Today has been our longest riding day yet and the third longest day on the entire tour—181km. Other than the fact that I’m still low on energy (though I’ve felt a lot better this morning than last night), this shouldn’t have been such a challenge. Flattish roads on perfect tar with benign wind would have made for a great ride, exactly the kind of roads I enjoy.
But: saddles sores are giving me troubles again. I can sit on the saddle for about 100km or up to 4 hours, but sooner or later it becomes painful, and then I’m struggling for the remaining 2 hours to camp.
Several other riders are also experiencing saddle sores again, and that even though we’re having almost perfect roads these days. Interestingly, none of the riders with leather saddles have any issues at all.
While I’m still convinced that I’ve gotten one of the best synthetic saddles for long-term touring, the problem is that I had insisted on a synthetic saddle in the first place. Perhaps the padding simply wears out over time. Perhaps it’s because I’m spending more time on the saddle these days then earlier on.
Other than the fact that I thought a leather saddle would look odd on my bike, I was concerned that I didn’t have enough time to break in a new leather saddle ahead of the start of the tour. They tend to be painful initially, but then—so I’ve been told—adjust to the rider’s body like a second skin.
Unwilling to risk saddle sores upfront, I accepted the then seemingly remote possibility of long-term pain. Long-term has become NOW, and NOW is painful—bad decision!
Better to suffer a bit initially, knowing that it will only get better over time, rather than the other way round. Never accept short-term gain for long-term pain!
Stage 61: Soccer Field Camp – Ruze Chalets (Zambia), 181km
Road & traffic condition:
Same old story—pleasant in the morning, hot in the afternoon. The heat is killing me (probably exacerbated by my infection). I had to stop for a cold drink to make it through the day.
Chicken curry & salad.
Celebrating Mike and Julian’s birthdays with Errol’s delicious cakes. Unfortunately, I was in bed by then and missed the celebrations.
Felt better during the day, but my infected bites are looking worse and am again low on energy in the afternoon. Went to see Helen who gave me antibiotics.