Today was a mando day for the racers. Mando days usually are the hardest stages of each section, and special race rules apply. “Whatever,” I thought to myself, while reminding myself that the race is not important.
So, as usual, I took my time in the morning. Even though I had been up from shortly after 4.00am to post my blog, it was 6.20am by the time I had packed up my tent and dragged my bag into the truck. “Alex, because today is a mando day,” Max informed me, “the racers all start at the same time. So today, you’ll all start at 6.50. OK?”—”OK!” that sounded alright, but from then onwards the clock seemed to start racing prematurely.
Breakfast had to be eaten, good morning conversations maintained, dishes cleaned, bottles filled, tires pumped, shovel fetched, and off I raced into a desperately long warm-up sprint out into the desert until I found a rock to hide behind, and then—worst of all—my female monthly cycle decided to strike at the most inopportune of all times. Great start into the most important race day so far! Even though I’m not taking the race too seriously, I tend to forget that every now and then, and stress myself unnecessarily. That was such a moment.
“Can we make it 7?” I shouted while sprinting back to the truck, armed with the shovel.—”Alex, hurry up,” was the only response I got. By the time I had dragged my bike from the desert out onto the road, plugged in my Arabic tunes that keep me entertained, applied my sunblock lip balm, stripped on my cycling gloves, and convinced myself that everything was in good order, not only the racers but almost everyone else was already far out of sight.
I was sullen and frustrated for five minutes. “They should have told me about the starting time last night, not just now,” I fuelled my heartbeat into a raging start. Then I got my priorities right again: 1) Safety, 2) Having fun, 3) Blog, 4) EFI…. the race had never even figured amongst my priorities to start with.
From then onwards, it was all fun again. Nevertheless, I have learnt my lesson: If you snooze, you lose. Not that I would have had a chance against our racers anyway, but that’s beside the point 😉
Stage 10: Desert Camp – Abu Simbel (Egypt), 151.8km
Road & traffic condition:
Tailwind and great tarmac mostly.
Getting hotter, but still manageable.
Beer (rose wine for me) to start with—typos and nonsense shall be excused 😉 . . .
. . . followed by local fish and grilled chicken in a small street-side restaurant (sorry, need to remember taking photos BEFORE we start eating).
Rest day tomorrow! And pretty good showers and toilets in our camp—Eskaleh Nubian Ecolodge in Abu Simbel, close to the lake.
For women only: I’ve tested my diva cup today, and it works just the way it should. Takes a bit to get used to, but has definitely saved my day on the bike. Can recommend!