Day 102, stage 78, 207km
Start, something lodge ganzi
Finish, east gate rest camp, Namibia
Today was the day we had all been waiting for. If the wind was favourable it would be as close to a doddle as a 207km ride could be. If the wind was not favourable it could be any flavor or dire from punishing to suicide inducing. It was also very, very cold. When Bob and I set off at around 6:45 it was still only 3C. We could not feel our fingers or toes. But we didn’t want to delay out start.
Apart from being cold the wind was not out to kill this morning. It was a cross wind slightly on the nose, hard work but low spectrum pain threshold stuff. By forty kilometres it was starting to warm up and we took a right hand turn onto the road to Namibia. This was marvelous. It meant that a cross wind was now almost a tail wind. We felt the assist immediately and picked up the pace. We made goodtime to lunch at the 85km mark. But were disappointed at the news there. In Botswana there are very few towns and very few places to stop for a cold beverage of choice. We had not passed anything but repetitive and anonymous bush in the first 85k. But we had been told at the briefing the evening before that there was a Station at km 114 where cold drinks could be had. At lunch this mirage evaporated. We were told that the Shell station was no more. It had closed. Cold drinks were not to be had. The next opportunity for a pit stop would be at km 150 where the TdA Land Cruiser would have refreshments. So another 65 empty kilometres. Bob and I left together and set a still pace. But just about where the Shell station should have been I started to tire. So we stopped under a tree for ten minutes, ate an energy bar and drank from our bottles. It’s amazing what a few of the right kind of calories can do. When we set off again I felt immediately better. We picked up the pace by 3 or 4 kmh and reached the Land Cruiser in no time. From there it was more of the same until about km197 where we came across a petrol station with cold drinks. We stopped and filled up. When we hit the road again we knew we only had about 8km to go to the border. Bob, with his new sugar hit, picked up the pace yet again. He just about tore my legs off. I stayed on his wheel for about 6km and then fell off. We had done over 200km. I cruised into the border, went through formalities and entered Namibia. We camped in a lovely place a kilometer or two after the border. They had green grass you could walk on with bare feet that we could camp on, warm showers and shop with cold beer and all the wrong kinds of junk food calories next door. A good day.