We’ve moved away from the Nile and been cycling through the desert again. No more kids harassing us, no more greenery providing distraction or shade. It’s getting markedly hotter as we’re approaching Sudan. For the first time while cycling, I’ve run out of water for the last 10 kilometers and felt my energy levels drain.
Our camp is in the middle of the desert—our first real desert camp. No shower. No toilets (other than squat toilets that don’t seem preferable to the desert). Strong wind made putting up our tents quite a challenge, but doable nevertheless. No big dramas yet.
I usually struggle big time with heat, and avoid sand and sun by all means. And until very recently, the pure thought of not having a clean bathroom would keep me away from any kind of camping activities.
My expectation was that I’d be struggling by now—with the heat, with the food, with the physical exertion, with the hygienic standards, with the fact that I’d have to go about my toilet business in the desert . . . Well, the truth is that none of that bothers me much.
I handle the heat much better than I’d ever have expected (can’t recommend enough investing in good cooling materials, as well as a properly ventilating tent). The food has been excellent so far. The only time I feel physically exhausted is when I’m pushing myself too hard, unnecessarily, as if a few minutes earlier or later in camp would make any difference. Wet wipes perform miracles. And as regards lack of toilets—well, today, for the first time, my stomach was going crazy just ten minutes into our ride. What to do? Stop, hide behind a sand dune, and do what one needs to do. No big deal!
So, in a nutshell, even though what we’re going through must seem nuts to some of you, I can assure you it doesn’t feel like that to us. I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else right now and, I think, all the other riders feel the same. Everyone still seems to be in a very good mood.
Check out my cool new home & office—what more would I want?
Internet connection was terrible, so I went to sleep early as I was really tired, and got up just after 4am to post this. Have brought a thermos, so I can keep warm coffee overnight and enjoy it first thing in the morning—highly recommendable for coffee addicts. Am loving my early morning coffee/blogging session in my cozy tent 🙂
Stage 9: Aswan – Desert Camp (Egypt), 145km
Road & traffic condition:
Hardly any traffic through the desert. Rough corduroy road under construction and a couple of climbs for the first few kilometers, then heavy crosswind for 40km that made me wonder how I’d ever make 145km.
Finally, the tailwind set in and we were flying across perfect tarmac that made the remaining 100km seem like a piece of cake.
Sunny, and markedly getting hotter. Though probably still under 30°C, and comfortably cool at night.
We’re starting to run out of the good protein stuff. Might have to start eating bread for lunch, but today was still OK.
Today was Murray’s 60th birthday. Errol made him two awesome chocolate cakes, and Murray gave us all a great speech.
Look at him—drinking beer (like all evenings), enjoying good food and having lots of fun while cycling through Africa. What an inspiration! Everything is possible—never let your mind tell you otherwise. They made a bonfire, and—while I went to sleep early—the party was still going on. It was a very memorable celebration under the stars for sure. Happy Birthday Muzz!!!
Been cycling with Marc, one of our youngest riders (under 30) from the UK today. He’s usually going with our fast racers (and still holds the 2nd best time overall), but due to knee issues decided to slow down to my pace. Was nice to be chatting while cycling for a change.