09 May 2010

Komolo II

The plan was to pass through Komolo, ride up onto the south masai steppe over to Terat, Mboret / loiborsoit , and back home through lolikisale. It would be way over 200 km, which I was hoping I could do.
Unfortunately I forgot a map and when I got up on the escarpment i was feeling tired, a bit sick and was told the loiborsoit plains were muddy.

Despite that it was a good 150km ride mostly on gravel roads, some sections were rough or sandy. In those sections my speed dropped quickly.

It would of been nice to go with someone. I was not so lonely but when you joke about difficulties it makes it easier. But then several times I realized that being with someone can slow one down.

I should of left earlier than 7 am but hey it is the weekend. Getting ready was easier than normal. The sky was clear as it is after rains.

I live on the slopes of a mountain. So it makes sense the first hour and some to the bridge over the Themi river was alot of downhill. (27.5km from home). I was in great spirits. The road has been graded and it was fast. I stopped 5 minutes at the bridge to stowe my helmet and eat a banana.

I made a note to get an inflatable kayak. I could of floated to here in the garbage strewn river.

I looked for the road branching off. Found a guy sitting on a rock beside the road and asked about the road. It exists but it goes through a swamp and is flooded and has many branches. He advised to stay on the fast and good road.
The next section is poor soil and full of rocks and suddenly I was in a parched scrub. in this section the road was good but a bit rough. But now when i look at the picture how can I complain. I had met only two vehicles up until now.

The area was completely devoid of people and huts, just rocks, soil, and scrub trees. slightly down hill and i cranked quickly to the bottom lands and into deep grass and scattered fields of maize.

Custom is another 13 km and i didnt need to stop but I have a friend in the village, Ngowi, who is now the village secretary. I bought a Bavaria non-alcoholic beer, expensive at 3000shs and a big bottle of water.

I asked about the way around and they thought it was possible but that the mboret plains might be muddy and impassable. Ngowi says the road is good ahead, just like the section I have been on.

It wasnt but it will be. They are working on it and it was rough for a bit, then it was good hard old road. I noted that it seems this area is becoming forested again. 30 years ago it was kind of denuded like this seciton . It rolls and then drops to the escarpment.

I was able to get off the road some on a path following the road and that was fast and fun. Note the trees.

I realizied as it warmed up and sun became hot that i forgot my collared cotton shirt.

The esparpment didn't loom ahead of me like the Great Rift but I knew it was going to be a slog. I came to Komolo and passed a village meeting. I have the preconceived negative notion about Komolo village and passed through. After some initial "mzungu, money" banter from kids we started talking as i inched up the road and they were cool.

The road was okay although sometimes solid rough rock. Just when i thought I was done i rounded a cornor and instead of gentle uphill i saw a steep section up ahead.

More traffic now. Every 10 minutes there seeme to be a car. Either a masai landrover bus or an masai nNGO landcruiser with two people, or a government vehicle . The exception was gerard miller. Half way up a new landcruiser stopped coming down and it was Gerard. he farms on the masai steppe and i have known him slightly for 20 years or so. He was pretty suprised what i was doing and asked my age. He has a bicycle to ride around the farm now.

At the top ( 1145) i stopped off in the bushes for lunch. I tried to find a view but too many trees and the escarpment is gentle so i could not find a place to hang my feet off a bank and gaze into the distance. Instead i found a field of grass and flowers. I realizied all day i was seeing lots of flowers but just noticed them lying in the grass eating my lunch

I not sure why but I was feeling tired and a bit nauseated. climbing the hill, 70 km, lack of blood sugar, water? In hind sight i think it was one or both of the last two. I think i have to learn to force myself of drink and eat. the milk chai was most appealing, so i drank that first. I forced myself to eat food and managed a big banana, pbj sandwhich, water, juice. I laid down for a 5 minute snooze but was getting bit/stung by bees. I turned on my phone and got two sms messages. then i checked my email! and deleted all the server messages.

I decided as it was 1230 that half the day was gone and i would have to make the circuit to loiborsoit another time. I road up the road a bit to make it over 75km and read the sign. No date of completion specified.

I recovered coasting down the escarpment. and on the ride into custom village felt strong and it passed quickly. I had gone 110km. I stopped and found a cold coke and another bottle of water. One duka had a small fridge with batteries. I got a bit confused with money and almost paid 4500shs. instead of 1500shs.

I found another trail paralleling the road and had to stop pedaling sometimes as i twisted through the bush.

a guy on a bicycle said the bauda road was graded the whole way so i went that way. The road was perfect. I greeted tons of farmers walking home with the hoes on their shoulder. The bike felt sluggish so i stopped and put some air in the back tyre. the thick tubes are deceptive. I did that three times on the way in but the third time it was full. that helped alot and i was crusing up the slow incline.

When i joined the road to the sand quarry i now had a big truck passing me every 5minutes and had to deal withthe dust and sand they stir up.

I was feelig strong and cranked up the big hill and on home. with only a few km to go i felt weakeer and decided to eat a snickers so that i would be recovered at home and could eat soon.

Had some issues off and on with my toe giving pain. It started couple of years ago. I also have to be careful about numbness in my hands.

it was 147km in8:23 riding time 10hours total.

Is Paul theroux right in the Dark Star Safari? I met progress, happy smiling people once out of arusha. Sure some kids asked for some money (they asked for 10 cents though).


  1. Nice write-up and good pictures. Sounds like a good ride all things considered, at least when you bonked you were able to get some food!

    As for Theroux, I think he has the best of intentions but...we know where that leads.

  2. I tend to be over prepared, so I had enough food, I think i have to remind myself to eat more frequently.

    I have to think more about Theroux. I still think "mosquito coast" is about as good as a book can get