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237 km dirt road

February 1, 2017

 

Christian wakes up late, as usual he has slept badly. I go for breakfast in this hotel.

It is boiled dry chicken, chapati (thin pancake like bread), some boiled root and tea... Hmm...difficult even for a non vegan to take in in the morning.

When Christian wakes up he has decided to take a break and travel by bus for the coming days.

It could be good to paddel on my own for a bit. I leave some luggage with him and set off. It is fun. Bicycle is lighter and I dont have no one but myself to wait for. I know there is 237 km to Kigoma where we have decided to meet in a couple of days. I also know staying half way want be as fun as to go all in and make it a sport of doing it all at ones. I take pride in making what we many times do in our family. We make one hell of a sport event but no one is watching. So I set off. I start at 9 am and go a bit over 20 km/h. If I go at this speed, I will be there at 9 pm. The dirt road is bad, sometimes worse.

It all goes great. I stop and eat, just very fast. At lunch my front tire get punctured, twice!! And I have to change the back tyre.

Up again. Cycle cycle...then I see the dark front...rain. 

 

So it rains for an hour. Its cozy. At all this time I stay very positive. I can stop if I want to. I just dont want to. I want to go all the way. I see others continue in there more and more wet cloths. Some stop and cover themself with some plastic. I have my raincoat. I feel privaliged. As the rain comes the dark brown dusty road becomes wet. So the dust dissapears for a bit. And maybe some less traffic. The road goes dark red and the holes become big orange puddles. The water streams in the hilly parts. Many times destroying the road even more. The cars have no mercy. They pass me in a speed of about 80 km/h just like before. Puddles or not. I get splached several times, the bicycle, my stuff and face. But its all a new and instead of getting mad I see it as a fun experience. Now it is only short to the first big town on the way. So I could stay here for the night. It would be tempting as my tires now fill with clay, its get heavyer to cycle until I have to stop and remove the mud with a stick.

 

I will go on, I will reach Kigoma even if I have to walk.

I reach the big town. I bunker new water and european potatoe crisps and cookies. I eat two local meals fast. I change my wet shirt to my fleece. Lights on. Foreheadlamp and phone in my pocket. Sun is setting. I have my mind set on the goal, Kigoma. 88 km in the dark Tanzanian savan and forrest on my own on a dirt road.

 

Before I leave civilisation its black. My light is good. It is actually easier cycling on this road in the dark with the light giving shadow to all uneven parts. I go smother now then in the day. But the road is getting worse in many places. In some parts they are building the road and there is an alternative path beside. But in some places the road is so bad I come to a halt and have to lead the bicycle over a ditch made by the rain water. Twice I find myself stoping and think I have got lost, because I cant tell if I am on a road or not. The only thing I can see is the oval lit up path from my bicycle light. In the first hours I also see lights and when they come closer I see people, bikes or some few cars. About 20 km in I here the soaring sound of my front tire getting flat. Oh!! There is a house with lights on close by. I go nock on there door. No answer. I try all my phraces in Swahili. Halo, hi, how are you, excuse me, I speak litle Swahili, can you please help me, I want to go to Kigoma, bicycle no. I stand there saying this and knocking for about 15 minutes until they finally let me in. Two women and one man in there 30s are my audience for some time. I fix the flat tire. Then give them my bisquits as a Thank you. I go out on the road but before I step up there is a flat tire again in the front. Hmm... Back again, they let me in and I fix it over again. I pump up and then I see the tire is actually totally wasted. Its no rubber left. No wonder it got flat. So I have to take it off a third time and now change tire. Finally...

So now I ride again. Its me and the night. The flat tires costed me over 2 hours of the night. I am tired but there is nothing stoping me. I can not sit anymore, my bum is too sore and my toes and front part of the feet are numb. I am soaked of sweat. It feels great challenging myself. I am going. So I control my thoughts. Focusing on happy feelings and on small practical problems. Sometimes I feel scared but then again I breathe and come back to the good thoughts. I go on and on. I see no one else now before Kigoma town. So I ride the whole rest of the night until about four a m. 

Five times I see a white owl sitting on the road, flaxing away as I get close. A litle scarry the first time, but then it is more interesting to see the rest when I know its not a ghost.

 

I go all the way. Then I stop. I am there, Kigoma, Vatican Lodge, the agreed meeting place. Christian is not there. He has aparently stopped in the town I had dinner. I am proud. Wow! I made it. I feel great! 237 km on a regular bicycle on a dirt road in Tanzania. This is deffinatly one of my greater sports events along with the Iron man my big brother aranged for us when he was bored one summer. I take a shower, washing most of my road tan away.

 

I sleep a few hours until nine. Then I go explore the new town!

 

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