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19/02/23, stage 46, Another Soccer Field Camp to Mbeya

Day 7 of our stretch. I can’t deny I was pretty tired this morning, even a little grumpy. So I decided to avoid other people, because from my perspective nobody seemed to be able to do anything right and I got annoyed by the slightest thing. And it was probably a good thing that I was aware of that. To make things even worse I started the day with a flat. Yvonne helped me out though, which was very sweet of her because she usually cycles somwhere at the back of the pack. And today we had another long rough day ahead. 110k and some 2100 meters of climbing. And the last 35k of dirt road…

I liked the dirt road during the last few days, but now I just wanted to make it to the pavement as fast as possible. So I decided to just kill the last section of dirt and I pounded my way through it. It was tough riding as they are building a new paved road right next to the old dirt road, meaning that the old dirt road has been driven to bits and pieces by heavy construction vehicles. Next to this, today was a climbing day, which meant that there was also a fair amount of climbing to be done on this horrible road. Best of it was when I overtook Dan, who is 72 years old and who was walking to pass a sandy patch. I told him that he should get back on his bike because we’re not on a hike but on a bike tour. He replied with a “Fuck You Romy” which I very much appreciated and which made me smile 🙂 I love it when people appreciate my humor.
Eventually I made it through though! I finished the dirt section together with Alex and we celebrated together with a well deserved cold coke! After that we hit the asphalt and within a 100 meters we were confronted with our first speed bumps. I hadn’t missed those on the dirt road…
Lunch was at 55k and after that followed the real climbing of the day. I really hoped I had any energy left after all the hard riding in the morning. As always, easy should do it though… I ended up riding together with Alex again and it was nice to have someone to share the amazing road and amazing views with. My climbing legs have improved a bit, so the climbing is not as agonizing as it used to be. We ended up having quite some fun, making it to the top together and enjoying the absolutly amazing view together! After that followed 20k of downhill, which was pretty nice as well!
So we finished our 7 day stretch! 935k. 8779 meters of climbing. 440k of dirt road. 0 falls, no accidents, which I’m very happy about. It’s not the longest consecutive stretch I ever did. Did 8 days back to back in England. It is one of the highest average daily distances though. Did the same amount of climbing in Vietnam in just 6 days, with two panniers at the back. And roads in Vietnam were not that great either. So probably not the toughest riding I ever did. But still pretty tough and i’m happy I made it through!
I got a hotel room for the rest day. Had a long shower and ate a lot of food tonight. Two plates of fries, a chicken sizzler with fried rice, noodles, some more fries and chicken, two coupes of Ice cream. And despite all this eating I’m getting skinny. I can see my abs, while I always was quite certain that I didn’t have any of those….
And now I’m just looking forward to my bed….

Crossing a river!

35k. We thought we were done with the dirt road but apparantly it continued a bit more…

At 38k we really hit pavement again! Some people went as far to kiss the asphalt… I liked the dirt!

Amazing views during the afternoon climb!

Amazing road too!

Look at this! And watch the road

Looking down into the rift valley some 1200 meters below our 2500m highest point….

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