Catching up on blogging! Cape Town and the End of TDA 2014

Well! OK, this post should’ve been posted 2 months ago, but I’ve been busy (lol, ok not *that* busy), and just generally lazy posting it. But it needs to happen so I can continue on with other things!

I left the tour with about 3 weeks left and fast forwarded to Cape Town, definitely the favourite big city I spent any time in in Africa, and possibly one of my favourite cities in the world now! It was pretty incredible!

Day 1 started with me looking for a bit of food and trying to find a spot to take a picture of Table Mountain from. I kept walking closer and eventually found a trail up the mountain, then a sign telling of two routes you could take, one hard and one easier. The hard route recommended being well prepared and not doing it alone and talked of hand-holds and climbing rocks to get up… All I had was my phone and a 500mL bottle of diet Coke, but I chose the hard route. I figured there’d probably be people on it and any poor weather that surprised me would still be pretty good for a Canadian… lol. :)

Anyways, some 3 hours after I left my hostel I found myself on top of Table Mountain looking down on the most amazing views of both Cape Town downtown (and port) and Camps Bay. It was AMAZING! :D One of the best hikes of my life, and I was so ill prepared for it. ;) On the way down I took the easier route, which had about a billion steps in the rock and 100s of tourists climbing up asking me how far it was… It was sad to tell people it’d be at least 45min more when they were clearly suffering… But I hope they did it! It was well worth the climb! I’m just so amazed that I could leave my hostel downtown and find myself on top of an 1100 meter mountain a few hours later! :D

The next day I walked down to the water and around Lions Head to find myself in the richer part of town and eventually Camps Bay, though really Sea Point, Bantry Bay, Clifton, etc were all rich areas of town. I was pretty flabbergasted by the show of wealth here in CT after months in the rest of Africa where poverty was everywhere.

After exploring the beach and relaxing in Camps Bay a bit I decided that it was too great an opportunity to not run through the pass between Lions Head and Table Mountains, and did just that. I followed Kloof Rd up the 250ish meters to the pass and then came down the other side, I think about 5 or 6k to the hostel from there. A great run, and my last run in Africa. I ran at least once in every country I spent at least a night in (ie. not Zimbabwe, though I did ride my bike there).

The next day I had signed up for a tour of the Cape Peninsula, mostly to see the penguins, but also semi-excited about what else this tour had to offer. I was not disappointed! :D Such a great day! I met a great new friend, Nathalie, on the tour, and finally had someone to eat a dinner with on Long Street that night. Along the way in the day, we went on a small boat ride to see seals, followed by the penguins, a 12k mountain bike ride along paved roads in the national park at the end of the Peninsula, a climb up to the Cape Point Lighthouse, and then a visit to the SW-most point of Africa… Cape of Good Hope. Pictures of all this follows! :D

Overall I’m glad I left the tour when I did. I missed some fun times it sounded like, but the riding got hellish and offroad again, which I would not have been ready for (remember people, if you’re reading this thinking about doing a TDA trip in the future, make sure to install cross-brakes on your bike if all you’ve got are roadie ones, omg! Could’ve saved so much trouble for me)… I’m glad I got to experience Cape Town in the warm and sunny time and not the rain that it sounds like TDA’rs got…

The tour was a great experience, and I met a lot of great people and saw a lot of great things. I just don’t think I was ready to do 4 months of the same thing every day, and it killed me in the end. ;)

While away I chatted almost daily with Danielle from back home here in Calgary, who started as a friend from tri club (Talisman) and ended up as a girlfriend, and since returning most of our days have been filled with training for Challenge Penticton, the old Ironman Canada course (3.8k swim, 180k bike, 42.2k run), coming up August 24. This has included going on the Elbow Valley Cycling Club’s 3 day 320k ride from Castle Mountain to Radium Hot Springs to Golden BC to Castle Mountain, a weekend in Penticton for Danielle’s birthday where we rode most of the Challenge bike course, and about 10 other workouts per week. My swimming is at an all-time best, I’d say, at least since I was in Cascade swim club as a little kid (circa 1992). Two weekends ago we ran Chinook Triathlon at Midnapore Lake (Olympic distance) and I set an 8 minute PB off last year’s time, even with a horrible T1. More on that later. Looking forward we have the Sinister 7 relay race, Calgary 70.3, and then Challenge Penticton on August 24. Hopefully life will settle down a bit more then and we’ll have more spare time. We get about 3-4 hours together a week of complete downtime where we’re not training actively or wolfing down a meal starved for calories. Long rides on the weekend have now hit 160k (a daily ride in Africa, sure, but tougher when combined with speed, interval, run, swim workouts, etc). And trying to have a life too!

