We’ve said goodbye to tar this morning. For most of our remaining 2,000km until Cape Town, dirt roads and hills will be our final challenge.
If you’ve been following my blog, you know my attitude on that—bloody hills, bloody dirt! I can push up on hills rather fast even though I don’t particularly enjoy them, but rocks and sand still freak me out. I don’t want to fall and break my bones, especially not now that I’m so close to the end!
Well, today has been a pleasant surprise. There have been a few steep climbs that made me use my lowest gears but lose my breath nevertheless. Mostly, however, it’s been rather gentle rolling hills.
As regards the dirt—yes, there has been corrugation, and yes, there have been loose sand, gravel and rocks. However, it’s been a wide road with limited traffic (except for the odd 4×4 vehicle blowing a thick cloud of dust into our faces—better than thick clouds of black smoke from trucks on the highway). On that wide road, it’s mostly been possible to find a path where the sand was rather hard and the corrugation not too bad.
There have been exceptions, however, exceptions of deep sand and loose rocks that normally make me use my breaks and, in few instances, get off my bike. Not today. For whatever reason, I’ve felt stronger and more confident, and pushed through all the challenging stretches as fast as I could. Surprisingly (to me, not to experts), going faster has also made me a lot more stable.
“Rocks are not the obstacle, it’s your mind that is the obstacle”, Anmei had advised us over dinner yesterday. How true! Once we free our mind and change our thinking, those obstacles turn into fun challenges. Or, as the ancient stoics put it*, the obstacle is the way.
*The Daily Stoic—another good book that I had listened to while cycling.
Stage 73: Windhoek – Weissenfels (Namibia), 123km
Road & traffic condition:
Wide dirt roads with rolling hills; limited traffic.
Cool but not too cold in the morning, 30°C+ in the afternoon, sunny all day.
BBQ steak and sausages, potatoes, cabbage, salad. The meat is getting a lot better the further south we go. It used to be hard to cut and chewy all the way down to Malawi, but now it’s nice and tender again.
Stunning scenery, unexpectedly nice campsite.
Good white wine at camp.