I awoke to the soft patter of rain on my tent, fully rested after my best night of sleep on tour. I felt fully recovered from the 24 hour stomach bug and was ready to ride a full day, the day with the second largest gain in altitude on tour. Kari and I set out together through the town of Mzuzu and into the foothills of the plateau. She felt strong and went ahead while I doddled back and enjoyed my first solitary ride since the incident. After a few km, Hans caught up to me and we rode the rest of the day together ß catching up on all the news from back home in Italy.
In between conversations, I kept remarking how the landscape and feeling of the day reminded me of back home in the Pacific Northwest of the US… the grey mist hung heavy over the hills and cool temperatures necessitated a jacket. Blackberry bushes, mushrooms, and huge snails completed the picture from home. Loggers were busy cutting down trees on either side of the road and stacking up the timber on either side of the road with hand sketched signs indicating where the wood needed to be transported. It was interesting to pass men using long hand saws but then hear the sounds of chain saws. I wondered how the introduction of modern tools will change the pace of logging and if their harvesting will remain sustainable.
I eventually rolled into camp at 330pm after a couple of afternoon coke stops, including one where a fellow rider bought an axe from a local for 200 kwacha, about $1.50. It was difficult and I was tired, but it was a great sense of accomplishment to complete the hilly day. So wonderful to be riding again!