Sunday, 19 January 2014

Souvenir from the Sudan

Just when everything was going well (getting used to the headwinds, enjoying the smooth tarmac roads and the grazing camels by the roadside, getting used to the lack of hygiene that comes with hot weather, cycling and no shower facilities), I lost concentration for a moment, resulting in a painful 30 km/h dive onto the gravel roadside. After some first aid from my cycling buddies and some strong ignorance of what I had ahead of me, I decided to ride the remaining 50 km to the luch stop. There our tour medic was waiting to clean the wounds and stitch me up. Her comment when removing the bandage ("oh dear!") did not sound particularly positive, but she managed to compensate for all the skin left at the roadside by pulling a bit harder on the remaining skin to close the gap. Five stitches in the left forearm, three in the left hip should do the job. So far so good! The bruises will be gone by next week, the scars will be my souvenir from the Sudan.

I was not allowed to ride on after that, luckily the lunch stop was the end of the race that day (not all riding kilometers are racing kilometers), and I was back on the bike the next day, defending my position. Although not in the best shape, I still enjoy riding as long as the road is smooth, which it has been upto now. From tomorrow we are expecting gravel and sand for the next six riding days, hopefully that will not be that painful. I changed my tyres to get ready for the rough road, my bike looks so much better now. This is what it is made for!

Today we are enjoying a rest day in Atbara, a small, industrial town in the east of the Sudan. Abandoned amusement parks seem a big thing here, as we are again staying in one. Well, there is water for doing our laundry and taking a shower, so no complaints! We went into town for dinner and got a free ride back to our camp from a Sudanese man, because he had heard about us on tv and in the newspaper. Famous in Sudan!

All in all it has been a good tour start, with good roads, good company, beautiful (although maybe slightly boring) desert landscapes, friendly Sudanese and 7 stage wins out of 8!