Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Evaluating Ethiopia

Staying in Yabello, with two riding days left before we reach the Kenyan border, it is time to evaluate our stay in Ethiopia. With more than 2000 km cycled in this country, we have seen a lot; landscapes ranging from mountains to savannah, temperatures from 0°C to 45°C, road surface ranging from perfect tarmac to the worst dirt roads ever seen. Most striking though was the population density and composition: with nearly half of the population being below 18 years, for nearly a month we have heard the constant yelling of kids: "youyouyou", "moneymoneymoney", "where are you go?", for hours on end.

It wasn't an easy ride with a lot of time spent at an altitude above 2000 m.a.s.l., riding up to 3250 m.a.s.l., and up to 2600m of climbing per day, but it was good. A lot of climbing and dirt roads, exactly to my liking. I managed to secure my second section win, beating the guys for this section! Also, I managed to tie the women's record of the time trial riding up the Blue Nile Gorge (20 km, paved, 1400m climbing in 1hr42), more on that time trial here. Of course it was helpful that I got sick the night before and spent most of it in the toilet tent, losing an estimated 3 kg. Every kg counts when climbing!

Two days to the border from here, I am excited to enter East Africa. Five riding days to our next rest day in Marsabit. As the safety situation in northern Kenya (bandits and tribal clashes) changes by the day, it will be decided over the next two days whether we can ride all of it, or need a transfer through certain regions.

Internet access is limited here and does not allow uploading pictures. As soon as I have better internet access, I will upload them, but that may take until Nairobi...