PICTURES! And then later, more updates on my life and training!

Table Mountain Shrouded in Cloud
Table Mountain Shrouded in Cloud
Getting closer..
Getting closer..
Lions Head, which I didn't summit.
Lions Head, which I didn’t summit.
Hike in a group, take supplies, be careful, omg! Ok, I'll bring some diet coke.
Hike in a group, take supplies, be careful, omg! Ok, I’ll bring some diet coke.
I was rewarded with some awesome rock!
I was rewarded with some awesome rock!
Looking back at what I'm climbing up.
Looking back at what I’m climbing up.
The super easy way up. I avoided! ;)
The super easy way up. I avoided! ;)
Follow the yellow footsteps... Even when they're completely vertical.
Follow the yellow footsteps… Even when they’re completely vertical.
I will!
I will!
Climbing Aids!
Climbing Aids!
Oh man, I forgot how rough those shoes were by now.
Oh man, I forgot how rough those shoes were by now.
Looking back again.
Looking back again.
Some of the side of Table Mountain.
Some of the side of Table Mountain.
Another view of the Gondola.
Another view of the Gondola.
Looking down on Camps Bay and the other side of Table Mountain.
Looking down on Camps Bay and the other side of Table Mountain.
Nice Clouds. It was a bit cold and windy here but worth it!
Nice Clouds. It was a bit cold and windy here but worth it!
Nor up!
Nor up!
The top was foggy at first.
The top was foggy at first.
I've still got Diet Coke left! I also bought a water up here for the walk down. ;)
I’ve still got Diet Coke left! I also bought a water up here for the walk down. ;)
Me and the City Bowl
Me and the City Bowl
Another view towards Camps.
Another view towards Camps.
Me and Lions Head.
Me and Lions Head.
Starting the trek down.
Starting the trek down.
Great Valley!
Great Valley!
Another..
Another..
More City Bowl
More City Bowl
Looking up at my way down.
Looking up at my way down.
Looking up at my way down... again.
Looking up at my way down… again.
Some nice housesI saw on the way down...
Some nice housesI saw on the way down…
Some nice housesI saw on the way down...
Some nice housesI saw on the way down…
Some nice housesI saw on the way down...
Some nice housesI saw on the way down…
Some nice housesI saw on the way down...
Some nice housesI saw on the way down…
I saw a bunch of classic cars there... and a fair number of Crucks.
I saw a bunch of classic cars there… and a fair number of Crucks.
OMG delicious. I think this was at the Royal Eatery.
OMG delicious. I think this was at the Royal Eatery.
Truly western.
Truly western.
Kosher Diet Coke!
Kosher Diet Coke!
The sea wall somewhere around Sea Point
The sea wall somewhere around Sea Point
Look at how sad this puppy is!
Look at how sad this puppy is!
So many runners and cyclists around, so nice!
So many runners and cyclists around, so nice!
Listening to music while I walk...
Listening to music while I walk…
Lions head, and some dude on a scooter as I took the pic.
Lions head, and some dude on a scooter as I took the pic.
Dem views! Nice apartments!
Dem views! Nice apartments!
Wouldn't it be nice?
Wouldn’t it be nice?
Love it!
Love it!
Clifton Beach, I think! Amazeballs
Clifton Beach, I think! Amazeballs
What to do with a stranded marine animal!
What to do with a stranded marine animal!
Table Mountain from the other side.
Table Mountain from the other side.
My hostel's rooftop patio. Penthouse on Long.
My hostel’s rooftop patio. Penthouse on Long.
The morning of the Cape Point tour...
The morning of the Cape Point tour…
Seals!
Seals!

