01 January 2007

New Year's Eve Ride

Just now if you read on cycling forums and blogs everyone is talking about mileages for 2006. I guess something is wrong with me as I have only a vague idea of my 2006 mileages ( what do you call it if you keep track in kilometers?)

If you were to ask me the day after a ride how far did I go I might not know unless it was a common ride. I do watch the numbers during a ride, distance IS important during the ride.

Paulo Rukoine seems to be becoming my Sunday morning ride partner. He is a Maasai from Ketumbeine area.

He didn't have any way to continue his education after grade 7. So he tended his families livestock like other maasai young men until my friend Steve Friberg brought him one day to be a night watchman for us. He has been here around five years.

He should be doing something else as he has people gifts, instead of a dead end job as a watchman. After working for a year he took an English course and can speak passable English, and some French. He has a hearing problem and that has to be resolved.

Now Paulo wants to take a tour guide course. My worry is there aren't enough jobs as a guide. I know what I should do to help him but I just don't have the energy. As this is a bike blog.........

Paulo supposedly stays awake all night as a watchman and then rides 6-8 hours with me. I wanted to start again at dark but it didn't happen. We started more like 6:30, 30 minutes into the light.

I don't "get" to ride in rain all that much. The past years it rains only in April and May and for some reason not all day. Maybe December we get a rain here and there. This December it has rained almost everyday. Today was a day I got to experience riding in the rain most of the 8 hours we were gone.

Our ride consisted of riding 45 km north to get to a dirt road I call ridge road, then straight into the bush towards a ridge called Kiserian. I suppose others would drive out to the turn off and then ride the bike.

We stop at the 'pass' at Oldonyou Sambu, the high point of our trip and notice snow on the top of Mnt. Meru. That is my white Christmas.

On a clear day we can look out 100km from here, north to the Kenyan border and west to the Ngorongoro highlands. It is still drizzling, and we are wet clear through. Paulo is not wearing any rain jacket and I am wearing a worn out Tyvek rain jacket that has holes and seen better days.

I ask Paulo about when he was a kid herding goats and cows in the rain and all he is wearing is a cotton 'shuka'. He admits it was really tough, that your legs hurt and you pee alot. Sometimes they would huddle with the goats who huddle when it rains. Cows keep grazing in the rain and it is too risky to huddle with the goats as it leaves the cows unwatched.

I start contemmplating cutting the trip short as the rain looks all over and we are now faced with a cold descent to the plains. I keep going.

In half an hour we are at the sand river which is flooded over the road. the sand is hard except where the silt has settled on the one side of the road. The big trucks are driving 100 meters upstream and then driving down the middle of the river back to where the road was. I wonder who figured that out? We follow their tracks and get bogged down and walk through the 6 inch water and continue on.

At the top of a very steep section of road is our track heading to Kiserian. I chose this road as it has a hardpan and tends to be more sandy than mud. Anywhere else the mud will cake to the tyres and making cycling impossible.

As you can see I was right. The road is mostly solid rock. Rough though. It has also stopped raining here and I start thinking this ride is a good idea.

I had hoped to see more game but only saw this group of Grant's gazelle.

We stop for breakfast. It is nice owning a lightweight thermos and having hot milk tea to go with out sandwiches. Steve gave both of us our own silver bullet. Eating lunch when everything is wet teaches me a new trick. I sit on the triangle bag of my bike. (I have a narrow bag fit in the triangle of my frame.) It is a soft seat, a little low but better than the ground. I guess I am getting old.

We pass a few maasai bomas and then we are in the the bush. The track splits and becomes a small jeep track. Then the rain starts again. It is okay as it is warm, but the problem is the soil starts to change and it becomes wetter and wetter and I have on smooth tyres. Sometime I cant get traction at all whereas Paulo can. At least the mud is not sticking much to the tyres. It gets worse and worse and eventually we decide it is time to ride home and get ready for New Years party at our house.

We turn around and are out of the rain in 30 minutes and back to the road. We wash the bikes in a big pool on the side of the highway.

We ride by the biggest snail I have ever seen. The poor fool is moving down the road. Its shell is 10cm (4inches) long.

At the sand river we ride around a semi and trailer bogged down in the mud. It starts to rain again as we climb back up to Oldonyo Sambu.

I need a rain coat for this kind of riding.
in the road.

We get a UN plated vehicle honking at us to get off the road. The UN! That is for discussion another day.

Just after the top we stop and eat more peanut butter sandwiches and bananas in a drizzle before the long cold push home.

We arrive around 2pm at home. I wash my shoes and legs and start getting ready for 25 people coming to our house for dinner and New Years Eve. I have to put up two big tarps for rain and carry furniture out under it. Nashesha and her friends help a bit. Then we have to spruce up a few things, buy beer and soda pop.

Oh and BTW, it was about 120km ride

No comments:

Post a Comment