Blazing Saddles – Part 1
Our day began at 6.00am with a ‘bugle’ reveille, howling dogs and a breakfast of noodles. After a comfortable and basic night in the community hall we were set for today’s challenge
The day started at 7.00am to commence mountain biking. Biking experience in the team varied from Mountain Bike Instructors to the leisurely weekend cyclist. Some of the team had invested in padded shorts and gel seat covers to make the ride slightly more comfortable; these items soon became the envy of those who had not!
Everyone was upbeat and we soon got into a rhythm on our bikes, eating up the miles and taking advantage of the fact that the temperature was still at a ‘cool’ 28 degrees. The first stage passed without serious incident and Jim James even gave us a quick demonstration of how to go head first over the handlebars… from a standing start! After the first stage which was on undulating terrain through palm oil plantation, we hit the main road and the pace picked up. The smooth tarmac was like a breath of fresh air, both on the legs and rear ends.
After 18km we pulled off the main road and a guide warned us that the next stage contained some ‘hills’. By this stage it was late morning and the sun and heat was gaining strength by the minute. We soon found that some ‘hills’ turned out to be an understatement. The tracks consisted of loose stone and larger rocks and complete concentration was required at all times and especially the downhill segments.
The remainder of the 66km route was the same mix of loose stone, rock and hills. We stopped more frequently due to the heat and amount of water we got through was a sight to behold.
The leg finished at a village church hall at around 5.00pm, where we duly put up our mosquito nets and prepared our beds for the night. All in all it was an extremely arduous day on which even the experienced mountain bikers felt the strain. One member of the team suffered from heat exhaustion (they are fit and well now) which is an illustration of just how demanding this route was on our bodies.
Over all we remain in very good spirits, although very saddle sore.
Blazing Saddles – Part 2
Today we had a slightly easier day due to having 30km of mountain biking. The ride started at 7.00am and this was definitely the best part of the day because the heat from the sun wasn’t that intense because of good cloud cover. After you got used to the saddle sores from yesterday it was more comfortable; the pace was more gentle but the terrain was equally as harsh. The hills kept coming, going up and down. The down hills were enjoyable but the up hills certainly tested everyone’s metal.
There were a lot more water stops today which helped and on the last stop the finish was just around the corner; it definitely brought a smile to my face knowing we had completed this particular leg.
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