Tonight, we’ve had another round of tip collection for our crew. Last time, we all chipped in money for our sweep riders Brad, Helen, Leo and Max; today, for all the other crew members.
The tipping ceremony is usually organized by Paul, our master of ceremony. He asks us questions by nationality groups. If we don’t know the answer, we pay. Some people (like Marie or Anmei) are pretty good with the answers, but Paul makes sure to have enough follow-up questions so that we all eventually have to pay.
However, the point of this post is not the tipping ceremony itself, but to acknowledge the significant role that our crew plays to make this epic journey possible for us. I’ve actually been waiting to write this post since Sudan—for a day when there would be nothing else to write about. With a rather eventless cycling day and on the occasion of our tipping ceremony, this day has finally come.
You might think that what we’re doing—cycling all the way through Africa—is a feat requiring abnormal strength and almost superhuman powers. The reality looks very different. Sure, it requires a certain mindset, willpower and a minimum degree of physical fitness. However, what I also hope to show you via this blog, is that we all are capable of doing extraordinary things. To accomplish the extraordinary, however, we need a team and support. Nothing great is every accomplished alone.
To me, it seems that the cycling itself is the easiest part of the entire tour—at least when breakfast, lunch, soup and dinner are readily waiting for me at mealtimes; when a tour leader informs me about the route; when a mechanic takes care of bike repairs; when a doctor is readily available for consultation and treatment; and when camp managers take care of all the heavy lifting (most literally).
It would be an entirely different challenge—something far outside of my comfort zone—to do this tour self-supported. With all the support provided by each of our crew members, however, even I can do it.
Just as one of Africa’s most well-know proverbs says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” While can cycle fast on my own during the day, it is our crew who enable me to go all the way through Africa.
From left to right on the photo above: Leo (mechanic), Steve (camp manager), Max (race director), Tallis (tour leader), Errol (chef), Helen (medic), Brad (communications manager), Muli (camp & kitchen support), Wynand (lunch truck)—thanks guys!!!
Stage 53: Luviri School – Kasungu (Malawi), 107km
Road & traffic condition:
Good tar and respectful drivers.
Pleasantly overcast/sunny with wild temperatures up to mid 20s°C.
Help-yourself chicken fajita station—yummy!
We’ve had another round of unofficial award ceremony—yellow jersey goes to Rob for always helping other riders; spit-the-tummy goes to Marie for losing it on the dirt road (supposedly, though I find that hard to believe), and overachiever goes to Bernd for hiking all the way up to Livingstonia on our first rest day in Chitimba, staying there overnight in the rain, and running back down the following rest day.
Drinking too much cider and making my pool buddy lose despite his skilled shots.