My last riding day on the tour filled me with mixed emotions. The morning was absolutely brilliant, with a sharp chill in the air and a sunrise that slowly thawed us as it spread its soft orange across the landscape. I set out on my own this morning to take it all in and to have some time to think about how much this journey has meant to me, all the struggles and delights along the way, and all the amazing people who I was going to sorely miss when I left.
I was lucky to have the company of Paul Spencer from mid-morning on, and we took it easy with coke stops and joining some pelotons along the way. At 110 km we pulled into the Windhoek Airport with Kim, in part so I could change my flight, but also so we could enjoy some treats at what was rumored to be a fantastic little cafe. We were not disappointed on either account.. my flight change took less than 5 minutes, in contrast to the multiple phone calls over the last several days. In person is always better. At the cafe we enjoyed freshly baked cake and struedal and the luxury of a draft beer, along with delicious cappuccinos. When we find a place with good food, we tend to act like little kids with no supervision, indulging ourselves to no end. No harm done, as we all still need to replace a few lost kilos..
The riding after lunch was an absolute struggle. Paul and I pulled out of the airport road and hit a strong headwind, with hills all the way into Windhoek. We were happy to finally experience some varied terrain after all the long flat roads, but the kilometers crept by as the wind held us back. As I struggled I began to think about how my journey was coming to a close. We passed Bob and I realized that I may never see him again. Tears started to well up in my eyes and didn’t stop. At one point I pulled over and sat down in some tall grass and just let it all out, the sadness I was feeling as I was nearing the end of the road. Paul waited for me even thought I insisted he go on without me, and I felt much better and ready to face the rest of the ride. The last 20 km or so into Windhoek was beautiful, with rolling green hills and dozens of river crossings. I was actually reminded of Southern California at one point, not what I expected to find in Namibia!
After cleaning out my locker and handing my bike over to be donated in South Africa, we headed out to an amazing Italian dinner with Kendra and Jorg at Sardinia’s. Afterwards we joined many of the other riders at Joe’s Beer House, where they serve a wide variety of interesting game meat. Even though we were exhausted from the day, the group managed to drag us out dancing. Actually, Liam literally picked me up and put me into the taxi van with 18 other riders. I will never forget that impromptu city tour with all of us packed into the van, singing, yelling and laughing for almost an hour as the taxi driver tried to find the right place.. what patience that man had! In the end I was glad that I was kidnapped by the group, we had a fantastic night of dancing and added a few more memorable moments to the TdA treasure chest.