Sunday, 15 September 2013

Riding with Ross Methven: day 13

Ross Methven is riding a bicycle from Edinburgh, Scotland, to Cape Town, South Africa. He is currently cycling through Tanzania and I am accompanying him on part of the Tanzanian leg. My Mt. Kilimanjaro guide, Yahoo, says cycling is one of the best training options for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Saturday 10 August 2013
Today we confronted cycling's breakfast climb. The old road from Shelui to Singida passed through the famous steep Sekenke mountains where, because of the sharp incline, it was a place where heavy duty trucks occasionally failed to pass through.

The new road avoids Sekenke and has a less severe incline - for vehicles. For cyclists there is little relief. Even Ross admitted later today that he also was forced to get off his bicycle and walked. I was relieved to hear that; I thought there was something wrong with me.
If you want to donate to Ross' cause please follow this link:
Comparing cycling with climbing Kilimanjaro I notice one significant contrast. On Kilimanjaro, when I stop to pause while climbing through a steep section I suffer a great deal when I resume the hike. My heartbeats increase considerably for the initial few minutes and it takes a while for the heartbeat rate to settle down to a comfortable level. Consequently, on Kilimanjaro I prefer to rest at the top of a ridge and it becomes less stressful when I resume walking.

In contrast, during this cycling trip, when I stop for a few minutes at an uphill section I get a huge relief on my aching leg muscles and when I resume, except for 2 minutes of added stress, the rests provide a welcome relief.

The next village following the long Sekenke climb was Misigara. There we had one more round of tea and chapatis: I had three; Ross had one. Food is a necessary fuel to a cyclist. And the more regular it is consumed the easier it is to cycle for prolonged hours.

We also bought from a machinga (itinerant trader) two daggers, adding to our collection of self-defense tools. I told Ross: "No one with evil intentions would get close to if you hold one of those." Unless he is crazy. I cautioned him to remember to pack his dagger in his checked luggage during a flight. I said: "Airport security will not permit you to take that inside a plane."

Getting caught with such a memento from his Tanzanian trip would be, we agreed, one of the surest ways of getting on a free private jet flight to Guantanamo Bay. And it doesn't help that the edged blade gives it an arabic character.
The memento from Misigara next to my bicycle.
Having cycled 60-plus kilometres to Iguguno, our destination, Ross explained that he normally rides for 3 - 4 days before resting. The fact that we cycled for 7 days without a rest is no small achievement, even for him.

Next: days off

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