Feb 26, Riding into Arba Minch, 107 km
Right out of camp we hit dirt roads and I loved finally getting off the pavement and making the most of my mountain bike. Finally, carrying around all the wieght was worth it! The course dirt and rough roads made the going a little tougher, and a little slower, and the temperatures reached the mid 40s celsius. But despite the heat and rough roads the day was amazing, beautiful landscape and I ran into some really welcoming people, in contrast to the rock throwing and slapping from a few kids along the way.
By lunch I was exhausted and debated jumping on the lunch truck, but once again I just decided to take it easy, stop often and keep pedaling! My strategy worked.. after two drink stops and a few stretching breaks, we made it into Arba Minch.. only to face several kilometers uphill to the hotel. The heat was really getting to me and I realized I needed some caffeine.. I stopped in at a little shack and bought a liter of Pepsi, drank down half, and felt much better.. too bad I was only 100 meters from the top of the hill! If I had only known.. and just as I rounded the bend, I saw a dozen riders sitting at a cafe drinking mango and avocado juice, or sipping on macchiatos. I joined them, of course!
Afterwards, we coasted down the road to our hotel, which is not much to speak of except for the amazing view! One upside of Kendra being sick is that she arrived at the hotel early and got us one of the very few rooms, which meant we had beds to sleep in and a shower (when there is water), instead of sleeping in our tents. Thank you, Kendra!! After a outside shower (the water was used up pretty quickly inside the rooms from all these dirty riders), we relaxed on the terrace with shandies (7-up and beer) and spaghetti. After a little lie-down we headed into town for our second dinner and to celebrate Scott’s birthday. Had a delicious meal at the tourist hotel , with a set-up that reminded me of a Latin American town center park, our favorite dish was lamb tibs, freshly served off the grill still sizzling.
We tried without success to get cake but everything was closed, but I think all of us were secretly happy to be heading home to bed. What an amazing thing, to sleep in a bed, all clean and knowing there’s no 5:30am wake up call. Already, after only 4 days on the road, I’m appreciating the little things.. – Kari