Friday, May 6, 2011

TdA Stage 88. Making History

172km. Canon Roadside Lodge to Orange River Camp.
Mostly dirt roads today. For most of it, there were no power lines or anything to spoil the landscape. It was amazing. I've said it before, but I really do love Namibia.
I stopped to help another rider with a mechanical failure; a seized jockey wheel. I have zero experience with such issues; however, I managed to look like I had a clue long enough to figure it out (after dropping the ball bearings in the dirt about 40 times).
Afterward, realizing that there may never be an opportunity to do it, Carrie and I decided to take on the Naked Mile. Yeah, it is exactly what it sounds like. There is no official organization to this challenge; still, it has become a TdA tradition and, in my typical fashion, I want to take in ALL of the experiences available.
With nobody else in sight, we stripped down (keeping our helmets on, of course) and started pedalling. Nobody around, nothing to lose. At first, we went for just one kilometre. Discovering that it was ok (and rather fun), we decided to keep going. Two kilometres. Three kilometres.
Recalling that the record was ten, we set out to make history. A few tourists passed us in their land cruisers (damn, those guys are sure quick with their cameras!), but we kept going. And, wouldn't you know, at 9.5kms we spot our support vehicles.
Did we stop? Hell no.
By the time that we were out of sight of our support vehicles, we found that we had ridden into a shanty town. From nobody around, to everybody around. We tried to be stealthy and hope that we could roll through unnoticed. Not possible. I guess that not many cyclists roll down this road.
Once we were through the shanty town, the traffic picked up. First, a truck full of workmen. Next, a couple of trucks. They came in one direction and then turned around and went in the other. It was at this point when we finally opted to put our clothes back on. 20.5 kilometres. Naked. In the Namib Desert. Beat that!
Our final 30kms into camp was tough, with a brutal headwind. Carrie and I both ran out of water fairly early (and fairly coincidentally with riding past our support trucks. Oops!). The price that we pay to make history.


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