With two days of rafting achieved in the past few days - and a bunch of runs for me, we took to the trails at Deelfontein for a dash of mountain biking on Monday. I've been out there once before to ride (and once for a run). It is a stunning property on the Parys side of the Vaal River - about 25 minutes from town. The trails here are extensive and cunningly crafted. There is a good mix with varying difficulty - from smooth cruising to rocky technical.
We took the children out there. Kyla has been resistant to biking but after seeing photos from a ride that Ruben did with Celliers a few weeks ago, she was keen to give it a try. She did incredibly well.
About 4.5km in Kyla got a puncture and unfortunately our repair kit hadn't made it into our backpacks (doh!). We had a brand new spare tube, still in its box. But the tube in the box was the wrong size - not the size on the box! She and I walked back while Ruben and Celliers completed the loop.
I think the puncture was actually an advantage because the section we rode was superb and she managed to easily ride the route with all but two short pushes. The next section would have been a bit more tricky with more rocks. The bonus of riding only what we did is that her confidence is solid now and she is keen to get out there again. We had a good walk back and enjoyed the scenery. The area is green and lush after recent rains.
We were only back at the finish for a few minutes when Ruben came riding up. Celliers was nowhere to be seen. Ruben said he'd left Celliers at a gate, which he was closing behind them. I waited a few minutes and still no sign of him. I ran along the road towards the gate. Nothing. I ran back and got the bakkie. No sign of him at the gate. I asked Ruben to guide me to the gate where he'd last seen his dad.
As it turns out, Ruben had left Celliers a bunch of gates back - like 2.5km back. While we were waiting for Celliers, he was riding back and forth looking for Ruben, fearing that he'd taken a wrong route. Minutes later, a short way up the road, we found Celliers, who'd decided to head for the finish to get me if Ruben hadn't made it there. While Celliers was worried about Ruben, I was worried about him -imaging him lying in a diabetic coma on the trail!
Of course we were cross with Ruben for leaving Celliers in the dust and not telling him that he wanted to ride ahead to the end, we were chuffed that he has gained the confidence to ride on his own, for 2.5km of trail, choosing the correct route - which he has only done twice before - to the finish.
Note to ourselves: instruct children on riding off on their own (which we don't mind if we know what their plan is) and drill them on protocols for getting lost / losing us.
Both children are keen to get out there again soon. MTB mission successful.