Arrival in Khartoum
Today saw a different style of race and ride. In general, it has been a tough few days – all over 140km’s with the heat so all of us are getting a little run down. Add the bug that is passing through camp and the tour is slowly beating even the strongest down.
We had a 10km warm up followed by a 20km time trial in which racers and expedition riders where invited to partake for the chance to win a coveted yellow ‘stage win’ plate. The results will be up later but it goes without saying it hurt, it was hot and it made me want to puke before I finished.
This fun was followed by a 26km cruise to lunch and then a 36km convoy into Khartoum. The Sudanese Police were kind enough to escort us but insisted on blaring the lights and sirens the whole way. Add the fumes, people, donkeys, goats, dogs and the intensity of having to watch closely the rider in front so as not to take out 5-6 riders and it makes your blood boil.
I loved every minute of it, and don’t let any one else on the tour tell you any different, to do this ride, race, expedition or whatever you want to call it you have to be a bit twisted and basically enjoy a little suffering.
Sudan as you can probably gather from other posts has been a rare pleasure. I have not previously been lucky enough to travel through a country that rarely sees tourists. I heard from a guy that works in the Ministry of Tourism that less that a hundred US citizens apply for a visa into Sudan per year, I believe the population is 35 million, so that gives you an idea as to how rare we are in some of the villages and tea huts we’ve passed through. Ethiopia is getting closer and I know the general feeling is it can wait. As a nation the Sudanese have been gracious, hospitable, curious and more than anything else, happy.
Today also marks the end of the first section ‘Pharaoh's Delight’ and, unfortunately, means we will be losing two of our Lone Planet sectional riders, Scott and Sharif. You will be sorely missed!!
Rest day tomorrow. I think a sleep in till at least 8 am will be had all round.