Greetings from a weary traveller,
This week was all about Malawi, one of the world’s least developed countries. A landlocked country the size of Ohio, it has 16 million people. Christians make up 68% of the population and Muslims 25%. Lake Malawi takes up about 1/3 of the country’s area. We had the pleasure of spending two rest days at Chitimba Camp on the shores of this scenic body of water.
When the riding started again, the landscape along the lake was relatively flat, but about 12 km outside our camp we ascended up onto an escarpment. It was a monster climb. The humidity dropped and the heat subsided, to more tolerable levels. A more mountainous landscape greeted us for these first two days of riding. I struggled up over 11,000′ for this 165 mile stretch. Fortunately, the last two days, before hitting the capital city of Llongwe were much flatter and about 130 km (80 miles) each. (Note: our average riding day on this trip is about 80 miles.)
I can honestly say that I’m tired, “I’m flat-out tired.” We travelled over 7,000 km (4,350 miles) and the cumulation of hardships and time in the saddle are taking a toll. I always thought there would be a time, when it would catch up to me and the time is now. I don’t think I’m the only one, as more folks are jumping in the truck for various reasons. Minor ailments, sickness, saddle sores and other maladies, that might not have warranted a ride in the truck a month ago are now motivating people to take a rest. Personally, I’m riding each day, cognizant of my deteriorating energy levels, but know that can change tomorrow. A good rest and a good meal often give you the boost you need to get back on track. I’ve done too many long bike rides to know that your energy levels ebb and flow from day-to-day. So don’t feel sorry for this old man, and take no heed to this “whoa is me,” story. A cyclist knows there are always a few tough days thrown in with the many memorable and enjoyable days.
Another noteworthy tidbit is that I have lost about 15 lbs (6-7 kg). It’s the lightest I’ve been since I was about 17 years old.