3 nights and 2 rest days overlooking Gondar Ethiopia are the reward for a difficult 8 days. It began in the Sudan desert. We traveled off road through sand pits, washboard truck paths, portaged bikes across abandoned railroad bridges in disrepair, and finished with 2500 meters of climbing for the most vertical ascent we will see on the Tour d’Afrique.
It always strikes me how my mind prepares my body for just enough to get through the job, so while some weeks Im fine riding 100+ miles every day, or in the occasional case 300+ miles every day, averaging 62 can feel just as taxing.
Its been an eventful 8 days for me. On the race side, the notable news was my first up close meeting with pavement. What happened? Every so often we have what are called Mandatory days. These days are always included in your total for the tour, so no slacking off and using one of the 5 grace days. Also, time bonuses are up for grabs: 30 minutes for first, 20 minutes for second, and 10 for third. While TDA has only just begun, there is a greater intensity on these mando days.
On the eventful day it was a combination of a number of bad choices that had my front wheel to the right side of another’s wheel as he quickly swerved right to avoid a collision himself. The end result was road rash on my knee, shoulder and arm, some misaligned cockpit items, an inflamed mood, and most importantly an incredibly sore inner knee.
That knee is still troublesome and sore these many days later after nursing my way through some of the toughest days of the tour and ones I had hoped to make up some ground on. This is Africa.
3 days of getting bounced around on corrugated roads and banging my knee didn’t help the recovery, but each day the knee is getting a bit less sore. So I’m hopeful ill be back on form soon.