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by SS at 11:07 am on Tuesday 19th January

Yesterday's entry was cut short by a lack of energy. The ride today was much easier - shorter (all in all, 147km) and much less effort (a tailwind instead of a headwind!). I cycled the first 20 kilometres solo, having been dropped by the faster Australian riders within a kilometre. As we reached a police checkpoint however, the ride came to a halt. The heavy rain of last night had apparently caused the roads to become flooded and the police didn't want us riding down the road. After nearly half an hour of waiting around, we were given the all clear to proceed, ahead of about a hundred waiting trucks. As we spun along the road, the wind helping us along, there was no surface water to be seen. Supposedly the Egyptian police were being overcautious - either that or the sun is incredibly efficient at evaporation in these parts, especially at 8am!

I rode with Alison up until lunch, one of the staff who was on her day off and had chosen to ride for the day. After lunch (more pitta bread) I managed to join a group of riders - a mixture of North Americans mainly. It's amazing how much easier it is to keep up a certain pace when you're riding with other people. On my own, I'd struggle to motivate myself.

You can usually tell something is amiss when you roll into any place and all the riders who were in front of you are just sitting, waiting (as happened in the morning at the police checkpoint). As we reached the finish flag, we were greeted by this sight of riders just sitting, waiting. Supposedly the campsite was actually a further 8km (but actually 10km) down the road due to, wait for it, flooding at the original choice! This alternative campsite is very windy and right next to a police checkpoint. While we can hear the rush of trucks going past, the tent is also flapping all over the place. Luckily there is substantial debris on the ground around the campsite, so it's possible to ground the tent. Putting it up was an interesting experience, if I was any lighter, I'd have been literally blown away. As each pole went into the tent, it became more and more like a sail.

Camp life is interesting, since we wake up quite early daily (most people are awake sometime after 5am) and because we have been riding quite hard, bedtime is usually soon after it gets dark (and/or dinner has been eaten). We've been at 'desert' camps for the last few days now, which don't really have any facilities. Going to the toilet is a substantial effort involving a shovel and a lighter. Tomorrow evening we're passing through a town called Safaga, and we'll be at a genuine campsite with showers (and hopefully, toilets). Dinner at the campsite is usually a generous serving of carbs with some kind of vegetables. It's not the tastiest food in the world though, and I think I'll soon have to burst open the various packets of chilli powder that my mother has equipped me with. Tour D'Afrique has also given us enough energy bars for 2 per day - one of the riders today noticed that these bars all expired in June 2009. I'm not quite sure what to make of that.

1 comment posted so far
Dave wrote at 3:02 pm on Tue 19th Jan -
Trowel and lighter?

Is that to burn of the methane etc from veggie diets in an eco friendlier way than just leting them waft? :P

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