Day 42, stage 32, 122km

Start, Gogetti camp

Finish, school for the deaf, Hosaina


Today was a much tougher day than yesterday, over 1650 metres of climb (only 1250 yesterday) with some long and steep sections. It was very much a head down, grinder, keep the pedals turning kind of day. It is also getting hotter. I am drinking lots of fluids and taking as many coke stops as I can – this usually means one before lunch and another one or two after lunch. And when I hit a coke stop I don’t just have one. The first one, warm or cold, it doesn’t matter, hardly touches my throat. The next one I sometimes taste. Increasingly I am having a third. All of this fluid doesn’t seem to make much of an impact. I am as thirsty when I leave as when I stop. I find I am drinking 6 or 7 sodas a day. The sugar boosts the energy for a bit but not for long.

Once again the camp was on cracked earth. Where ever we travel we are a bit of circus – big overland vehicles, more than 50 riders. At the school for the deaf camp we were theatre. In Ethiopia our camps are always surrounded by a red rope. It acts like magic. People always gather to watch us. The red rope is the barrier. We are inside. They are outside. Without any instructions, it works. People compete for ring side standing room only space outside the rope and stand and watch us for hours. It is truly bizarre. And the curious think is that they are completely docile. No aggression. No hysterical ‘money, money, money’ chants. No rocks and sticks. Just a silent audience for a reality tv like spectacle. The deaf kids were no different. We were camped in the middle of their school. They then surrounded us and stared.

Vince and I went into town. It was a couple of km away and up a bog hill so we took a tuk tuk. We were in search of cold drinks and chocolate. Found both. Most people stay in camp after we arrive. Vince and I usually go for a walk or loo for a nearby town or village. The drinks are usually cold not warm and half the price. And today we found some chocolate bars. I hadn’t had chocolate in quite a while and as many people know, chocolate is a staple part of my diet. I did four local chocolate bars I about 3 minutes. Couldn’t find any peanuts though. Have been craving peanuts lately.

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