Oooh – today it was HOT: getting into the car (did we mention we l-o-v-e cars with aircon?) it said 37.6C… And the car had been standing in the shade.

Mercifully today’s route offered a bit more variation – a little bit of track through the pine forests – bit along Baine’s kloof pass, bits of very dusty single track, but overall riding interesting enough to¬† challenge the pro’s and give the newbies something else to think about.

So by now some bits of the anatomy are – well – a little tender… And other bits are plain downright¬† agonizingly painful. Pieter’s big toe nails are a fashionable shade of blue… Its now only a matter of time before he loses those nails : but as long as they hang in there another few days. Don’t ask how hard it is to put the shoes on in the morning… And the language when he accidentally stubs those toes against a rock. Lets put it this way: all 33000 characters in Estonian and a few borrowed from Russian. Nick spent a lot of time standing today… And this evening he changed his racing saddle for a very well padded ‘couch’ style saddle – now we’re talking PADDING here… Serious padding.

The people who are really getting to do this thing in style are the Absa babes (WAGS of the celebrity riders). They get preferential parking, as soon as they stop, someone’s on hand to wash their cars… Then they get to sit in the Absa tent and people bring them stuff – like drinks and eats. They even get wet wipes to clean their designer sandals.

The ‘ag shame’ moment of the day belongs to a 2 year old. He recognized his dad’s clothes and bile from quite a distance, but as soon as he got close enough to see his dad’s dusty face (it looked like bizarre make-up), he screamed and ran back to his mom. A the end of the race, the dad had the good sense to wipe his face first.

The Dawn Wing Girls are streaking ahead : they are riding like machines… The lads are regrettably left in clouds of dust – dreaming of catching up to those two yellow jerseys…

The waterpoint of the day is definitely the show put on by Welvanpas : beautiful farm, fabulous scenery. What a pleasure – hope the visitors go home with some positive stories.

Accommodation tonight is in 110 on Main in Paarl : its gorgeous here – soft white bed, aircon, a pool… And a beautiful black cat sitting amongst fallen frangipani on a hot Summer’s evening.

For tonight, its over and out from Paarl : the Boland is beautiful – great to be almost home!

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