From Yarabella......

Beyond the Saddle ....Cairo to Cape Town
Howard Fairbank
Mon 26 Feb 2007 17:03
Position: 04:53.037N 38:08.456E

Yarabella Motel, basically a truckstop a couple of km from the 'metropolis' of Yarabella!

125km cycled today...started at 2300m and ended on 1605m, but it wasn't all downhill! Like yesterday lots of long hills and valleys in between. Ofcourse with that elevation change there were some really nice downhills too!

The scenery changed quite dramatically from the lush equatorial vegetation, and relatively dense people coverage, to intially eucalyptist and evergreen cultivated forested, to then sparse thornbush, on deep red earth, with lots of huge termite hills everywhere. At the lower elevation it was clear that water was relatively scarce, unlike the highland area. People population density reduced dramatically (thankfully!) and just scattered rulral more villages and kids tormenting!

After lunch I slipped into racing mode....setting out to catch one of my fellow participants who had left about 20mins earlier! My character pushed me almost over the limit, until aftre about 90 mins I finally caught him on one of the long hills! Then agreed with myself that this was madness and decided to concentrate on the real thing of exploring and observing, at a slower pace!

The road condition has deteriorated significantly, with patches of gravel, and lots of potholes when tar. Traffic has reduced to just the odd vehicle...all signs of the path ahead to the section from Kenya know respectfully as 'Meltdown'.

From a bike maintenance point of view...... I have swapped front and rear
tyres as the rear one was starting to look quite bare, while the front was like new. Unlike all others, since Gondar, I have stuck to my real nobbly mountain bike tyres, as I like to have the option to go offroad to explore if the opportunity comes up. My chain worries me a bit... 3 failures in 10 days...but then it has had a hard life with all the desert sand, mud combined with the hills of ethiopia etc. I have a spare one, but will delay switching until really necesary. Otherwise the bike seems to holding up well.

Tomorrow is a rest day, and I will be downloading my memories of Addis and the past 5 days. Its quite scary how much stimulation each day brings, and after 5 days one almost needs a rest to reflect and remember.

Trust you enjoy the next newsletter......!