The Crotch of Africa
Trip Start Jan 10, 2010
25Trip End Ongoing
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
Chitimba Beach Resort
Anyway, the new surface and (almost) new country has given rise to a brand new attitude of mine, where the Rest Days are the work days where all admin and maintenance is performed, allowing hopefully, 5/6 days of uninterrupted bike riding vacation days
One of the rest day maintenance tasks now that we were off the dirt, was to replace the chain rings, and rear cassette – it would have been the whole drive train but I had recently swapped out the derailleur and chain (if you remember from previous blogs). Thus, my bike was purring….for at least the 1st 25kms, after which the usually seat squeaking and whatnot starts up again. I was back on 25 tires too, and everything was looking good for a sweet machine speeding me down to Windhoek where the next dirt starts. Also, after a couple of weeks without a bike computer, and a number of occasions where lack of distance knowledge almost lead to some spectacular energy crashes, Dan lent me his Polar sensor which I somewhat reluctantly attached to my Garmin Bike!! I now feel unstoppable…or at least marginally better than slightly before.
One of our camps heading out of Tanzania - "forest camp" even, was situated at an “off the main road” dirt logging cross-roads, where the options for setting up tents was limited to a few grassy patches (if you were one of the quicker riders), or the side leg of one of the roads, bordered by high grass. You know my thoughts on slums-style camping, and if you don’t, it’s that I don’t think much of it…tent neighbours should be at least 20m away, hopefully with a picket fence erected between. Well, luckily I was in the grassy wooded patch, because that road turned into the highest density of tenting I have seen outside of REI’s display room on a Sale Sunday. I took a picture of it in amazement, and wished luck for those tenters who didn’t realize they were about to get intimately familiar with neighbours night-time habits.
Talking of tents, I suffered what might almost be considered the first major failure of equipment, where my tent zipper for my inner mesh door ceased to bind the teeth of my zip together, making a very mosquito permeable barrier. Now, there are two types of zips (who knew?) – straight tooth and spiral, the former being generally older and fixable, the newer, not so much. Luckily I have a non mesh door still in operation, but as a gambling man, I would not bet a clean bill of health against this one also succumbing before the end of the mossies
The destination at the end of a couple days spinning the pins and the wheels, was Chitimba Beach Resort – and excitement was generally pretty high for it as it had been described as a beach bar on the lake, with nothing else around. Talk about an enforced rest day, where the efforts of dashing into and out of town to get some net time or do some shopping were not actually possible. In fact, given that I have permanently given in to having my sweaty chamois washed by someone else, I would have had nothing to do if I had not broken a spoke on the last day riding in. As if this wasn’t good enough, there was a volleyball court where the epic match between teams A and B (inventive, I know) was battle out, and the grudge birthed for the remainder of the tour. Add to that the drip coffee on offer (first I can remember) and the spit roast pig (under which we grilled sausages and warmed baked beans), and Chitimba turned into a Rest Day difficult to beat.
Highlights: Sipping Good Earth Original Tea and remember some pretty god times in Alaska (thanks Care package people – its still going strong); a German winning a stage and treating everyone to drinks at the first possible camp near cold beer (Cheers Reuben); swapping my small bowl for a large Tupperware container (Thanks Ted), allowing a huge dinner to be eaten in various stages from 6pm thru midnight; Using a miraculous antibiotic cream on my wounds and finally getting one up on infection (Thanks Gisi), descending an extended hill, so long and deliciously “down” that it requires a sign stating “Dangerous descent – next 9km”
Lowlights: Scamming Malawi Money changers pulling stunts like attempting to pay out a factor of 10 too little; breaking a spoke on smooth pavement which had managed to last hundreds of kms of unpaved rough shit; A crazy Malawi time zone which now requires us to got to bed at about 8pm and wake up at 4:30am; kids once again begging for money (although given that the Malawi word for hello is “moni”, it can be difficult to know exactly what they mean.)