Never a Dull Moment!
So they tell me, that even I have to write an update before I go home, which was supposed to have been two days ago. But having suggested that we change the route to Moyale and not having seen the route before, I thought I should delay my departure and see how my suggestion went.
And it is a good thing that I did. The route, as expected, is beautiful; the scenery is stunning and the road is mostly paved. Great climbs, even greater descents. What has not changed is the basic conditions, or rather the challenge, of the Tour dâ€™Afrique.
Until yesterday morning, the 2008 Tour encountered few problems. Things have been running smoothly and no unexpected issues popped out. Yesterday, 1km before a turnoff to a viewing point of a volcanic lake, one of our riders ran into a little girl. The rider took a bad spill and was unable to get back onto her bicycle. The little girl seemed to have been fine and was taken home by her parents.
At first the locals were helping our injured cyclist but soon demands for compensation started coming, and a bigger crowd gathered. With communication being a major problem, pleasantries from the crowd turned to anger and tension grew. By the time I happened to arrive on the scene some of the young men had huge rocks in their hands, but somehow we managed to keep things from getting out of control. A quick trip to nearby police station and a small donation to the parents resolved what could have been a bad scene.
But the day was not over. Late in the day, I decided to take out our truck and see how the last few riders on the road are doing. That is when I came upon one of riders surrounded by a crowdâ€”all of them helping the rider. The rider was attacked by a psychopath, who tried to take a camera. The attack was violent; the rider dropped the camera and the attacker ran with the camera. He did not run far. Witnesses ran after him and managed to retrieve the camera. A quick police investigation identified the attacker. The rider, though shaken and in pain, was in high spirits by dinner time and no serious harm was done.
The incidences reminded everyone that the Tour dâ€™Afrique is still an expedition and a tough one. Unexpected situations can happen within a second and we all need to be vigilant and supportive.
I now see the line for steaks that Miles has prepared (can the former TDA riders believe thisâ€¦steak for dinner) so I better finish this now.