Day 24 - Stage 20 - Rufaa to Senna (157 km)

Local cyclist spotted at the Lunch Stop

Sunday: Some days are relatively short, but on other  days, you have quality  time on your bike , today was one of those days. A long day spent in the saddle, peddling south towards our destination.

Judith and I started relatively early after breakfast, and soon got into our normal rhythm. Unfortunately our ride was soon spoilt by the sight of litter in the desert.

Just like plastic pollution in the oceans, plastic pollution in the desert has become a constant reminder of man's ability to destroy his pristine environment.

Charles one of the racing snakes, had a major mechanical today, and Julian dropped off and went back to assist him, while Liz also helped him to get going again. 

Lunch today was at the at 72 km mark, we had lunch and we both continued, we had our first coke stop (unofficial) at 90 km when a local Sudanese bought Gurpaul, Judith and I a coke as we sheltered from the sun under a thorn tree, we were soon joined by Trixie.

At 107 km the lunch truck caught up with us,  Judith loaded her bike and climbed into the lunch truck and went with Wynand to fill the truck up with fresh water at one of the Villages. I stayed on my bike and continued.

Coke stop at 110 km, but I gave it a miss , couldn't find any other rider frequenting the stop. Not a good decision, at approx 120 km at some arbitrary village, I had to stop and ask a local lad who was riding next to me on his bike, if he could find me some coke, gave him some money and he sped off, to return approx 15 min later with a cold coke.

Of course, by the time he returned, I had a huge audience of villagers, who in their broken English, wanted to know, where I came from, where I was going, and why was I doing it on a bicycle?

Stopped at coke stop at 129 km and joined Bridgett, Anmei and Gurpaul, who were already the centre of attraction when I got there. Spent about a half hour with them before they left. I decided to wait for Liz (who had helped Charles with his mechanical) and Sweep rider Dr Helen. 

Waited about an hour, they didn't arrive, then  wrongly  decided they had already passed through the coke stop and I had missed them. Took off and tried to catch them, at about 10km from the finish, they caught up to me (they had been behind me all the time) but not before I had ridden myself to a standstill, trying to catch them.

By the time we reached camp, my "rings were shot, and my gasket was blown" I was a very tired cyclist, it had been a long day in the sun, with the maximum temperature at about 40 degrees. (!!)

"Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out into the midday sun!" this certainly applied today, there were many stops made under a shady thorn tree just to recover my composure.

Crossed over the Blue Nile Bridge and arrived at camp, which was under the trees right next to the Blue River. Arrived at 5.45pm just in time for 6pm briefing, then dinner.

Still had to change our slicks to MTB tires, thanks go to Muzz, who changed and fitted Judith's MTB tires and assisted me (I was slightly brain-dead after a long day in the saddle) 

We had done approx. 2'575 km each on our slicks, Judith didn't puncture once, with only one of my tubes needing replacement, due to a tear at the valve position. The Specialized Infinity tires that my son Ken had sourced for us, have been truly amazing, thanks Ken.

Lets hope we have just as good service/luck from our Maxxis Crossmark MTB Tyres, the next four days we are on dirt/gravel roads, but only time will tell.

Another early night, after a very long day out in the Sudanese sun.

Mike T

Andrew enjoying his breakfast peanut butter sandwich and contemplating this morning's ride.

Sunrise over a Sudanese Metal Foundry

Plastic pollution in the Sudanese Desert
A great place to stop for the morning's first comfort break

Close up of one of  the murals 

Sometimes its easier riding off the tar road than on it

Taking shelter under a tree at our unofficial coke stop

The "Vicious Gnome" overheated and not a happy camper !!

Waiting for Helen & Liz and taking in the sights and sounds (local vendors)

Sights and sounds from my vantage position (petrol station)

More sights and sounds (across the road)

Its a long and lonely road trying to catch up with Liz & Helen

Today we change our tires from slicks to Mountainbike tires

Chilling just before Riders' Briefing

Welcome to Wooded Camp

Briefing board with tomorrows ride - Our first dirt road adventure


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