UPDATED April 17, 2008

BY Michael Coo

IN Tour d'Afrique

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UPDATED April 17, 2008

BY Michael Coo

IN Tour d'Afrique

no comments

These are not the prairies

There is something familiar about the roads we are pedaling over, I even hear this feeling reflected from the riders who have traveled the prairies in Canada—pancake flat, straight for hours and nothing to distinguish the first 10 km from the last 10km. This section is called Elephant Highway, but you must look carefully to discover its namesake. It wasn’t until I saw something in the bushes at a watering hole that I remembered I am in Africa.

My day began late due to the pleasant job of digging holes for waste and burning any paper products (which is actually quite therapeutic). Upon doing a mental check of all things important while on a bike: air in tires, spare tube, cycling computer, sunscreen, sunglasses, Botswana pula, toilet paper, water in water bottles, energy bars and, most importantly, my camera.

The sun rose, casting a silhouette of me and my bike over the road, which was to become my video of the day. After expending a good portion my memory card on “the one,” I called it a wrap, stopped riding and started to pack up. Now, I’ve told stories before and like any good story a bit of embellishment is expected, so when I tell the rest of this try not to think it over the top storytelling.

I have my video camera in my hand, about to put it into my rack bag, when I hear a noise come from the tall grass. The noise could be best described as baritone and guttural. The best comparison would come from the start of a movie when the MGM icon appears and roars… its not the big roar but the low kind of purr that tapers off… needless to say my instinct was to stuff anything else into the pockets in my jersey and sort it out later… I went through all potential animals that could make that noise and a feline was the only one. I didn’t stick around nor did I go back to confirm. These are not the prairies; I am in Africa.

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