52-IMG_2808

The bay where our boat departed to go see seals..
The bay where our boat departed to go see seals..
Boulders Beach, African Penguin time!!
Boulders Beach, African Penguin time!!
So many tourists! And Penguins!
So many tourists! And Penguins!
Fuzzy!
Fuzzy!
Me and some Penguin friends!
Me and some Penguin friends!
Walking lonely across the beach.
Walking lonely across the beach.
Oh, you want me to pose? Ok then!
Oh, you want me to pose? Ok then!
Rider Meeting! haha... day tour style.
Rider Meeting! haha… day tour style.
Me and my borrowed bike for the 12k ride. ;) I convinced Nathalie to join me, but I think she'd have been fine with the 6k option.
Me and my borrowed bike for the 12k ride. ;) I convinced Nathalie to join me, but I think she’d have been fine with the 6k option.
Nathalie taking some photos
Nathalie taking some photos
Me and Cape of Good Hope behind me!
Me and Cape of Good Hope behind me!
Me and Cape of Good Hope behind me (different angle)!
Me and Cape of Good Hope behind me (different angle)!
This was a cool idea! Apparently it's all over the world though. Before I die...
This was a cool idea! Apparently it’s all over the world though. Before I die…
YES! Stop it!!
YES! Stop it!!
On the plane to start my journey home! And it runs Linux. :D
On the plane to start my journey home! And it runs Linux. :D

Victoria Falls to Maun… The Elephant Highway and My Last Days!

So at Victoria Falls we did a booze cruise and I got drunk and everyone convinced me to stay on until Maun. So I did. One last country with the tour, Botswana!

We started out with a sketchy ferry ride… I didn’t ride because my day two plan was 172 km on one of the African bikes… I have no idea why I thought this was a good plan… But this was what I wanted to do! I did not manage it. After 65 km into even the slightest headwind we had, I was done. Justin took over for the 10 km into lunch and then I borrowed Brad’s bike (Thanks Brad!!) for the rest of the day.

It took all day to see an elephant on the Elephant Highway, but we did! At the end, and then again in camp! Very cool! We saw even more the next day riding in the truck to Nata.

One thing about the tour, they love staying outside of towns. We never stay in a town, it’s always 5-10 km away… making it impossible to buy anything quickly… :S

Anyways, after Nata I did a big run in the morning, letting the trucks catch me at 19 km where I jumped on… then went on to camp. The 5th day I didn’t ride… 1 out of 5 isn’t bad, right? lol.

At least the elephants were exciting!!

It was sad saying bye to everyone, but it was definitely my time to go… Off to Cape Town!

First few km out of Vic Falls, we blow an axle on the trailer...
First few km out of Vic Falls, we blow an axle on the trailer…
Lining up for the sketch ferry from Zambia to Botswana.
Lining up for the sketch ferry from Zambia to Botswana.
Jennilea and Sandro saved this Chameleon from certain drowning... And then Michael adopted him.
Jennilea and Sandro saved this Chameleon from certain drowning… And then Michael adopted him.
Myself and a gator! Er, crocodile.
Myself and a gator! Er, crocodile.
Monkeys!
Monkeys!
Crocodile!
Crocodile!
Birds of a feather..
Birds of a feather..
Fish Eagle
Fish Eagle
Fish Eagle on the hunt
Fish Eagle on the hunt
... for these goslings.
… for these goslings.
More giraffe! Doesn't get old!
More giraffe! Doesn’t get old!
Eagle town!
Eagle town!
Then our boat dies.
Then our boat dies.
Pull start isn't working either...
Pull start isn’t working either…
Riding the African bike! Not with Michael on it though, oh man, I wouldn't've made it 20 km!
Riding the African bike! Not with Michael on it though, oh man, I wouldn’t’ve made it 20 km!
Caution, Elephants!
Caution, Elephants!
Caution, Elephants!
Caution, Elephants!
Caution, Elephants!
Caution, Elephants!
Weeeee!
Weeeee!
This was more comfortable for Justin given how tall he is!
This was more comfortable for Justin given how tall he is!
Bina riding!
Bina riding!
Sorghum crops! Remember sorghum from Sudan?
Sorghum crops! Remember sorghum from Sudan?
Elephant on the road sighting!
Elephant on the road sighting!
Daryl, our Elephant whisperer.
Daryl, our Elephant whisperer.
Elephant in camp!
Elephant in camp!
Too cool!
Too cool!
Baobab tree!
Baobab tree!
How appropriate, Baobab Planet, a hotel/restaurant to break up our day.
How appropriate, Baobab Planet, a hotel/restaurant to break up our day.
It was nice here!
It was nice here!
Burning garbage, a tradition at TDA, a sport in Pennsylvania.
Burning garbage, a tradition at TDA, a sport in Pennsylvania.
Going away drinks!
Going away drinks!
Birgit got me a coke hippo, in memory of all our coke stops and seeing hippos together! Awwww! Thanks Birgit!
Birgit got me a coke hippo, in memory of all our coke stops and seeing hippos together! Awwww! Thanks Birgit!
Staff Appreciation breakfast!
Staff Appreciation breakfast!
Making Bacon Pancakes! (ok maybe not bacon)
Making Bacon Pancakes! (ok maybe not bacon)
I'm leaving, on a jet plane... don't know when I'll be back again...
I’m leaving, on a jet plane… don’t know when I’ll be back again…
Table Mountain! Cape Town!! :D Blogs about that later.
Table Mountain! Cape Town!! :D Blogs about that later.

