Monday, February 7, 2011

TdA Stage 19. A Few Firsts.

95km. Dindar Bush Camp to Village Bush Camp.

Corrugated dirt all day. And only one flat! Switching back to the schwalbe marathon tires was a good call. I lost a bit of control in the sand, but it beat getting loads of flats.

Only the first half of the day was a race (and I feel like I rocked it). The second half was 'casual' and I had some fantasies about how we would have a laid back chatty ride, but that fell apart quickly as the corrugation and sand separated us by bike type and technical skills. Young-Adam and I rode it together on our rigid bikes. We were hydrated (despite the intense heat), and our legs were fresh. But we just crawling along on account of our rattled arms. It was definitely not a stage for rigid bikes. 50kms of it, no problem. 95kms...different story.

I've had some long hard days on a mountain bike and done some bone rattling rides, but never have I felt the sort of pain in my forearms like I felt today. Every bump, every vibration was a shooting pain. It felt so strange to have the body and legs feeling so good and yet be almost unable to ride. My first tears of the trip came today. I'm sure that they won't be the last.

The stage took its toll on a few more people and the number who will EFI (that is, ride Every F'n Inch) continues to decrease. We have one more day of this before we get back to pavement. Then the hills begin! I hope that my arms can make it through tomorrow without long term damage. Really, I think it is beyond discomfort or strain; it is at the point of injury. They are swollen and it hurts to touch them. Agh! I wish that I knew how to make them better.

Having said that, I'm still really happy to be here. I knew that suffering would be part of it. That's one of the reasons that I chose this instead of a solo tour in the south of france (though, come to think of it, that would be a fabulous way to spend a few months after this trip is over).

The landscape has changed again and we are now out of the sandy desert and into the dirt and long dry grass. And there are small granite hills all around. It is beautiful. But, then, most of the camps have been beautiful in their own way.

One of the truck drivers bought a tank of water on a donkey from the village so that we could take mini showers. It was the first time that I've bathed under a hose connected to a donkey. All of the kids gathered around to watch, but we were too focused on washing up to care.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tori! I read your blog every evening. Great stuff ! I really enjoy reading about your experiences. My brother, Robert Knol, he's Dutch, is cycling through Sudan as well right now. He is trying to break the Guinness World Record: cycling from Cairo to Capetown in less than 80 days. He left Cairo 24 Jan. and is in Wadi Madani now (7 Feb). I don't think he's taking your corrugated route, he has to carry all his luggage, tools & spares himself ! He will go via Al Qadarif. You might see him in Doka or in Matema in the next few days.
Tori, good luck and enjoy it. Hope your arms will be okay !

February 7, 2011 at 2:57:00 PM MST  

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