Two weeks ago we experienced a very scary fire which almost burnt down our office. We are so grateful for the community which come around to assist us. You know who you are...heroes who have the experience, wisdom (and guts) to know what to do. Fires in gale force winds are terrifying and it could have been so much worse. Look at Alberta at the moment! Fire is a very scary thing and sometimes rain is the only hope. It was in our case and the heavens opened just in time for us.
The rain came just in time to save the office and the damage is minimal. The rain was not enough to put it out and it continued to burn for a further week but the rain helped to save buildings and infrastructure. Finally, a week later it was calm so we could think about the next steps.
There is always a silver lining and the fire took out large area of invasive vegetation that needed to burn and which we would never have tried to burn in a controlled burn because of the risks. Last week before the next rain fall we planted almost 200kg of indigenous grass seed on the burnt areas. We threw the seed late into the night and then the rains came again! The seed is an indigenous seed mix of
But what is amazing to see is just how quickly the wattle seeds have germinated and are coming up like a solid wall of roots. Years and years of seed just waiting for a fire to germinate. The ground was lifting up in places as we walked through. As we cleared away the ground to scatter the seed, a dense mat of wattle roots lay there waiting to emerge. Now we have to wait and see. We'll spray the wattle when its a bit older and we hope that the grass seed will take root and bring back some indigenous grasses. Thanks to advance seed for their great service in getting us the seed so quickly.
Yesterday we had an awesome ride with our neighbors: Friends of Marloth. Sakkie Nel and his team have prepared a little playground outside Swellendam and we tagged along to experience it. Guest appearances from pro-rider Erik Kleinhans, the hair, and equally cool, Reinette Geldenhuis , promised to make for a great day out on the bike. The red route was awesome-lovely scenic jeep tracks with mountain views. The weather played along with mist settling just in the right place for the photos.
The riding was fast and furious with the Swellendam locals showing the pro how it's done. They took the lead for most of the ride, with skill and determination. They clearly wanted it more.
Then Sakkie stepped in and gave the guy a few local tips on how to ride the routes and where the best lines were. This was flippin generous of him as everyone thought that he really should have worked it out on his own. I mean he gets paid for this after all.
Haasie then stepped in and showed the youngster how to make some magic potion from the mushrooms that hide in the pine single track. This explained a lot and we were all pleased that he selected the correct mushrooms as Sakkie was not keen to call any team managers just before Erik was due to be racing in Europe.
With just a few words of wisdom from the local legends, the pro was all smiles and took a convincing lead.
We stopped briefly for Bouer to explain to us how much more fun it is to swim in ice cold water and ride on tar for 180km. Extra fun is had if you have no one's rear end to look at and can admire the tar with the wind in your face.
In the end, we all had a fabulous coffee and lunch at the Old Goal in Swellendam, where we shared a few more local winners tips and secrets. A few more mushrooms were brewed-unfiltered. Erik wanted to take some of the mushrooms with him to Europe but we all assured him that he would find some special ones there. We debriefed the trails and the overall agreement was that, although the Marloth trails are flippin brilliant, the Grootvadersbosch Conservancy trails are better (totally objective opinion!). However, everyone decided that Erik was just not strong enough for them yet so he agreed to come back and ride after some training in Europe. We look forward to welcoming him back.