Lilongwe via Lusaka to the Restfulness of Victoria Falls

So I’m way behind in blogging, it looks like we left Lilongwe way back on March 31, and I still haven’t posted about it. I’ll blame lack of good internet and having too much fun in Victoria Falls.

Instead of cycling the day out of Lilongwe, I got shuttled to the Zambia border and ran from Malawi to the first town in Zambia, Chipata, exactly 21.1km (a half marathon) away… Was so happy to get this run in and prove I could at least still bust out a half if I needed!

I’m mostly gonna just post some pictures because I can’t remember a whole lot about these days… Zambia was pretty but it was also very boring… Everything was very similar, day after day. At least the people were nice and we had some good rest days!

In Lusaka a bunch of us went to Captain America and out for dinner after… It was nice to feel western and human again!

For me the beginning of the end was a day or so outside of Lusaka… I got dropped off in town for a run and just got harassed one time too many for money with the ol’ “Hello friend…” African greeting and I just had a terrible 11 km walk instead of running at all. By the time we hit Victoria Falls, I knew I wanted to go home… I wouldn’t be cycling to Cape Town.

Perhaps this is why I haven’t blogged yet.. I don’t really have a great explanation for my feelings, other than I was just sick of Africa, the trip got easy again (though supposedly more challenging in Namibia, it’s back to the ‘roads’ that are for mountain bikes), and we’re staying in lodges, and it’s hot all the time, and I just wanted to go home and get on with things there, do some runs, enjoy some cooler weather, stop having to wake up at 5am every day whether I was cycling or not. Many people on the trip tried to talk me into staying, but once the decision was made, I was happy for it.

Erica, Jill, and Randy’s bikes got stolen at a camp in Zambia and Danielle asked me how I would’ve felt if it was my bike and my answer was relieved… It was clear I was done with the trip, and even though it’s only a few weeks more, I just didn’t want to finish. I lent my bike to Erica for her to complete the trip (she also had a Surly Long Haul Trucker!)… I’ll go up to Alaska and get it someday… or something!

Anyways, here’s some pictures! Still some beautiful scenery and interesting Africa-ness! :D

