Time to take a rest. Bike is posted to Cape Town, for the Cape Town cycle tour. Too late to do training now. Will have to do some running this week, to stop myself from getting lazy. Looking forward to see what my time will be as I have put some road tyres on and a pair of tri bars. Need to do better than my 15 km/h on the Trans-Afrika. After all it is just a breakfast run. Next time must write in for two laps. Ha Ha.
Looking forward to the weekend. Will be flying down to Cape Town from Johannesburg on the 4 March, with our vets and a number of people from the pig farming industry. CS vet and pharmaceutical companies are sponsoring the weekend. I will be riding in their kit. They have lined up some activities for us.
This is the second time I will be doing it with them. Actually they dragged me kicking to the first one. I had never done a cycle race before. Annie one of the vets gave me her place in the race and she transferred it to my name, as she had decided not to ride. I did not even have a cycle shirt at that stage. Actually bought my first shirt on a special at the expo before the race. That KAWAY shirt that you have got to know me in. This was in 2014. I had only ridden tours in Africa. I had cycled in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi by that stage. Been a tourist on a bicycle is very different to riding the biggest timed race in the world. Think that year there was over 33000 riders. Even now I am not used to having so many riders around me. Very easy to have an accident.
So cycling will have brought me to Cape Town three time in the last few years. Amazing how cycling starts to make a big world smaller. Saying that it makes me realize how small the big cities in Southern Africa are. When I was a child they looked so big and could only be crossed by bus or car. Now on the bike it is less than an hour cross Johannesburg. Cape Town city centre in 15 minutes.
Having said all that I would be ungrateful if did not brag on getting 60 mm rain this week. It rained on three different days. The parched earth sucked up the water as fast as it fell not leaving much to run away. I was wondering what we are going to have for winter grazing. There is a marsh/water way that the farm gets its name from called Meisjesvlei. This is the first time in three years I have seen water running down it. On the top of the farm there is a quarry that collects water in the rainy season and then it seeps down to the underground supply. Last night I found a puddle of water there for the first time in two years.
Puddle of water at Dead mans Island
There are two months left in this rainy season. Sure hope this rain keeps up. South Africa is experiencing its worst drought in a 100 years. We have been lucky it is not as bad on the farm as some places. This rain will be enough to take the sunflowers that survived the scorching heat to harvest. Here are some photos at sunset on the farm in the past week.
Sunset after last rain
Sunset after first rain
Been off the radar for a short time. Does not mean that I have been up to nothing. Christmas and New Year are a busy time on the farm. The public holidays result in working half staff. With this we have to keep feeding and watering animals. We cannot just close the doors and open in January. If only the people sitting in town knew the long hours and effort that goes into putting food on their tables. It pains me sometimes to see the food that goes rotten and wasted.
We have been in the grip of a drought. We landed enough rain in the first half of December to plant about 400 ha sunflower just to be followed be three weeks of heat wave. This was max temperatures over 33 degrees. This farm is situated on the Springbok flats bio diversity which is basically African Savanah. As the pressure of the drought pushes the wild animals to their limits they turned to the germinating sunflowers. Looks like the animals have eaten any plant that pushed its first two leaves out of the soil. Looks like we will have to plant again. That will also not work if we do not get any more rain.
We have had to continue supplementary feeding cattle. If there is no rain before winter we will not make it to the next summer rains without bringing in extra bales from our other farms where we have stock pilled some hay. Normally it is very dry in February and march with some rain in April. Hope January and April bring good rain. It will be good for the cattle but too late for crops.
The pigs have been under pressure from the high temperatures resulting in lower feed intake and thus growth. I have not spoken much of this part of my life but it is the main activity which I am involved in. All other farm activities are side lines.
Having said that you may have seen on twitter that I have done a few rides. There was the quick weekend to my sister at Belmoral. That was a nice warm up ride of 320 km. I have made two trips down the R101 to Pretoria to see family.
All in all they were very hot rides. Resulting in me looking for times to cool off. There was the dip in the irrigation canal in Rus De Winter.
Two rides home from Pretoria finishing in dipping in the pool with cycling clothes on to cool off.
There was a comment on twitter saying that I should rather take up swimming. Swimming long distance could be very dangerous when the sleep monsters strike. If you see how slow I ride my swimming is even slower. I would need a life jacket.
As the New Year begins the question all ask is what I am going to do in 2016. That is the same question I ask myself. Is always nice to have a goal to work for. I am in the Cape Town cycle tour. This is just a nice short party trip. A lot of pig farmers and their vets normally go down and do it. Then I am very tempted to ride the Trans-Afrika again to defend my title of Lantern Rogue. I really enjoyed the Trans-Afrika. I am not much of a racer but it was an amazing adventure. I see @BufflSoldier01 is planning a trip to East Africa in December. It would be nice to join him. I have been longing to cross some boarders up in Africa again. There is the element of the unknown. By the way Andy Masters I think you should start a Race from Karonga Malawi to Johannesburg or Cape Town. Call it the Trans-Rift. I would most likely be on the starting line. Well will let you know what I will be up to.