10 June 2013

I blew it! For 40 years!

This is not about bicycling.  But it is about having adventures.

In High School if you played basketball, then you were not allowed to ski.  So when others were learning downhill skiing in grade 9,10 I was preparing myself during those years to sit on the bench by grade 12.

I went off to a liberal arts college and it was cool to cross country ski, so I picked that up and I started doing it frequently, like week long trips and a couple that were a month.

I became a ski snob, a cross country ski snob.  Down hill was for bourgeois fools.

Sometimes I found myself on long downhills and if they were steep i would ski across the slope, slow down, a kick turn when stopped and then ski back.

Once I was with David morris and he locked his foot down and shalomed down off Glacier Peak.  leaving me kilometres behind.

I always wondered what it would be like to down hill ski.  I almost tried 6 years ago while visiting USA in the spring, but ended up cross country skiing.

This year I arranged to meet high school friend at a ski place in March .

Rented skis, arranged to be in beginner group lesson, and paid for the beginner slope.  The lesson would start at 1 and it was 1130 so we headed up the ski lift.  I have always had a phobia of ski lifts.  Lori told the operator I was new to this and it went smoothly.

After a few runs I was catching on fast, and before the lesson it was taking more time to go up the lift than to ski down.  I was starting to do the turns pretty good.

The lesson was some people who could hardly stand up on skis and 3 of us who had some experience.  It was worthwhile as the instructor kept insisting of fundamentals.  She eventually got the 3 of us up on the slope and drilled us and kept me concentrating on doing it right .

End of lesson so then i could fly down the slope and it was too easy.  I had to keep on the steepest part.

Then we decided i needed to try the intermediate one.  We talked and talked but in the end we had to wait a bit and buy a night time starting at 4pm.  So i ended up spending over a $100 in total. 

Intermediate was challenging but I could almost do the whole thing without falling.  By now i was getting so tired it was hard to get up.  We did that run 3 times and called it quits.

I was exhilarated to say the least.

This is what I dream about doing now.  Watch the video.

 Why did I wait all those years?


Life ganged up on my adventurous bike rides for awhile.  Sunday I didn't so much plan it but it turned into a long one with lots of new stuff.

I woke up early enough but was 45 minutes late getting off to meet John and Amanda (white biker chick) at their house in Usa River.  I should of known it was going to be a good day as despite being on the busiest highway around it was a gas of a ride.  I held off a couple of guys who thought they could hold onto my slip stream.

I left home with thermos of tea (good idea), litre of juice in tetra pack (bad idea), 2 water bottles, a p&b sandwich, apple , and some dates.  Was not sure if i would be riding 2 or 4 hours with them.

We rode single track easterly parallelling the main highway through the Usa River water catchment forest.  It was great.  Then across the momella road and past St Jude Secondary and on trails and roads .  Most was flat with a few stream canyons to negotiate and one 1/2 kilometre of completely washed out path.

Then we popped out on the highway at Kikatiti.  I figured this side would not be enjoyable but once we passed the high tension wires we were on paths and roads and flying along.

I got hungry and we stopped and drank my tea.  The juice packed was punctured and i had juice all over.

These roads were all over, must be remnants of the old sisal plantation roads

.We had lots of fans.  Many helpful people and some GPS keeping us in right direction.

Amanda is the most fit woman rider I have ever ridden with.  I can't keep up.

We needed to cross the Usa River and somehow found this irrigation weir.  I was a bit unnerving .

John's GPS was giving conflicting info about distances and we found the big road to Mererani, but quickly decided it had too much traffic and dust.  Were told this road would take us to Manyire and i convinced them we should do a wine tasting at Erik Mdogos.  More fast roads, all flat.  Then we came to a big village and were told Manyire is "One way" up this road.  Now we were climbing slightly on a scrubby ridge with mostly Waarusha people.  I turned out this road went right past Erik's , but i didn't recognise until we were past.  It was about 1300 and we toured and had a few sips.  John and Amanda rode off and i hung for another few minutes as our directions changed.  I have about 30 km to home.

Instead I stopped and chatted with the Redding family.   Bertha Redding was a school teacher trained in colonial times who married a British District officer , and they settled in Arusha.  She was headmistress for many years at the famous Arusha School.  They had three boys and one lives on the farm with her.  John Redding died about 10 years ago.   I left at 4pm and was home 545pm.  It had turned into a long day, and two stops.  I probably rode 100km.

03 June 2013

More Tanzanian cyclists on the way to being professional riders.

Cycling talent identification camp ends in Babati
By Joseph Mwendapole
1st June 2013
The One week cycling Talent Identification Training camp organized by the World Cycling Centre For Africa (WCCA) and the International Cycling (UCI) ended yesterday in Babati.

Speaking in a telephone interview, one of the organizers of the course Nicola Morganti said the training camp attracted 45 cyclists from 9 countries and the training was conducted in collaboration with Tanzania Cycling Association (CHABATA).

He said during the course cyclist were taught on some cycling skills. Like position on the bike, bike adjustment and ability to stay in the peloton.

“ The course is ending today (Yesterday) the chief instructor Physiologist and Professional Cycling Coach from South Africa Andrew Smith is very happy with the performances of the participants ,among them is a Tanzanian participants  from Shynianga  Gerald Kondo and Arusha born Ali Rashidi have been selected for a test with power meter” He said.

Morganti said  the two Under 23 riders  might be invited for further training in Potchefstroom, South Africa from next September.

“ The two are good riders and its our hope that one day, they might follow the path of their mate Richard Laizer, the first professional cycling athlete of Tanzania who has recently joined the MTN Qhubeka feeder team and will soon travel to South Africa and Europe” he said.

The talent identification attracted cyclists from Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles and the host country.

The objective of the training was to scout for talented athletes who would potentially progress to attend the World Cycling Centre for Africa’s bi-annual training camps in Potchefstroom and Aigle, Switzerland later this year.

The link is here