Tag Archives: dr julie makani

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

 

Advertisements

New facebook group

I have just started a new facebook group for the 2013 Tour d’Afrique.

http://www.facebook.com/groups/362005487222549/

Please join the group and ask your friends to join!

Cheers,

Alan

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

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania

Patching tubes, trueing wheels

On Saturday I decided to try and patch some of the punctured tubes that have been piling up in the garage. I have not been very environmentally responsible this last year. Instead of patching tubes I have simply put in a new one and thrown the punctured one on the pile in the garage. There were eighteen of them. Three were beyond repair. Two had exploded and had foot long tears in them. One has so many holes it would have been more patch than tube. These three went to my daughter who wants to be Medusa for Halloween and will use them to create a writhing snake wig. The others all looked sort of repairable. I had three new patch kits and set to work. Seven tubes had pinch punctures so each had two holes, side by side, one from each side of the rim. These were tricky. The other eight all had single holes. Twenty-two patches later I had almost used up all of my three new patch kits – you only get 8 patches in a kit. I inflated them all and left them overnight to see which ones would hold. Five didn’t. So I have retrieved 10 tubes. Not too bad I guess. May have another crack at the five that still leak. Maybe not.  Maybe more rubber snakes for the Medusa wig. At any rate, need to get some more patch kits. Chris would say forget the tubes and get tubeless tires. He has a point. No pinch punctures with tubeless.

Also had the back wheel of the TREK – the wheel with all the broken spokes – properly trued. Mejah, who runs a bicycle advocacy group in Tanzania called UWABA, http://www.uwaba.or.tz/ has a good mechanic who did it for me.

No flats for five days now. I think ‘new bike’ and I are getting along better.

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

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania

What’s a bike for?

When you cycle around Dar you see bikes used in so many different ways. A bike may be used just to get from A to B. But it may also be used to carry 60 or 80 coconuts. It may be used to carry a stack of two-dozen egg trays, each tray holding 2 ½ dozen eggs. Charcoal is the big one. They burn charcoal here and put it in 50 and 100-pound bags. I have seen bikes with at least ten 50-pound bags on the back.  I have no idea how they get them to stand up or how the back tire to stays inflated. They carry boxes of tomatoes and shoes, and big poles displaying underwear. This morning I saw a guy taking his kid to school on the back of his bike. The kid was sitting in a small green plastic lawn chair that had been tied to the rack on the back of the bike with an old inner tube. The kid was having a great chuckle.  He was probably looking for an ice cream bike. You don’t get ice cream vans here. You get ice cream bikes with a big cooler on the front. And then we put on day-glo spandex and ponce around for no real reason at all – other than we like it. And we wonder why they stare at us.

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

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania

 

Good week on the new bike

So far so good on the new bike. It feels comfortable and solid and accelerates well. I have been out every day this week. I had a good hilly ride on Thursday and a longer ride of about 115 km out to South Beach and back today. About 50km of today’s ride was on dirt – lots of corrugation and rocks. We did the first hour in the rain – almost like an English summer morning. We had a fairly stiff head wind going out but a nice tail wind coming back. The croix de fer performed well. The head set loosened a bit but I tightened that up and it is fine. Looking forward to next week.

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

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania

 

Out on the new bike

My new bike arrived last Sunday. Thanks to Georgina for bringing it on the plane with her from London. Thanks to Damian at C&N Cycles for making sure it was packed up and delivered to Georgina at Heathrow Terminal 5 on time. Thanks to British Airways for not losing it and for getting it here undamaged. So many things could have gone wrong. Everything worked. A good sign. A charmed bike.

I have been out on it every day since it arrived. If you look closely at the poster in my last post – Fundraising Update – you will see the new bike. On Monday I took it with me to have the photos taken for the poster. On Tuesday we had the poster.

The assembly was fairly straightforward – except for adjusting the Avid BB7 disk brakes. I had not mounted and adjusted this type of disk brake before. The instructions that came in the package were crap. Thank heavens for YouTube. I found a great instructional video and had it sorted in no time.

Looking forward to some much longer rides on the weekend.

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

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania

Fundraising update

A whole team of people has been working very hard in the background to get our sickle cell foundation fundraising campaign off the ground. Anton, Annelie and Derek at DJPA Partnership, a local communications firm; Mejah and his crew at UWABA, a cycling advocacy group here in Tanzania; and Sarah and Julie at the Sickle Cell Foundation. We have two upcoming events: a reception for corporates on October 4th (the Sea Cliff hotel has kindly offered to host); and a ‘Cycle Caravan’ around Dar on October 21st – see the poster (it says Oct 14 by mistake – this will be changed). We are looking forward to both events and hoping to raise lots of dosh for the Sickle Cell Foundation.

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

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania