19/04/05, stage 56, Luangwa Bridge to Soccer Field Camp

So 504k in the past 3 days with 3500 meters of elevation gain, and a 125k day with 1700 meters of elevation gain today. At the start of the day my bum didn’t know how to sit on the saddle and my legs didn’t know how to spin the pedals around, but after the first 200 meter climb the bum had settled and the legs got the message that they had to do the job, whether they wanted to or not. That doesn’t mean it was easy after that though. I completed the day on shear willpower, counting down the kilometers, repeating mantras based on previous “achievements”, convincing myself that I could make it through. These achievements of the past do not provide any guarantees for the present though.

Nevertheless I made my way through the day. The first 200 meter climb hurt, but after that tbe hills became less steep, allowing for more comfortable cycling. I made it to 30k, halfway to lunch and halfway through the worst climbing of the day. I krept on to lunch at 65, halfway through the day. One big climb left at 80k. After that roling hills, but my legs just didn’t want to climb anymore. 10k before the end I caught up with Paul. Chatting with him provided some distraction from the last hills and helped me finish the day!
400 meters before camp there was a cokestop, which was more than I could hope for. Paul had noticed that I was done and bought me a cold coke, which was very sweet of him and which I could not appreciate more at that moment. Camp is at a soccer field near a school, meaning thst there are no facilities whatsoever, so Baldr, Fred, Vik and me stayed at the cokestop until we drank all sodas and beers, providing us with a nice buzz.
The fatique unfortunately doesn’t make me into a nice person. I notice that I get irritated easily when I’m tired like this. The food that hasn’t been very well for the past few days, the fact that we ran out of energy drink, the chatting of people sitting around me at lunch or dinner, a person having a phone call in the tent next to me… All kinds of little things that would normally not really bother me now bother me. I figure that the best thing to do is to just keep my mouth shut and suffer in scilence to prevent escalation of any sort. I really hope I havn’t offended anybody yet, although i’m quite sure I did because that’s what I generally do. So I offer my sincere appologies, but please know that I couldn’t help it 🙂
To end positively: scenery was stunning! Zambia so far is amazing! And although we have another 100k ride tomorrow – with only 900 meters of climbing – we end the day at an apparantly very nice camp near Lusaka. And the day after that we will have a restday, which I think I really need. Almost there!

Leaving Luangwa river… Mozambique on the other side…

Dried fish from the river…

Morning light over the lush green wilderness! Zambia is so empty and full of nature!

Some really big trees on the side of the road!

Thnk god for down hills… Free kilometers

Locals ride the same uphills as we. But on old crappy bikes. I should stop complaining. I’m in Africa! Riding my bike!

Despit the hurting, i’m happy (very happy) to be here!

Otherwise I would not have seen this kid dancing! Really amazing! Check out the video here

Watching it from our cokestop…

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