At 5 o’clock some unexpected thunder rumblings became audible. A check of the radar map showed a minor storm to the south of Pretoria. That would be over by 7 o’clock, but apparently it scared off some of the riders who committed to come. An then it was Heritage day, also known as National Braai day and I know of at least two ladies who consumed too much of the liquid component of a braai to turn up. No names, but shame on them!
Fortunately five riders did arrive at the Moo mall. They ranged in age from 15 to 70 years; so never think that you are too young or too old for a Dark and Dirty ride. We waited a few minutes and then set off into the gathering dusk on a perfect evening. The rain had cleared and it had rained just enough to have neither dust nor mud. The clouds had also cleared and the temperature was an ideal 18°C never dropping below 13 degrees.
Another consequence of the public holiday was that I had some time to look at Google Earth in order to explore some new routes. One can find a lot of information like where there are possible rtrails and even the gradient, but it does not give you any idea of the surface. We will come back to that issue.
We started the familiar route past Ezekiel’s drop-off on Supertube, up Big Dipper and next to Nellmapius. In the old days that would be followed by the Mieliemuur RUSH, but that road had been fenced off. The first part of the exploration was about to begin, but before that a new concrete gutter caught me by surprise and I had an awkward stop. Would not call it a fall, but it was not very elegant and I succumbed to the cries of "Ride report!" and agreed that I would do it. Later that evening I properly earned the right to write the ride report, but about that later.
As Google Earth revealed, there is a newly made road that can be taken to almost the top of the Mieliemuur downhill RUSH and it turned out to be quite fine although still a bit rough. Hope that will not be fenced off soon. Down Mieliemuur we went and then on to the normal two speed zones and the sprint to the light, which once more caught out the newbies. That was followed by Nico’s trail, Bat tunnel and Frikken Woof.
The next bit of exploration lead us in the direction of Puff Adder, but we turned left and discovered a nice winding downhill road to the cement factory road which we followed for a short while before turning right and then left for some more exploration. This road turned out to be quite steep and technical going right up to the top of the hill, but going down turned out to be the real thing: steep with lots of loose stones; so much so that I really wiped out in grand style and the ride report was a done deal.
After that followed Python, the Tour de Tar and Supertube with a new trail past Ezekiel’s in the direction of Xtacy Park. I would like to say that that was followed by some more intended exploration, but I have to admit that I did not expect the winding trail looking very much like an MTB park construct that caused us to finish almost on the dot on 10 after 33 kms – all in all a great night of fun!