19 November 2007

Biking the Pare Mountains

I didn't ride to this ride.

Every few months the whole family (all 3 of us) goes my wife Bernice's home village to see Bibi and Babu (grandparents). Once we rode our bikes up from the main highway. I wrote about it here.

We drive to the village as it is 220km one way and we usually only spend a night or two. I could ride but a bit much for the family. Sometimes I ride for awhile on the highway and Bernice drives. I wanted to ride but we borrowed a Landrover and Bernice didn't feel like driving it. So I put the mountain bike in the back hoping I would take a good ride on Sunday.

This particular trip we were going to give our "pole" (condolences) to Chungkicha, Bernice's great uncle. His wife died a few weeks ago after being invalid for 15 years. Chungkicha is on my list for a blog story. He is 93 and has it all together upstairs and has some good stories. Definitely one of my heros. In the picture above he is telling me about the time between the Germans leaving the village and the British taking over after WWI. The local Pare leadership took the opportunity to move the survey markers for the big local church mission, decreasing the mission area by half. I love this story. My father in law's plot where they retired was once in the mission compound. The house has no cement and the wall behind bibi is the worst shape, most are perfect after 60 years.

After breakfast Sunday I started out in low clouds to head "over the mountains". It was gently rolling for awhile and before I started a long steep climb. An indication is that when the trip was over I had only averaged around 10kmph, including the downhills!! I was doing 5kmph plenty of times.

Like many parts of Tanzania, and especially the traditional areas they are suffering from over population. Sifuni who is my age and works with me says this river I rode over was big enough when he was a kid to frighten him. Now it is a mere trickle in the dry season.

Here I am riding steadily up this good road.

See that big building on the ridge (exact middle of the picture), the road goes right by there. Lovely road going in and out of the ravines and valleys. Way cool.
There was not much climbing mostly contoruing to get up to the ridge

Lots of friendly people and lots of views.

This is the view from the "pass". Kind of like a "Sound of music" meadow. I locked my bike in some bushes on the track and then climbed through a small forest to get to this meadow. I met a few herd boys at the top.

I saw some really nice rock masonry. This church had really good masonry out of rocks. click on this picutre and see good masonry work.

Why plaster work like this, why build with burnt bricks when you can build a wall like this.

Riding back I am going slower and notice some pinneapples growning on side of road and a tradional pare house.

Most of the houses are roofe with corrugated iron sheets (bati) but there are a few traditional houses, round with some sort of grass roof.

In only about and hour and I crested the mtns and swooped down in to Bwambo and stopped in a small hoteli for some chai. They only had black coffee, so I had that for the experience and two "half cakes". That is on my breakfast on the table.
The mother was outside washing clothes and the daughter was ironing clothes she had sewn on an ancient treddle sewing machine on the porch. That is a poster of our current President on the wall, J. Kikwete. It was a campaign poster from the election.

I can look down to the plains and at one view point I can see Gavau where by brother in law comes from. That village on top of the ridge is where he comes from. I guess that is how Wapare peoples protected themselves from Maasai a century ago, living in the tops of the mountains.
The only time I have been stung by a scorpion was near that big building. I must of picked it up on the plains.

18 November 2007


Today I rode with my friend Thomas Holden 40 km hard from his place on jeep tracks and single track, and another 20km to get to and from his house.

We went south and around a couple of small hills that have something to do with the volcano Mnt Meru. The last hill Thomas took me on a small trail the almost completely circumnavigated the hill half way up. Really cool, in and out of ravines, smooth, and views all over. I was kicking myself for not bringing a camera.

We ended at Thomas's house so he could give me a couple bottles of slime tube sealant and some road and mountain tubes. Remember that as I continue with my story.

Thomas's mother was there with her husband and right away I was thinking she does not have an American accent. I eventually asked if she was British and she said yes. She even still has a British passport. Then I found out that even Thomas has a British passport!! He has been one of my riding buddies for several years and I never knew that. He lived most of his life in the good ol USA.

After the best omelet in my life at their house I started riding home. I got about a kilometre and the back tire went flat. There was a big thorn sticking out and I managed to pull that out and was pretty sure the slime in the tyres would do the job, so I pumped it up and spun the tyre and rode on. I made it about 400 metres before it was flat. I debated to take the tube out and check but pumped and rode on. That is how it works sometimes. You pump and ride 1-5 times and then eventually the tube stays up. If it is more than 4 times you better check it out. And today was one of those rare days. So I pulled the tube out and checked the tyre and tube and found some thorns but nothing major. I pumped the tyre up again and it seemed better and rode another 500 metres only before I had to stop again. Damn.

Whenever you pull an old tube with slime it might not seal the holes the first time, so I pumped and rode a couple of times and started to get frustrated and wondering if I should patch.

After about 12 times I was glad I was riding alone as there I was with no less than 4 extra tubes and two bottles of slime, including the spare tube with slime I started out with in the morning. I put in a new tube and squirted in some slime , pumped it up and road home.

Please keep this to yourself.

17 November 2007

Vaulted roofs for housing

If you look on the right at my profile and links you will note I am interested in building, which has been the case all my life. Recently I am interested in vaulted roofs, like the roof above.

I designed and built the A-Frame house we live in now, pictured below. I didn't do most of the brick work or the cement floors but I did all the wood work structure, floors, wood walls, windows and doors. It has taken 20 years of off and on building and there still remains some ceilings to finish. This is a picture of the front of the house,

From the inside:

The biggest reason for building with an A frame plan was to save money. The walls can be any material as they are not load bearing saving money. There is no expensive steel/concrete ring beam, instead the horizontal wood of the A and the floor joists act like a ring beam. The space above the ground floor ceiling is use able so I got an extra floor for little extra cost.

But this house is still plenty expensive, especially as burnt bricks are expensive.

As my company AFAM sells fired clay bricks and have been building underground water tanks with brick domes for years, I tried a few years ago building small buildings with domes for roofs. I was concerned they would develop cracks because of earth tremors. They have faired very well and are waterproof, but they have an echo/reverberation phenomenom.

I need to build another house to live in (long storey).

From a local architect , Thomas Caspary, I learned about brick vaults, and started reading.

Auroville in India and this article were my biggest inspiration. Also the buildings of Gaudi in Spain and Hassan Fathy of Egypt. What Gaudi did with catenary arches and vaults and columns in churches and large homes makes my spirit soar. Fathy was more down to earth and wanted to build cheaply for the masses.

Originally I was going to have domed roofs on this new house until i began researching vaults. Now I want vaulted roofs.

To prepare for building on the new house we just now built a store for the overflow junk from the town office. Once the roof was finished it was obvious it was too "maridadi" for a store and it is almost ready for Diana, our trusted home manager to use as her two room apartment.

This is the finished building with some cardboard on top so it stays wet. As you can see there is some landscaping work to be done. First we build a kitchen waste biogas tank in her front yard, then the pile of rubble goes around that.

This is the inside of the vaulted room.
The door became a bit ostenacious but kind of cool.
In the picture is Fundi Robson, the brick mason.

This is how the vault started. It took several attempts to get to this stage. We tore it all down several times and it fell partially several times. Robson finally figured it out. Experimenting how much he could build in a day, the consistency of the mud mortar, and issues like that. Initially I had him leaning and stepping the bricks.

Once Robson had some experience he did less stepping and more one line at a time. Also the leaning doesn't seem to be necessary. Next building he will not lean the bricks and try to build whole arches at a time.

The arched doors and windows was also a learning experience as they need to interlock with the roof arch, they depend upon each other for support, and they tended to become a big huge.

I can afford to plaster the roof with cement and waterproof cement, but i want to figure a way to do it cheaper and with less cement. Or at least know the options. It appears it will involve a layer of plastic, then layers of mud and cow dung.

05 November 2007

Karibu Trade Fair Race 2006

I found this in my email, written 1 1/2 years ago. The pics are from KTF2007 Race, a whole nother story but not told.

KTF2006 is our club's annual race. Around the first of June every year the tourism industry has a trade fair called Karibu Trade Fair. It is mostly about promoting tourism but it is also is a fair for anyone who might be a supplier to tour operators, and it is a big party for Arusha.

For the past few years we are allowed to stage our race during the fair. The only advantage is that after the race those of us who are middle class can go buy barbecue chicken and beer inside the fair and our families can hang out there while waiting for us to return.

For the first time we turned the race organization over to the younger guys in the club and they pulled it off very well. We even had some cash left over that was used to buy more second hand bikes for new riders.

This year the race is shorter, only 130 km instead of 180. I thought that would be too short for me but I think it was better. This way the second half of the race is still a race and not survival to keep going. But I am a survivor.

Prep for the race.
I commuted on bike two days the week of the race , and on the Wednesday club ride took it at 75% normal speed and Friday night only drank too glasses of wine and half a chicken and some roasted plantains. You see, I am 50 now and I am not going to break the top ten anyway. Just in our club there are probably 10-15 guys faster than me.

I got up around 6am and fill up 3 containers with 20 litres water, get my bike out, my cycling clothes, street clothes for after the race, eat a peanut butter sandwich, a banana and drink water.

This race I am going to have honey and salt in my water, eat more bananas, and a shot of honey every hour. Other times I go for almost 2 hours before starting to eat and I pay for it.

We actually start on time. We have 10 riders from Kenya, and another 20 from other cities in Tanzania, and 30-40 from our club. I recognize people from other parts of Tanzania now. We do the first 10 km into Arusha town and to the edge at a controlled pace. You can't race even with police and other cars trying to clear the road. Just too many cars. It is a fun stroll through town riding in the middle of the road with 70 other bicyclists. At the edge of town immediately the pace becomes 45kph on the flats. The next 20km we are averaging 44kph. I stay in the middle trying to stay out of trouble. There are now about 35 in our pack and 5 of them are weaving as they are inexperienced. We yell at them to stay in the back but they are wannabes.

The "over 50" group try to keep tabs on one another and say we will try to stay together unless someone can stay with the lead group longer. Henry has never managed to stay this long , usually he gets dropped on a spurt or hill, but this time he is staying right near the front so he can be more aware when the spurts happen. All of a sudden the group will up the pace to 55kph on the flat for 30 seconds and then settle back to 40. You just need to hang on and hope it slows down quickly.

There a a couple of significant downhills on the way to the plains and the pack hits 70kph. On one someone decides to go all out on the downhill and the pack struggles to maintain contact. I need one more gear. I was wildly spinning and in the end just tucked and hoped the lesser wind resistance would keep me in contact. Luckily they only did that for 30 seconds and it was back to soft pedaling in the back. Now we were down to the plains and gently rolling for the next 20kms. The pack would slow way down to almost 30km as no one wanted to be out in front. So several times the "wazee" would go up front as a team and pick the pace back up for 5 minutes. One time we had a really good round going. Was impressed myself. We stopped before getting too tired and assimilated back into the pack. Still alot of people in the group. Abdallah and Hendrick, and Cheusi are hanging in the back. Moses does alot of work in front together with a Kenyan.

We pass the airport turn off and the pace mostly lags. we all are eating and drinking by now. I have eaten a couple bananas and a shot of honey, I don't feel the need for it but know later I will have hard time eating when I get tired later on. The wazee do a turn up front but get back well before the turn around point. We know at the turn around it is very likely the group will sprint for awhile. There are no downhills after we turn around either flat, slightly uphill, or really uphill. Take that back there are a few short downhills here and there.

Sure enough at the turn around there is a sprint and I am kind of in the middle. You have to be careful that the person you are following is maintaining contact. If they drop back you have to move around quickly and up to the pack. All the wazee manage to stay on and we have dropped 10 people. The pace slows again as we move back across the flat plain. It will be hard for them to drop us now until a long hill before King'ori town. Wazee congratulate each other and warn each other to get ready for the hill.

Sure enough, at the next long hill, not steep but sustained the pack moves off. People are struggling and drifting back and we move around them. My companions just cant hold it and we group into a second pack 100 meters back from a group of 15 leaders. A day later I tell myself I could of bridged and stayed with them. But at the time I was glad when verbally and by action they all said "can't do it". I wasn't maxed out but pretty scared at the sustained tempo and how I was feeling and there are still 50km or more to go and two long sections of hills.

We have lost Thomas and Henry and have a young high school student club rider with us, Samueli, the guy from Zanzibar, and I can't remember who else. It becomes apparent pretty quickly that I have more energy than Wes, Mike, or Thad and do most of the work up to Kikatiti hill. The Zanzibari, the student ,and Samueli leave us on some slight hills, we catch up on the flats and then they move ahead on the hills. Kikatiti hill is about 1-2 km at max vehicle grade and then another 1km at lesser grade. My buddies are holding me back here but i know they will help me on the flats, even if only 25% of time in front they will help me go faster over all. We make the top of the steep part and pick it up a bit and start catching the small group in front on the gradual grade. We catch and pass them on the short downhill into Maji ya chai town and then my bike feels funny steering. The front tyre is good but steering is funny. I start asking my "team" and Mike says you got a flat in back. Damn! I have to stop. I tell them go ahead but they stop as I expected and we quickly change the tube and pump it up. Those we passed and another six or so pass us. I thought it was 3 only but others say alot have passed us. Now we roll slightly up, flat, slight up for some 10 km. We pass some of those back but can't catch Samueli, zanzibar, and the student, we don't see them again. We pass Tengeru and i am doing 75% of the work. I had a few minutes feeling tired around Tengeru but most of the time I feel strong. After Tengeru we have slight ups and downs and then the big short hill at Kampi ya chupa. We slow way way down, we now are passing and being passed by a Kenyan we have reeled in. After the hill he just stays on our back as we pick up speed into town. The police don't see us coming and the intersections we have to slow up on the first 2, the third is a left corner for us and we scream through the intersection.

Ngarenaro is fast and we are being slowed by cars. We yell to police at the last corner and they hold up traffic and we only have to slow to 20 kph. We maneuver around traffic in a congested area of Mbauda. I am doing less work now. It is too hard to really push this section. At majengo the traffic thins and I move up in front again. With a couple of kilometers to go Wes can't hold us anymore . We briefly discuss and decide to let him go alone the last few kms. Later he tells us he got cramps. I don't want the kenyan to beat our group so i tell Mike and Thad to keep the pace up and rest up for the sprint.

They do their job and with 200 meters to go I take off and lead the Kenyan by 30 meters by the finish. There is a huge crowd almost blocking the road.

We would of love to have seen the finish of the lead group. It was hotly contested among our team. Seems John, Hamisi, and Moses broke away from the group and then we had Hendrik, Cheusi, spread out behind them followed by the Kenyans and Musisi from Dodoma.

I was tired but not totally like the previous year. It felt like it was a race.

After finishing then there was the long wait for the main sponsor Breweries to show up with the race money.

Paradoxes of wealth

I changed my weekend schedule as there were a number of people who wanted to ride on Sunday mornings, or so it seemed there were many until this Sunday.

Stephane was the only one who showed up, or more precisely the only one who SMSed "OK" . We head towards Ngaremtomi on the high road before following the Selian river down to the highway. The path and roads along the river are slightly down hill and slightly wooded making wonderful riding.

We cross the highway and pedal out the TPRI road and into the dust of Likamba, then up the hills of Lakilaki to taking a break on top, enjoying the breeze and some dates.

Four Waarusha boys out herding cows wander over to inspect us and our bikes. They have a few questions, and of course one has to beg for something, but the older one agrees with me that that is stupid, so the mood is not spoilt.

I appreciate the wisdom of this kid and stop trying to brush him off, instead I start asking him some questions. As we are sitting on the ruins of an old farm, I ask what he knows about it. Then wise kid asks don't we see it as a big waste and a shame that this white guy built up this farm and then left and it was all slowly carted away? I do not explain. Instead I think about this boy's confidence and freedom to tell me what he thinks.

We scream down the track into the Papadapoulis farm, across a flood plain, through a new housing area, find a track through the abandoned coffee trees, across the Ngaremtoni river and into Endurance farm. We pass huge new homes set on 5 acres each and we pass neat farm workers housing from colonial times, rows and rows of whitewashed 2 room houses.

It was mellow and I say "I wish we could stop at a coffee shop and have coffee and pie." Like that would happen in Arusha and this far out of town! But as we moved through the huge farms of Selian, Burka there was the buildings of Friedkin/TGT complex ahead and the idea that we could get some cake and coffee at the restaurant there.

We hit a big maintained dirt road circling around their Rhodes grass fields and decide on left. Pretty soon there was a new fence on our left. Those 2 meter high electrified fences. I wondered if we were on the inside or outside of the fence. Soon we were alongside the Rugby fields of the sports complex and I knew that we had somehow come into the Friedkin Complex from the back door. Cool.

Friedken is a family that made their big money with Toyota Franchise's in Southwestern USA. Follow the link or trust me this guy has serious money, or just pass the cursor over his name and think what Forbes (as in fortune 400) means. So what is a Texas millionaire doing with a big sports complex and Photographic and Hunting company offices in the middle of what used to be coffee farms west of Arusha? And rumor has it they don't make a profit.

Hunting. Now this is pure speculation but I speculate he originally started coming to Tanzania to hunt as a client. So he is using a company called Kerr & Downey and every year he sits around the fire and one day they talk about buying the hunting company for fun. It changed its name as some point to TGT (Tanzania Game Trackers) and broadened activities. It includes a charter airline, Northern Air, photographic safari, a NGO called Friedkin Conservation Fund, and so on. We used to sell them an Internet connection until they got to big and bought their own dish.
Along the way the General manager in Tanzania became South African and now most of the whites working there are South African, and there are "a ton" of whites working there. ALOT.

About 3 years ago they decided to build new offices, and while they were busy building anyway they built a sports complex, workshop, and lodging for hunters. As long as they were building the business they decided to build a houses for Thomas Friedkin and the son's family. So when they come for their 2 weeks per year they have a house , each, each fully staffed year round. The sports complex has two restaurants and a bar, 3 rugby/football fields, one field with lights, swimming pool, squash and tennis courts, etc. All set in a coffee plantation on one side and about 1000 acres of grass for horses.

How do I know all this? Some speculation and some I know as we did the data cabling for the new and old place. Fibre optic and cat6 cable all over everywhere. CCTV and digital phones and la di da. So I spent some time there when it was being built and have visited a couple of times afterwards.

ANYWAY so we pedal in dusty and sweaty through the paved car park , past white people playing tennis, and past the manicured lawns. Everything is quiet and proper. We ask a woman in waitress uniform if we can get a coffee and she says try the bar. I follow Stephane around the building and he keeps pushing his bike in front going around the front of the fancy restaurant / club with tables on the perfect lawn. shit. I follow sheepishly. I mean picture two hobo's riding their bike on the member's only country club lawn while breakfast is served if you please.
There is a group eating brunch at a long table with white table cloth.

We actually know most everyone at the only occupied table and say hello. Louise Hill a member of our bike club is there with her husband and his parents, the Schmidts. Yap Schmidt helped me back when i was farming as paying me partly in advance to grow flower seeds.

Brunch is 15,000shs a plate thank you, and actually looks worth it. We only have 17,000 shs between us and ask what we can get for that much. The waiter is cool and says just split a "all you can eat" plate. Hmmm. The food is incredibly delicious, food like these soft cheese balls, miniature quiches, bacon. The coffee is okay but not great.

We agree about how nice the place is but also how it is creepy or weird or somehow out of place. It is a bit too colonial or white south African feeling. The sprinklers are going around on the fields and a crew is moving some of them. The waiters are extremely competent. Everything is perfect and we look across playing fields and pastures . Way off in the distance you can see the parched fields of Kisongo.

Actually I have been thinking about applying to join the sports club here. I am told it is relatively cheap compared to other places. One part of me wishes they would not accept me, so I could bad mouth the place more than I do.

Before we fall asleep at the table we hop on the bikes and ride out the newly paved road to the main gate. The main gates guard house is about as big as my house. I have a slight fear they will ask for the ticket given to you when you arrive, but they just smile and open the gate as we are white and we say hello and ride on into the next coffee estate. on the other side we ride through urban sprawl and blight on dusty, rough, unmaintained roads, past houses worth $100,000 - 500,000 . Strange . And then in between you come to an old cluster of humbler buildings, kind of a village, with some shops, bars and houses tightly packed together, lots of people and noise. And then soon you some to more big fancy houses.

We part on the Silent Inn road, Stephane to roller coaster to Ilboru and me to mostly coast down home.

Where were the rest of you?

03 November 2007

Today I drank a coke

All week I had a compelling need to ride a long one, not necessarily an interesting ride, just long. It was a 148 km mountain bike ride, unfortunately half on the road, ridden in 7.5 hours. But as I said previously, one should ride to the ride. (I debated for awhile whether to call 148km a long ride or not.)

I must of done something wrong as I needed a coke with 10km to home. I NEVER drink soda pop. I was the heat or I got lazy about eating.

I managed to get out of bed at 4am and was ready to go just before 5am. Why does it take an hour to eat, process some food, dress, and get a few things together? I think it is old age.

Our early start was foiled when Paulo and I couldn't find the headlamp bracket for his bike. We wasted half an hour before just strapping a headlamp on his bike and rode out to the sounds of prayers at the mosques.

Today I didn't try to remember thoughts, but I do remember thinking it seemed like fewer people were ringing their bells at me, maybe because we were two bikers. It sprinkled a bit and we kept our jackets on until we were about 30 km east and it was full light.

We were on the main highway until Kilimanjaro International Airport junction. Paulo was lagging behind and decided to turn around at this point. (Later he confessed he was wasted also and had to rest to get home.) I gave him a sandwich and we parted company. I planned to followed the route of two weekends ago but today I would make it to the Kikoletwa springs.


