Not quite what we were expecting - The ninth step ... Somewhere in South Africa - CycleBlaze

January 3, 2021

Not quite what we were expecting

Porterville to Wolseley

We had two surprises today.

Firstly, when we planned our route a few days ago we noticed a big climb just before Tulbagh.  We didn't feel like doing it towards the end of a hot ride which is why we spent last night in Porterville.  

Secondly, windy.com suggested that today would be almost windless but exteremely hot, as in approaching forty degrees again (which was yesterday temperature in Porterville).

So with those two items of information hogging our brains we set off at six o'clock, the earliest we are allowed out with the current curfew, and rolled along merrily in the cool, still morning air.  It was easy and enjoyable cycling with a lovely wide shoulder and the first twenty three kilometers rushed by.

All of today's route had a good shoulder. Up until the Nuwekloof Pass it was over two meters wide. These wide shoulders are found on many of the busier roads in South Africa and do a good job of shielding cyclists from the motorized traffic.
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About fifteen kilometers from Gouda a strong headwind suddenly sprang up and continues to blow as I type up this journal entry.  We were quite taken aback and were dreading the climb between Gouda and Tulbagh.  

The wind farm at Gouda suggested that the wind wasn't abnormal.
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It turned out that the steep climb between Gouda and Tulbagh didn't exist.  Instead we enjoyed a gentle climb through the pretty Nuwekloof Pass.  The spike shown on the elevation chart produced by openrouteservice.org must be the result of some bad sampling and/or extrapolation.

Nuwekloof Pass.
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Once we emerged on the eastern side of the pass we stopped to eat some of the sandwiches that Clare had prepared for us.  The pass was full of Chacma Baboons so we didn't want to take out food in front of them even though they scattered whenever we approached them.  

After that it was hard work into the wind for the next twenty kilometers to our digs in Wolseley.  It didn't seem too tiring, just a slog, but upon washing my hair in the shower I realised that my arms and shoulders were tired from hanging for dear life in the wind.   

One benefit of the wind is that it has been cooler than expected with the temperature barely reaching thirty degrees.

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Today's ride: 59 km (37 miles)
Total: 1,475 km (916 miles)

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Comment on this entry Comment 2
Scott AndersonHey, why no photo of the baboons?
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1 week ago
Jean-Marc StrydomTo Scott AndersonI know, I know. I should have stopped and taken a photo or two. They mostly just scarpered as we approached but there was one male who sat on top of a fence post that I should have taken advantage of.
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1 week ago