tisdag, maj 01, 2007

Cycling in Zambia Part II – Road

Today it was time to ride with the road racing group. We met at 6 AM (!) and the plan was to do about 3 hours of riding which basically meant going to Chongwe and back on the great east road (leading to Malawi). There were five of us three Americans (Rick, Carl and David), Didier (from the Sunday ride) and myself. All but me and David had proper road bikes. David was worst off as he only had his mountain bike. The Trek I am riding is ok but a bit heavy and regular pedals. This was also going to be tough.

I also knew that Rick is a very strong rider having spent many years in competitive cycling back in the US. It was obvious just from how he looked on the bike that this guy knows what he is doing. I also thought that in his US Postal shirt there is a slight resemblance with the man – Lance Armstrong.

The first hour of riding was at moderate pace, but when Didier and David turned back the speed quickly increased. I felt pretty good at the turn around point though and going back we had a nice tailwind. Unfortunately this meant that speed increased even more and the guys were pushing pretty hard on the ascents. I did my best to keep up, staying behind for most of the time, avoiding the hard work up front as much as possible. After a while I got too cocky and attempted a breakaway but Rick and Carl easily stayed on my tail. After that, speed increased even more and I was starting to suffer, especially going uphill – but I did not crack!

Coming in to Lusaka, the guys were about 50 meters ahead of me but I dug deep and managed a final sprint to overtake them. Perhaps a bit unfair since they had started to wind down, but what the heck. I simply could not resist.

All in all a wonderful ride with an average speed of over 30km/h. Hardly any traffic as soon as we got out of Lusaka. It is quite a nice feeling to have done 100 kilometers of riding before 9 in the morning. We’re riding again on Thursday, but this time we will meet at 5.45 AM…

Videos to come once I get to a faster Internet connection!

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