Day 2 – 166km
Start – Desert on the way to the Red Sea
Finish – Desert by the Red Sea
The day started with an overheard conversation. “How’s your bum?” followed by a serious and detailed answer. A ride such as this is probably one of the only situations in which a bloke can ask this of a 30 something women in public and not be slapped. In fact, this passes as polite conversation on the Tour d’Afrique. It is not the only topic of conversation mind, but it gets the ball rolling.
I don’t know how the day could have gotten any better after a start like that but it did. It was a long day but we had a helpful tale wind that made the ride a lot of fun. Some people hit tremendous speeds. The really serious racers, including a half dozen from an Egyptian cycling club who have joined us for the Cairo to Aswan segment, just about left the ground they were going so fast. Even I finished the stage in about 6 hours. At one point I even had my own police escort (we have a lot of them following us to provide security). Either to encourage me or to amuse themselves they played Arabic music very loudly over their tanoy and frequently regaled me with somewhat less encouraging wails from their repertoire of siren noises. I must send them a Christmas card.
Camp was in the desert again, between the road and a big pipeline, with the Red Sea just beyond. Some riders wanted to swim in the Sea but were told not to (by the same police who had done their best to encourage me) because the desert between the pipeline and the sea was mined. I am not sure whether this was serious or just a local version of crowd control. At any rate, nobody tested it. Probably a good decision.
Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.