Saturday, February 26, 2011

TdA Stage 34. Race Heats Up.

105km. Bush Camp to Arba Minch.

This was, by far, the most bizarre day of riding that we have had so far. Instead of kids with rocks and sticks, it was kids with stones, foam balls and machetes. I saw a bull fight in the middle of the road. There was a child with a baby monkey on the end of his arm waving it in our faces as we rode by. There were adolescent boys cheering naked by a stream. There was another group of adolescents with their pants down at the side of the road masturbating.

It was a fun mix of pavement and off-road, which meant that the relative strengths and weaknesses of the other riders was more pronounced. The first and second place spots are held by two guys that have very different strengths and very different backgrounds. There's an age difference, which could go either way in terms of advantage/disadvantage. Youth is good for recovery. Age is good for endurance. There's also an experience difference; a roadie and a mountain biker. So far, the terrain has favoured the roadie. But, we have three time bonus days coming up and I think that all of them are off road. I could see the possibility that the guy in second place takes all three time bonuses and closes the gap. It should make for a more interesting race if he can do it. It could be a turning point for the race!

Our camp is well situated on the grounds of a hotel overlooking a red lake and a blue lake (names yet to be determined). Unfortunately, the campsite is crowded with baboons, and the hotel doesn't appear to have electricity or water. I had initially envisioned getting a bunch of chores done today so that I could take a taxi to a nearby town to see Nancy and Bob (family friends in a nearby town). But, at this pace, it will take all of today and tomorrow to gear up for what is supposed to be one of the hardest weeks of the trip - heading into northern Kenya.Oh, and the zipper on my tent has finally completely failed. That aught to be handy with the baboons and mosquitos.


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