After a sleep in his Khartoum hotel on Thursday afternoon Andy was back in good form. He was looking forward to the rest day on Friday before they headed south east into Ethiopia on Saturday morning.
They have completed the first section of the ride: 21 days and 2 276 kms of ‘Pharaoh’s Delight’. It wasn’t all delight, especially the first few days of wind and cold. But they say that those 2 276 kms are where you get fit…and I hope he has…
The Tour notes say ‘Once in Ethiopia, the ride of your life begins…spectacular landscapes… a day featuring 2 500 metres of climbing… Gondar City with its 17th century castles… and ancient monasteries on Lake Tana’.
The organisers have a sense of humour: ‘In Bahir Dar you can trek to the nearby Blue Nile Falls’. What! Go trekking?? Although it might be worth the walk…
From a cycling standpoint the highlight of this section will be the Blue Nile gorge, a 1 600 meter precipitous descent and ascent on a paved road that tests the mettle of cyclists of any caliber. Once you have conquered the Blue Nile gorge…the beautiful terrain of the central Ethiopian plateau…and the descent from the eucalyptus forested hills that surround Addis ….is an experience you will not soon forget.
This 1607 km section from Khartoum to Addis Ababa, second of the eight sections in the ride, looks challenging… very.
- 8 consecutive days riding: Khartoum, altitude 340 m, to Gondar, altitude 2 225m;
- Two rest days
- 2 days riding: Gondar to Bahir Dar, altitude 1 840m
- One rest day
- 5 days riding: Bahir Dar to Addis, altitude 2 324 m
There is some solace along the way though. The Tour notes add ‘No-one can resist the espresso and juice bars which will accompany the riders throughout Ethopia’. They owe thanks to the Italians for that.
Haven’t heard from Andy since they left Khartoum and he may be out of communication until they reach Gondar next Saturday, 7th. But if you believe in the power of positive thinking send him all the positive one’s you can think of. He’s going to need a lot of both mental and physical strength to get through the next couple of weeks.