Kenya was a bit of a damp squib. It sort of didn’t happen. The election got in the way. But the election was a bit of a damp squib as well. No fireworks. We only cycled 4 of the 10 days we should have cycled in Kenya, which means we didn’t do about 600km. That’s about 5% of the Tour so quite significant. There was a mixture of relief and regret – relief at having a little more time to recover and not having to ride a few tough off road days, mixed with the regret that even if we are EFI we will know that we haven’t really done the full Tour.
Kenya itself has been quiet and very welcoming, a pleasant change of attitude after Ethiopia. People were perhaps on best behavior because of the election. Kenya does have a history of election violence but most Kenyans appear to have taken to heart the need to change. We will have to wait to see what happens.
The bike continues to work well. I did break my saddle on the rough off road stage from Moyale to Sololo and have to ride the last 26km with no seat. But luckily I had brought a spare. It is not quite the same shape but I have now done several hundred kilometres on the new saddle and have been comfortable. I also changed the bar tape in Kenya, from the original dark tan that matched the original saddle to a bright pumpkin orange. The original bar tape had lost all of its cushion and was torn in a number of places. I had also lost the bard end caps on both sides. So it looks like a new bike with its black seat and orange bar tape. I also now have a new rear derailleur (a 105 with mid-sized cage) that I will put on when I get back to Arusha. The fix that the mechanics did to the bent derailleur has served me well. While changing gears was often fiddly and never smooth, I never lost functionality and always had the full range of gears available.
All I can do is knock on wood. So far I have been healthy and have gained in fitness. I have lost about 7kg without the aid of AIDS. The zinc ointment has healed my sunburned lip. I have not had to use any chamois cream (just a tough old ass). And the infection I had in my leg after I fell cleared up long ago. The only niggle is the ulna nerve trauma in my right arm. My right hand is still weak so I use a knife and fork like a Neanderthal but that will go away with time.
I am happy and enjoying the Tour. It has been great to come home. It will be great to finish the Tour. Liz asked if I had thought about what I would do when the Tour finishes. I had to admit that I hadn’t really thought about it. There is lots of time to think and reflect when you are cycling, but I must admit that I have mostly been thinking about all tings related to the ride – how is the body working, how is the bike working, what is happening in the country around me, how are the others doing, what’s for dinner.
But now that the first half is over and we are counting days left rather than days gone it is inevitable that we will start thinking about what comes next and assimilating the experience of the Tour. All I know right now is that my next holiday starts on June 13 when we fly to the UK for a summer holiday with the kids. It’s going to be tough.