Memoir of northern Kenya

Rainstorm in northern Kenya

I smelt like a wet dog and sulked like a puppet, “I’m from Melbourne, I’m not used to the wet”.

Laying inside my tent with everything around me all wet I was seriously doubting that my tent would survive this thunderstorm. My head was trying to calculate a plan B and the results were all grim as I was in the middle of nowhere thinking “this is not supposed to happen, it NEVER rains in the desert!”

A few hours earlier I was sitting under the shade next to the TdA truck in the middle of the Dida Galgalu Desert, Northern Kenya. Beads of sweat were running down my face as I thoughtlessly stared at the slower riders rolling into the camp with mouthfuls of unprintable words in the late afternoon. It felt like 36 degrees Celsius or maybe warmer, the hot soup tasted good and I was going for my third cup. Somehow drinking hot soup on a hot day had a strangely profound recovering and relaxing effect.

Before I crossed the Ethiopia/Kenya border I hit the jackpot and caught the nasty bug that had been around the group for weeks which forced me off my bike for three days.   I recovered with plenty of energy to kill and the road conditions turned from bad to bad ass.  The infamous lava rock road was like every mountain bikers dream, extremely taxing to ride but “fun”! “The surroundings aren’t so bad” I told myself, “… compared to the two weeks of mid 30s to 40+ degrees Celsius in Melbourne just before I left Australia where it was extremely hot and dry this summer”. I could smell a slight moisture in the air, it was hot but I had experienced worse. “Luckily I live in Australia” I thought.

The training back home had me well prepared to deal with this kind of climate and road conditions. The adrenaline high from cycling was making me feel very positive about myself.

“Bring it on!” I said.

~ Jim Hsu


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