Heat, Headwinds and Hills
It would not be Tour d’Afrique if a riding day did not include the 3 Hs…Heat, Headwinds and Hills. Today started with a delightfully cool morning, helped by a temperature inversion in the valley so the cloud cover kept the suns rays out for most of the early part of the morning. Riders were up and out of the hotel early and on the road to make use of the cool temperatures. This didn’t last long as the first big climb of the day (actually this whole day was characterized by hills!),a long, steep and winding hill, took us out of the clouds and allowed us to experience the full force of the Turkish sun. The views of the valleys were spectacular and cafes, coke stops and touristy type shops dotted the highways. I think what made everyone survive the climb was the fountains that lined the roads allowing people to submerge whatever body part they needed to to cool off! After the climb, it was a short ride into lunch. Everyone had to play “dodge ’em cars” with the traffic as we were still on the D100. With cars, trucks, buses, motor bikes and tractors thundering by, you wondered whether you were going to survive either the heat or the traffic! After lunch (a little truck stop at a major intersection) there was yet another 10km climb, followed by a 7km uphill into the town of Gerede. The mercury soared into the high 40s and riders made use of the large fire hoses at petrol stations to cool off (the great thing is that the water is ice cold). The final climb, and probably the hardest, was the 2km climb to Hotel Enesteppe, our campsite for the night. This steep little number literally took your breath away and reminded you that you had a pair of legs. After the heat and the hills of the day as well as a cheeky little headwind the riders spent the last of the daylight hours fixing bikes, looking at maps (diligent bunch we have here), enjoying a cold beer after a shower and then heading off to bed. After 3 days of 130km days, heat and hills, we have a group that is looking towards their first rest day!! They have, however, been well supported and well loved by the Turkish people so far!
Aaaaaahhh, we must remind ourselves that this is biking paradise!