“Should I also carry some wet wipes?”, I pondered in the morning while inspecting my diminishing supply of tissue paper for the road. “No, I never need much anyway”, I decided.
However, I didn’t consider that I had over-eaten on our tinned fruit salad last night, and—as I realized not long into my ride—that seems to have messed up my stomach. It didn’t take me long to exhaust my supply of tissues. I wish I had brought more!
Exhausted from yesterday, with similarly poor road conditions, and combined with my frequent escapades behind a bush, the day became long and difficult. I’ve developed blisters on my palms, and my butt doesn’t feel much better either.
After lunch, around 100km into our ride, we had a welcome coke stop in Helmigeringhausen.
They also had a small stop where we could stock up on snacks and other supplies (or buy ice cream) . Having cycled through the Namibian desert since Windhoek, and with still a long way in the middle of nowhere to come, Helmeringhausen provided a welcome break of our long and otherwise quite monotonous cycling day.
“You don’t have bike tire repair kids by any chance?” I asked the shop owner. I had used up all my patches with my punctures yesterday. Of course, they didn’t carry that, but Anmei overheard our conversation.
“Alex, I can give you some”, she offered. I gladly accepted, just to be on the safe side in case I’d have a puncture again. However, I was hopeful that I wouldn’t need them.
Anmei and the others rode ahead, and I followed behind, soon again alone in the middle of the desert and obviously low on energy, but not stressing about it.
5km after the coke stop, my rear tire went flat! I’ll be forever grateful to Anmei for her spare patches! She saved my riding day. While yesterday I got stressed out by my puncture, it didn’t bother me much today. I was prepared, I knew I’d have more than enough time to get into camp by sunset, and I had re-set my ambitions that I’d be OK if I arrived at camp by our riders’ meeting, even if it meant putting up my tent in the dark and showering late after dinner.
It turned out that the problem in my tube came from the self-sticking patch that I had applied yesterday—another lesson learnt: always use proper glue-on patches. They might take more time initially, but will save a lot of time further down the road.
The last 25km of the road after my puncture turned a lot easier, smooth and no more climbing, with benign wind conditions. That way, I managed to reach camp even sufficiently ahead of riders’ meeting to put up my tent—yahoo!
But I’ve broken yesterday’s record of my longest day on the road—10 hours 20 minutes! Just that today my mindset is different—I don’t feel exhausted, at least not mentally.
Stage 77: Betta – Konkiep Lappa (Namibia), 153km
[No Strava records. My Garmin ran out of battery. It seems that it didn’t auto-backup my ride.]
Road & traffic condition:
Terrible sand and corrugation, except for the last 30km when the dirt turned hard and smooth.
Hot, but bit cooler than yesterday. Interestingly, I washed my cycling gear in the evening when it was already dark, and it would be mostly dry by 5am—this just showing how dry the air is.
Chicken curry with rice and olive bread.
Yet another long and tiring riding day through a beautiful landscape.
On the way, we saw the world’s largest known social weaver nest.
And here a photo of a Namibian farm—a rare sign of life in the middle of nowhere.
My Garmin screen turned off and showed “low battery” starting 30km away from camp. About 20km later, it turned completely black. I’d hate to use my cycling data because I like to upload it onto Strava, and onto my cycling map. As soon as I reached the finish flag, I pushed the save button. Miraculously, my Garmin turned back on for few seconds to find a GPS signal and save my ride. It had kept itself just enough battery life to do day. I was relieved and impressed . . . until I’d find out few days later that it hadn’t saved my ride after all 🙁