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What a Gondar
7 days of hardcore riding has taken its toll on TdA 2010. We have all arrived in Gondor, Ethiopia with more scraps, one less truck and an appreciation for the rough roads behind us. Of the 63 riders we have with us on The Gorge Section only 32 riders rode into Gondor. Some riders had chosen to depart the tour early and get a head start on some well deserved TLC. The riders that choose to stay on tour were treated to a spectacular campsite amongst the highlands of Ethiopia. The final day of our 7 day stretch from Khartoum to Gondor was a Mando Day. This is the true test of all of our serious racers. All times tracked on Mando Days must be counted for the Grand Total Time. The winner is also granted a 30 minute time bonus. After three days of bone-rattling dirt roads the racers had to take on a 12km climb, gaining 2502m of elevation before lunch. The climb looked amazing and I wished I could have been out there with them. From the Bucky (TdA Vehicle) my ears popped as we reached the top of the climb some 36km from camp. Gisela Gartmair was one of the last riders to leave camp that morning. Gisela managed to blow past the field and finish first for the women. Watch out that girl can climb! Franz Smit won the time bonus for the men’s field. Paddy Berkey, Ireland, was one of the 36 riders who rode into Gondor, completing his first major climb…ever. Paddy, who is very new to bicycling, spirit continues to amaze all of here on tour. One of 16 riders who continue to hold onto their EFI status, Paddy just refuses to quit. He said that keeping his charity in mind Self Help Africa helped him get though the difficult days in Dinder National Park. Paddy stayed true to his Irish roots and took in the opportunity to stop in the local brewery before completing the stage yesterday. All riders are happy to have another day of rest here on the mountain top of Gondor enjoying the magnificent view of the city from our hotel patio. While the TdA and Indaba truck staff sort the rest of our journey through Ethiopia without one of our beloved trucks. Naps, beer and laundry are on the agenda today. (In that order)
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