We wakened early on the second day of the tour (click on right here to examine day 1), ate breakfast at our guesthouse in Cape City, South Africa after which jumped within the van for a brief drive to a trail-head on the backside of an enormous hill. That hill, I’d quickly uncover, was the place we’d be spending the following a number of hours.
I had anticipated our first day of mountain biking in South Africa to begin off slowly, ultimately constructing as much as one thing rather more severe. However our first day of biking was nothing like that.
After just some moments of prepping our bikes on the trail-head, we began a quick uphill climb on a mud and asphalt street that went up, up and up. This was my first time using a mountain bike in over a 12 months… and my first time using this specific bike in any respect (a Big full-suspension mountain bike that African Bikers had supplied me and a few of the different tour individuals with in the course of the tour).
After just some minutes on the bike I knew that my saddle was set a lot too far again (I used to be virtually falling off the bike due to this), however as soon as we began climbing there was no time to cease and make the straightforward (much-needed) adjustment. I needed to preserve pedaling if I needed to maintain up with the group.
Along with merely making an attempt to maintain up with the remainder of the tour individuals, I used to be carrying a heavy backpack full of digital camera gear (which made me scorching and positively slowed me down) and had just one small water bottle mounted to my bike in temperatures exceeding 100 levels Fahrenheit.
About half-way up the climb individuals began to drop. Actually, I felt like stopping myself, however I knew that I might make it to the highest – even with my seat horribly misplaced and with no water in my possession. Possibly I wouldn’t be the primary one to the highest (heck, I’d even be the final), however I knew that I might ultimately attain the summit.
Climbing by myself now (the quicker individuals in our group had been far forward of me) and three people from our group now stopped someplace behind me, I used to be handled with an unimaginable view of Hout Bay.
As I neared the big radio tower on the prime of the hill and ready to satisfy the others (who had absolutely been ready for me on the summit for fairly a while), Michi, Steve, Harry and Kirsten got here racing down the street. That they had grown bored with ready and had been prepared to return to the automotive.
I used to be additionally prepared for some downhill using, so I turned my bike round and loved, for the very first time in South Africa, the wind in my face.
After biking off the asphalt street that led as much as the radio tower, we hit a brief stretch of single-track trails, which had been enjoyable to navigate, however bumpy to experience.
At one level, Steve stopped us and advised us to remain collectively. There have been about 20 wild baboons unfold out all alongside the trail and Steve warned us that we wanted to remain collectively. “The baboons have related individuals sporting backpacks with meals,” he advised us. “Don’t cease and take photos. Simply preserve going.”
And that’s precisely what we did. In an extended line, the eight of us cycled straight previous a small gathering of untamed baboons after which continued on our manner down the ultimate stretch of street again to the ready van.
I assumed that after our lengthy, exhausting day of biking we’d head straight again to the guesthouse for showers and a few meals. As a substitute, we jumped proper again into the van and went for an extended drive, with a number of stops alongside the way in which. Our first cease was the African Penguin colony at Boulders, South Africa.
Alongside this small stretch of seaside had been dozens (possibly even lots of) of African penguins – simply sitting there, standing there and waddling about.
After gathering a big assortment of penguin images (and recollections) we jumped again within the van and drove for fairly a while to Cape of Good Hope Nationwide Park (probably the most south-western level of the African continent) the place we took our photograph in entrance of the well-known signal, walked among the many tide swimming pools and even noticed an ostrich strolling alongside the seaside.
Again within the van, we drove north alongside the western shore of Desk Mountain Nationwide Park and loved spectacular views of the ocean and shoreline alongside the way in which.
Lastly making our manner again to the guesthouse, we showered, rested for just some moments, after which went to out for a well-deserved dinner.
I used to be exhausted and hungry, however it was an excellent begin to our 14-day South African journey collectively.