It’s the 11th trip for the Tour D’Afrique company taking riders from Cairo to Capetown. To date 430 riders have completed the ride since 2003 and to date covered a total of 5,235,000 km.
For me – it’s my first time on the African continent and we have 11,793 km to ride over 121 days riding. We’re expecting a very mixed terrain, the longest day being just under 200km and the biggest climb increasing our altitude by 2500m with a total of 74,000 m to ascend. Of the 430 riders so far, 116 have completed every mile. Known as EFI’ers they have to date included 97 men ands 19 women. It goes without saying that all riders hope to be in the 25%, including myself, though with illness and bike problems it’s as much luck as anything. To sign up in the first place you have to be pretty determined.
We’ll leave Cairo at 530am on Friday morning. Given we’ve been in fleeces and it was only 7 degrees today throughout the day we’re expecting to be tired and cold as our police escort leads us through what we hope will be quieter than normal streets – that’s why we leave on the day of prayer.
Since arriving late on Sunday night we have been meeting the rest of the motley crew we will get to know pretty well over the next few months. Typically riders in the past have ranged in age from 18 to 70 and this trip is representive of this with participants from various continents. According to the staff team tents are usually grouped closely in the early stages though as time progresses so too do alliances, snoring zones etc!
While in the first stage of our trip, covering around 6000km through America, Japan, Nepal and India we were unsupported, carrying all our gear and planning all aspects of our adventure, this trip will provide a very different and challenging trip. For sure this will be as tough as the Nepal section of our previous ride. Both the Yak Attack route we followed in Nepal and TDA through Africa are listed in the top 10 world bike endurance challenges. While we have some miles under our wheels, experience in the heat and setting up a daily camp, in addition to road quality, the distances are further, camping will be much more basic and the group dynamics also bring something new into the equation. The adjustment from being two independent folk to part of a much wider team should not be under estimated.
In our briefing today we heard that our first three days will be “bush” camping and the second day will cover around 140km. Straight in at the deep end eh? Long days, no showers and having to get used to using the trowel pretty quick! So that’s it. Yes it’s something I’m really looking forward to doing but I hope you’ll see how this is certainly a challenge and with that in mind may see something in sponsoring me to raise money for The Homeless World Cup as I take this on. I’ve paid for all the trip myself and every penny donated will go to make a real difference and provide hope and opportunity to folks who’ve had it tough at times all over the globe.
Here’s the link http://www.justgiving.com/naomischallenge if you are interested…