Rest Days in Nanyuki
The Sportsmans Arms Hotel in Nanyuki is our venue for the enforced four days rest, the Kenyan officials would let not us ride during the election. We were bussed into the hotel and quickly made ourselves at home, laundry sorted, tyres swapped back to road tyres, bike cleaned and serviced, kit sorted and reorganised….jobs done its time to relax 😉
For the next three days that’s exactly what we did, we relaxed, we drank beer, we searched out good coffee shops and cake, we ate good food and generally did very little. Some people went on safaris, some claimed Mount Kenya but we just relaxed, mainly in the company of Eerin, Gus, Rosi and Bas….with them it’s easy to relax 😉
On the fourth day our lethargy waned and we joined Rosi, Caroline and James on a trek on Mount Kenya, we only climbed to 3300m and we started at 2600m . The scenery was fantastic and we were lucky enough to see a large male elephant, baboons, water buffalo and deer.
The trek took about 5 hours in total and covered 18km, the route was unfortunately on what was an unmade road, it would have been nice to be on single track through the park…..oh well. The highlight of our trek was finding a chameleon, we were able to put it on our hand and watch it change colour, loads of photos taken, a very pretty little thing 😉
The only other thing of interest during our rest days was the TDA Equator Party, fancy dress optional but most did dress up. I was wearing a very gaudy Hawaiian shirt with equally bright sarong and also had TDA carved into my hair. The range of outfits were very creative and some were very funny. Alan came as a rasta, inner tubes were cut up and used as dreadlocks 😉 John, Vince and Daniel came as three All Black Rugby players, Catalin and Adele came as each other, Mike came as the northern hemisphere ( Africa ), there were lots of others but these stood out for me !! The party went on late and people were dancing and partying until the very end, all in all a great night 😉
Well despite having four days ret it finally came to an end and we were finally back on the bikes !!
Stage 45, Nanyuki to Sagana
103km, 968m of climbs but 1721m of descents !!
We set of slowly pretty much as a group, the intention being to stop after about 2.5km at the equator sign for photos !!
Everyone duly arrived and queued up to take a photo with them and there bike under the sign before we assembled as a group for the TDA group photo. All photos done and we were off, the route was back on Tarmac but it was very patchy in places and the traffic was busy and fast moving. I started cycling with Tessa and Clare but I left them behind only to realise I’d dragged Rosi with me, Rosi went to the front for about 5km after which I took my turn. We carried on like this for a while but Rosi finally left me behind on a climb, I took the opportunity to take photos and lose a layer before continuing. Soon enough I was overtaken by Ali, Lizzie, Stephan, Tessa, Klaus and James, I managed to jump on there wheels and was soon flying to lunch at 60km. I only stopped very quickly and left on my own, again Rosi came past me and this time I just let her go. The morning route certainly had more ups than downs but the afternoon was a dream, a quick uphill and it seemed that the rest of the day was either flat or downhill, I made good time and arrived at camp at 11.47am, very happy 😉
The camp is by a river and has a bar, showers and swimming pool, we were very happy campers !!
Dinner was a fantastic affair, a buffet of two lamb dishes, beans, potatoes, salsa, yoghurt, salad and fresh wraps…..fantastic !!
The rider meeting was preceded by the race results and awards, I was given an award for basically helping out…again very happy !! The rider meeting has been postponed until tomorrow as we still don’t know if we’ll be allowed to cycle into Nairobi !!
Oh well it’s time for bed, my legs feel tired, not been on a bike for eight days so 100km has left them stiff 😉
Stage 46, Sagana to Nairobi
107km…..Cycle ride cancelled !!
Yet again due to pressure from the local authorities who deem it unsafe for us to cycle we are again about to board a bus !!
We got up early expecting to ride but just before breakfast we were informed of the bad news, we were told that the buses were on the way. They were due at about 10.30 so we waited patiently, and waited, and waited, the buses finally arrived at about 11.30. It was a hot day so we were grateful that the transport was safari buses, it means that we could roll up the canvas sides and travel in comfort.
We’d managed to get lunch before we left so there was no need to stop on route, the scenery was as beautiful as always and as we passed through towns and villages we were welcomed by shouts of “jambo”. The ride only took a couple of hours and we soon arrived at our camp.
Not a bad place, a bar, tv room, food, grass to camp on and very secure grounds, my tent was up very quickly and beer in hand very soon after !! There was a rider meeting arranged for the same evening, mainly to welcome the 19 new riders to our tour.
We were just thinking about food when Pascal, one of the riders, said he’d booked for twenty people at a restaurant called Carnivore ! This restaurant is quite famous for its all you can eat meat menu, 2500 Kenyan shillings and they will keep bringing the meat until you can’t eat anymore…..brilliant !!
The manager took a shine to us all and wanted us to line up for a group photo, they also sang us songs at the table, made us very welcome indeed, a huge thanks to Pascal for organising the table and taxis 😉
The following day I visited the medic yet again, my rash is back and Luke decided that now would be a good time to visit a hospital and see if we could get any closer to finding the cause. A trip to the local clinic and a couple of hours later I’d had blood tests etc and they found…..nothing !!!
They decided that it was just a contact dermatitis so more cream, a seven day course and no cycling. Hopefully by the end of the course I will be free of this rash and be comfortable back on my bike, if not then I’m not sure what ill do !!
While in Nairobi I also invested in a new camera, my old ones lens is scratched, this is now camera number 5, still I wouldn’t be without one, photos are very important to me !!
Out for dinner in the evening with some good friends and a few beers, early night for most as they have 160km to do tomorrow, I on the other hand will be back on the dinner truck !!
Stage 47, Nairobi to Namanga
157km, 1059m up and 1545m down.
So I’m up early again, 5.30am and my tent is packed away and I’ve already got my first cup of coffee, it rained very heavily last night and my tent leaked badly so I’m not looking forward to this evening, I do hope the sun comes out later to dry it out !!
Time now to sit back and watch the fun as nearly 70 people put wet tents away and then all try to get into the locker truck at the same time, they should sell tickets for this, it’s better than a pantomime !!
Oh well, breakfast and rider meeting done, everyone’s got there directions and they’ve left, time to help the crew pack up the truck and get going !!
We’re on the road by just after 8.00am and I’m joined in the truck by John the chef, Yanis his assistant and Adele the coms lady. Our destination will be just a few km short of the Tanzanian border. It’s supposed to be a proper campsite with showers etc, the riders will certainly appreciate that after a long day in the saddle !
The scenery was fantastic and we saw quite a few zebra on route, unfortunately I couldn’t get my camera out in time so missed the photo !!
As we arrived at lunch the racers were jut leaving, they’d done well to cover 70 in two hours and twenty mins !! We had just enough time to grab a sandwich before we were off again, the next 90km passed quickly, partly because I fell asleep and partly because we wee now on much better roads !!
We arrived at the camp at about 11.30, unloaded the truck, set up and got my tent out. The sun was shining so I spread my tent out on the grass to dry before putting it up, just as I’d finished the racers arrived, it was 12.25pm, they’d covered 160km in less than 5 hours….fantastic !!
We sat around in the sun and drank coke for a while but a huge black cloud loomed ominously overhead and before long the heavens opened, guess ill be going to bed in a wet tent then !!!
No doubt we’ll have the usual rider meetings, dinner and early to bed, I’ll be on the truck again and hopefully by this time tomorrow we’ll be in Tanzania !!