The African Adventure, and they’re off !!
Friday morning finally arrived, it was 5.00am, it was grey and cool and 50 full tour riders and seven sectional riders lined up outside the Cataract Resort Hotel quivering with anticipation, months of training and planning were to be put to one of the toughest cycling challenges on earth !!
Tour D’Afrique or TDA is now in its 11th year,
TDA so far
430 Full Tour Riders
2 – 300 Sectional Riders
Ages ranging between 18 and 70
116 EFI or Every Fucking Inch, no lifts or days off !! 97 men & 19 women,
or about 25 %
Total of 1,235,000km covered
Riders from more than 30 Countries
This years tour :-
11,793km in 121 days
Average daily ride is 121km
Total climbing on this years tour = 74km or 74,000m, biggest single climb in one day is 2,500m
As Naomi and myself lined up with these other riders we couldn’t help but feel the sheer enormity of what we were about to undertake, we’re under no illusion here, we know this will be tough and demanding, there will be pain, tears, tantrums…..but there will also be spectacular scenery, incredible people….friendships will be made that will last the rest of our lives, and when we finally cycle into Capetown with our new family and friends we will have accomplished something that will remain a part of us forever !!
Lining up with us were 5 Egyptian riders, some ex national riders. These guys will be with us for all of Egypt 😉 also in attendance were the local police and security, we moved as one, a convoy of riders, cars, trucks and buses and slowly we wound are way up to the pyramids for photos and the official start !
Afterwards it was a gentle ride down hill to the sphinx for more photos before reforming the convoy for the next 28k, we’d already done 10k. At the 38k mark the convoy ended and we were released for the final 96k to camp.
The roads were of good quality and a fare pace was set, within the hour we’d reached lunch, about 20k or maybe more, lunch was good but we didn’t hang around as we were keen to get into camp before dark.
The pace was relentless after lunch and with 20 k to go I was beginning to feel it, Natalie and Bridget were on the front showing the boys the way home and at 3.30 pm our little group crossed the line, Naomi followed in an hour later, she was a bit upset as she’d spent most of the day on her own. I’m sure that as people settle down things will improve and if not I will drop back to be with her 😉
Tent was erected in short order before washing hands and then drinking good hot soup, riders briefing was at 5.30 and dinner was served straight after, great food and loads of it, hats of to John and Yanis our two cooks on tour !
Just before bed I quickly put my photos on my iPad and wrote my blog, early to bed as we’ve got 166k tomorrow !!