Sunday, 7 March 2010


The 95 km day on dirt did not sound too bad.... Well, at TDA never take things for granted. The first 40 km were spectacular as we descended out of the volcanoes that surround Marsabit back into the immense desert of northern Kenya. The early morning ride was almost mystical as we rode into the fog and a very strong headwind on a red clay muddy road that made mountain bikers really happy. I enjoyed the long 20 km descent tremendously, having fun hoping big stones and sliding the muddy red clay mess that this road had been turned into with the heavy rains. But after lunch once we got into the flat area, temperature immediately soared back well over 40 degrees Celsius and the road turned into a very bad corrugated surface with nowhere to hide. That was a long 50 km stretch where you only could ride at snail pace and your entire body got hit and hit and hit again. Shoulders, back and wrists are the worst hit and after 4 hours of this irrigation, you simply hate everything about this race...

The good news was that we had a very interesting day meeting our first Masai warriors walking proudly along the road wearing these amazing decorations all over their head and upper body. They don't like to be photographed, so I struggled a bit to get some shots, but after sympathising with some and explaining them about our long ride, some accepted that I would take photos. I must tell you that many also asked for money, which I categorically always refuse. Every picture on this blog is genuine and I never pay for photos. Whenever people start asking for money (a very common thing in Kenya) I immediately put my camera back in its bag and carry on cycling. We also had fun with some water crossing on the road. The entire region has been flooded and there is just water everywhere, so we had to cross a few challenging places were the road had just disappeared under half a meter of muddy water. Actually the TDA trucks struggled a lot more than we did as they got stuck and it took all the experience of the crew to get these trucks going again. Camp tonight is next to a tiny village that does not have electricity yet, which means hot cokes for us and nothing much to do or see. It is the desert here, some big thunderstorms are flashing in the horizon and a warm wind filled with fine dust keep on adding its share of dirt into our already filthy tents. Tomorrow is exactly a repeat of today, long, hot and corrugated... Not fun, but that's the only option on the menu, so it is an early bed time in order to give our tired bodies a bit of recovery, before we challenge them again...

                                 We pass the Spanish ladies again in their Renault Espace.
                                 Today we are much faster on our bikes.
                                        As we came out of the volcano surrounding Marsabit,
                                        Africa gave us this amazing view with a great sunlight
                                        highlighting more volcanos in the distance.
                                     It was a surreal ambiance as we left camp this morning in the
                                     cold and the fog with strong headwind. Imagine that 2 hours
                                     later we were in the 40 degrees in the desert...

                                        The long descent out of the Volcano park back into the
                                        flatlands was technical, but fun.

                              The local tribalmen are dressed with amazingly beautiful decorations
                                    We offered them to try to ride our bicycles which they were
                                    happy to do. They had never rode one before.

                                      Me passing the TDA trucks all stuck in the muddy water
                                               TDA truck at high speed trying not to get stuck
                                                  Eric almost made it through this one
                         Hardy with his heavy bike is like a diesel locomotive, nothing can stop him...

                                   We show to some of the local tribemen their own photo on the
                                   camera screen, a good way fo convince them to accept more photos

                                      A lot of problems with the bikes on these horrible roads.
                                      Eric here with his broken derailleur hanger
                                                       A big mess for the TDA drivers...

                                                      Patrick mastering water crossing
                                                              Laura and the warriors
                                                         Death is everywhere in Africa...
                                                                  Camel herd owner
                                            Patrick and Wayne with the camel herd owner.


Claudia and Rainer said...

Hi Gerald,
thanks again for the nice chat yesterday, my wife and me really enjoyed that.
About your actual pictures and writings I can only repeat myself. Both are incredibly stunning. Please continue to send us your view of Africa.
I agree with your opion about taking pictures. I also never give money for pictures.
Looking forward to your next writings,
Yours Claudia and Rainer from -10° C cold and snow covered Munich

Jennifer said...

Once again Gerald your photos amaze me! Wow!

Anonymous said...

You have a great blog, and I find myself eagerly awaiting the latest post. Hopefully communication will be better in the southern half of Africa. Just a comment on taking pictures of the tribal people - I believe it is illegal to take pictures without the consent of a tribal person in Kenya. Maybe there were incidents where they were taken advantage of, hence leading them to ask for money to have a pic taken...