Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Rift Valley Odyssey - Day Three

Huzzah - I slept reasonably well & managed to have the appetite for a reasonable, but not too large, breakfast before another seven o'clock start.  With those things combining & a relatively short stage (only 77 kilometres, but with half the climbing of each of the other two days) it was a bit of a cruise for me.  We started out on the road going west in the same way as Day Two - but kept going west instead of turning south into the big hills.  The gentle climbing started at about the ten kilometre mark & it was only a shade under four hundred metres up over twenty-five kilometres - very civilized compared with the previous two days.
Sporting a new Combe Raiders shirt at camp.

Stage starts weren't the most formal of affairs.
There was a great little descent before the first feed station and then the long gradual climb through a large wheat farm started in earnest through an awful lot of mud.  Cloudy again, the views afar weren't fantastic - but the acacia trees in the wheat fields were pretty nice against the dark sky.  With the fast descent off the hills of wheat done, there was a cool bit through a canyon where we had been told the night before to not necessarily follow the trail on our GPS (the whole race was navigated by GPS - there were no signs or so on), but just make it to the bottom in whichever way we thought best.  This was great fun as I cleared some nice technical drops and then bashed through some trees before it opened up & got fast.

The last part of the day before the road ride back to camp was through another conservancy - the usual suspects were all out: zebra, various antelope, monkeys, giraffes.  Also we managed to startle a herd of wild buffalo - I wasn't quick enough to get a photos of these huge guys, & we were rather glad they didn't hang around.  The day's ride was over much too soon at 12.30 - I felt I could go around again, but some of the team weren't so keen as we all suffered some degree of soreness from saddles.  With a welcome back by the rest of the team's wives & children we settled in for some well earned pizzas.

Not too shabby considering I was riding when I took this.
Pretty happy to have that finisher's medal around my ncek.
So that was my RVO experience - a great time (vomiting aside) and one which I was adequately prepared for as my legs didn't exactly suffer.  My knees ached a little at the end of the first day and the beginning of the second, but considering all the climbing were pretty well behaved.  The weather was mostly great for riding (the exception being the downpour at the end of Day Two) - pretty cloudy, not too hot, no huge winds to battle; unfortunately this meant that the panoramic photos are not great - but as I've already been to Kenya & seen plenty of wildlife, taking photos wasn't really a priority of the trip.  Well pleased with the event & how I survived it.

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