19/05/01, stage 74, Sesriem to Betta

Our worst nightmare. 10 out of 10 tough. According to the TDA crew day to day guidebook that is. 137k of tough dirt road through the Namibian desert. Challenge accepted 🙂
Two nights in a proper bed, a day of doing absolutely nothing and some good food and some good showers actually left me pretty well rested. And I found mysef having a good mindset for today. So I figured that I would at least give it a try and see how I would make it to lunch…
Today was actually the first day of the tour that I made it to lunch around lunchtime. It took me some 5 hours of saddle time to plough my way through those first 74k, which were just as bad as the 12k road before Sesriem. And most of it I didn’t even ride on the road, but next to it, because that was easier 🙂 They could easily hold the world championship of cat litter cycling on this road 🙂
The key during days like these is just to take it very easy. Keeping the heart rate low. Not excerting yourself more than when you would take a walk. At that rate, you can keep going for a long time. Easy does it. Just accept that it is going to take a long time and that it is going to be a long day. And considering the circumstances I actually made good time and got to lunch with only four riders in front of me 🙂
Nevertheless I took my time at lunch and considered how sensible it was to keep going. It would only get hotter during the afternoon and I still had 63k to go. The alternative would be to hitch a ride on the lunchtruck, which meant hanging around at lunch for a long time untill everyone had passed, followed by a hot bumpy ride in the truck, which I figured would not end well for me (think Maun, Scenic Flight, Motion Sickness, etc). 
So I decided to push through to the cokestop at 91. And as roads improved I pushed on to the next cokestop at 114. And as the wind had picked up and turned into our backs, I pushed through to camp! And so I finished our worst nightmare. Our 10 out of 10 ride, one of the toughest on the tour.
Today was the first day that riders got picked of the road because it turned dark. I arrived at 530 with only 6 of our strongest riders in front of me. After that there was about 1,5 hours of daylight left. A number of riders made it in, but four or five were picked up by Tallis, among who poor Vikas. Untill now he rode every bit of the tour and worked very hard to accomplish that. He had some very long tough days in the saddle and it’s almost tragic that he got picked of the road 4k before the end of the ride. That’s how small the margins are. 
In any case, everybody who started today deserves respect for trying. And everybody who didn’t start deserves respect for being here. Like I said: I think what we’re doing here borders on insanity 🙂 And tomorrow we do it all again 🙂

But cycling these roads also means we get to see spectacular Namibia!

And that eases the pain a bit 🙂

I feel so incredibly small in these vast landscapes…

And this is how sandy it got this morning…

Me cycling on one side of the road and Baldr on the other side, because the road was just unride-able

Like being on a different planet, skies incredibly blue…

I’m very fortunate with my bike and it’s fat tyres…

I couldn’t really look out for giraffes though, the road required all attention…

Same applies to zebras..

Matz taking the turn, getting the wind in our backs…

For some reason people actually live here 🙂 

Tough but another beautifull day in beautifull beautifull Namibia!

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