Day 5 – The silent trek to Roma

Have you noticed how quiet people get when they ride far and long? When they start off, it’s usually in a chatter, but as the road gets longer and the climbs steeper, your bike takes you beyond the noise to a still place inside yourself. This deep silence does me a world of good and is a big reason why I ride my bike. There are few places where I can experience it for such a long time as when I am on my bike.

The 5th day of Lesotho Sky was supposed to be a long trek from Malealea to Roma, but it became a long trek into silence for both my teammate and I. We took different routes to journey into this silent space. I needed to get my mind to stop worrying about work and the long climbs into a stubborn headwind were the perfect remedy. For my friend, the silence was about survival, because after 15 km he ran his frontwheel into a ditch at high speed and injured his wrist when he tried to break his fall. The guy is as hard as nails and rode the next 70 km of technical climbs and gnarly downhills with one hand. 

The route was a combination of two established Lesotho Sky routes. In the past we rode from Roma to Ramabanta on some of the same roads we did today.  My highlight of the whole was descending down to the Botsoela Waterfall and then climbing with the jeep track all the way to highest contour lines where the views were simply breathtaking. The rest of the day was a case of grinding out the stubborn headwind and eating the elephant one bite at a time.

With 15 km to go, the route made a sharp turn into gnarliness. We descended into the Roma valley over paths with loose rocks and a couple of steep sloped sandstone ridges. This included a super fast sandy singletrack with natural berms and sharp corners. One of these corners got the better of me and left me looking for my ego in a cloud of red dust.

We finally crossed the finish line in under 6 hours, bruised and battered, but never better.

Photo credits: Wayne Reiche