The start to the day was cold and damp; a rare thing. We began the morning under heavily overcast skies, as if the dawn was sad that our journey was almost complete. There was a very light misting of water on things as we packed. Most of the cyclists were wrapped up in every piece of clothing they owned and huddled around the coffee table to try and get warm. Myself, I just switched from my T-shirt to long sleeves. Once on the road, I heat up quickly, and today we had a big hill right out of camp. It’s the perfect way to warm up, a big slow climb. The overcast lifted slowly as the morning progressed and by about 9:30am the familiar patchy blue sky had returned. The cool temperatures remained to make the cycling nice and comfy.
Remember what I’ve said about “short days”? 116km on paved roads…easy, right? Well, nothing is easy after sitting on a bicycle for 84 days. My legs ache, my back aches, my butt aches and today “The Return of the Undulation”. Lots and lots of fair sized hills added up to over 1,300 metres of climbing. The nice part was the surrounding mountains; although small and worn, they were quite beautiful. The sandy hills of Namibia have been replaced by more rounded, rocky boulder-riddled hills. One nice thing about today’s undulation was that the last 20km had three distinct and long descents. The undulation I dislike most is quick ups and downs. The three descents were two, four and six kilometres long with shorter ascents between them (we descended 700 metres more than we climbed today). While they were not terribly steep and a strong headwind prevented me from getting any really good speed (max of 60km/hr) they were a lot of fun, none the less.
Tonight we are in a tiny town called Garies. We have the luxury of being forced into hotels (we’ve booked every room in town). The local campsite we would normally stay in has not been maintained and wasn’t suitable for human occupation (but a camp in the middle of the Sudanese desert was!?) so here I lie in a cozy hotel room. I totally won the hotel lottery too! I’ve lucked out and got a single occupancy room. Most of the others have to share accommodations. This whole, sleeping in a bed thing is weird though. I’ve not slept inside for almost four months now. What are these big puffy white things?