July 4 2022 – Day 3 of the Old Legs Skeleton Coast Tour
- riding from Harare to Namibia to raise money and awareness for the pensioners of Zimbabwe.
This blog is coming to you from Ben’s View which is south east of Mutusadona and west of Chizarira a.k.a. the middle of nowhere. You won’t find Ben’s View on any maps, but it is that good, it should be.
Today’s ride was sold to us by Adam as a recovery day with 114 km and 600 m of climb. And it was a true story. We arrived at our middle of nowhere bush camp before lunch to enjoy some downtime ahead of our biggest day on Tour, but more of that later.
I think I’m going to get some ‘Gokwe Is Good’ bumper stickers printed when I get home. For most people, Gokwe is that big empty space on the map below Kariba best avoided, but I am loving the place on my bike. Huge horizons stretching away as far as the eye can see are even huger at 20 k.p.h. And Gokwe the town even has a set of traffic lights, and they work.
The sweeping descent down off the Gokwe Plateau and into the start of the Zambezi Valley was that spectacular we gave it to Howard Thompson for his birthday. We also gave him a 2lt scud of Chibuku which he said he enjoyed less but had him singing and dancing around the campfire after just 2 sips.
The people in Gokwe are nice. Howard and the A Team stopped at a no name buisness center for a rare rest and met a sharp buisness man who offered up a visit to his nearby emporium. By way of explanation, the A Team are riding bicycles that can go faster than 20 k.p.h. and are expected to arrive in Swakopmund before the B Team. But I digress. When told it was Howard’s birthday, the shopkeeper told Howard he could choose anything he wanted from the shelves as a gift, but he wasn’t allowed to propose to his wife.
The children in Gokwe are especially sweet. They are more shy than other parts of the country and more reserved in their greetings, but smile and wave with both hands when you ride past.
That people with so little can be so happy should serve as a wake-up call for all of us. George watched a little girl no older than 6 happily filling a 20 liter bucket with drinking water for the family cup by cup, before carrying it home up the steepest of hills.
The support vehicles joined a long queue of donkey carts and ox carts to refill our water tanks at a communal water point. The villagers were polite and allowed Ryan to push in. He was able to sow much confusion when he told them where we are riding to when asked. The people of Gokwe have no idea they live on the road to Namibia.
We are burning huge calories and the gap between breakfast and lunch is big like Gokwe. We have delicious snack stops in between, but not enough of them. Russell was driving behind us in the support truck. I asked him to go ahead and run something over so we could eat it but he wouldn’t. Russell is a pacifist. So I was forced to pinch his wine gums. Which made me feel bad, because Russell is such a nice young man. If I was 30 years younger, he would be my best friend.
Tomorrow is the harshest day on Tour by far. It looms large like Mordor, but way more scary. We hope to ride 126 kilometers of corrugations to arrive at the world’s most rugged and epic mountain biking destination, Chizarira’s Mucheni View. Unfortunately, that involves a 1600 meter climb with a max gradient of 19.6%. Ouch. And it gets worse. I also have to do my laundry. I blame Adam Selby entirely. He wouldn’t let me bring 32 pairs of ride shorts.
We are riding for the pensioners of Zimbabwe. Please help us help them by following the donate prompts on www.oldlegstour.com.
Until my next blog from the laundry at Chizarira, unless I perish en route.