Day 5 – 123km
Start – Safaga – Hotel Nemo
Finish – desert camp 40km east of Qena
Today we really felt like the Tour had begun. We began with a long, gradual 40km climb out of Safaga and into a headwind and the hills separating the Red Sea from the Nile. I cycled with Bridget, who leads the women’s race. We pedaled a steady but not fast pace and reached the summit in about 2 hours, a good time for me, probably a bit slow for Bridget. We then went down for 6 kilometers only to be faced with another 10km of sustained climb.
I made the mistake of not eating much for lunch. It was early and I wasn’t hungry so I just had a few slices of orange and a piece of cheese. With thirty km to go my stomach started to growl loudly. The last 20 km were back into the wind. So when I got into camp about 12:20 I was hungry. The normal routine is that we have soup when we come in off the road and then dinner around 6. But today soup wasn’t ready until about 2. Fortunately I had purchased a few snickers bars in Safaga. My stomach was grateful.
We camped in the desert again, this time by a well, so there were a few trees for shade and far less wind.
Everyone is getting used to the camp routine by now. Set up the tents. Change and wash. Soup. Attend to the bike if it needs it. Rest, read or chat for a while. Some play cards. Wander off into the desert. Dinner and bed. All good.
Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.