Greetings from Llongwe, Malawi,
Rest days are a little bit of heaven. Despite my “whoa is me” post yesterday, I woke up with a refreshed feeling after a good night’s sleep and a big spaghetti dinner. While many of the other riders, (primarily the young ones), partied till the wee hours of the morning, I slept in my cozy, thatched roof “A” frame. I retired early, knowing that if I am going to handle the big week ahead, I needed to rest my weary bones for a couple of nights. We have 5 days of riding ahead, before the next rest day. The first first three days of riding are all around 100 miles each. Tomorrow, we’ll be entering our seventh country, Zambia.
The plan is to cycle 32, of the next 43 days, before we reach Cape Town. Over that period we’ll cover another 4,670 km, (2,896 miles). That’s about 100 miles longer than from New York City to Los Angeles. When I started writing this blog, I was thinking I saw the end of the tunnel, but hold on, the tunnel is a little longer than I thought. Mentally, I need to break down the trip to short chunks and digest each bit by bit. My next anticipated destination is Victoria Falls, (nine days away). We’ll have three days rest and I’ve always wanted to see this wonder of the world.
I’d be remiss, if I didn’t mention the injuries that have occurred thus far. A lot of riders have fallen, especially during the off-road sections and been scraped and bruised. Knock on wood, I’ve been able to stay upright, but we’ve had a few more serious injuries of late. Yesterday, Neil Oakey was side-swiped by a car and agreed he was lucky to get away with a broken arm. The strange part of the story is that the motorist, driving a Mercedes, didn’t stop. He sped away and as we found out later, kept to the local custom for an accident. You don’t stop, because many times the locals overreact and beat someone that they think is in the wrong. It’s a lawless society at times and the people evidently take justice into their own hands. The driver hurried to the next police check and reported the incident. Another twist, to this unfortunate crash, is that the driver who hit Neil, then drove back to the scene and took him to the hospital. Strange, but true.
A couple of weeks ago, Mike Voisin, a fellow Canuck broke his collar bone on an off-road tumble. He spent some time recovering in Zanzibar. He’s now back with the group, riding in the truck, but will likely jump back on the saddle sometime soon.
Also, very early in the trip, Magic Mike V, Biebs (Jason Metcalfe) and Douwe Cunningham crashed in a pace-line and were all taken to hospital. Nothing serious, road rash for all three and a minor concussion for “Royalty,” Douwe’s nickname.
Another off-road mishap resulted in a few broken ribs for Brenda Trentholm. She miscued on a sandy off-road section and as a result has ridden on the truck for a couple of weeks. The saving grace is that she’s made soup a couple of days and a tasty desert for the gang. Thanks Brenda.