Ready to run! Always happier on run days.. haha
Ready to run! Always happier on run days.. haha
These guys and their bike loads!
These guys and their bike loads!
What'd I find at km 21 of my run? CANDY!
What’d I find at km 21 of my run? CANDY!
And a burger joint!
And a burger joint!
I was still 8 km from camp so I took a bike taxi.. Where I just sat on his rack.
I was still 8 km from camp so I took a bike taxi.. Where I just sat on his rack.
The day after the half marathon I cranked out 176km by myself mostly, with some chats with Michel and Diederik along the way... Very fun, pushing harder!
The day after the half marathon I cranked out 176km by myself mostly, with some chats with Michel and Diederik along the way… Very fun, pushing harder!
My tent and dry-tree. I lost at least one pair of bike shorts like this though, lol.
My tent and dry-tree. I lost at least one pair of bike shorts like this though, lol.
#camplife
#camplife
Alex delivered this to Steven at lunch and I thought he was joking, but Stevie took some pieces off it and ate it, omg!
Alex delivered this to Steven at lunch and I thought he was joking, but Stevie took some pieces off it and ate it, omg!
Luangwa Bridge, which we were told not to photograph, so of course I really wanted a picture.
Luangwa Bridge, which we were told not to photograph, so of course I really wanted a picture.
Luangwa Bridge Camp... Nice place, but the owners seemed really unhappy to be in Africa and didn't have much nice to say about the locals... Why would you live there and do this for 10 years then?
Luangwa Bridge Camp… Nice place, but the owners seemed really unhappy to be in Africa and didn’t have much nice to say about the locals… Why would you live there and do this for 10 years then?
#yolo
#yolo
Nice view from the pool!
Nice view from the pool!
Justin and Bina!
Justin and Bina!
Drinking wine from a cup... We're classy on the TDA.
Drinking wine from a cup… We’re classy on the TDA.
Kept up with Ina the next day for 81km before I bonked and caught a truck... was a nice day of riding with her though!
Kept up with Ina the next day for 81km before I bonked and caught a truck… was a nice day of riding with her though!
Super was beef kabobs! The best meal yet, I had 11 kabobs... There was so many!
Super was beef kabobs! The best meal yet, I had 11 kabobs… There was so many!
Moustache March results get announced!
Moustache March results get announced!
Lusaka! Wimpy burger!
Lusaka! Wimpy burger!
TDA buys some African bikes for us to ride into Vic Falls with.
TDA buys some African bikes for us to ride into Vic Falls with.
100mL packs of booze... the best. lol
100mL packs of booze… the best. lol
FIRE! This is the day of my 11k walk.
FIRE! This is the day of my 11k walk.
Riding into Vic Falls on the Atlas bike! 50km, Bina and Justin and I rode it together... Justin and I could've won the male race, but we assumed we weren't in it, so we stopped at Steers (burger place) for about an hour... Alas! Could've had a stage plate. lol. Instead German Dave won again after Ina towed him in due to a lost chain.
Riding into Vic Falls on the Atlas bike! 50km, Bina and Justin and I rode it together… Justin and I could’ve won the male race, but we assumed we weren’t in it, so we stopped at Steers (burger place) for about an hour… Alas! Could’ve had a stage plate. lol. Instead German Dave won again after Ina towed him in due to a lost chain.
Then we gave the African bikes away! They really are terrible though.. =\
Then we gave the African bikes away! They really are terrible though.. =\
Sunset on the Zambezi river!
Sunset on the Zambezi river!

Victorial Falls Activities!

Lots to do in Africa’s adventure capital! I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves! :D

… Actually some things of note. I got a double entry visa going into Zambia so I could go across to Zimbabwe and do something there. This cost an extra $30. Then I got to the border and it was $75 for Canadians ($30 for basically everyone else). Apparently this is due to sanctions that Canada has imposed on Zimbabwe goods and politicians. Alas. $105 to goto Zimbabwe for under 3 hours. Worth it? lol.

Victoria Falls bridge itself is on the border between the two countries, kind of in no man’s land? It was built in the early early 1900s as well, and has lasted!

Lion Encounter! It was nice to find out that the lions we pet do not go into the real wild! They're used as breeders for other lions that do. These ones get the fake wild.
Lion Encounter! It was nice to find out that the lions we pet do not go into the real wild! They’re used as breeders for other lions that do. These ones get the fake wild.
Oh hey, a Giraffe.
Oh hey, a Giraffe.
Whoa!! LIONS!
Whoa!! LIONS!
Justin petting a lion.
Justin petting a lion.
Bina petting a lion.
Bina petting a lion.
Birgit petting a lion.
Birgit petting a lion.
Me petting a lion!!
Me petting a lion!!
Now it's walk time...
Now it’s walk time…
And play time...
And play time…
Whoa buddy! (*yawn*)
Whoa buddy! (*yawn*)
Pretty cute for cats!
Pretty cute for cats!
Mid walk pets...
Mid walk pets…
They got playful near the water! Then ran off to hunt.
They got playful near the water! Then ran off to hunt.
Giraffe was still there on the way out, love giraffes!
Giraffe was still there on the way out, love giraffes!
Hanging out at the Royal Livingstone Resort for drinks and food after...
Hanging out at the Royal Livingstone Resort for drinks and food after…
The hotel had Zebra!
The hotel had Zebra!
Victoria Falls Bridge Slide!
Victoria Falls Bridge Slide!
Victoria Falls Bridge Bungee!!
Victoria Falls Bridge Bungee!!
Victoria Falls Bridge Swing!!!
Victoria Falls Bridge Swing!!!
Victoria Falls Hotel, the real one built in 1904 in Zimbabwe, not the fake one on the Zambia side (Royal Livingstone, built just a few years ago)
Victoria Falls Hotel, the real one built in 1904 in Zimbabwe, not the fake one on the Zambia side (Royal Livingstone, built just a few years ago)
$15 tea! ... ok, it came with snacks... High Tea!
$15 tea! … ok, it came with snacks… High Tea!
Guess who in Victoria Falls Hotel!
Guess who in Victoria Falls Hotel!
Too much water to see the falls properly... Will have to go back in a drier season!
Too much water to see the falls properly… Will have to go back in a drier season!
The gorge up to the hotel from the bridge.
The gorge up to the hotel from the bridge.
Victoria Falls Hotel from the Bridge!
Victoria Falls Hotel from the Bridge!

