UPDATED March 24, 2010

BY The TDA Team

IN Tour d'Afrique

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UPDATED March 24, 2010

BY The TDA Team

IN Tour d'Afrique

no comments

Rainbow Flats

We're doing a lot of sweating these days. The air in Tanzania is so thick with humidity it feels like being locked in a giant greenhouse (complete with lush green flora). The sweat comes in the absence of movement ? just breathing is enough to get the beads percolating through the pores on our upper lips. Add 100 km on a bike to that mix and you've got yourself a recipe for a band of clammy, energy-sapped cyclists dying for a faucet, a hose, a bucket – anything – to rinse off the film of sweaty red dust they've accumulated after a scorching hot day on the road. Shower to Shower is a popular brand of antiperspirant sold in these parts; clearly, it doesn't know what it's up against.

But the face-melting humidity isn't the only challenge Tanzania is throwing our way; this is puncture country. Thanks to an aptly named low-lying shrub known as, “Devil's Thorn,” if you weren't good at changing flats before this section, you are now. As the last riders rolled (or walked depending on their luck) into camp yesterday, clouds blotted out the sun, showering our sweaty faces with a cool, light rain and a brief break from the oppressive heat. And then, a real rainbow appeared. A rainbow so perfect it put all other rainbows to shame, arcing over us in a thick kaleidoscope band of shimmering colour; Andra was particularly delighted (she's a rainbow-appreciating sort of gal). Our bush camp was the talk of the town (or this particular patch of thorny land), and locals were understandably curious, settling in for an evening at the TdA theatre. James delivered another rousing rider meal to finish the day, and we washed down a crowd-pleaser of a coconut milk curry with warm beer (tangy Mrs. Balls chutney gets an honourable mention. Thank you, Mrs. Balls).
 
Sleep continues to be a challenge for those unaccustomed to sauna temperature slumber, but odds are tonight will be better. This is a real bush camp, perched on a mountain surrounded by trees. The thick blanket of humidity has loosened it's grasp, and knee-high grass blows in the soft, cooling wind. Tomorrow we ride our last day of dirt for a long while. *sniff*

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