My Garmin watch keeps resetting from kilometers to miles these days. (I think this might be because I’m trying to connect it with my new phone.) Only because of that, because I had to venture into the depths of its system settings in any case, I felt incentivize to also customize my interface so that I’d be able to see the temperature and altitude gains while cycling. It took me less than a minute to make that change, but more than two months to finally do it!
“Hot”, “pleasant”, or “cold”, I would write on the blog. And “how much of the climbing do we still have to do?” I’d ask at lunch. Well, going forward I might be a bit more specific with temperatures, and no longer need to rely on others regarding our ascents. Having said that, altitude indications are grossly unreliable and majorly deviate between devices. What TDA writes on our whiteboards rarely matches any of our own readings (usually overstated, which is good news!).
Stage 44: Singida – Game Post #1 (Tanzania), 133km
Road & traffic condition:
After another 90km on great tar with a nice hard shoulder, we went back onto dirt roads after lunch. While supposedly this will become really difficult towards the end of this section (culminating in two mando days in a row!), it ended up being a rather pleasant ride past corn fields, acres and small villages today. The corrugation was still manageable, and the temperature felt rather pleasant (for those who weren’t on the road mid/late afternoon when it got a lot hotter).
Sunny/overcast and pleasant mid-20s° C temperature until I got into camp. Hotter in the afternoon.
Pasta with broccoli, salad and roasted peanuts (one of our rare meat-free dinners, though the locals used the opportunity to sell grilled chicken—perhaps not a coincidence?); chocolate cake for desert.
We’ve been entering the territory of the tsetse fly, which Tallis had warned us would become a nuisance from today until the end of this section. The tsetse fly transmits the sleeping sickness, but the odds of any of us getting infected are almost zero. It’s rather a nuisance because of its painful bites, usually focused on cyclists’ butt areas that are most exposed to their mischief while the unsuspecting rider pedals along.
Afraid of any allergic reactions, I came prepared—no arm/leg coolers (because the tsetse fly is particularly attracted to black, next to blue), wearing my long white jersey that covers most of my butt area, and a big sheet of moleskin stuffed inside my cycling shorts to cover my lower back/upper butt.
All for nothing—other than Tallis, none of us had even seen the tsetse fly today! We might have been lucky due to the rather cool weather. Fingers crossed for the next few days!
Usually, the last 10-20km of my riding day become tough (and sometimes painful)— if not physically, than at least mentally. “Where’s camp?” I constantly keep looking at my Garmin, counting down the last few kilometers until our finish flag. This doesn’t make me an exception in our group. Most riders would have the same experience, day in, day out—we never learn.
Today might as well have been my first riding day (as far as I can remember) that I managed to break this pattern. The last 20-30km even seemed to be the most enjoyable of my entire ride. All because I was listening to an interesting audio book—what a difference that makes! Well, admittedly, the pleasant weather as well as the dirt road being less difficult than anticipated also had a role to play. But that’s besides the point.