The wind blew again last night. In fact we battled to sleep such was its severity and, upon leaving our tents for breakfast, it was evident a few had literally blown away during the night.
But there was business to attend to – the first transition stage from Mossel Bay to George to be precise. The day started with another 10km neutral zone through town before following the coastal walkway to Hartenbos. Riders had to portage a makeshift bridge before heading into the mountains on a mix of jeep track, dirt and tar roads. Thankfully the strong tailwinds allowed us to chew through the miles as we negotiated dairy farms and then the fynbos, rain forest and pine plantations around George.
The recent rains meant there were many river crossings and lots and lots of mud. This made the Squirt stations at waterpoints (along with a great variety of food and smiling faces) a welcomed sight. This stage had been dubbed as the second toughest day of the race and after crossing the picturesque Outeniqua Pass, we understood why… The real climbing had only just begun.
The last 15km included both new and established single-track, some of which had to be portaged due to the muddy conditions. Riders were welcomed by cheering students from the Van Kerval School for special needs children. The stage as a whole was a solid and enjoyable day in the saddle. The staff and volunteers at Dryland and the hosting schools have afforded us the most fantastic hospitality, even going to the shops to buy newspaper to help riders dry out their sodden shoes for tomorrow.