Late at night on Wednesday, December 8 Hardy sent an email asking for a volunteer to lead the D&D ride on Thursday night as he had to work. By mid-day nobody had responded so I volunteered on condition that Hardy send out his normal enthusiastic invitation without mentioning that he won’t be there himself, but he was probably too busy to respond to that. With the expectation to find one or two other riders braving the rainy night and having to put off the ride, I arrived at the Moo Mall to find five other brave, or deluded, souls; no excuse there.
An unexpectedly deep puddle with some rocks had me put out an emergency foot in order not to take a swim and someone muttered something about writing a ride report. It was much later confirmed when a chain-suck going up Big Dipper caused a real wipe-out. At the end of Supertube we went North trying to miss the numerous puddles along the way. I did mention that it was somewhat rainy. None of the others knew or remembered the VO2max wall, so I had to explain it first. In the end it was taken by Santa; he obviously thought that we would be doing the Jingle Rock Light ride.
After some scouting finding the entrance to End of the World, we were once more disappointed by a graded field instead of the gloriously gnarly single-track of old. Even the Gauntlet proved to be more of a district road than the nice trail it used to be. After going underneath the new bridge we encountered some sneaky mud providing a new challenge. The old King of the Hill dice was done with the rain really starting to come down, but after a few minutes at the service station it died down again and we could continue with me giving the obligatory history lesson on the original D&D centre. From there we had a tar ride up to the pedestrian bridge over the N1 and from there back to the service station between the Moo Mall and Rietvlei dam.
The group was given the option to call it a night, but decided that they were enjoying the lightning and threatening rain and after some scouting we discovered a nice single track down to Sesmyl spruit followed by the normal speed zone to the second road on the left, St Georges, Leon’s Landing, Heart-rate Hill, Smuts House downhill, Tour de Tar and up Big Dipper where we once more had to cross the new road under construction.
Brendan, who had been sweeping, lead us down Cruiser singletrack and we were back at the Moo Mall at about 22h00 after doing about 32 kms.
If you detected a note of nostalgia in this report, you are probably right. And then they call it “progress”.
But after all it is still very enjoyable and as Hardy use to say: “It was a privilege riding with yous!”