Big Sky Ride - Lesotho - 2008

The 4th edition of the Big Sky Ride. Again, this was a ride across the most scenic and highest road though the mountain kingdom of Lesotho! Thirty riders accompanied Melt Swanepoel and I in this journey, and most had never ridden over such terrain before!

The adventure started with the ride up the 'hill' to Sani Top Chalet for a night at 2800m! In variable weather and light rain, we ascended the magnificent Sani Pass, glad to arrive at the Sani Top Chalet, and get warm in the Highest pub in Africa!

The following day dawned in perfect conditions, and enjoying the views of the pass from above we prepared for the day's ride to black mountain and beyond. There are very few days when the wind is not blasting at the edge of the escarpment, and this was one of them, breathtaking and beautiful!

The ride took us to new heights, 3100m, and very close to Thabana Ntlenyana. This was the highest point in Southern Africa and just a stone throw away from the path that we had ridden! (It is up at this altitude that you experience the Big Sky!)

The rugged terrain through which was passed consisted of small villages, plenty of sheep with herdboys to watch over them, and always the threat of poor weather. We enjoyed a feeling very unlike anything that could be found across the border in South Africa.

In four days, we got everybody up all the climbs, though some interesting weather changes, 265 kms of Lesotho mountains, and just over 6000m of climbing. Most people had an average of 15 hours for the four day ride! Managing things at a reasonable pace, it was challenging but possible! A true mountain adventure, and everyone can be very proud of themselves for riding the route! (with a little thanks to the assisting tailwinds!)

This trip was possible with help from many quarters, so to go through them:

    ?    Drifters Adventours, thank you for the infrastructure, trucks, trailers equipment, guides and expertise, (and bike trailer from Supercycling club Nelspruit)
    ?    Support staff, Cam Mckie Thomson (In your Landy), Di White, Greg Butt, Yolandi Du Toit, and Suzie Hayward.
    ?    Wayne Hayward for the Photography
    ?    Melt Swanepoel for guiding and supporting
    ?    SAB for the beer, (kindly arranged by Jacques Swart)
    ?    Thule for their support
    ?    First Ascent, the Freethinkers were a winner!
    ?    Panda for the Basotho blanket rendition!
    ?    Continental Tires
The journey lasted 4 days, felt like three weeks, some people may have felt like they had completed and epic, but everyone who came enjoyed it totally!

There is not much left to say, the pictures will do it. And remember there is always next year!  "It is the most spectacular road journey in Southern Africa"

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