Every year our bike club, Arusha Cycling Club, puts on a race during the Karibu Tanzania Fair . In the past two years it is a multistage race and this year despite our doubts we managed to pull it off again.
I say that as getting the 3,500,000 shillings ($3,000) to pull it off is not easy. The club can not get the big sponsorships from the companies like breweries, soda companies, or the cell phone companies. We need prize money, vehicles, race officials, regional permission, police support, first aid, lodging, and so on. In the end the money comes from club members with companies and firends of club members.
The exception is DSI, who make bicycle tyres in Sri Lanka and distribute here. Our big thanks to them. The provided $420 cash, two tyres and T shirt for each participant.
Two days before the race I was thinking it wasn't worth the hassles, but as we lined up for the start of the first day it was worth it. Towards the end of the first day slogging up to the Ngorongoro gate i was having doubts again, but then i got to turn around and speed into Karatu for a finish. The first day was 162 km. The first 70 we controlled as the road is bad in places, we rode at 35kph average as a big group. From there the speed jumped up to crazy speed on slight rollers. My highest speed for the 3 days was at this time, 69kph. I was managing to hold on with Thad Peterson for about 10 km when i went over a stone and knew immediately it would go down and a minute later i was flat, and that was the end of my free ride to Mto wa Mbu.
The rest of my team picked me up. Mike Peterson, Henri Van Der Land, and Rajabu Hussein. Rajabu is 16 and the rest of us over 50. We comprised team "C" of our club. We were joined by a team from Dodoma, Kenya, and Mwanza.
We got the flat fixed but the peloton was long gone. Thad stayed with them to the escarpment above Manyara national park. The rest of us rode together up to the escarpment and up. Afterwards I left the others and eventually caught Thad between Karatu and Loodare gate of NCAA. He was pretty knackered and we shared a GU packet and rode on to the finish.
We all camped at Sunset campsite in Karatu. It was much more relaxed than the previous year, less bickering.
The next day we were joined by Wesley Krause on team C. We had only 10km until the big hill up to Rotia where team c fell off to fend on our own. We screamed down the manyara escarpment and rode in echelon on the flats to Makyuni. We started to get tired but rode on to Arusha in 5hrs 49 minutes, only 130km
The last day was a team time trial of 38km. That was fun and like racing. The other days were just long slogs for team C.
Arusha cycling took most of the prizes except 3rd place team.
I guess I will ride again next year. It would be nice to be in better shape and stay up with the peleton a bit longer.
Team time trial was a nice way to end the tour as it is fast and short and i felt like I was RACING.
04 June 2009
Is being responsible a good or a bad thing? Or is it neither but our reaction to it what is important? I am talking about responsible as a adjective meaning accountable and not necessarily reliable.
My responsible dilemma: sometimes it is perceived that I was the one who got Arusha Cycling Club going ten years ago. Even though I am not a office bearer some of the decisions come to me, my financial support is depended upon, and I am sometimes the link between the old rich guys in the club and the young racers who are developing into middle class.
In short, I am partly responsible for the club. It won't fall apart without me, but my leaving would do some damage. Similarly I have hard time when it is known to me that the young guys need help with a new chain or cassette and I have the spare or I have the ability to buy it and that troubles my soul.
And now, just before the big Mwanza Race we have tensions between the hot shots. It probably started with a money issue, but the fact that in the Mwanza Race first prize is $1000 is an issue. So two distinct teams are going to this race from our club. I feel responsible for mending the break.
I want to run away from it all. I want to get on my mtn bike and ride all day and not have to worry about my fellow cyclists' bicycle maintenance.
On the other hand it is a fantastic feeling to ride with a club as a group. Recently I just about stayed up with the front pack up a hill. Hamisi, a hotshot rider, dropped back, waited for me, and then effortlessly "pulled" me up to the pack. That is a great feeling.