The official Meltdown DONE!

Beyond the Saddle ....Cairo to Cape Town
Howard Fairbank
Thu 8 Mar 2007 17:37
Position: 00:17.514N 37:33.435E (Hmmm...00:00.000 is getting real close now!)

I am situated about 5km south of Isiolo, at a little hotel and private campground.

Cycled 87km today.

Well today saw some more challenging roads, until 10km from the end as we entered Isiolo, the road surface changed from the now well known sandy, rocky, and corrugated, to TAR as I entered Isiolo. What a pleasure....!

The day started early at around 04h30, as I woke to do all my packing up early so I could get to the waterhole (I mentioned last night) by 05h30. It was a beautiful full moon morning and just wonderful sitting hidden at the waterhole....I really love the tranquility combined with the air of expectancy of animals arriving. I was treated to a hyenna, and a few impala. Although there was lots of evidence of Elephant and giraffe, there were not to be for my viewing.

Interestingly, not one of the other members of the group even knew about the waterhole, let alone walked to it...I guess we are all different....and I am actually thankful they didn't so I had these special times to myself!

I headed off without breakfast, and had an amazing ride, moving through the early starters, but also stopping for photos. Somehow I seem to manage the corrugations better than most....its a bloody mental thing! About 8km before lunch stop I come across the lunch truck stuck in the middle of the road.... half its exhaust and back silencer have come off and wrapped itself around the back axle! I stop and help Thor (from Africa Routes, a Durban company) break the exhaust pipe so we can free it from under the truck, so at least the truck can lunch...I was hungry after no breakfast! Earned myself extra rations!

The scenery was quite spectacular.....with three huge major rock spectacles standing out against the otherwise mostly flat bushveld countryside. The bush was very green, and birdlife quite good.

Had a great interaction with a Samburu herdman...they are a breakout tribe from the Maasai tribe, and have been the main 'native people' I have seen for the last 3 days. Very exotic people....more in the newsletter.

Then just before lunch a ridiculous thing happened.... There is a french canadian called Marc....he is born on the same day, same year as me, and was a canadian national cyclist, but like me isn't officially racing. He is really fast on the tarmac, but I feel I have the edge on him on the offroad....and we aren't racing I said! Aries are competitive hey! On the real bad day to Marsabit he acknowledged that I had beat him, and that was something! So today after I had spent a whole lot of time helpin with the truck, he sped past without saying hi and cut infront, but then slowed down....I couldn't resist, sped up got next to him, and said.....'mate if you pass me, you must keep going fast, don't slow down!' To this he pulled a racing trick and proceeded to cut right in front of me forcing me to take evasive action, on a very poor and unstable road. I couldn't believe it....two almost 50 year olds, behaving like frustrated racers in the middle of the north kenyan meltdown madness section! Arians hey!

I eventually took back my 'supremacy', and at the lunch stop after me confronting him, he apologised and we then joked about it!

I then went on one of my trade mark offroad detours and paid the price dearly...the afternoon was just a serious of punctures....very, very frustrating!

Once again it was very, very hot from 11am, and liquid consumption was critical.

Anyway got to Isiolo in one piece, and enjoyed a few well earned REAL REAL cold Tuskers. Then a slow and 'over the limit' 7km cycle to the campsite.

Now there is a bit of a dispute about where the equator is..... as you see from my position above, my GPS says there are only 17 nautical miles to go (about 30km), so tomorrow should see the crossing, but I am told that the official / tourist crossing of the equator will only be the next day.....hmmmm!

I'll keep you informed!

Bye for now