The Longest Day
We have just completed the longest day on the Tour d’Afrique. A gruelling 207km slog through the last bit of Botswana, into Namibia. Given our previous stories about the intricacies of African border crossings it may seem strange to have the longest day coincide with a border crossing but fear not, dear reader. The Botswana-Namibia crossing was a piece of cake. The day began at our beautiful campsite Ghanzi, Botswana with a pre-pre-dawn wakeup call. Riders gorged themselves on Muesli, PBnJ sandwiches and fresh fruit before hitting the tarmac at first light. Lunch was held at over 80km, a ridiculous distance by Td’A standards, but riders were treated to extra cheese sandwiches and rice krispee squares prepared the night before by a cadre of volunteer chefs. All were in good spirits and the majority elected to continue on with the ridiculous distance. For those that didn’t, I have nothing but respect & admiration for the hard work and mental toughness they had exhibited to even get to that point. I began my afternoon sweep at that point. Today was a tough, tough day even when only riding half of it. The Heaven-sent tailwinds that we had enjoyed on the past few rides disappeared and were replaced by relatively strong cross and head winds. Something you definitely don’t want when faced by a 60km slog before your next chance to even get off your bike for a cool drink at a gas station. Still, the riders persevered. I arrived in camp long after the sun had disappeared over the horizon, exhausted, sweaty and happy. I had spent most of my sweep behind John Davis, our sole septuagenarian rider who had battled the day until dusk to ride triumphantly into camp, an event that was met by the tumultuous applause of all the riders who had come before him. I would like also to give special mention to Ernest Enns who also managed to conquer the entire distance. I sincerely hope to have the fitness and mental fortitude of these men when I reach their age.