Mbeya to Lilongwe With Fun Times Along Lake Malawi

OK, so I’m still confident that Birgit and Leah’s (or maybe just Leah’s at this point since she still sounds excited about it) guest blog about the 7 days in Tanzania will still happen… But we just haven’t connected at the right times on rest days to get the blog going together… So now, you get the blog about the last days since I last blogged in Mbeya about Zanzibar!

TANZANIA! omg, the 115km of Tanzania I got to cycle (lol) were definitely some of the prettiest! The race was the first 60k to lunch and though I’m not racing anymore, having given back my timing chip, I pushed hard for once and was rewarded getting to lunch quickly! I rode a lot of it with one of our newer riders, Michel, from Holland. Sorry Birgit and Leah! ;)

We got rained on before lunch, which actually wasn’t too bad… it was a nicer cooler day anyways and just contributed to the awesomeness of the day… At 115k we hit the border and things had started to heat up. Still had 45k more to go and it was a little bit terrible in the heat and sun and moisture that Malawi brought us. Things across the border actually changed significantly… The kids got yelly, the terrain got flat and wet, and the first town wasn’t for 45k, where camp was, in Karonga, which was on the shores of Lake Malawi. It was a pretty nice camp and a weirdish little city… 42000 people, and despite Malawi being the poorest of the countries we’ve been to, there was at least 5 western style supermarkets and 6 or 7 large banks to exchange money at. What?!

The ride the next day was pretty wet, got poured on twice, and then it just got ridiculously hot and muggy, so I waited around lunch for Leah and Birgit and eventually decided to take the lunch truck into camp, and our rest day at Chitimba Beach! VERY nice place, so fun to be on the water, and I even went in, my fears of Bilharzia being set aside by the waves at the time in the lake… Didn’t seem like the right weather for parasite carrying snails to latch on to me.. Also fun at the Chitimba beach camp was a potluck ‘dinner’ of snacky food, cuz the kitchen closed ridiculously at 7pm and didn’t serve dinner food, only lunches… Then the next day we did a big pig roast which was delicious but lacking in quantity for all us hungry cyclists, I feel. And no sides. lol.

From Chitimba beach, it was 4 riding days into Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. The first night was to Mzuzu, which was a reasonably sized town with the biggest supermarket yet. There was a large climb to start the day, 600m or so? Was pretty, and only rained lightly all day. Mzuzu was nice though, I made a couple trips to the supermarket and had some great ice cream! :D Mmmmm.

The next day I ran the last 13k to camp and avoided the rain, even though I’d’ve liked it, I think! It was a hot run! But feels good. My mentality about the tour is changing yet again. My ironman is in 5 months basically, so I’ve started to panic a bit and am using every day as a training day now, running, riding, or resting. Eventually hopefully combining some days of riding and running too… Swim will have to wait! We camped in a soccer field that was inundated with children all day, so loud, so many eyes watching us… Still don’t like it! Felt like Ethiopia, just without the security guards we’d usually have there!

The next day was 108 km, and I gave it a pretty solid push the whole day, finishing in just under 4 hours and skipping lunch along the way.. Which I guess I did kind of regret around 80km.. haha. It was nice to push it though and be passing people! I like the training feeling and feeling strong… Still want to enjoy Africa, but I think I’m over a lot of it now, I dunno. I’ll stop when there’s something to stop at. :) I think the last rider got into camp at about 12:30pm, so it was just a ridiculous day where everyone felt like they were on a rest day. Everyone’s getting so strong now, they can push well when they want to!

Next day was 130k into Lilongwe. Which is where I am now! Interesting place for sure, lots of political stuff going on right now, I think there’s elections soon, and each party has their colours.. Sadly our flagging tape is the colour of The People’s Party… And got removed fairly quickly (with some warning from locals: “THIS IS MALAWI!” lol… people here seem friendly enough though, and the city was full of supermarkets again… Sadly still no sour enerjelly babies though, which I’ve been hunting for since Addis! UGH, I want some sour candy!

