27 February 2012

Up and down

This is the profile of the race. Green is elevation and Blue is speed. Race started after 3 km or so of slow prolog.

posted from Bloggeroid

Post a track.

I was slinking around the Internet, and I noticed a 15 year old on his profile said,
"share some tracks with me."

I was thinking a track like this:

But I think he meant a music track. Interesting how individuals view the world differently.

A view from the back.

I have to confess.

I am not a serious bicycle racer anymore.

Not that I was ever very good racer, but there was a time when I took racing and training seriously. I would prepare for a race.

I wasn't going to go to the annual Olasiti mtn bike race but I decided attended the race to socialize with my buddies!

Ever try to socialize in a mtn bike race? I think you could in a long road race but in a mtn bike race? There is never a rhythm, tends to be shorter so it is higher output for shorter time, you are in a single line and more spread out, you are either panting going up a hill, or completely occupied going down hill, or recovering on a flat section. So even if I was close to one of my buddies forget about chatting.

This is the first year a white boy has won since I won a mtn bike race about 10 years ago(another story). Thomas Holden won by one minute, largely due to his body's ability and his bicycle's ability to descend faster than the other guys, and (2) Laizer is in South Africa trying to become an international pro racer. Laizer is a few percent stronger than everyone else.

Some of the usual were there from my group. Shabani, Thad, Henri.

Here is the view from the back:

Here is the pre start . My race plan as in the past was to start slow and then tapper off.

That is not always easy to do if your goal is companionship. So when we started the real start at top of Dorobo hill, and Thad and Shabani hammered away with Thad's son Zack I belatedly started hammering 50 meters behind them.

I couldn't get a pedal off my bike in the morning so I road with just platform pedals. My feet were all over the pedals. I failed to find time to fix the rear shifting so I had missed shifts.

I slowly caught up to Thad and Zack as we gradually climbed towards Oljoro but would lose 100-200 meters on the downhill runs. I either just didn't know what the track was like or was not comfortable going their speed. Thad seemed more intent on racing than socializing so I was the reluctant racer.

At the bottom of one down hill I braked in the dry wash and on the other side the kid behind me bumped my wheel from behind and my chain fell off. Now I couldnt see Thad.

I tried to catch Thad on the ups but eventually on one down i lost him completely. Now was the tapering off time. A under 19 kid begs water and I give him water and kind of stay with him to the finish.

Henry was behind the whole time and i didn't know it. Zack found out later his brake was rubbing. So

During the awards I stood in the middle of a crowd of school kids with nothing better to do than crowd around the awards area.

All the racers went to a bar for two free sodas, some of us drank beer instead and Thad and I sat around for a couple hours sipping beer and catching up.

Will I keep going to races? probably. habits are hard to quit.

22 February 2012


Looks like something out of a movie like Casablanca. This is my mother and two oldest siblings waiting for someone at the Dar Airport around 1950. I think it is a cool picture.

I am enjoying a short visit from my oldest sibling Alan, and he had the picture in his bag. Last night we started talking about what he remembered living here until he was 8. He had a pet baby hyhena for a few weeks until my parents got scared what it would grow into.

then we looked at the expenses journal that my parents kept from 1948 until 1970. I guess they stopped when they finished the house mortgage.

20 February 2012

Another convert?

While I am posting the last entry I see an email from someone I don't think I know, and from same person a facebook friend request (yes I use it , but don't admit it much).

Im Petr, im a huge fan of Off road mountain biking, i read your blog and i think i just found the right person i was looking for.I live in Arusha, I've always found it hard to get my hands on off road mountain biking i rarely do ride with my friend. I would like to get to know you and go ride with you someday. You made my day.

Petr Deus. Since I am logged on face book already of course you look at his bio and pics. Petr wants to bike, is in secondary school at Braeburn

I accept the request and immediately we chat and I ask

"where do you live?"
"Where do i live?
It takes a bit of time but you see it coming.

We are neighbors! Like 500 m.

More questions. He lives with Bernice's boss at World Vision. Not immediate boss, the country director.

He comes over so we can see his bike. It needs some work, more than a few minutes. I fix the brakes and seat, replace a cable and sheath. The stopper is the seat post is fused and the stem.

We arrange to meet 630am and do a ride, he will use Bernice's bike.

True to his word he shows up at 630am. Good omen.

No helmet, long pants, and backpack. Bad omen.

It has been too long since I was a newbie, out of shape and fumbling with the mechanics of riding a bike. Shifting is an issue. Even my bike after a muddy ride and a washing is all messed up in shifting.

