Erin's Tour d'Afrique Bike of a Blog!
An 8,000 mile personal and philanthropic adventure across Africa…

The Comeback Kid

After plenty of rest, recovery and a double dose of antibiotics, Nurse Caro and I agreed that yesterday I would be ready to get back on the bike. I woke up like a little kid on Christmas morning, and have never been so excited to rub anti-saddle sore cream on my tush! I got all dressed and ready to go, jumped out of my tent, and the skies opened up with a raging, earth-shattering thunderstorm. Every rider was soaked to the bone within five minutes. Don’t even ask what our clothes look and smell like. In the back of my head I thought, is this a sign from god that I need another day? But I was determined to get back on the bike and frankly, after two weeks of consistent rain, have become used to being soaked to the bone for several hours each day.

It turned out to be one heck of a day. 1k out of camp, the unpaved “roads” turned to a wet, muddy, sloppy, sandy, bumpy, potholed mess. A few riders threw in the towel right there, but it reminded me of a cross-country race on a bike, so I was smiling. Every bus that passed spewed muddy puddles all over every rider. I had mud in my ears. So much for not swimming in Africa. I ended up riding with Dana and Rick, who both pointed out at one point that we seemed to be biking in a river…upstream. After some suffering, we finally found a secret side road that was smooth dirt, for the price of huge, biker-eating puddles every few meters. It was still pouring rain and we took turns pedaling first through each puddle of unknown depths, screaming “kkeeeeppp pedddalling” as the water came up to our shins over our pedals. Pedaling underwater…tough work. Rejuvenated by no fewer than four tunafish sandwiches at lunch, Rick and I plugged on to finish a challenging day. We had a fabulous time, with me providing (largely unsolicited) opinions on his love life. Sorry Rick :-). By the time we saw the finish flag, we were near the back of the pack, I couldn’t see my bike under its coating of mud, and I used half a pack of baby wipes cleaning myself off, but wow…this is cycling across Africa. I am so grateful to be back in my soaking wet saddle.

Today we woke up for our final day of riding Northern Kenya’s gnarly dirt paths. The lush mountain scenery was spectacular, and about 7k in we saw an even more spectacular surprise…a paving machine and…a road!!! Turns out the Chinese have taken it upon themselves to start paving the rest of Kenya at a breakneck pace. I have never felt so grateful for the Chinese, but part of me also felt sad because this will change the nature of the Tour in the future. I rode blissfully and slowly toward our campsite in the town of Isiolo, Kenya with an Aussie named Wayne. At one point we noticed a group of schoolkids shyly eyeing us from the side of the road. We decided to stop, and were treated to a spirited, impromtu concert in Swahili by the 30 or so five-year old Kenyans in school uniforms. They thought Wayne and I were hilarious as we danced around in our biking spandex to their music. Unfortunately I fear we may have enhanced the stereotype of white people who dance very badly…

Isiolo is a bit of a gem after our remote stretch- there’s internet, atms and rumors of ice cream. I hope to continue my comeback slowly and surely over the next few days into Nairobi, because the positive vibe in Kenya is colorful, curious and contagious. More to come from the paved road!


3 Responses to “The Comeback Kid”

  1. Happy to hear you are back in the saddle again! I think that is a name of a song:)! Love Debbie

  2. Good to know you are back riding. Enjoy the remaining of the ride.
    You are almost there. Good Job

  3. Really glad that you are feeling better!

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