Our ride out of Chitimba Beach proved to be a tough one, but worth every kilometer. As Kendra was unfortunately back on the truck due to stomach issues (only a 24 hour bug this time that was going around the camp), I set out with her friend Hans who had joined the tour for the week from Italy. The morning challenged us with a huge climb up from the lake, over the hills, and down into the most beautiful agricultural valleys I may have ever seen. We were in awe at the beauty that was hidden in this corner of Malawi, and I found myself wanted to take pictures around every bend even though I knew I couldn’t quite capture it all on film. Around mid morning it started to rain and in just a few minutes we were drenched. We were comforted with hot chai and delicious donuts (served to us out of the donut tupperware bin with none other than a bike spoke!) along with a dozen or so other riders, and set out newly warmed up with Victor from South Africa and Kevin from the U.S.
By lunchtime the sun had emerged and thoroughly dried us out, and the afternoon brought us warm breezes and rolling hills. Mid afternoon, however, the clouds rolled back in and drenched us again. By the time we were rolling into the town of Mzuzu, where we were camping for the night, I was cold and wet and ready for something warm to drink. Just as we neared town, Victor’s tire blew and he took Hans’ bike to camp to get a new tire while Hans and I walked our bikes into town. After half an hour or so we found the Graceland Cafe, where we warmed ourselves with tea, the famous Mzuzu coffee, and some eggs and chips. We got into camp just as it was getting dark, and managed to get cold showers at the hotel where we were camped just before dinner was served. I was so excited to get into my Patagonia down sweater and fleece pants and relax with a Carlsburg in the tiny hotel pub.. after 1900 meters of climbing, 130 kilomters, and two drenchings, I felt like I had earned it!