You’re joking

Day 29, Stage 23, 107km

Start, Village camp

Finish, Goha Hotel, Gondar

2500 metres of climb today over 107km. I have not climbed that much in a single ride ever. The prize at the end is Gondar, a hotel room and two rest days. Just got to get there.

The scenery was spectacular, mountains, switchbacks, cayons.  The riding was punishing, continually up for the first 35km, with some very steep gradients. I felt ok at the beginning but didn’t pace myself well enough. By km 24 I was suffering a bit as we hit yet another increase in gradient. I got off and walked for about three hundred metres while taking in a litre bottle full of fluid. I got back on and pedaled again sfor a while until I hit a really steep set of switchbacks. I walked again. By this point I was really wondering if I had cracked and if this was it. I still had about 70 km to go and I was walking. But my legs welcomed the short walk and when I got back on I carried on to the summit. We than had a glorious bobsled ride down for a dozen kilometres into a valley. This brought some life back into me. After stopping for lunch at the 60km mark, although tired, I began to feel a little more optimistic. Less than 50km to go. I set off from lunch with Jan at a pace that I felt would allow me to conserve enough energy to finish. After only 7 or 8km we came across a group of people surrounding one of our riders on the side of the road. Heat exhaustion. His day was over. The medic soon arrived, put him on a drip and whisked him into Gondar. We got back on our bikes. I cycled the rest of the way with Michael Howard.

I still had doubts about making it until we had less than 20km to go. Then I think the adrenalin carried me through. We cylced about a dozen km through town in an almost euphoric mood, and in spite of a criminally steep climb to our hilltop hotel, made it to the end. We had survived.

Among the survivors, the mood was electric.  The beer was cold. The cheeseburger was huge.

5 responses to “You’re joking

  1. Way to go Alan!! We’re exhausted just READING you! Sounds like you need a coca cola sponsor though….. enjoy your rest days! You’re an inspiration. Denise

  2. Great adventure and great stories, Alan. Sande is of the opinion that I would not have been able to make it through Sudan, and perhaps she’s right. We’re cheering from the sidelines.

  3. Way to go Alan!! The thought of cycling more than 100kms in one day sounds daunting enough….but to also climb 2500 metres?. Holy crap….Simply amazed at what you have achieved so far!! I hope you have a lot more sweet downhill rides to come.

  4. Murray McLauchlan

    Hey Alan! You have an advantage at sixty because you have that slow twitch muscle response thing going for you now. You may not go as fast as the youngsters but you can last a lot longer! We’re in Italy for three months and following your progress with encouragement and enthusiasm. Just stay away from green meat and you’ll be good brother! To Capetown!!

  5. You are doing an amazing job! I was a little worried when I saw you had a couple of pretty long days…I was trying to guess the reasons; multiple puntures, lost, fallen off bike, frequent coke stops, but I wasn’t expecting cross country hiking while carrying a bike! Oh the places you will go. Keep up the smart pacing both physically and mentally.

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