Three countries down and now the Tour d’Afrique is in Kenya. It is really exciting to be in a new country, with new people and a different language. The scenery has changed too – and we had mist this morning – made us all quite giddy.
We have also had lots of days in the dirt since we crossed the border. The first day was definitely the most fun riding I have had since we started. We were on a dirt road which runs from the border to Ethiopia but which is largely deserted – so no kids to contend with. The temperature was only in the 40s, and best of all, we found some off road.
For 25km after lunch, we left the ruts and followed a goat track on hard red clay. It was great – no corrugation to cheesegrate your bottom, red hillocks to swoosh over, and lots of last minute swerves to avoid the vicious thorn trees. Also, we saw lot of wildlife. Little Dik Dik deer careered across the path, blazing blue birds of paradise and a big pile of porcupine quills but no porcupine.
Then we hit the two most difficult days’ riding of the Tour. The Lava road to Marsabit. Two days of about 86 km each, which hurt everyone a lot. We were riding across a huge lava plain covered in black rock, with the volcanoes in the background. Extremely hot, with no shade but most of all, a vicious road surface. Corrugation, gravel, ruts, stones, sand, headwind and no respite.
It took me 10 hours to do 86km on the first day – blood, sweat and possibly even some tears but I couldn’t really tell amongst the general pain . I was really proud I managed it. The second one I just didn’t have the balls for (sad but true!) – and with 25 others – rode the truck. Another 12 hopped on at lunch or after . Only 2 girls made it out of the group. Our Alpha uber-racer the fabulous Tori and the equally fabulous Carrie. But Ruth has to have a big commendation – she rode 12 hours until she finally had to give up – but only because it was dark. She got to 70km. Brilliant effort by every single person that completed!
Later, I wrote a book about it. Dodging Elephants is available here.