would not stall. Starting off on such an incline would be impossible! After much spinning, hopping, slipping and earth moving we passed the last switchback. I though it was all okay from here on. Yeah right. Another few steep loose sections, including the one that seems to go around the koppie. I simply could not imagine how anyone can do this on a big adventure bike, and in my mind I was paying huge respects to the guys that achieved that. Conversely, even with the roughness, it feels a bit like cheating doing this on the 500 and 450.

Eventually we reached the summit and I must be honest, there’s only a very few other times in my life when I felt such elation. One of them was doing the highest bungee jump in the world (at the time) from Bloukrans (216m), and that was 13 years ago. Anyway, we took our pics and waited for Gerhard and Jaco to arrive. After a group photo it was time to head back down, and this is where I dropped the bike. Down a steep drop the front wheel dug into the loose earth, turned sideways and unceremoniously threw me. Totally unspectacular. For me, that was. The others enjoyed the sight, I am sure. No injuries though, so on we went down and towards Volunteers.



Here you can see just how high Ben MacDhui is above Tiffendel.



 

Offline OomD

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Re: Ben10 - Yes, yet another ride report.
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2019, 02:59:28 pm »


Boys doing what boys do...


Downhill... wheeee!






A lekker rest at the bottom of Volunteers...


Which way Douglas Green?






Someone left a souvenir...










Hats off to Jaco, who completed the 153km total run. A sound achievement!


And respect to my son, for doing this challenge with me. Without too much training and experience riding offroad on his own he tackled this trip like a champ!

Fluit fluit, my storie is uit.  :ricky:
« Last Edit: September 26, 2019, 03:20:22 pm by OomD »
 
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Offline Grunder

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Re: Ben10 - Yes, yet another ride report.
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2019, 03:14:45 pm »
Daai Jaco knaap is 'n rockstar!!!!!

Lekker RR, dankie  :ricky:
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Offline caconcepts

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Re: Ben10 - Yes, yet another ride report.
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2019, 03:19:45 pm »
In the word of Hugh Bladen.......Unbelievable....... :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
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Offline JonW

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Re: Ben10 - Yes, yet another ride report.
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2019, 03:46:59 pm »
Great Ride Report   :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:

Well done to you, your son and to Jaco   :hello2: :hello2: :hello2:

That KTM500 sure looks the bizzniss :drif:
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Offline m0lt3n

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Re: Ben10 - Yes, yet another ride report.
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2019, 03:57:30 pm »
mini me does not look 'mini' to me!

great report!
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Offline Noneking

Re: Ben10 - Yes, yet another ride report.
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2019, 05:24:24 pm »
Brings back fond memories of several trips in that area. Our Ben 10 trip was one of the most memorable trips I've ever done. Would love to do it again next year!
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Offline Highsider

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Re: Ben10 - Yes, yet another ride report.
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2019, 06:12:52 pm »
Thanks for the RR Oom D.  Congrats on your Ben10, and I must say what a privilege to ride this with your son, that is special.


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Offline daveh

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Re: Ben10 - Yes, yet another ride report.
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2019, 08:16:00 pm »
Briliant adventure with your son, thanks for sharing
AT
 

Offline Sheepman

Re: Ben10 - Yes, yet another ride report.
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2019, 08:44:43 pm »
Great RR - thanks.....with a bit of a running twist  ;D
 

Offline Hondsekierie

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Re: Ben10 - Yes, yet another ride report.
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2019, 09:19:22 pm »
Excellent.  Dankie vir n lekker RR
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Offline OomD

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Re: Ben10 - Yes, yet another ride report.
« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2019, 05:55:00 am »
mini me does not look 'mini' to me!

great report!
Ja nee, and he doesn't miss any opportunity to remind me that he's already taller than me! :lol8: