28 April 2008

UCI Race

The past months maybe year I am less interested in racing bicycles myself and more interested in adventure and social riding. I religiously attend the Wednesday rides of our club and make noise to the younger guys on how to race but I don't care anymore how I am doing.

The Tanzanian Bicycling Association has chosen to join UCI so we have some standing so they need a bunch of timed races so they can decided whether Tanzania deserves something or not.

26 April is a Holiday and the first race was Arusha on that day. I almost opted out of the race but signed up and was glad I did. It was 150km , to Moshi town and back. I haven't ridden that far on road bike for awhile but knew the peleton affect would make it much easier.

The first 1/4 race was fun. A few times I had to press hard on the pedals to hold on when someone decided to take off or we came to a longer hill. In the middle or back of the pack it was bliss being sucked along. the 2nd quarter I started to feel the pace but managed to just hang on on the hills. One time they took off again after cresting a hill and luckily the peleton was big enough that we pulled them in. Bad for the best riders in our club as they were trying to shake people off.

We turned around and my average speed was 38kmph. We had probably lost 1000feet elevation but it was into a slight wind. The pace was crazy after making the U turn but I held on. I was pretty proud of myself. Mike and Andrew had been dropped way before. There were over 20 people now in the front pack.

As we roller coasted out of Moshi I started to wear down and as the wind was pushing us it seemed they kept the pace up higher. I think our team was working harder now. The first half all our good riders just kept in the pack.

I got dropped on a slight uphill with another half dozen. there was now the front pack of a dozen or so and then the rest of us spread out. I was not looking forward to 65km riding without a break but kept pushing the pedals.

Luckily Mike turned around and helped me half way back. We got caught by one guy who helped some but then left us on a long uphill. Then Mike pooped out and I rode in alone. Hill after hill. I managed to average 31kph. the last 30 km were a struggle and the hills in the last 15 km were slow. I got cramps twice and had to get off the bike. That never happens. wonder what was going on in my body.

At the finish i felt okay but within 5 minutes I threw up , then felt okay. Once home I had diarrhoea the rest of the afternoon. I must of really wore down my body.

Saidi from our club got first followed closely by a guy from Mwanza on a single speed Phoenix bike! three of the guys from mwanza finished in the top 10. Amazing. I need to find what the average speed was.

13 April 2008

Helping others to bicycle as a means of transportation

Five days ago I received the email below from my friend Erik Zweig. It says many thoughts, but what immediately struck me is that by me riding long bike rides maybe Erik considered riding a bit further and maybe the bike becomes for Erik transportation and not only exercise.

The other thought was when he says maybe I shouldn't ride with him as he is not as fit as me. I used to see how far I could go on my bicycle, not at least sometimes I ride to see how much fun I can have and how many interesting things can I see and experience.

8 April 2008

email from Erik Zweig:

This morning I woke up just as the sky was beginning to glow. I decided to get out of bed and go for a ride. My intention was to try to get to a place not far beyond Carmatec, but a little further than where I had gone last week. When I got there, I came upon many students of the secondary type. I did not feel like turning around in the middle of the road as teenagers yelled such things as “mzungu.” So, I continued on. I then decided that I would try to get to Usa. Once I got to Usa, I thought, “Hey, our other farm is all down hill from here and it is still quite early.” So, I continued on. It was indeed all down hill and I found myself singing in the cool morning air. I got to the farm and people were shocked, couldn’t believe that I had come to work on a bike. I walked the farm, spoke with a few people, you know, managerial stuff, checked my e-mails, had a cup of coffee, drank a bit of water and then headed back.

I made it to the other farm in about an hour, popped into the office to show my face and act like a manager. Then I headed down to my place to take a bucket shower in my front yard in the beautiful sunshine. On the way to my place, I had an epiphany. I decided that the answer to all of the world’s problems is ice-cream. I thought to myself that no matter what it costs, I should invest in enough solar panels to power a big freezer so that I can make ice-cream at my place and open a little stand in the village and sell ice-cream cones. I thought, “Yes, when the mangoes come into season, I will make mango ice-cream. When the strawberries ripen, I will make strawberry ice-cream, and raspberries, and lychees, and peaches, and so on.” I also thought that I would buy two cows and plant sugar cane and vanilla and wheat so that I could actually make all of the ice-cream, including the cone, from my little plot. I was so euphoric and thought that life was beautiful and that it was the most beautiful day and that I should ride to Usa every day.

