27th May – Day 1 – Old Legs Zanzibar Tour

I am blogging from Mutoko, resplendent in my pink Dick of the Day wig and purple disco tutu listening to the night sounds of Africa, 30 ton rigs growling up the hill behind our lodge and the Afro disco next door which is all about the bass, no treble.

That I am wearing the Dick of the Day wig and tutu on Day One is a harsh travesty, due to a crappy defence lawyer. But in his defence, as soon as I couldn’t remember Zack’s wife’s name, even though I’d just been introduced to her, twice, I was toast. The Old Legs tribunal is a tough crowd. For the record, herewith my sincerest apologies Andrula.

I started training for the Zanzibar Tour today. My 6 weeks of strictly no riding bikes post the hernia op wended on Thursday. I thought I would ease in to my training with a 135 kilometer ride, but alas, that proved to be rather too ambitious and I was forced to finish the ride in the back of Christopher the overlander.

I hate riding in the back of Christopher – no leg room as compared to the bike, restricted views, and worst, you suffer extreme FOMO as you watched other rider suffer the 36 degree heat of the afternoon session. It would appear they do winter fashionably late in Mutoko.

Clem Henon struggled manfully in the heat courtesy of a dose of man flu passed on by his kids.

At 135 km, today was Clem’s longest ride ever, ditto Rowena’s, ditto Kim’s. I was very proud of them. I was less proud of my daily stats.
Distance – 79 km
Time – 6 hrs 14
Av Speed – 11 I’m
Av heart rate – 130 bpm
Max heart rate – 175 bpm

My preparations weren’t helped by the fact that I’d enjoyed a seismic pressure wobble in my eyeball on the Tuesday with my pressure ballooning out to 61. At those levels, your eyeball is one step away from being able to do Homer Simpson impersonations.

Thankfully I’ve been rushed onto Diamox, a medication used to treat glaucoma (which is what I’ve got going on) epilepsy, altitude sickness, periodic paralysis, idiopathic intracranial hypertension, heart failure and can also lead to frequent urination.

Wallace once peed 17 times on a short walk. Wallace is nothing as compared to me on Diamox. I spent most of today peeing beers I haven’t yet drunk yet, taking extra care not to pee on the D.O.D. tutu, because I’m a team player, and also because I expect further travesties of justice in the future.

We enjoyed the best rock and roll send off from Isuzu Autoworld with a massive peloton of fellow riders, a cavalcade of classic cars and throngs of cheering well wishers. Huge thanks to Oscar Bekker and Revélo Bike Barn for organizing.

It felt so good to ride out of town today. The sky was more blue, the bush was beautiful with stunning kopjes and happy people abounding. We felt the love on the road all day.

The mostly commonly asked question on any Tour is where are you going? When we told them Zanzibar, all we got was the disbelief normally reserved for heretics. The people of Murewa flat out refuse to believe they live on the road to Zanzibar.

We have another 135 kilometers in front of us and our first border crossing. I have brushed off my fluent Portuguese and should be able to order us up cold beers and either cheese or cauliflowers, I forget which, at our bush camp in the middle of nowhere 40 kilometers past Nyamapanda.

Until then – have fun, do good and do epic if you can – Eric Chicken Legs de Jong

Source Photos By Gary

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