Category Archives: lists

Two months to go

About five months ago I signed up to do the full Tour d’Afrique in 2013. http://www.tourdafrique.com/   The music starts in just over two months.  To recap: the Tour d’Afrique is a 12,000km bicycle race/expedition from Cairo to Cape Town. It travels through 10 African countries between January 11 and May 11 2013, averaging 125km a day. I expect there will be 50 riders.  We will be supported by a couple of overland vehicles, a tour director, a cook, a mechanic, a nurse – and who knows who else. We camp along the way. So after cycling 130 or 150km we will have to set up tents and make ourselves at home. Water is for drinking not cleaning. We get a couple of rest days for every 10 or 12 cycling days. Approximately 75% of the route is paved, the rest is not – and could be pretty bad.

I have spent the last five months getting ready. It’s been like having a second job. Fundraising (still lots to do), tour admin, training, buying stuff (everything from a new bike to a solar charger), organizing my work life so that I can manage four months off, organizing family life for such a long absence, learning how to set up a blog . . . the list has been long. But as the list shortens the serious work becomes more pressing – training, preparing the head, testing, adjusting and finalizing the bike.

I think my body is ready for it. I was feeling fairly fit by the end of October. But with all of my work travel in November and December (Zimbabwe, DRC, Ghana, London, South Korea) I am feeling a little less sure of myself. I will have to try to get in some good miles in the last couple of weeks of December and then cycle back into fitness in Egypt. I also have a bad habit of not hydrating enough so I have been working on drinking whether I feel I need it or not. Believe it or not that’s tough.

The bike also seems set. I got it at the end of September and put some good miles on it in October, including a hilly, 160km ride in 33OC heat. I think I have enough spares, although I have had far too many pinch punctures. Need to get some advice on this. Perhaps I am not inflating my tires enough – or perhaps too much. Maybe I am not taking the touch road conditions properly. Maybe I need tougher tires, although I have good continental cyclo-cross tires on the new bike and have ordered some Schwab marathons.

And where is the mind? Can I speak of it in the third person? At the moment it is positive, enthusiastic, excited and cautious, which feels like a weird, tight rope kind of mix. It is a long haul, not a sprint. Energy and excitement have to be managed and not just released from the blocks.  I am confident I will feel good at the start. I am curious to see how I will feel one week in, one month in, one month to go. I think perhaps you need to be more like Ivan Lendl than John McEnroe.  But then McEnroe always looks like he’s having more fun. And it’s got to be about the fun.

This is what the ride looks like.

SECTION DESTINATION DISTANCE START END
Full Tour Cairo to Capetown 11693km Jan 11 May 11
Pharaohs Delight Cairo to Khartoum 1955km Jan 11 Jan. 30
The Gorge Khartoum toAddis Ababa 1604km Feb. 1 Feb. 18
Meltdown Madness Addis Ababa to Nairobi 1689km Feb. 20 Mar. 09
Masai Steppe Nairobi to Mbeya 1211km Mar. 11 Mar. 23
Malawi Gin Mbeya to Lilongwe 750km Mar. 25 Mar. 31
Zambezi Zone Lilongwe to Victoria Falls 1213km Apr. 03 Apr. 11
Eleplant Highway Vic Falls to Windhoek 1541km Apr. 14 Apr. 24
Diamond Coast Windhoek to Cape Town 1732km Apr. 26 May 11

 

This is what the other riders look like.  (I picked up this data from Philip Howard’s blog http://www.onyerbikeinafrica.com/blog.html He is a 30 year old Irishman who is also doing the full tour and looks far too fit for his own good. Thanks Philip.)

50 full tour riders

33 men/17 women

15 countries: Canada (10), Britain (7), USA (4), Germany (4), Holland (4), Australia (4), New Zealand (4), Switzerland (3), Ireland (3), Italy (2), Denmark (1),  Brazil (1), Belgium (1), Norway (1),  South Africa (1)

Ages range from 18-70

teens – 1
20’s – 15
30’s – 8
40’s – 10
50’s – 10
60’s – 5
70’s – 1

I am not exactly sure where I fit in these stats since I travel on both Canadian and UK passports and since I will be 59 at the start but 60 at the end. But it looks like a good mix of nationalities and ages. And it looks like I’ll have lots of company at the geriatric end of the scale.

Two months to go.  Got to get a haircut.

Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania

 

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It’s Black! Not White!

It’s Friday evening. I’m in London. This morning I visited Damian at C&N cycles. He is getting my new bike and setting it all up for me. When I ordered the Genesis croix de fer I ordered the 2012 edition. It was white. But they had stopped making it and were out of stock. So I am getting the new 2013 edition, which has just begun to come off the production line. And guess what? The 2013 edition is not white, as the croix de fer has been for a number of years, it is black. Wow! It looks great. The spec is essentially the same but they have redesigned the look. Should be perfect for a ride across the dark continent. I also finalized the spares list with Damian. So everything should be set.

I will be in Amsterdam this coming week but back in London next Thursday, when I hope to be able to touch the new bike for the first time.  We will then get it all fit properly and boxed up ready to go to Tanzania. I won’t be able to take it back with me because I will be traveling back through Ghana and South Africa. But fortunately Georgina is also in London at the moment and is going back to Tanzania on September 22. She has offered to take it back with her.  Hopefully we can make this work. If not I will have to pick it up when I am back in London in November.  Very exciting. It is all starting to feel real.

Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania

List of lists

I can feel time passing quickly. Even though the start of the ride is still four months away it is beginning to feel very imminent. It has reached the point where I am making lists of lists. I have a list of spares; a list of camping stuff; a list of clothes; a list of cycling gear; a list of medications; a list of electronic stuff.

One big piece of luck has come my way though. Two Australians who did the full TdA in 2010 are passing through Dar Es Salaam at the moment. I was put in touch through a friend. They are all coming over for dinner tonight – and we will go through the lists. Kind of like asking friends to come see the slides from your trip with the kids to Disney World. But hey. They get a free dinner.

Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania