Three Months into the Tour d’Afrique; the Pressure’s on.

If all goes well, on May 10th we will be riding  into Cape Town.  These last three months have been some of the most difficult and challenging times of our life.

Dave and I do tend to put a lot of pressure on our selves though.  He is still one of the few hanging on to EFI (riding every fabulous inch) and I am still trying to hang on to my race lead.  A lead that keeps diminishing, because they can't seem to get the times figured out.  I was 20 hours ahead going into the previous section.  I have gained 3 hours so far this section, but when they posted the times yesterday, I had lost 5 and now I am 15 hours ahead.  How can a company that calls itself the world’s longest bike race not get their times right.  It is very frustrating.

The distances are becoming insane.  195km, 205km, 187km.. How do a bunch of amateurs maintain this mileage?
A lot of people have actually decided not to.  Some are taking off to explore the country or go ahead to the next city that we have our rest day to relax.  Others have simply chosen to ride their bikes for half a day and hop on the trucks after lunch to enjoy the view.
Not Dave and I, we came here to ride and we are going to ride whether we like it or not!

5:30 comes early, but the days are becoming so hot that we have to leave before 7:00 to beat the heat.  Some days the hills are just too much.  My legs ache and I complain often that I just won’t be able to finish.  Dave replies that I have been saying this for 3 months and I always finish.

My leg has pretty much healed.  The sore is still there and it is hard to keep the flies off. I am paranoid about them laying eggs in the wound, since other people have told me their experiences.  But I am over reacting.  The pain is gone, but I have definitely lost strength.  Dave said that he can see the difference between my two legs when I ride.
Dave is staying healthy and strong and I marvel at how easy he makes it all look.  He says he is suffering, but I don’t see it.  Unless you count his never ending gas.

I have accepted the fact that I zipped through the continent.  To come to the TDA and think that you are actually going to have the time to experience the culture is completely naïve.  People here will argue with me, but we are all just a travelling western society staying in camps that fence out the locals.  A 10 min break at a coke stop does not make you a person who really got to know the areas that you have traveled through and 1 day off in 7, doesn’t exactly give you the chance to make up for lost time.
But I have accepted that.  Seriously.

This is the ultimate test in human endurance.  We push ourselves to the max everyday, and to make it to Cape Town after all that we have been through will be extremely rewarding.  We aren’t pampered with masseurs like participants in the Tour de France.  We set up our tents in the blinding sun after each ride trying to avoid the ants and compete with other riders for the shady spot to wait out the afternoon.  We sit on little stools that fall apart as we eat our meal and fight for the small amount of second helpings that are left.  Then we go to bed and listen to the locals party all night while we pray for silence so we can get at least a couple of hours to regain our energy.

I am O.K. with all of this because this is what I signed up for; too suffer.  I thought it would be fun to test myself, but I realize that suffering isn’t fun.  The TDA could do a lot more to ease our suffering, but that is for another blog.
But for now… let’s just say it needs some competition in the market.

We are in Lusaka for our rest day and we are going to experience some real Zambian culture by eating at Subway and catching a blockbuster movie with a big bag of popcorn in hand.

Ahh, this is our African experience.

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