Half way up the mountain it dawns on me he needs more help.
"put your ball of foot on the pedal"
"roll up your pant leg"
shift one gear at a time"
"anticipate the shift"
ease off on the pedals when shifting pedal when shifting.

He is game and we make it around Sambasha hill, now it is 90% coasting .

He gets alot of cramps. The last one 500m from his house and he just falls over and cant get up for 5 minutes Of course this is with a crowd of people offering advise.

I think he had a good time. a repeat ride will tell.

Petr walking a long hill.

Checking his phone.
I was wrong. Posting on facebook. and here is the post.......

Petr Deús
Intense Mountain biking — with Erik Rowberg at Sambesha Hill,Mount Meru.
· · Yesterday at 9:41am via BlackBerry ·

18 February 2012


Most of my short 2 + hour ride I was thinking "Now what do I have to write about?"

I thought about how nicely this mtn bike rides. It still has some kinks but it rides fast and quiet. Later I thought about the dust. I thought about philosophical things but I have forgotten them. Okay now I remember I thought about Thoreau and the cost of getting somewhere.

Then it started to sprinkle. It started to rain.

I was going up hill and was warm, so I kept going. Then it poured for awhile, and it kept raining as i spun up the Ilboru road.

I reached the forest road and I was wet but not cold. I contoured on the forest road alone as everyone else was holed up under buildings or trees.

I took this picture. It is bad picture because the lens was wet.

Then i turned the next cornor and started descending. I started feeling cold. I started slowing down to keep the windchill to a minimum. I thought i would ride out of the rain as I descended but the rain descended the mountain also. by the time i arrived home my feet were numb, my hands stiff, and i was like a drowned rat.

So I am not going to listen to my buddies anymore who jibe me about always carrying a raincoat in my jersey pocket. Thanks alot guys.

I took a hot shower, a hot bath, and resorted to a heavy sleeping bag for an hour.

16 February 2012

Sharing trails

I should know how to do this better. Click on the map and see the route, and the second part. What if you want the gpx file for your gps, so you can follow the route?

View Untitled in a larger map

But should I do it, I mean share trails? Do I want people on my trails?

Sambasha loop has one of the best single track downhills followed by a long gravel road as fast as you wanna go.

13 February 2012

My favorite bookshop

I thought all Arushan's knew this "bookshop", but Friday night I found Thomas Mbise didn't know it. This is Massawe's book shop on sidewalk the center of Arusha, just around the cornor from the main post office. He buys and sells and must have boxes and boxes stored somewhere as the selection changes every week.

Whenever I walk down that street he waves me over, scans his display, and says "These are what you need today."
I always say " But i will have to go to the bank, as your prices are so exorbitant, I dont carry that much cash." Seven out of ten times I leave some cash there.

But 9 out of 10 transactions he makes a good selection. He knows I like Dick Francis but I have most of his books now, so rarely does he make a sale on those books. But he introduces me to new authors.

I wonder what it would be like if he had a four wall shop?

Kilimanjaro ride

In actual fact we rode 1/2 way around Mawenzi peak, which stands next to Kilimanjaro and is only 5,000 meters.

That is Mawenzi peak ahead of the riders. It blocked Kilimanjaro for most of the out and back ride.

There has always been a rough gravel road around Kilimanjaro, about 240km but now they have paved a section from Marangu , where most climbers start, around the eastern slopes and along the Kenya border to Rongai on the North side. We are always looking for new tarred roads.

Unfortunately it was 140km of driving to get there. We were about a dozen, bikes in a pickup and people in a stretch landcruiser. It took about 2 hours to get there. We had heard that there is one short stretch not paved in the beginning but as we drove it looked so good we started riding between Marangu and Mkuu.

Vincent had come and was about ahead of us.

I was a bit suprised that we could see Mawenzi all the time, I thought it would be blocked by ridges and trees. The road contours around the slopes of Kilimanjaro / Mawenzi, we started at around 1380m and went to 1800m , but it was rolling so we had another 400m. So we climbed about 800m. The group ahead of me went further.

I rode up to the beginning of the national forest. A planted agro forest of the government.
I was told the riding was even better in the forest, lots of up and downs and curves as the sign warns.

Turning around I was suprised by the open view, I hadn't looked back the whole morning.

03 February 2012


"The problem with Internet quotes is, you never know if they are authentic." -Abraham Lincoln-

The Internet can be cool, informative, and entertaining. It can also be non factual and a waste of time.