Day 60. Stage 47, 157km
Start, Indaba Camp, Karen Nairobi
Finish, Namanga camp, Kenya
There were lots of smiles on faces this morning. Nairobi and Kenya were still quiet and we were back on our bikes. We had one day of cycling to the Tanzanian border and two days to Arusha. Today was long day: 157km. We had only cycled 1 day on the last 8, so the legs were a little forgetful and reluctant. The first 2okm were up and down steep hills as we made our way through a number of busy villages on the outskirts of Nairobi. We then took a left onto a road that would, in 35 km or so, connect us to the A2 and the road to the Tanzanian border. The trouble was, that while today’s rode had been billed as all tarmac and while we all had our skinny road tires on, this 35 of road that would connect us to the marvelous A2 was like the dark side of the moon. Where it was tarmac it was the worst pitted, potholed, lumpy tarmac I have ever experienced. Where it wasn’t tarmac, which was a lot of the time, it was some of the worst off road we had seen. The rough terrain broke the bracket that holds my pump onto the bike frame. It fell off into my crank I had to stop 5 times because my bottles flew out of the bottle cages. This had only happened twice on the very rough road from Moyale to Sololo – the road that broke my saddle. Needless to say, when I got the A2 at about km 55 I was very happy. All I could see was great tarmac as far as the horizon. The rest of the day was a really lovely ride. The landscape spectacular. I wasn’t too quick on the day. The legs needed a bit of coaxing. But it felt good to by riding.
Shortly after I got into to camp and just as I started to set up my tent the rain started. I quickly abandoned tent pitching and found shelter. Half an hour later the sun was back. But no sooner had I put up my tent and changed clothes than the sky opened again. This time it was serious. Large branches came off trees. One landed right on top of Hubert’s tent – luckily he was not in it. Flash floods swept through the camp kitchen, which had to be quickly moved to higher ground and under shelter. Drainage trenches were quickly dug. Great fun. An hour later we had the sun again. Welcome to the rainy season.
It was a long day for many – especially some of the new 20 riders who had joined us in Nairobi. A century and a tropical downpour on the first day was a stiff introduction to the tour. But it was a great day.