Leaving Maun we headed to the last bush camp of the tour. Across Namibia and South Africa we would be staying at campsites and hotel grounds – that means showers and cokes every day! To keep ourselves busy in the afternoons, Sunil and Dave created the TDA Decathlon…10 TDA related events, one each afternoon, where teams of 3 could compete off the bike as well. I decided that the best strategy would be to create a team with the event organisers – we called the team “Team Conflict of Interests.”
The first event took place in the rain at the final bush camp. The objective was to dig a toilet-hole as quick as possible, return the shovel to the truck and wash your hands. Since my team mates where involved in judging hole-depth, I represented Team Conflict of Interests in the first event. Using what became known as the “windmill method” of hole-digging I set an event winning time of 1:08!
The longest day of TDA 2010, 207km, took us to the border of Namibia. It was another Mando day (one of the tougher days of the tour, with a 30 minute time bonus for the winner.) Marcel came out of racing-retirement and we worked together for the first 200km, building a sizeable lead on the rest of the racers. Then the team-work stopped and we took turns trying to sprint away from each other, neither with any success. It came down to a sprint at the finish line and I managed to pull it off and win the longest day of the tour! The win and time bonus also secured my third section win – the section from Vic Falls to Windhoek.
The next event in the Decathlon was small single-track obstacle course. I unlocked my forks and represented the team. This time there were bonus points for finding bicycle parts along the route, and although I set the fastest time on the course, I failed to find any of the hidden items. Team Conflict of Interests slipped out of first place in the Decathlon. Dave and Sunil took responsibility for the coke and PVM energy bar-downing event, the last event of the Decathlon before we reached Windhoek.
I spent the rest day in Windhoek with Carol checking out their awesome farm. Namibia and Windhoek have (surprisingly) been some of the most interesting parts of the trip, and I’ll certainly be back at Carol’s place soon!
During the last week we’ve travelled South from Windhoek near the coast, passing Soussesvlei, the Fish River Canyon, loads of mountains and even more wide open desert spaces. This is the last bit of dirt road of the trip and it has been quite rough in places, with days of over 150km in the sand, corrugations and rain. There have been a few more Decathlon events, including stone-throwing at cut-out Ethiopian kids, locker-packing and cycling in a circle.
We are now enjoying our last rest day at an overland campsite on the Orange River, looking across at South Africa!
We will be arriving with a big ceremony at the Waterfront on Saturday afternoon (15 May)…all welcome!