Last night we had a going away dinner at a place called Don Brioni’s Bistro… Mateo is sadly leaving us, after being there with us all the way from the start… Was a nice night and meal though! And we have 3 new riders joining here! Young David’s mom, Jennilea’s boyfriend, and Claudia’s boyfriend! Exciting dynamic shift!

Didn’t do a whole lot here.. Ate, shopped (new sandals, yay!), and relaxed. Ran today with Leah too, much fun! Two more phone calls really raised my spirits as well! :D Getting excited about home activities for sure!!!

Tomorrow we enter Zambia. Malawi is over just like that! 5 riding days takes us to Lusaka, and then 3 more to Victoria Falls where we have 3 whole rest days to do exciting things like bungy jumping and white water rafting! Our biggest day yet is on day 2, 176km. I plan to cycle it hardish as a training ride! Tomorrow I’m going to run again. ;)

I’m sure there’s lots I’m missing about these days, I gotta start taking notes along the way again!

Miss you all! Here’s pictures, everyone’s favourite part! :D See you from Lusaka!

Welcome to Mbeya! I actually took this the morning after I arrived... I was off for a run and this road was way too muddy, so I turned around and came back to pavement. Turned out this muddy road was the way in for riders later! Eep.
Welcome to Mbeya! I actually took this the morning after I arrived… I was off for a run and this road was way too muddy, so I turned around and came back to pavement. Turned out this muddy road was the way in for riders later! Eep.
Phew, at least Mbeya has the important things... Taken at the Elegante Supermarket behind the Oilcom gas station... not a bad little market.
Phew, at least Mbeya has the important things… Taken at the Elegante Supermarket behind the Oilcom gas station… not a bad little market.
I even found (and bought, but haven't played yet) Scrabble!
I even found (and bought, but haven’t played yet) Scrabble!
"Kessy Casim" shop.
“Kessy Casim” shop.
Sandro arrives very mucky!
Sandro arrives very mucky!
Leah and Birgit stretch it out. Something new on their 7 day stretch without me... Roadside yoga. Maybe by the time I post this, they'll have written their guest blog entry! ;)
Leah and Birgit stretch it out. Something new on their 7 day stretch without me… Roadside yoga. Maybe by the time I post this, they’ll have written their guest blog entry! ;)
We do this at every hotel we camp at.. I'm surprised they're ok with it! Clothes everywhere! Classin' up the joint.
We do this at every hotel we camp at.. I’m surprised they’re ok with it! Clothes everywhere! Classin’ up the joint.
Leah wonders how safe the meat this guy is selling from a box on his bike is... (not that she'd eat it, she's veggie, but it's still weird!)
Leah wonders how safe the meat this guy is selling from a box on his bike is… (not that she’d eat it, she’s veggie, but it’s still weird!)
Leah questions this guy on why he sells so many toques in Africa where it's never really cold!
Leah questions this guy on why he sells so many toques in Africa where it’s never really cold!
In one of the boringest pictures ever, this is actually two socks that I've been missing one or the other of since Sudan. Finally reunited, they now add a full pair to my quiver of socks. lol.
In one of the boringest pictures ever, this is actually two socks that I’ve been missing one or the other of since Sudan. Finally reunited, they now add a full pair to my quiver of socks. lol.
Is this the end of Dangerous Africa or just a rock fall section? We'll never know... Last miles of Tanzania!
Is this the end of Dangerous Africa or just a rock fall section? We’ll never know… Last miles of Tanzania!
Turns out Tanzania is pretty beautiful!
Turns out Tanzania is pretty beautiful!
A riverbed with water in it?! Where am I?!
A riverbed with water in it?! Where am I?!
Into Malawi now, instantly more humid... I hope this is rice patties?
Into Malawi now, instantly more humid… I hope this is rice patties?
More Malawi road side water...
More Malawi road side water…
Helen handles a beatle. Something I've definitely noticed about Malawi, lots of insane insects. Ugh.
Helen handles a beatle. Something I’ve definitely noticed about Malawi, lots of insane insects. Ugh.
Oh hi campsite lizard.. How do you like my tent?
Oh hi campsite lizard.. How do you like my tent?
Oh hi campsite shower frog.. How do you like the pressure?
Oh hi campsite shower frog.. How do you like the pressure?
One of our earlier views of Lake Malawi! Can't complain, wow!
