08 January 2007
Another Sunday Morning Ride
It is becoming a habit now, sunday morning rides beginning on a highway then tracks or paths into masai land with Paulo. This Sunday morning we ride west on the highway to a track and then into masai land on a track to try to reach Purko Mountain pictured above.
It takes me awhile to get organized in the mornings and we got rolling a 5:15 am.
We head into Arusha town and along the edge and then turn due west. It seems there is a head wind but I am not sure. Rarely does the wind blow on that road from the west. It is always from the East. I feel sluggish and I can not decide if it is me, the heavy mountain bike , or the wind. I am used to going along at 40kph on this road on my road bike and now I am doing 20-25kph.
After an hour I stop and check my rear tyre and it is under 30 lbs, so I put it up to 55 lbs. That makes it a better.
I have the same question rolling along in the darkness. "What am I doing?" Night riding is not all that enjoyable.
It gets light and there are few clouds. I take off my light jacket. It is so so green. It doesn't seem so deforested and then we are on the plains and I take this picture.
We keep moving and are 55 km from home and at our dirt track. We ride it to a dam and have breakfast and watch ducks and a few geese.
I am no longer asking the question of what I am doing.
We cross on the dam. Mud is starting to cake on our tyres. We ride for awhile without a track and then come to a definite vehicle track that is new to me. It is the track in the first picture. We follow that along the base of an escarpment . We ride up some ridges and into a gully where water is running. It is so beautiful.
I am doing calculations for what time to turn around. I know the return will be into a wind, and we have some climbing to do. I decide on 9 am latest, so we can arrive home at 12 noon. At 9am the country is interesting and we see 3 herds of zebra and one of some type of gazelles. We see two dark shapes and wonder if they are buffalo so we keep going and going. It is closer to 10am when we reluctantly turn around. The track is a bit rough so we can't really cruise.
Paulo is up ahead, talking to 4 masai women milking their cows out in the open away from their bomas. I come up and he informs me we have been offered tea. How can we refuse?
We ride up to their boma and talk with them while tea is boiling. I give the kids some raisins and then the whole bag. I ask permission to take a picture but the older lady says she wants money. I feel that would change the mood. I sit and listen to Paulo hitting on the young lady and watch the kids eating raisins. I fantasize having a weekend getaway here, next to this boma.
We say our good bye abruptly and make it to the highway at 1030. I do some calculations and figure we might not be home until 1:30 PM due to the wind, and I had promised to be home at noon. On the tarmac highway we cross the river, and I notice that today there is actually a trickle of water. We spin up a long hill and I am happy and surprised by a good tailwind and we cruise up the hill. It gets less steep and I find that we are going 33 kmph up hill! We reach the top and increase our speed until it is equivalent to the fastest down hill speed coming out, 42 kmph!!
Paulo and I look at each other and smile and say WOW! and push it on home.
We pass the Monduli turn off before the wind stops pushing us so much. Now it is more like no wind. I have to stop with 8km to go and swallow a shot of honey and we make it home at 1230!
Great ride. I am a bit beat the rest of the day though.