Day 76 - Mar 29 - Stage 52
Wednesday: Woke up still suffering from gout (same as yesterday) in my right knee, so we decided since the majority of the climbing was in the first part of the day, to take the Lunch Truck in the morning to the lunch position, and then to ride from there, to the next Camp at Luviri School (Soccer Field).
This proved to be a very prudent decision as it was raining when we left Mzuzu and the riders had to face a strong headwind, which when combined with the wind-chill-factor, brought the temperature down to about 12-degrees and/or lower. This caused quite a few of the riders to abandon, some suffering from hypothermia, before even reaching the lunch position.
When we, and a few others who are 'recovering', arrived on the Truck at the lunch position, 70km from the start, I helped the TDA guys to erect the tarpaulin and set up the tables, while Judith assisted with the preparation of the salads.
However we soon realized that the Truck had stopped in an area where there was the possibility of finding some Manganese Pseudo-morph Pyrite Crystals (AKA "black diamonds") ! So we started examining the ground and we were pleasantly rewarded by finding some crystals, which we couldn't actually identify... so we will have to get them identified properly when back in South Africa. Of course, due to our rock-hounding diversion, we left the lunch position later than planned.
We cycled the remaining 54km to Camp, but started in heavy mist and rain, which fortunately (as the ride progressed) cleared somewhat with the viability getting better.
We arrived at Camp after only being overtaken by three of the racing snakes, but on arrival it was already looking like a tent town, since a lot of riders had abandoned and had been picked up by the Main Truck and Tallis's bakkie (his 4x4 pick-up).
A few of us took a walk to the local market, but the locals were not that friendly, especially since we tried to take some photographs (In fact they were quite pissed off that we took photos!). So I soon left and walked back to Camp, what is it with the Malawians?
Leo the Bike Mechanic fixed my rear rim, the rear cones needed tightening & bearing's leaned + greased. Also, some of the spokes needed to be realigned and tightened. My heavy frame (my body that is, not the bike frame itself) and the many rumble strips encountered on the Malawian roads, are just not compatible with smooth riding.
It was an evening without beers, as I was trying to cure my bout of gout (not that it was alcohol induced?). The staff gave us a very lekker (great) braai - then it was off to bed early.
It rained heavily during the night, but our tent erection skills and rain-proofing strategies are finally paying off, and we tend to keep relatively dry. Long may that last.
|Judith assisting with the salads for today's lunch|
|Departing the Lunch Truck in heavy mist|
|Someone had a Big Oop's Moment !! along the side of the road|
|Locals selling pink & orange mushrooms on the side of the road|
Judith pointing out the great Malawian rock formations
|Arrival at Luviri School Soccer Field|
|Our unidentified Lunch Truck crystals|
|Organised chaos at the Luviri Market|
|"Kom ons gaan nou lekker braai" (lets have a good barbecue now)|
|Bikes huddling together discussing the days ride|
|Some Riders relaxing playing cards|
|Others relaxing playing an African board game|
|While others fix their punctures (Kyle Cosmo)|
|This evening's Briefing was given by Wynand|
Four hungry Riders behaving nicely & waiting for their supper to arrive...
|Stage 53 cming up - Luviri School to Kasungu|
|Malawian sunset after an eventful day|