The Tour d'Afrique started out as an almost entirely self supported expedition through Africa. Every day was a race day, camp-to-camp and participants were expected to cook for themselves. I can't imagine the difficulty they faced, but I have heard that after the first day most participants were on the brink of starvation.
Today we have experienced staff members, fulltime medics, expert mechanics and a bona fide chef who can whip up a gourmet meal for 60 with 15 tomatoes and half a kilogram of cow sinew purchased from a flyblown market. That being said, the tour still runs through Africa… and Africa is a challenge. The past 6 days have presented the staff and riders with a veritable laundry list, a cacophony if you will… of accidents, near disasters and full blown emergencies.
- A rider fell in a hole fracturing his right ulna, requiring immediate evacuation to hospital in Iringa, a 120km drive along pockmarked gravel roads
- A rider fell down two flights of concrete stairs, receiving a large laceration to the forehead requiring hospitalization
- Immediately following the previous incident another rider required hospitalization for abdominal pain
- Immediately followed by another rider requiring hospitalization for a kidney infection
- Another rider fell receiving serious lacerations
- Followed by another fall resulting in a knee injury
- Another rider got tangled in an Acacia bush resulting in a 3cm thorn becoming imbedded in their shin… naturally requiring hospitalization
- A rider, while exiting a low doorway lacerating their scalp
- The dinner truck got stuck going uphill requiring us to dump all of our clean water to reduce the load weight
- The dinner truck then broke its rear bracket three further times over the next three days resulting in riders arriving at camp and having to wait well into the night before their bags arrived
- On one of those nights, two riders decided to stop at a bar, forgot the time and were MIA in the pitch black for hours while staff scrambled to find them (this was also a night where the dinner truck broke its bracket and was stuck on the road and the support LandRover was in Iringa with the broken ulna)
- A fire broke out on one of the trucks when a rider placed her wheel on a vehicle battery, connecting the circuit
- A support staff member's laptop was stolen
Life on the Td'A may have gotten a bit easier since Year 1, but there still are times when all Hell breaks loose.
Fortunately, we are a merry band of brothers (and sisters) who bore Murphy's brunt with aplomb.
Everyone now is safe, secure and accounted for.