Day 67, Stage 51, 119km
Start, Finish, Katesh, Summit Hotel
Finish, Puma camp
Today was out last day on tarmac before the off road section began. Since it was not a long day it was the last ‘easy’ day before we descended into hell – or at least purgatory, we did expect to return to the surface at some point. There was no rain today so it was really a very pleasant ride – spectacular scenery, fantastic. I had not been to the middle belt of Tanzania before. It is really beautiful country, fertile, not too hot, rolling hills.
Today we camped in the bush – not near a village or a hotel. But somehow dozens of kids materialized to stand and watch just outside the magic red rope. Where do they come from?
One of our riders was not so fortunate today. Mid afternoon I saw him sitting in a Land Cruiser with a number of people around it. He had had a fall, been picked up, and the medical team were now responding. A kilometer and a half from camp a bee or a wasp had flown into his unzipped shirt. He apparently tried to swat it and lost control of his bike. He was unable to unclip his peddles as he fell and came down hard. The medical team put him on a traction board and cleared the back of the Land Cruiser to use as an ambulance. Fortunately there was a mission hospital only 6 km back with two German Doctors on staff. Unfortunately he had a broken pelvis and three broken ribs. It could have been worse. There was no harm to his back. But his Tour was over and he would eventually be evacuated home. This was quite sobering for everybody. Another rider had fallen and broken an arm coming out of Namanga just a short while before. Another rider with us had come back to finish sections he had missed last year because he had fallen and broken a hip in Kenya. It is so easy to lose concentration or become a little complacent when you are tired. But anything can happen – a wasp, a rock, a goat, a pothole.
It rained again tonight. It was a wet world with rampaging green.