Liphofung to Libono
distance: 63 km
vertical ascent: 1700m
The day started with a most excellent singletrack up along a river with plenty of Cosmos, fun flat rock surfaces and a stream crossing or 2. We crossed the river at a rickety bridge. On the other side the singletrack made way for some jeeptrack, in a nice bad condition with some mud every now and again. The jeeptrack petered out into a not-always-ridable singletrack contour. My bike pointed itself downhill very quickly, but I realised soon that there were no bike tracks where the bike was heading - luckily Tumi (the track-builder and sweeper) saw my tracks going off-track and followed me to show the shortest way to the right track. The less-ridable singletrack changed to very enjoyable singletrack, more flat rock surfaces, and then we joined up with a gravel road.
We filled up with water at the first checkpoint, then climbed a mountain before Tumi led us off the path on a very long downhill-singletrack. We had to catch some cyclists who went the wrong way, and then continued downhill - fields of cosmos and sunflower; the track was rough but ridable because it was mostly downhill. At this stage Francois and Ray were voicing concerns that we were off the map. Tumi suggested that we cross over to the South-African side of the river. Here we're crossing over to the other side:
We followed a gravel road with huge strange cathedral-like rock formations around us, and crossed back to arrive at the second checkpoint a few minutes before Tamara (who was driving the checkpoint-bakkie). The front guys (who followed the real path in stead of venturing off the map) arrived shortly after with stories of wicked climbs (and presumably some downhills to match).
A very nice lunchbreakspot under trees next to the river. Sandwiches with (discarded) thick slices of pink polonie and apples. Filled up with water, and then continued on a gravel road between maize and cosmos-fields - this soon became a long hot climb.
From here on it was just boring - around 25 kays of gravelroad that just went up and down and on and on. The last km or so we were surrounded by horsemen who escourted us into Libono. (pronounced Dibono - under certain conditions an L is pronounced as D in Sesotho)
David (Freedom Challenge) organised some hot showers :D
The rest of the afternoon was whiled away in the shade on the grass while watching the Libono Arts Company in action. here's Grant taking pictures of the first act:
After dinner at the community centre we were off to local huts for the night.