On february 8 we crossed the border into Ethiopia and set up camp a few kilometers later. It’s incredible how much the landscape changed once we left Sudan. The border town is bustling with activity, with loud music playing, TVs blaring, dozens of stores displaying their wares, people calling out to us……very vibrant, and so different from Sudan which is also vibrant but in a very different way.
There are some serious hills here. Our first cycling day was about 95 km, with plenty of rollers. There were 2 very challenging climbs, the second one being the hardest. Somehow I managed to struggle to the top. An Ethiopian woman was sitting in the shade and she gestured for me to join her, which I gladly did. Then I noticed some writing on a road post “Attn TDA riders – definitely no resting here! Man up!” Lol
There were still about 10 kms to camp, and I seriously considered throwing my bike over the edge because I really didn’t want to see it again (perhaps I could donate it instead :D) but reason prevailed so I carried on, if for no others reason than pride because I didn’t want to get picked up by the sweep
At camp we were warned that the next days ride would be one of the toughest on the tour. I was stricken by fear – how could it be harder than what I had just done? Well, it wasn’t sugarcoated. That day was by far the toughest cycling I have ever done – bar none. Immediately after leaving camp, we started to climb. Then we climbed more, then some more, then some more. And still more. At about 21 km we started what was described as an “epic” climb. My only question was what the hell had we already been doing since leaving camp? The epic climb finally ended at about 34 k. The support vehicle passed me about 26 k, and I SO wanted to get in. But I persevered, digging deep like I never had before. My reward was a nice long downhill for several kms, then a few more short climbs til lunch. Pics to follow!