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by SS at 11:06 am on Tuesday 19th January

It's 7:40pm and I'm sheltering inside my tent. It is wet outside, and getting wetter by the minute. Our campsite appears to be right under the centre of a thunderstorm, which has transformed the many constant winds of the day to the gusty winds of the evening. I'm wearing my pyjamas, with the intention of sleeping soon, should the noise from other riders, the weather and the road permit. Two days of hard cycling have left me with a curious smell, and the dirt from the road combined with the unrelentless sun has embrazoned my arms with fairly linear lines (dirt + tan lines as opposed to just tan lines) where my cycling jersey ends.

Today was a brutal day by all accounts and indeed probably the longest I've ever ridden in a single go in my life. 168km was the overall distance and it started well enough, feeling refreshed from a night of sleep. However less than thirty minutes into the ride, my back wheel started rattling in a strange fashion. I left the peloton of Australians I had pegged out of camp with and went to check the damage by the side of the road - somehow a small pin had managed to work it's way into and through my tyre. An easy enough problem to fix but enough still to lose valuable time. Soon enough, just about every other tour rider made their way past me, each asking if I was ok - a fact I am glad of, useful if anything does actually go drastically wrong.

In a futile attempt to catch up with the Australians, I pushed as hard as I could for the next 45km or so, overtaking most of the riders who had passed me attacking my wheel with a tyre lever in my hand. However, as we came closer to the coast of the Red Sea, a headwind soon picked up. Riding solo was a tactical error and I was soon overtaken by a group of riders all drafting each other - much more efficient. Eventually we reached the lunch truck and I filled up with cheese and peanut butter filled pitta breads (separately!).

Having pushed hard for the morning, the remaining 100km in the afternoon was tough. The headwind endured and became even more violent. The roads became more open and riders were spread sparsely. At about 140km, we had a refreshment stop and then it was full on until the finish. By the time I got into camp, the sunset was very near.

3 comments posted so far
Leszek wrote at 6:55 pm on Tue 19th Jan -
Technically, unless they were going around in circles, the group of riders couldn't all have been drafting each other...
SS wrote at 2:35 pm on Thu 21st Jan -
Well...all but one!
wrote at 7:12 pm on Thu 21st Jan -
Intriguing - we need to see some pictures of the wonderful terrains you are cycling - maybe the lunch crew can take some pictures

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