4 Days in the desert and 544km later and we have arrived in Safaga, Egypt. No it is not a rest day, we just rode our butt's off to get here early to enjoy this little scenic town on the Red Sea. It caused a little bit of excitement to finally be able to take a shower and wash some clothes. The past few days have been very sandy, windy and quite cold at night. We splurged on the $32 U.S. for a hotel room and it is heaven.
So let me update you on our week, because we haven't spoken to you in a little while….
We left Cairo on January 12th, from the pyramids with our police escort. It was beautiful approaching them during sunrise with the camels in the foreground. It was another brisk morning, so we only stopped for a few minutes for photo's at the start line and then we were off like a heard of turtles (as my dad would say). It wasn't exactly a fast pace, we were in a convoy for the first 15km until we hit the highway and that was when we could really let loose. Cars were racing past as we all biked on the side of the road and it was pretty thrilling. Dave almost was hit by a car, thank God I wasn't there to see it or I would have had a heart attack. We were making pretty good time until we turned off the highway and started our climb into a head wind. We had heard that previous years have been tail winds all the way, but of course the year we do it, it is straight in to the wind. To give and idea, the racers did this stage in 3 hours last year, this year they finished in 6hrs. Ugh. It was a long and difficult day that took me two days to recover from. Only today am I feeling back to my old self.
As for our riding, we both managed to finish day one which ended up being pretty cool. Apparently a lot of people had to take the bus after lunch, or were picked up as it was getting to dark to ride. We made it in in 8 hrs and 3 minutes. But, like I said it took its toll and I had a couple of rough days ahead of me. Dave has managed to do amazingly well, he is making the riding look easy. On day 2, he came in only 20 minutes behind the lead racers. Considering there is a mountain bike champion from Austria, an elite rider who is only one step away from the Tour de France, the Egyptian National Team as well as the other incredible riders that we will tell you more about as we go, it is just cool to be riding along side them.
I have been suffering from terrible chest congestion, and it is a real challenge to get myself out of my warm sleeping bag to ride 100k each day, but things are looking up. We had a nice tail wind today and managed to ride 110km in 4.04 hours. Dave has been hanging back with me to keep my spirits high. What an amazing man I have married. Yesterday I had my worst day ever cycling with congestion, sore knees, and of course a really sore bum. But he chatted away and stayed beside me the whole time, I couldn't believe how much I complained, but he just smiled and said, I love you and made everything better.
I have to say, we have been pretty far in to the interior of Egypt and now we have road from Cairo to the Suez and all along the Red Sea and I can't get over how much sand is in this country. It really is a country of sand, I can't imagine what it is like to live here. It was so great to pull up to Safaga today just to see some greenery.
We start climbing hills tomorrow and from what I hear, it is tough. Janet Alexander is back again this year and she is awesome. She is racing ahead with the guys and is amazing. She was winning the race last year, when she fell while walking, not cycling and broke her wrist. She decided to come back and ride the parts that she didn't get to ride last year and it is great to get the inside scoop of what lies ahead for us. If the wind is at our back, all will be well. Lets hope for the best.
Everyone on this trip is wicked. Great riders and friendly people that are really inspiring me to pull up my pants and ride hard. We have a rest day in two days in Luxor and are looking forward to seeing the Valley of the Kings and taking a Felucca ride on the Nile. Oh life is tough.
We are writing an article for the Toronto Star, so look out for that. We are submitting it in Luxor, so I don't know when it is going to be published, we will keep you posted. Juggling the internet, articles, photography and video is a little tough at the moment, since all we want to do when we get to camp is sleep, but as soon as our legs are stronger and our seats are broken in, I am sure that we will get better at putting it all together.
Talk to you in Luxor.