Then I realized that this was just some endorphins making me feel good, and then I started to feel really tired and decided that I am probably the last person you should go biking around Tanzania with ‘cause I’m totally wasted after a mere two and a half hours of biking. My goodness, it made me hungry.

thanks Erik Zweig for the email. It made my day.

My mind and body is limited

I should be posting more. I have the ideas and trips for posts. I even have drafts waiting to be finished and posted.

I have too many interests for my mind and body. Is that a reflection of age, planning of ones life, or is it a good thing?

(I wrote this whole post and lost it on a mozzilla crash while posting, and if I am not careful I will get called away before finishing this post to fix the vacuum cleaner, and after fixing the vacuum cleaner I will start to fix a bicycle.)

Back to my limitations. For example I get interested in waste water purification. So I research it, forget what I learned, learn it again, build one, it has flaws. research, forget, research, .....

How does this apply to bicycling? I am wondering if I should simplify. My biking activities include: commuting, bike racing with club, riding with novices, casual club mountain bike rides, riding with family, long mountain bike rides, short and fast mountain bike rides, fixing my bikes. They are all fairly different activities, related but different. So I am wondering if i should give up on the racing and casual rides.

Another posts waiting to be written on how I am seeing my role as encouraging others to ride bikes.

07 April 2008

There was a young pilot at a restraunt couple of weeks ago. He had walked by himself from Engaruka to Arusha. I told him he should come biking with us.

It is raining everyday.

I went to bed early for a planned 330 rising and leaving at 4am. I woke up about 11pm and felt aching all over and a bad sore throat. I lay in bed being miserable for about an hour and then gargled and took aspirin and then slept.

I didnt feel too bad at 330 so I started to get ready. I move slow and then i had to get Ezra's bike ready. I can't believe it took until 445 before we started off in a heavy drizzle. it was pretty slick to get the the highway.

Our destination was vague but figured with mud that riding towards Mfereji was a good bet.

My 02 Rainshield jacket worked well and I was dry.

Only one vehicle passed us on the hours ride on the highway. that was pretty nice. We could ride side by side and talk.

We reached the Lengijave plains and stopped for a drink and I took this picture. I guess it was still raining at that time. the slog, the boring highway part was over and now we had the short grass plains before us. We swooped down to the edge and then bounced on rough grass down a steep ridge.

It was mostly downhill for the next hour or so. Everything was green but notmuddy. we got on a small foot trail and that led along hte edge of Oldebesi valley. We say some thomson gazelles and zebra and a hawk here and there. mellow ride.

the trail led us into the sand river so we crossed it and came to a boma half way up the other side. Paulo discussed our optins and then recomended riding straight for the old track on the far side of the valley. Ezra surrendered his bike to a masai who wanted to try.

We rode across clumps of grass for awhile and got ot the hard smooth road and went on down the valley.

Paulo suggested we crest a hill and stop at a boma for chai. while swatting flies in the boma Paulo asked for some chai. the man of the boma was castrating sheep that day. They sent a young girl to borrow some sugar from the boma 400 meters away. Paulo talked and eEzrra and i got to know each other better. Turns out one woman in this boma had been to our compound in Arusha, and stayed two weeks waiting treatment.

chai was good and we sat inside a hut.

They showed us a good trail back and we were oon tracks the whole way back.

Turning around it was now slightly uphilll all the way and into the wind and we were more tired. We moved at about 10-15kmph until it became steep and stopped for another breakfast. We lay on the grass drinking chai and sandwiches from home.

Now there was 30 minutes of a steep track up to the lengijave plains.

people changed from masai to waarusha. we met some people who knew Ezra.

up on the plains the speed picked up and by 1230 we were at the highway. Now it was a coast home. I was tired .

78km total time was 8 hours, riding time was 5 1/2 approzximately