Namibia is a bit of a fantasyland. The landscape is incredible – mountains, desserts, canyons, giant sand dunes, vast plains. Most of the time it seems empty – an abandoned, post apocalyptic world. And then every 80 or 100kilometres you come across a modern day oasis like the railway hotel at Sesriem or the Canon roadhouse. You wonder how these places survive. There are tourists. There are some locals I suppose but there can’t be that many. Towns are few and far between. Farms and ranches are huge and far away from one another. But there are few competitors. When you find a place after cycling 80 or 100km it is all by itself – or there may be another similar place 10km away. They must be viable. They are big. The facilities are good. They are well maintained. They also seem to cater almost exclusively to a white clientele. Namibia only has about 4 million people, almost half of them live in Windhoek and only 6.5% are white. I’d like to spend more time in Namibia at some point. Great cycling. Magnificent geography.
Apart from cleaning and lubricating the thing, not much to report. It has behaved itself. There was the one unfortunate puncture, but just the one. I think we have reached the stage where we are exchanging atoms.
After months of dodging the saddle sore trap I finally succumbed. I have had a persistent sore for the last couple of weeks – not big, not lumpy, just some raw chafing. It gets quite uncomfortable once I start to sweat. I use lots of nappy cream, which helps. Other than that I feel great. I feel fit. I am eating well, hydrating well, no niggling aches or pains. Boring really.
I am definitely counting down not up now. Arriving in Windhoek and Bob leaving have marked a change in the psychology of the tour for me. There are only two weeks left. It is time to finish. This has not really affected my motivation. It is still there without having to play too many tricks to coax it out of hiding. But I am aware that there is a tendency towards the end to ‘protect the lead’. You let up a bit and play a defensive game. I know this is when injuries and ‘bad luck’ can happen. So I am very consciously trying to ‘build the lead’ and not ‘protect’ it.