Category Archives: training

Tour d’Afrique 2013 by Laura Holms by Laura Holms: Sports & Adventure | Blurb Books

laurabook

Tour d’Afrique 2013 by Laura Holms by Laura Holms: Sports & Adventure | Blurb Books.

On January 11, 2013, exactly 1 year ago today, the 2013 Tour d’Afrique began in Cairo.

A couple of weeks ago, my sister Laura surprised me by giving me a book for Christmas that compiles all of my blogs from the ride plus a collection of photos she gathered from other riders.

It looks great and brings back many good memories.

You can have a look at it and order it you wish by going to:http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/invited/00b0ee2f7acef00d2b7b2e686e5bd9690b8ec534

Yesterday the 2014 Tour d’Afrique riders left from Khartoum. I hope they enjoy their ride as much as the 2013 crew did.

65k before breakfast

mudwaveI did a tough ride before breakfast this morning. There had been a lot of rain over night and there was still a strong wind. Part of the ride was on a dirt track. Now mud. As luck would have it a big dump truck passed just as I was negotiating a big bog. It roared through and hit me with a mud tsunami. Lovely. There must have been some limestone in the mud because it hardened on my bike like concrete. The strong headwind made it hard to maintain a speed of 18 kmh. I felt good though – and mud washes off.

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

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania

Small rains

rainIn Dar Es Salaam we have two rainy seasons: a short rainy season in November and December called the small rains and a longer rainy season in March, April and May called the big rains. When I went out for a ride mid-morning yesterday it was bright and sunny but soon started to cloud over and then grow dark. I was riding along the coast road when the rain hit. It was preceded by an onshore wind that almost blew me off my bike. Hard on the heels of the wind came the rain, a tropical thunderstorm wall of water that reduced visibility to a matter of meters and dropped the temperature from 38C to 26C (according to my Garmin) in minutes. A brilliant way to cool down. I cut inland to get away from the wind and turned downhill into a small hollow. By this time it had been raining for less than ten minutes and there was already four inches of water at the bottom of the hollow. The roads simply could not drain the water quickly enough. Fantastic stuff.

When I went through London on my way back to Dar last week I picked up a couple of sets of marathon plus tires that I had ordered – a set of 28s and a set of 42s. I already had 35s on the bike. Before my ride yesterday I tested them on the bike. My rims are 18s but can take larger tires. It was fiddly though. I discovered that you have to be really careful  with the 42s. I exploded a tube on the first one I put on. I had put the tire in and just pumped away. Bang! The tire escaped the rim, the tube did a hemroid  and popped. You have to pump slowly, make sure the tire fills evenly and stays inside the rim. No problem. I put the 28s on for my ride and was very pleased with the grip in the rain.

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

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania

Back in Dar: Training splits

After 16 hours or so in airports and planes I arrived back in Dar yesterday afternoon. I have spent all of 5 days here since October 28. It has been a bit of a long haul. Too many air miles. Too many dinners – I have gained 2.5kg. And not enough exercise. But I slept 9 hours last night and am now ready for the final stretch.

splitsI felt good when I got on the bike this morning. There was some snap in the legs. Maybe the stationary bike in Seoul was worth it after all. I did a shortish ride – just over 25 miles. The 5-mile splits were 18:05 (started well); 17:16 (felt good); 18:48 (still felt good but had to stop a few times in traffic); 18:16 (slowed a bit) and 18:52 (wound down a bit but still felt good). All in all I felt good and am happy that I now have a couple of weeks to get some more miles in.

Great to be back in Dar.

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

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania

One month to go

12 12 12

There is just one month to go until the Tour d’Afrique starts. And today is also this century’s last repeating date (I didn’t figure that out myself; it is all over the web today and I have taken it on faith). This is also the last day of my last business trip before the TdA starts. I fly home tonight. Can’t wait. Starting on Friday I will be back on the bike and will be able to put some miles on before I go to Cairo. Fantastic.

Almost there.

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

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania

Anxiety wins

Did an hour on the stationary bike at the hotel this evening.

Stationary bike?

stationary bike

The good news is that the hotel I am staying at in Seoul does have a gym. The bad news is that it is closed for renovations.  However, when I got to my room I found a little note in a drawer saying that a temporary gym had been set up on the 6th floor and that I was welcome. Well, sort of. I went there and found out there was an extra charge to use it. OK. There were a few stationary bikes there so why not. I got up on a bike and turned on the computer that ran it and started to pedal. Boy was in uncomfortable. I am not very tall but the seat was too low for me. I tried to raise it but it was as high as it would go. And the seat was about a foot wide. My ass may be big, but not not that big. Next to it was a different type of stationary bike – more of a recumbent. It had a a kind of bucket seat that looked like it been reclaimed from a 1960s Lada. The pedals looked like the rubber blocks you put on a kid’s bike when their legs are too short. I adjusted the seat as best I could, sat down and started to pedal. What a chore. I stuck it for half an hour then gave it up. I didn’t think I would need chamois cream for a stationary bicycle  in a posh hotel. Maybe I’ll try again tomorrow. Maybe not.

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

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania