Day 91, stage 70, 152km
Start, Ruze Chalets
Finish, Zambezi Waterfront Lodge, Livingston
Today was meant to be an easy day – more down hill than up – into the valley of the Zambezi river and a two day break. But you always have to go up before you can go down. So up we went for the first 100km or so – nothing steep, probably only about 500 metres of climb over 100km, but up none-the-less. But then after that we had a marvelous trip down into the valley. It was another quick day. I spent about 5 hours in the saddle and averaged about 30km an hour over the 152km. This is quick for me. As a result we were in well before noon. So it felt like we had a three-day break instead of a two-day break.
Bob and I took a family chalet with Alex – three of us in a chalet with four beds. Lots of room, good facilities. We quickly got into the rest day rhythm – a variation of the race day rhythm – we had hot showers, cleaned and fixed the bikes (I put a new rotor on my front disk break, the original one was scratched and pitted and beginning to vibrate and lose breaking power), did laundry and went into Livingstone to stick up on drinks and snacks (we had a fridge in our chalet. Usually on rest days we do not ride out bikes at all. We walk. We take taxis. We give our saddle sores and legs some time to recover. But today we cycled into town. It was only 4 or 5km to ShopRite. It was flat. It was a lovely day. We locked our bikes to a post out front of the shops, went in and filled our backpacks with junk. When we came out our bikes were surrounded by a small group of interested guys. This often happens. Lots of questions. Incredulity. A great conversation starter.
Next to the Waterfront Lodge where we are staying is the David Lingstone Lodge – a very posh place. The lodges are separated by an 8-foot tall electrified fence. But halfway down the fence, if you follow a pathway through the garden of the Waterfront Lodge, you come across a gate that lets you into the David Livingstone. We went over and asked to see the dinner menu. It looked great – and expensive. Four of us decided to splash out and returned there for dinner oater that evening. It was tremendous, the service was spot on, and the wines were great. Forget Cape Town, we could have been in Paris – except we were sitting on the banks of the Zambezi River.
Bob has now finished two sections of the tour and about 2000km. Dinner at the David Livingstone was a great way to celebrate – and to prepare for his final section into Windhoek.