17 December 2006


Friday and Saturday was the first multi stage race ever in Tanzania. Two stages!

To make it even better we would ride on one of the newest, smoothest, spectacularest road in our area. And that ain't all folks the first day we would climb the Rift Valley escarpment with views over Manyara National Park, and then go to the Ngorongoro Crater gate! This was a much anticipated trip/race.

Alas the week became the week of hell and disasters at the office. I won't go into it, except it was bad enough for me to miss the race...........

So by Saturday noon either things were under control or I perceived the situation as not so bad, so I went home at 4pm and got my mtn bike ready and cleaned the bike/camping store.

Sunday morning my friend (and night time watchman) took off at 530am.

We used lights for the first 30 minutes as we climbed out of Arusha towards the north.

In an hour we made it to Lengijave village and plain where we turned off the tarred road and headed on dirt track and short grass plain down to Oldebesi Valley. I recall on other trips years ago flying down on the short grass but these days either my route is different or the clumps of grass are different. Anyway the ride was rough.

The whole world is green these days.

We desended to the valley and crossed a sand river and then hit the dreaded sand on the other sides. Riding over thorn bushes and deep grass is preferable. I had on thinner tyres still and they cut into the sand.

At a second sand river we saw some masai getting water from the dry sand so we went to check it out. the had a hole in the sand 3 meters deep and a half meter across. 4 women were waiting for the water to seep back into the hole. Paulo asked alot of questions about it. they get water all year around here!

We continued riding alongside the sand road but even then half the time we bogged down in sand. Eventually we foound a trail and it was soil and not sand and went to almost the end of the forest in the valley and had breakfast around 9am. Some tea and peanut butter sandwiches.

We decided to head directly for the edge of the valley instead of riding inside it. about half way accross we crossed the first sand river and on the other side the trail became hard soil and we sped (15kph) accross and out of the valley.

I tend to just go and Paulo tended to ask people the best tracks. He was shown a good path along the edge of the valley that was great and we will use in the future. forget the forest on a bike.

Then we slogged up and up to the Lengijave plains and the highway. alot of coasting from there. got home around noon.