I wasn’t looking forward to this afternoon’s ride into Windhoek. 900 meters of climbing, the Whiteboard had announced—this after weeks on almost perfectly flat roads, and after a sequence of very long cycling days. “Forecast of rain—dress warmly”, the whiteboard further warned. Brrr, no one was looking forward to another difficult, cold and rainy day. Several riders didn’t even attempt to cycle all the way (or at all). Can’t blame them for protecting their sanity!
My mood was down in the morning. I had gotten up early to update this blog, but couldn’t get my Internet to work. Trying again and again, I ended up wasting hour(s)—and if there’s one thing I really hate, it’s precisely wasting time! While staring at empty screens, I stuffed myself with leftover snacks to keep busy. That didn’t help to lift my mood, nor to bring my body temperature up. I felt too stuffed to eat proper breakfast and got freezing cold while packing up my tent. It would take an hour of pedalling to warm up again!
Eventually, I did warm up, digested my early morning snacks and regained my positivity. Lunch was enjoyably long—no one seemed keen on the climbing still to come. Overeating at lunch, however, didn’t necessarily help to boost our energy— rather the opposite. Slowly, I pedalled along until the biggest challenge of the day appeared on the horizon: bloody hills!
In fear of what was still to come, a few of us stopped at a gas station near the airport some 40km outside of Windhoek to replenish our liquids (or caffeine) and sugar overdose with ice cream. Yummy! But then there was no more point delaying the eventual pain.
The afternoon ride turned into a pleasant surprise. Instead of a big long climb (that for whatever reason I had feared), rolling hills with nice downhills in between made the climbing very manageable. The wind turned into our favor. And instead of cold rain, pleasant sunny temperatures kept us comfortably warm yet not too hot.
Best of all, the scenic hills provided a welcome change to the flat monotony we’ve had for the past weeks.
Fast-driving traffic aside, I found the ride into Windhoek to be one of the most enjoyable we’ve had for many days. What a pleasant surprise!
And my first impressions of Windhoek have blown me away—what a modern and clean city in an absolutely beautiful setting! Photos to come at the end of our rest days there . . .
Stage 72: Witvlei – Windhoek (Namibia), 153km
Road & traffic condition:
Great tar road, but no shoulder to cycle on and heavy fast-driving traffic requiring constant alert.
Cold in the morning, but sunny with very comfortable temperatures after lunch.
Kyle, who has cycled with us all the way from Cairo, as well as a few sectional riders are leaving us in Windhoek. On that occasion, Kyle had organized dinner at NICE, a fancy restaurant run by the Namibian Institute of Culinary Education.
Great starters and steaks, great ambience, great wine, great company. Cheers Kyle—see you in Cape Town!
Two rest days in Windhoek coming up!
Very nice campsite with modern facilities, gravel instead of mud (what a luxury!), and convenient location.
Getting all my chores done so that I can fully relax and enjoy the two rest days. Biggest of all chores: changing tires back to knobbies (grrr—challenging terrain ahead!). Without any punctures on my road tires, I’ve almost forgotten how to do that. My rear wheel got stuck and caused me some near despair—proud that I didn’t lose my temper and eventually managed to get it done by myself! Am in awe of all the riders with constant punctures—how can they keep up their high spirits?!