Tuesday, 1 September 2020. We woke to a cold and overcast winter-spring morning in the Southern Drakensberg, and with a strong cup of Terbodore Coffee the team reviewed our plan for the day. Temperatures would be between 3 and 11 degrees. We would ride from our overnight accommodation at Dunford’s Lofts, passing Himeville Arms – one of the many iconic tourism spots that had to lock their doors for good, due to Covid-19. Today we ride with Gordon Belton, a Director at Rivers Labour Consultants who also came on board as our Sponsor for the Day.
A quick chat to owners of Dunfors’s Lofts, Frank and Marge Dunford, tells the tale similar to many others we hear on our journey. The Covid-19 Lockdown and travel restrictions has been very tough. On everyone. Getting the odd booking from people on business remains the norm now, but the main visits by tourists coming to the area for the beautiful views, hiking and mountain biking… there has been none of! Although they have fallen on hard times, the couple remains positive and believes that they will get through it.
On a lighter note, we draw from the positive energy of the people we continually meet on route, and the views and landscapes that have become solitary friends. Stopping to appreciate the fact that we are alive and healthy, the team, joined by our amazing MTB technician Lucky, from Hatton’s Cycles PMB, did a “Dirt-road Jerusalema” that we caught on camera for your viewing pleasure.
Approaching Coleford Lodge where we would stay the night, the anticipation of a warm shower was overwhelming once again. It was freezing on the road. But the cold cannot dampen the thrill of hitting the downhills. Meeting a peak and descending at speed to enjoy the freedom of momentum.
In desperate need of a pizza, we stopped at The Grind Café and Restaurant and had a delicious meal. Safety measures are key for all the establishments we came across, and here was no different. We walked away with big smiles. The appreciation for our support was tangible – and came with wood fired, stretchy cheese.
THANK YOU TO ALL OUR SPONSORS, ACCOMMODATION SPONSORS, AND FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL DONATION MADE. WISH YOU WERE HERE!