I think, that this was the worst day of my adult life. Things started with the fact that it was raining, oh well “it’s only drizzle” I thought. Within an hour – I was soaked through.
My 3rd Odometer stopped working about 100m away from the lodge, again only a minor annoyance. My first day on Namibian dirt roads, and at the start they were fine. Good in fact.
The headwind was very strong, driving the rain into my face, I was going very slowly.
I wanted to take cover but there were no trees, which in hindsight is I guess a good thing as I would have been wasting my time: it is still raining! (I am writying this from a HUGELY overpriced hotel, in Seeheim, which I am paying for to try and dry some of my stuff. I didn’t much fancy camping in wet sludge either to be honest.)
After about 40km (I thought that it was more like 60 at the time, but no odometer – I really was going slowly) I had to decide to carry on to Seeheim or turn left to the Fish River Canyon, which I desperately wanted to see. The visibility was so bad, I was so wet and miserable I decided to go on. (Some people later passed me who said you could see nothing at the canyon – one good decision at least!)
Not long after that the constant headwinds were beginning to take their toll on my spirits. All I could see were these steep sided, flat topped mountains shrouded in rain – I felt like I was in the summer in Mull looking out on Treshnish, but much less romantic than that!
At first (the first 3 hours) the rain didn’t really effect the road, then gradually I started sinking, it became like mud – like trying to cycle on the beach, wet and cold, with someone sitting on the back and someone else on your handlebars, and having no idea how far there was to go – I couldn’t even get my map out as it would have become completely sodden.
Mostly pushing, occasionally cycling caked in dirt the next 20km were hell. My bike was clicking, everything was wet, rain and wind kept coming.
Eventually about 30 K’s from Seeheim (I had covered 100 in those conditions- quite proud!) I was picked up by a family with a low, closed small trailer on the back of the car. We balanced my bike on top of the trailer and I squatted on top of it holding it down. Everything brown and dirty. Wind, spray and dirt in my face – but saved!
Feeling better now- all part of the adventure!! Not a good part though. N.B. Avoid dirt roads in the rain.
P.s. In the pit of my despair, 5 swifts came out of nowhere, swooping and diving all around me. So close. That made me smile.