Suzann was modelling the latest in sleepwear … the bag, on the banks of the Berg River as our tenth day of Alex to Kosi began. When I say modelling, I really mean that she’d draped the sleeping bag over her person and was standing facing the rising sun. You see, the condensation inside the tent had actually dampened our sleeping bags and she was trying to harness the drying power of the morning sun. Though our sleeping bags were damp, our spirits were not. It was time to pack up and get back on the bikes again.
It had been a good time out of the saddle, just a pity for the constant freezing wind that had, admittedly, put a bit of a damper our rest days every now and then. But it was still fairly early when we set off south, along the R27 or so-called West Coast Road.
The wind was not much of a feature yet but would become more and more so as the day wore on. Yet, it would not be the wind, so much, that was a cause for concern but rather the traffic. The West Coast Road lived up to its reputation as a busy road … and the Capetonians were in a hurry. It seemed as though the closer we got to Cape Town, the more frenzied the drivers became. We were hugging the yellow line. Actually, we were forced off the road to not only cycle but drive, all four wheels, in the yellow line. People would take reckless chances and rather than risk a collision with the back-up vehicle, we created our own little lane on the side. That, of course, was not exactly ideal and far from very safe. And naturally there was no place for a body break without the whole of Cape Town catching a glimpse of your backside. At least we could, somewhat precariously I might add, gobble down an energy bar while hanging onto the rather meagre gravel verge that began to appear after we’d passed the entrance to the West Coast National Park.
It was all actually getting pretty scary, and the wind had decided to start with its tricks, blowing right from the front. So we decided to call it quits for the day just before the Atlantis turnoff. We could clearly see Table Mountain by then and we figured that was good enough.
Then it was just to drive the couple of kilometres to Melkbosstrand and the Ou Skip resort where we shacked up our tent, and gazebo this time … We were going to stay for two nights and needed some protection from the prevailing wind (although Ou Skip was rather more protected than some campsites we’d stayed at).
With the maddening traffic on the outskirts of the mother city we didn’t want to know what it looked like in the heart of the city, or around the peninsula for that matter. So we axed our initial idea of cycling around the peninsula on the Cape Town Cycle Tour route (just in reverse, mind you). Then we had an extra day to fill. Having just come off a rest in Velddrif, we decided to try and cycle a portion of the next leg toward Stellenbosch. But that would have to wait until the next day. We had some business dealings with a shower first. So we chained the bikes to a handy tree (one can never be too careful) and headed over the road to do the necessary.
Lynsey, surprisingly, was still able to walk to the ablution block despite having been recorded (at the gate) as having a body temperature of 33.1°C! If that were correct, it would’ve meant that she was on the verge of severe hypothermia where the body falls to the ground and curls into the fetal position to conserve heat, the muscles go rigid, the skin becomes pale, the pupils dilate and the pulse rate drops … in effect, you begin to die! Now try and convince us that those little temperature ‘guns’ that everyone comes and waves in your face are even marginally correct! Anyway, it did provide us with endless entertainment and now it will always be remembered as the time when one ‘just off corpse’ cycled down the West Coast …