I have said it before. Asking directions can be hit and miss in terms of success. Today was no exception. Bicyclists tend to be better at given meaningful directions.

I asked the first bicyclist and he gave misleading information. He did mention names that were right but he said bear right more than left and that was totally wrong I learned on the way back.

The road kept heading southerly to the south Masai escarpment. When I was close to the escarpment I started asking directions again. Now I was on small paths and sometimes just riding across the grass. I rode out of the open grassland into a forest with hard pan all over. I came to a track and upon a Masai guy on bike who gave me more directions. "Stay on this road until an irrigation ditch and then bear right." I rode over several dry ditches and then left the road for a small path.

I came to a row of houses, built like the ones built for road or rail camps. I stopped to ask a family directions.
"Good morning?"
Mom and Dad: "Its good."
"Is tea ready"
Mom:"yes it is, you are most welcome"
"I beg to ask directions."
"How do I get to Chemka village?"
Turns out I am standing in the village , but we agree I want to go to the Chemka spring.
Dad animated "Just stay on this path and over there it turns to a track and that will take you "
"Is it far?"
"No, just in those trees"

I cycle off thinking it is still miles and miles and within 10 minutes things look familiar.

Kikoletwa Springs

If I didn't know where the big spring was I would of rode by it. The track follows some trees and then crosses a small river. Before the river you leave the dirt track and ride into a grove of trees and there is this huge spring flowing out of the ground in a grove of wild fig trees. See my movie here.

A guy follows me in on a single speed bicycle, and he turns out to be one of the caretakers, or so he said. He was anxious to inform me the fee had gone up from 2 to 3000 shs. So much for thinking I would get away with sneaking in.

I striped off my clothes and dove in and washed off the sweat and dust and had breakfast will chatting with Adam about the area. The water is extremely clear and slightly saline. I got chilled after getting out. I rode about 3.5 hours to swim and only swam for 3 minutes. The water is warmer than the air. Some people call Kikoletwa "hot" springs.

I wanted to see the old electrical power plant and the rivers below so I continued east and in 15 minutes was at the derelict power plant. There are huge wooden gates in the dam in the feeding ditches. I checked out the gorge and walked over the suspension bridge, keeping hold of the cables as the boards were ancient, rotten , missing , replaced sometimes with bamboo.

I was again amazed at the amount of water. It is a big river for Tanzania. I should of spent more time but the bike was a problem, and to look around I needed to walk.

Adam said that the quickest way back was to sort of follow the electrical power lines, so i did that. In Chemka village I found a guy repairing his bike and he gave good directions. I made good time although the track was like a path of a snake. Eventually it became a car track and then died again at a school. Now I was in Masai area again. More directions and I was on small trails weaving between Masai compounds. Sometimes I had to ask where the path went as I took trails that lead into some one's yard. No one seemed to mind.

I came upon 5 Masai men and we talked for 10 minutes about my trip, their life there, where they get water, farming, what I ate. They said this trail lead right up to the KIA corner, and it did.

I have drawn a map so I can find this track again as it seems to be about 3km shorter. Maybe not quite as interesting as the longer one.

Soon I was on the main highway. It was noon. Just struck me I should of had another meal then. It was hot. I left a container of dates open now that i was on smooth road. I drank some water I had put honey in 3 days ago. Despite being in the refrigerator it was wine. I gave up on stopping at Erik Mdogo's and spun the 50 km home.

It got hotter, I was sweating, and starting to feel wasted. I took a couple shots of honey and washed it down with honey wine. By the time I made it to Usa River with 25 km to go I was feeling waaaasteddddd. I vowed to stop and drink a coke by the side of the road but I was feeling to bad to stop, or was being stubborn. I made it up the last hills(
Kikoletwa is probably 2500' and I live at 4300') and stopped finally for a coke with only 10km to go.

I feel slightly sick as I ask for a coke.

Not sure why. Tired, dehydrated, low sugar or what? I drank the coke standing by my bike at a gas station and wondered what was wrong. After the coke I felt better, not great and after riding a minute better still but still not great . From here the road slopes slightly down going my
way and I manage 35km again and the breeze feels good. Now it only remains the dirt road to my house. Hmm the last km of my road is the worst road I have been on today.

I recovered after a shower, juice with salt, milk tea, and being still. It took me a couple hours before I felt like food.

All in all it was great ride. No regrets.