One of our earlier views of Lake Malawi! Can’t complain, wow!
And a view from our campsite / rest day at Chitimba Beach.
And a view from our campsite / rest day at Chitimba Beach.
A frog in Chitimba... Lots of frogs here.
A frog in Chitimba… Lots of frogs here.
We found a Malawian Millipede along the beach... Chris was brave enough to pick it up.
We found a Malawian Millipede along the beach… Chris was brave enough to pick it up.
And then put it on Brad's shoulder, where it then migrated to his head... Poor Brad.
And then put it on Brad’s shoulder, where it then migrated to his head… Poor Brad.
We had a big pig roast the second day, but it still probably wasn't enough food for everyone...
We had a big pig roast the second day, but it still probably wasn’t enough food for everyone…
Checking out 'town'... Really nothing here.
Checking out ‘town’… Really nothing here.
Oh wait! There's rum! In plastic baggies! 100mL for 25c! I still haven't drank this.
Oh wait! There’s rum! In plastic baggies! 100mL for 25c! I still haven’t drank this.
Some of the TDA'rs play some volleyball!
Some of the TDA’rs play some volleyball!
More random animals! I think this was a small chameleon, hiding up by the light... Silly place to hide.
More random animals! I think this was a small chameleon, hiding up by the light… Silly place to hide.
1/3 up the biggest climb of the day, had to take a stop and get a picture here. So pretty!
1/3 up the biggest climb of the day, had to take a stop and get a picture here. So pretty!
Lunch was a different story... just far too many people! Ugh! We had to get out of dodge ASAP, the crowd was getting unruly with begging.
Lunch was a different story… just far too many people! Ugh! We had to get out of dodge ASAP, the crowd was getting unruly with begging.
Mzuzu was a nice place... Despite being the poorest country we visit, Malawi definitely has the most and best supermarkets of the whole trip.
Mzuzu was a nice place… Despite being the poorest country we visit, Malawi definitely has the most and best supermarkets of the whole trip.
A view from one of my runs this week... Lovely! Wish it had rained on me a little bit though...
A view from one of my runs this week… Lovely! Wish it had rained on me a little bit though…
The first outhouse I entered, I was greeted by this site... Thousands and thousands of mosquitoes! Ugh! :(
The first outhouse I entered, I was greeted by this site… Thousands and thousands of mosquitoes! Ugh! :(
The kids at soccer camp were a bit nuts, but a few of us took some time to go sing to them... Did it make anything better? I don't know.
The kids at soccer camp were a bit nuts, but a few of us took some time to go sing to them… Did it make anything better? I don’t know.
These rocky outcrops on the ride were quite pretty!
These rocky outcrops on the ride were quite pretty!
Like this one!! Super pretty.
Like this one!! Super pretty.
Kind of tired after giving today's 107km more of a push than normal and skipping lunch... Also looking kind of shaggy!
Kind of tired after giving today’s 107km more of a push than normal and skipping lunch… Also looking kind of shaggy!
Mateo is leaving us in Lilongwe, and him and Jennilea have been good friends for months... They tied them together and said he couldn't leave til he got out of it.
Mateo is leaving us in Lilongwe, and him and Jennilea have been good friends for months… They tied them together and said he couldn’t leave til he got out of it.
Tobacco plants!
Tobacco plants!
This was a sign from the day before's lunch that I skipped... I wonder if this stuff was on the menu.
This was a sign from the day before’s lunch that I skipped… I wonder if this stuff was on the menu.
Tobacco plants and me.. Just cuz.
Tobacco plants and me.. Just cuz.
Another "7 Eleven"
Another “7 Eleven”
Love campsites that "get it"...
Love campsites that “get it”…
This place had a cook-your-own-food place! Delicious! I made an old favourite from my childhood that I hadn't had since December!
This place had a cook-your-own-food place! Delicious! I made an old favourite from my childhood that I hadn’t had since December!
Breakfast this morning, Dave G sets a new record at the hotel, 9 eggs!
Breakfast this morning, Dave G sets a new record at the hotel, 9 eggs!
He did it! I think he went for pizza after this.
He did it! I think he went for pizza after this.
Leah finishes the run we went on together... Nice to have someone out there with me!
Leah finishes the run we went on together… Nice to have someone out there with me!