Today we have 170 km to ride, with 770 metres of climbing and 990 metres of descent.
To start off with we have to go back down the horrid dirt track, of which 2 km is not rideable then the 3 km bumpy sandy stretch to the main road. This 5 km took nearly three quarters of an hour. Then we were straight into the rush hour traffic. The Lunch truck left camp at the same time I did and I caught up with it at about 22 km traffic was so bad.
There were cars and vans everywhere, plus other cyclists, trucks and buses. Cars and vans came darting through lines of traffic and the shoulder kept disappearing! There were lots of fumes, overall not at all an enjoyable two hours to get to 30 km and out of the traffic. After this it was easy riding until 70 km with good shoulders and pretty flat.
At 70 km there was a tight turn and the road surface was much rougher plus there were a few climbs until lunch at 90 km.
I have not mentioned so far but the whole time I have been riding in Africa there are numerous police checkpoints, where trucks and vans are stopped. They cause a problem as you have to navigate through the line and hope no vans suddenly pop out. They are checking that vehicles have insurance, you have to show your policy, and that drivers are wearing appropriate footwear, plus I am sure driver hours and other things.
The other common sight is where there are broken down trucks, rows of branches are put across the road to warn the oncoming drivers. Often you see the drivers lying under the truck to keep cool while they are waiting for parts.
After lunch I found it very tough going 100 to 120 km with climbing.
After 120 to 155 there wasn’t much climbing but not such a great surface and lots of big pot holes. It was very hot and a couple of trucks came way too close. There was the usual over taking vehicles on both sides of the road coming straight at you, and I had to get off the road a couple of times.
I caught up with Carl and Fitz in a town at 138 km and had a drink with them and rode with them to Camp.
Carl is from Perth, this is his first TDA ride but he has done numerous self-supported rides around the world and this is his 6th trip to Africa. Carl was born in NZ.
Fitz lives in China with his wife and their golden retriever, Lucy. Fitz has a son and a daughter, so far no grandchildren. Fitz is originally from Canada. This is Fitz’s first TDA ride but he has also done numerous self-supported rides around the world.
The plan when Fitz retired in 2016 was to live in both China and Hong Kong, but this wouldn’t work with Lucy so they stay in Sanya in China. Sanya is by the sea and Fitz says it’s like living in paradise.
Fitz and Carl drink Wildcat energy and have been nicknamed the Wildcats by Jerome, one of the other riders, and the name has stuck. Wolfgang rides with 2 other riders and they are nicknamed the Wolf Pack. Two riders Phil (NZ) and Tom (Thailand) have number 2 haircuts, they are nicknamed the bald eagles, and finally Alex, Lucy (from England) and Nick (from Ireland) are called the Adventure Club as they go off on side trips for a day or two here and there.
At 160 km it started to pour down, thankfully I always have my wet weather gear packed. It poured all the way to camp and until just after dinner.
My gloves are soaked as I didn’t think to take them off, and my shoes are also wet. Brett showed me a great trick of how to put up the outside awning of my tent up first, and then the inner awning second to keep it dry. A very handy trick in the pouring rain.
The locals are not deterred by rain. There are numerous children splashing about on the paddock with a ball, and a group of locals selling beer and chippies (potato chips).
Dinner was vegetarian lasagna which was delicious, followed by a nice hot cup of tea.
Hopefully it is fine tomorrow.