Thursday: Our last stage ride in Sudan, and Judith and I both got the "Lunch Truck Bogeyman" off our shoulders, not an easy day, but a great day's riding (physiologically speaking of course).
Only cycled a short 1 km from camp on the dirt, before joining the main tar road to the Sudan/Ethiopian Border. However the tar road was very rough and potholed, but with our MTB tires and front suspension, our bikes could handle the constant road vibrations, and I was blessed with a smiling Judith for most of the day.
The ride went well, for the both of us, and even though the temperature was up in the high 40 degrees C again, we got to the lunch truck at 68 km, and continued on after lunch (although I could only eat the watermelon and no other solid food's) and finished the ride at the Sudan/Ethiopia Border.
However the day was not without incident for others, many of the riders had punctures (some had multiple punctures) or mechanical breakdowns. While a couple of riders fell ill during the ride. Mark (USA) fell off his bike and suffered a suspected wrist fracture. It can all be attributed to the bad road conditions, extreme heat of the last four days and general physiological condition.
We took it easy, had our first coke stop at 49Km, then a tea/coffee stop at 54Km, before stopping for lunch at 68Km. After lunch we had one last coke stop at 84Km, before completing the 92Km distance. At all of the stops we were accompanied by other riders, so it was quite festive out on the road today.
Once at camp, we had to separate our luggage into two bags each, one bag going by truck to Nairobi via Ethiopia, the other coming with us to Nairobi. Some riders have also left their bikes on the truck, but we decided to take ours with us to Nairobi, the risk of damage to our bikes just seems to be overly high.
Tomorrow (Friday), the riders and some of the TDA Management will be bused back to Khartoum (an eight hour bus ride) while the TDA vehicle's will cross into Ethiopia and make their way through Ethiopia, to Nairobi in Kenya.
Wynand the Lunch Truck Commander, did remind me that he will be cracking his first cold beer tomorrow evening in Ethiopia, while us other peasants have to wait another two sleepies before we get our beer privileges back, thanks Wynand!!
We will be staying at the same venue in Khartoum, as we did on our first arrival there (but we will be camping not hotel-ing). Will box our bikes, before flying to Nairobi on a Kenyan Airways flight, in the early hours of Sunday, 12th of February.
After riders briefing, we had an unofficial Section Presentation, presented by Paul Farrow, where both Judith and Liz from "Team RSA" received awards.
Judith was presented with the "Pacifier Award" (a floating trophy) for kicking her bike and using unsavory language after she had taken a tumble. While Liz was presented with the "Yellow Jersey Award" for being the most persistent rider over the last 6 day section.
It was Mark's (UK) birthday today, so we got chocolate cake with sauce after supper. Mark was also the Desert Sands Section Winner (narrowly beating Muzz by 7 minutes) so all in all, he had a great day today.
Although a bit of an anti-climax today, we are at the Ethiopian Border, but will not cross into Ethiopia, but go back to Khartoum.
More news & stories soon!
|Peter and Deborah back on tar|
|Basic roadside fracture mechanics (note mirror zone and hackle zone)|
|Muzz cycling in local attire assisting Andje with her puncture|
|Liz organizing water at our first Coke Stop|
|The ladies having some quality time|
|Trixie and Max - today's Sweep Rider|
|Austin needing some love and attention|
|Tea & Coffee being made|
|Coffee Waiter extraordinaire|
|Muzz explaining things to the locals|
|Today's lunch stop|
|Lunch Truck notice board|
Arriving at the coke stop between lunch and finish
|Lister Pump is both pumping water and running an electrical generator|
|Niklas keeping clean (I promised his Mother I would make sure he washed as often as possible)|
|Philip has developed his own form of yoga since cycling through Sudan|
|Liz repacking her holiday bag oblivious to those around her|
|Tomorrow's bus ride briefing board|
|Judith receiving the " Pacifier Award"|
|Liz receiving the "Yellow Jersey" for being the Sections most persistent / consistent rider|