I have had a few good rides this week but the toughest was undoubtedly the Pande Forest Loop yesterday – a 70 km ride with 50 km off road and well over 1000 metres of climb in the hills of the Pande Forest behind Dar Es Salaam. I went with Chris and Dan. Chris had a full suspension mountain bike. Dan was also on a mountain bike. I was on my hybrid with the 1.35 road tires. Not the best choice. The off road bits were very technical. Lots of sand. Lots of deep ruts and gullies, including one crevice about two feet wide, ten feet deep and forty feet long at the side of a single track. Lots of branches and thorns. Lots of very steep descents followed by equally steep ascents. Many must have been 15 degrees plus. It was grueling. The whole ride took 5 hours. I lost most of my time going down the hills. With the steepness and the sand I was afraid of wiping out on my narrow tires. Chris and Dan had no such fears. They blasted down the hills like kids leaving the classroom on the last day of school. I felt like the teacher, worn out at the end of a long year, trying to maintain my decorum and not collapse in a heap. I did find out that the hybrid can do these very technical tracks but not with any speed. So do I need to rethink my choice of a cyclo cross bike for the TdA? Should I get a hard tail? Shit. Thought I had made my decision. Off on an easier but longer ride to South Beach tomorrow.
Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.