The last few days have seen the contestants settling in and navigating their way through this tough competition.
Jason Bryden sadly suffered a fracture on his lower left leg. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Day 2 saw the contestants been thrown straight into arguably the toughest day of the competition with contestants riding on 136km of incredibly beautiful but seriously testing Namaqua Eco Trail.
The first of the days serious challenge, was just before midday when “Hell’s Cradle” was entered into. A near mile of sandy canyon twisting riverbed trail, snakes between lurking rocks and boulders. Ironically, only one rider took a gentle slow tumble whilst in the meat of the canyon, but many had issues with a section directly after the required skills finish line.
Day 3 started innocently enough with a gentle meander past river-side farms before turning away from the river and diving into the beautiful, but harsh Western Richtersvelds rocky mountains but also experienced an intimidating test of momentum and bravery as they had a to navigate their way through a series of successively steeper climbs.
The controlled torque and versatile suspension of the Africa Twin, with much adrenalin and sweat, saw all the riders celebrating overcoming this daunting task at the top, whilst eating freshly toasted jaffles cooked over an open fire.
Although technically all the teams are in a competition against each other, there is a very apparent, ever evolving spirit of Quest comradery amongst them.
Day 4 saw the teams set off in 5 minute intervals on a timed navigation exercise that was tracked. It was a tricky exercise that required patience and attention to detail and led the group to the foot of “Peters Scramble”.
There have been many seriously difficult climbs in these first 4 days; this one is by far the hardest of them all. It took the group just over 3 hours to do the 500m 4x4 track, it is seriously eroded sandstone gravel with several switchbacks, deep erosion gulley’s and large step-up ledges.
On day 5 rider #2 Annemien van der Linde announced that she would be withdrawing by giving her place to the partner-less Leon le Roux, (his partner having fallen out on day 1 due to injury). Annemien had been struggling with a shoulder injury from a heavy fall on Day 1 that was affecting her team’s competitiveness and risking her safety. She decided that before the medic had any say in her future, she would withdraw.
As opposed to the previous 4 days of high tension and extreme terrain, Day 5 was a noticeable change in rhythm that left the contestants reflective about how far they’d come.
Marathons and reflections were the theme for Day 6.
Contestants made their way across the vast, big sky, open spaces of Bushmanland and the Knersvlakte.
By the late afternoon, the contestants were treated to the gateway to the Tankwa Karoo – Gannaga Pass. Long kilometers of rolling plains suddenly drops away for a breathtaking escarpment view that looks out over the Tankwa Karoo to the blue Cedarberg in the distance.
An adventure bike has many roles to play, it’s been abundantly clear that the Africa Twin is quite at home in the rough stuff, far off the beaten track.
For more information visit www.quest-trueadventure.com.