Rod ...one cyclist back
The Dynamic duo are still in the race. Everytime I think I have it tough I just have to think of a 12000km race in Africa.
This is what you call living the dream ....
We are in Khartoum, Sudan. You may not realise but Sudan is a dry country - no alcohol. So you all may be surprised that Rod had his first drink of the tour in Sudan. After Khartoum there are seven solid (dirt & hills) days of riding before the next rest day in Ethiopia. We have been told that the internet is questionable in Ethiopia so do not panic if it takes awhile to hear from us again.
Jan 31 - 139k, 4:21. Rode from Dongola to Dead Camel Camp. Yes, the camp had three dead and dried out camels in it. The race today was fairly uneventful, Gizzy and Juliana rode together while the fast boys put some time on us. It is fricking dry and not a plant anywhere - just sand.
Feb 1 - 144k, 4:12. Rode to another desert camp. The heat was oppressive today, the group all stopped together at a roadside shop for a "cola". The air actually hurts which is weird because it is not crazy hot only in the low 40'sC - maybe it is the hot sand hitting the flesh. While the group was in camp, huddle in the only shade for miles, a local rolled up in his nice Toyota Landcruiser and chated away with us. Invitied us all to his place in Khartoum for cofee, I gave him and his posseysome water. The girls race went unchanged but I have put some time into Gilles and Dan S. has put time into both Stewart and myself.
Feb 2 - 147k, 3:56. Rode to another desert camp near a check point. The check point meant we could all get some "cola" but the camp itself was sandy, windy and hot. Rod rode sick today, breakfast did not agree with him so there was some puking - fun times. Again the girls rode together so not much change there - it is worth noting that the timeing system is only tracking the minutes so it is possible for two rides to ride together - clock a time of 3:56:05 and 3:55:59 - resulting in one riding gaining a minute. I believe this may have happened over the last few days with Gizzy and Juliana. So Gizzy is just 1 mintue behind Juliana. There is sand everywhere. Also, if you are ever in a desert sand and you take "the shovel for a walk" (toilet time), unless you walk for 5km the camp can still see you and if you face away from the camp they camp see your ass. Proper etiquette is either walk 10km away from camp or face camp while squatting so that if someone accidently glances up they see you grunting face not your barking butt.
Feb 3 - Happy Birthday Justine. 20k TT, then 46k road race, then 40k neutral section into and through Khartoum. The time trial was ok - hard but ok. The times to be posted are off but it does not matter because the time to lunch was the time that counts for the full tour. Rod did 20k in 31:59 and Juliana did 33:28. Ok crew before you go off the hook with the great times we have been posted the last couple of days, you have got to now we have had a crazy tailwind since Dongola.
So, Juliana has won this section for the women - yah!! Rod is in fifth overall - yah! We are both starting to feel the fatigue building - tired and hungry all the time, Rod's mood is not great and we (like most of the camp) are fighting a cold. Starting tomorrow we will change our riding to become much easier and let Gizzy and the other racers go. If we feel like this when the hills start it'll be bad. Oh ya, I was told what one of the climbs was like: 6-7% for 22km.
Juliana's tendonitis fine gone - the seat was too high. Both of our guts are fine - at the moment. We just have a cold, nothing to worry about.
Rod and Juliana