15 April 2013

Flood of a lifetime.

Sometimes I feel as sluggish getting out the door for a ride as this  slow Chameleon we met on this weekend ride.  I don't think I have ever seen one SO green.
Luckily, I have dependable biking buddies to get me out the door.  Alone I might hesitate like this chameleon.  Once moving I don't want to stop.  Today is no different.

It is a year of heavy rains.  Rains you talk about the next day.  Rains that wash houses , cars, and animals away.  Rains that flood.  Rains that keep you inside. Rains that cause havoc at birthday parties* .  Rains of a lifetime.  

John and Amanda keep their appointment and we opt to try Monduli mountains.  I say I think there is only one place on this ride that might have mud.  Otherwise it will be packed clay and sand.

  We come down a rise to the questionable section and  the seasonal  20 meter wide river bed is now 100 meters across!  Judging from debris in trees the flood had 2 meters deep of water.  We follow tracks off the road and stop and take this picture. 

 I wonder how nervous the family with house on the right was?

The banana grove is gone.

A man is working on the side of the road, and I comment " it must of been a big flood."  He stops and replies.  "I was born in 1951 and I have never seen anything like it!"   We discuss this for awhile as we move through the endless ploughed fields.

 The road is not slippery, the sun is shining, and we cruise up the foot hills, one depression has 30 meters of unavoidable mud, but only Johns tyres pick up the mud and coat his drive chain.  Some reason Amanda and I only have a thin layer that builds up.

We ride slowly up the steep sections and into the natural forest, through one more mud section that we carry the bikes and soak our shoes.

We reach the end of the track and our journey for today,  and relax on bright green grass in the sunshine, eating dates from Oman and apricots from California.

We descend a single track from here and then down a valley on a washed out road and catch up with our inbound track at the bottom of first steep hill.

The next section is all downhill but not very steep.  We are home by 1230.

Great ride.

*(Biking buddy Thomas had one on Friday afternoon evening.  Bernice says we got to go now, I hesitate, and a minute later it is pouring rain.  We have come down a iffy road in a sedan.  Everyone else has SUV. We get drenched getting to the car, barely make it out of their garden, wait for others to turn around, only to stop a few minutes later because someone has driven into 2 meter ditch and is lying at 45degrees.   They left the vehicle.  Later I hear it turns into too many people in a hot tub. )

10 April 2013

Lest you think I have given up riding.

We are smack in the middle of our so called "Long rains / Masika".  My perception is 1/3 or our rains fall in the first 4 weeks of our masika usualy starting last days of march or 1 April.

Which means the trails and roads can be muddy.  And the problem with some soils and biking is the soil is clay and it sticks to your tyres, which is a show stopper.

So for last Saturday I suggested the Lengijave plains as the soil is a sandy loam.  It was a hit.  Thomas , Amanda (white biker chick), John, and myself.  The biggest topic was whether we should be in this picture or home in bed nursing hangover or wasting the day on the Internet.  Stopping at the top of the escarpment.  From here it is 2 hours of downhill with a tailwind.  It was tough.

 One of our many stops.  Yep I am fat.  I am wearing the wool bike jersey i bought in 1973 while in high school! 
 We had to do the 20km of highway to get there, and we stop at the first refueling station as we hit the highway on the way home.  Probably the only time any of us drink soda pop. 

Hosting Cyclists

I have posted about bicycle tourists who stay with us for a day or more as they pass through Arusha.  Often I have been asked how I meet them.

Up until 3 1/2 years ago I would meet them by chance as they were passing through.  Then I joined Warm Showers.  It is a way for cyclo tourists to offer a "warm shower" to other cyclo tourists.  It works  well, as you should have time to check out someone before the show up on your doorstep.

I posted about Sekiji staying in December, and we had similar good experience two months later with Maurizio.  They had communicated but were never near each other in their world tours.  Both found me on WarmShowers.  As they both are heading north they bumped into another cyclo tourist and through them he will pass by in the next weeks.

so what happens?  Yep.  They hook up in Ethiopia and are travelling together through Sudan right now. 

They are of course on Facebook.

as well as their websites
If you haven't watched Sekiji's you tube diaries you will enjoy them.  I am in the latest one.