Today was the longest distance on tour, 207 km, and included a border crossing into Namibia. We were faced with multiple rain storms, ferocious headwinds, and simple monotomy of a long straight flat road, but thanks to a fun group of co-riders, I made it! The day began enveloped in a thick fog, which quickly turned into rain. I hadn’t pictured myself cold and wet in Africa, but there we were with frozen fingers and chilly feet, feeling like we were back in Seattle. Kendra, Ribca and I rode together to lunch, with Ribca keeping our minds off the long riding with stories of Eritrea, where her husband is from and a place that is a mystery to most of us.
In the afternoon Christina and chugged along happily until we were hit with a heavy rainstorm and a ridiculously strong headwind, which forced us to take turns fighting the battle of riding in front. Luckily we found a gas station along the way, where many of the other riders were waiting out the storm, and we were comforted by warmth and sustainance (Coke, cookies, and chocolate as usual!). Christina bought a garbage bag as a makeshift raincoat and we continued on with Kendra and others. Unfortunately Kendra’s stomach had different ideas and, in pain, she was forced to catch the lunch truck in. Christina and I forged on, picking up Megan along the way and joining up with Chris F and Patrick a few miles before the border.
At 206 km we entered the border crossing and, exhausted and hungry, began the process for exiting Botswana and entering Namibia. As usual the process was less than efficient, but eventually we gained entrance and pedaled the last kilometer to camp, which was covered in a deep and slippery layer of mud from all the heavy rain. Unfortunately our friend Suresh from Trinidad did not make it across the border due to visa problems (clearly the fault of the local immigration officers), so I had to say goodbye to him at the border. He will have to go to the capital of Botswana, Gabarone, to get his visa and meet up with the group further down the line.
We celebrated our long ride with a couple of bottles of wine that we had stashed in our lockers for Wine Club and enjoyed another amazing TdA dinner. Luckily Kendra was feeling much better, and had decided to head to Windhoek tomorrow to get an early start on the rest day and to try to figure out what’s causing her stomach problems. I will miss her on the last couple of days of riding, but agree that it’s the best decision. See you in Windhoek, Kendra!