98km from desert camp to Luxor.
I awoke to a very wet tent and a very cold morning. Quickly, everything went into the bag (wet) and I gulped down warm tea and a big bowl of porridge with peanut butter and banana (the standard breakfast). I headed out intending to do another solo morning ride and then join the group in the afternoon, but about 10km into the day, the racer group came up behind me (we can all start whenever we want after 630 until 715). They yelled, “hop on”, so I did. What fun!
The next 38 km flew by – and the scenery changed so much! From flat desert with mountains in the distance to the bustling town of Qina to small villages all manned by men in robes with rifles and police baracades to the busy canal lined with farmers of sugarcane, donkeys, and every child shouting “Hullo” and running and waving:) I had to drop back at one point because of knee pain, but one of our Egyptian riders (there are three former national racers riding with us) dropped back, put a hand on my shoulder and whooosh – 50km/hr and we were back with the group! That was fun!
After “lunch” (the halfway point at 0850), I tried to stay with the group, but they went even faster, so I dropped back and rode with two Australian guys, Lindsey and Terry, who kept a good pace. We rolled into Luxor to the Rezeiyki camp and my first hotel room with a HOT shower. I scrubbed layers of dirt off! After dropping laundry off for cleaning and finding the ATM we set out for some touring. It is strange to pull into a town and have no idea where you are or what there is to see. I wandered into the center with two fellow riders, Paul and Scott, and we stumbled onto the Luxor Temple, the souk, and delicious food (falafel and baba ganoush). We also had our first experience with the locals who picked us up in the market, stayed with us for hours to “help” us find good places to eat and shop and then try to pick pockets at the end of the night! I was happy to return to the hotel/camp area where my fellow riders were sitting around a blazing bonfire.