Day 22, Stage 16. 142 km
Start – Khartoum. Bouganvilla Guest House
Finish – desert camp
Today was a long day with head winds for long periods. I rode out of Khartoum with Bridget and a few others and made decent time into lunch. I left on my own after lunch and moderated my pace a bit. The wind (or the road) turned in our favour for the last 30km so the ride into camp was quick.
Most people were quiet today. We all knew that today was the first day of eight very difficult days. We would start with two very long days. These would be followed by our first three off-road days. Then we would enter Ethiopia and start climbing. I was certainly a bit apprehensive about the next week. Each day individually was daunting but doable, but stacked up eight in a row made the prospect more than daunting. We had had it a little easy at the start. TdA rates the Cairo to Khartoum section 2/5 in terms of difficulty. They rate the Khartoum to Addis section 5/5.
Vince and Alex and I went for long walk to a neighboring village in search of cold drinks. We bought a couple of dozen and brought them back to camp in a tuk tuk. They were quickly gone.
There is now a growing awareness that we need to be careful about where we leave our bikes and kit. In the camp we are in tonight two bikes were stolen during last year’s ride. So we coral them between the trucks and the tents and lock them together in threes and fours. It almost feels like the wagon trains the opened the west in America.