Ladybrand - The tenth step ... SISA Episode II - CycleBlaze

March 21, 2021

Ladybrand

Another cold night and morning but it soon warmed up with right blue skies and a light headwind.  The road was nice and quiet and the potholes kept vehicular traffic's speed down to a civilized level.  We had some nice views and a few gentle rolling hills until we reached the N8 which is the main road to Lesotho.

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Cosmos are a common site alongside the highveld roads. They are part of the sunflower family.
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More cosmos.
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And some sunflowers.
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This poor Puff Adder (Bitis arietans) came to an untimely end. Unfortunately, they often use the roads as a place to warm themselves up are are often tramped. Most potentially dangerous snake bites in South Africa are inflicted by Puff Adders but fatal envenomation is rare with an estimated less than fifteen percent of untreated bites resulting in death. Their venom is cytotoxic causing severe bleeding and swelling at the point of envenomation. The polyvalent antivenom produced by the South African Snakebite Institute is only used when deemed necessary but is very effective. In contrast to past views, many herpetologists consider Puff Adders to be less likely to bite than previously thought and that many bites are "dry". There have been some suggestions that older snakes are more likely to produce dry bites when defending themselves as a strategy to preserve venom for prey victims.
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Bill ShaneyfeltThanks for posting the shot! Most cyclists avoid doing snakes. Good info! My Herpetology background makes this post special.
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2 weeks ago
Looking across the border to Lesotho in the east. If you look carefully and use your imagination effectively you might see Lesotho's capital city, Maseru, in the distance.
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Once we hit the N8 we had two climbs between us and Ladybrand.  An excellent surface and a wide shoulder made it quite stress free helped by the relatively low volume of traffic for such a major road.  I suspect that COVID-19 precautionary measures are keeping border crossing low.

The first climb on the N8.
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Looking across to Lesotho from near the highest point of the day (1776 meters above sea level).
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Scott AndersonA remarkable landscape. Volcanic?
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1 week ago
Jean-Marc StrydomTo Scott AndersonI know very little about geology but I think it is as a result of same the big volcanic action from 180 million years ago that resulted in the koppies spread across the Karoo. The Drakensburg/Maloti mountains are the highest point on the escarpment that stretches in a U-shape from the north-west of South Africa all the way up to its north-eastern corner. There are some really dramatic sections but we are not likely to see the highlights which mostly lie mostly on the eastern side of the Drakensberg on the border of Lesotho and KwaZulu-Natal.
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1 week ago

We have got a very comfortable cottage in Ladybrand for the next two nights, our first break after six consecutive riding days.  We will have a chance to do a bit of work, get our laundry done and stock up on less easy to source groceries.

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Today's ride: 43 km (27 miles)
Total: 921 km (572 miles)

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