Botswana - Namibia
Day 100 - Apr 22 - Stage 70
Saturday: Today was Day 100. In Km's, the longest day of the Tour by far. Our previous best had been 186km and today's distance was to be a long 208km ride, and it would be a new personal best by 22km if achieved.
Everyone was up and having breakfast at the crack of dawn, and there was a definite sense of urgency and nervousness among the Riders as they ate their breakfast and prepared to move off & out of Camp.
I rode with Philip, we left Thakadu Camp as early as we could, but had to negotiate a 3km stretch of sand before reaching the tar road. This took approximately 30minutes as we had to walk through large sections of thick sand (didn't want to repeat the fall I had coming in yesterday).
The ride started off relatively well, and at the 42km mark we turned right onto the Trans Kalahari Highway, and headed for the Botswana/Namibia Border. However, we soon encountered a strong head wind, which was followed by light cold rain.
After lunch at the 80km mark, the rain intensified and it started to pour down quite hard. Combined with the headwind, the wind-chill factor increased, the temperature went down as low as 12 degrees & did not rise higher than 15 degrees on the day.
20km from the Border at the 188km mark, due to the overcast conditions, we lost the light and were picked up by Tallis in the Cruiser. It had become just too dangerous to cycle in the poor light and pouring rain - especially with the big trucks which were kicking up immense amounts of rain as they sped past us.
As a consequence, both Philip and I lost our Botswana-EFI by a miserly 20km!! In retrospect we could have carried on, but we would have been cycling in very dangerous conditions, and TDA do insist on putting our safety first.
A few moments later & at Immigration, Philip had to fill out my form, as I was just shivering so much from the cold as well as being slightly disorientated. Crossed out of Botswana, but in no-mans land between Botswana and Namibia, I fell off my bike, as I hit a large (yet hard to see) water-filled pothole, injuring my right elbow, hip and knee (only my third serious crash of the whole tour).
I passed through Namibian Immigration without any hassles, crossed into Namibia and went straight to Camp (only 500m from the Border) to have my wounds dressed. Fortunately no major injuries, only some blood tattoo's. But here is a quandary, because I fell in no-mans land, do I claim a Botswana or a Namibian Tattoo, or do I credit both Countries??
In Namibia, we were staying at Eastgate, just the other side of the Border, where the Treloars usually stay when travelling from Johannesburg to Windhoek by vehicle. The current cycling route has now become quite recognizable for both Judith and I. Everyone and everything had been drenched in the rain as before on Day 95, so almost all riders opted for rooms.
Due to my injuries, I will make a decision to cycle or not in the morning (Additionally, I also have a large number of loose rear wheel spokes). Time will tell.
|Due to the long 208 km distance breakfast was held early than usual|
|Riders regroup on the tar road after the 3 km sand road section before departing on the days 208 km ride|
|Turned right onto the Trans Kalahari Highway and headed off to our next Country|
|Riders recuperating after their rain affected ride at the Eastgate Camp Coffee Shop|