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Chipata to Petauke (176km) & A New Record for Judith

ZAMBIA

Day 81 - Apr 3 - Stage 56




Local Zambian Riders (Judith in the background)

It was a very long cycling day and Judith decided to give it her best shot, and consequently... it was Judith's new personal best! She completed the 176km distance and we arrived at our destination before sunset (cut off time).

Early morning we reluctantly left Mama Rulas Camp in Chipata, it had been the best Camp so far, I would have preferred a rest day there, as opposed to the one we had in Lilongwe, but it was not to be.

The Zambian road surface was fantastic, from the dedicated bike lanes as we left Chipata, to the very smooth surface of the Great East Road, which had been rehabilitated by kind  donations and loans from European Investment Bank, European Union and Agence Francaise de Development - (for which we were extremely grateful).

We cycled 81km to lunch, then a further 96km to Camp, we might of come in last, accompanied by the Sweep Rider, but we had done the distance!  Briefing was already in progress when we arrived, and we appreciated  the thunderous applause we received from the other Riders.

We were just too tired to Camp, so we took a room at the Lodge, had a few drinks with Murray & Andje on the veranda, and then it was off to bed. 


Tomorrow is another long day with a 171km cycle to Luangwa Bridge Camp (we cross over the Bridge, then cycle to the Camp).

Cheers,
Mike T




Leaving Mama-Rula's in the morning


Turn right for Lusaka and keep going straight!


The Company's involved in the rehabilitation of The Great East Road



The great surface we were able to ride on



The morning's Coke Stop with Marie, Liz and Sweep Rider Helen



Leaving the Lunch Truck for the second half of the day's riding


The afternoons Coke Stop with Liz


Charcoal Sellers on the side of the road



Sweep Rider Max shadowing Judith on her new Personal Best Day of 176 km



Part of the Great East Road was only open to Cyclists and Cattle


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Lilongwe to Chipata [Mama Rulas Camp] (152km with 800m climbing)


MALAWI - ZAMBIA


Day 80 - Apr 2 - Stage 55

Left Lilongwe after an average type of Rest Day, fortunately it was a Sunday, so the traffic was relatively quiet as we passed through the CBD of the City on our way to the next Country, Zambia - which we were both looking forward to visiting since it is the land of my birth. 

I wanted to see how much the Country had changed, and it has been 50 years since I left the then young Independent Republic, and immigrated with my parents Ken and May Treloar, to South Africa. My parents had been in the then "Northern Rhodesia", since 1945 after the Second World War, and left to go South in 1967. I had not been back officially to Zambia since then.


After riding 80km, Judith got on the TDA Cruiser to rather ride to the Border, as she felt she would hold the border crossing procedures up by getting there too late if she continued cycling, a wise decision as we were actually running late.

The Malawian kids were still shouting, "Give me my money" which had by now become quite boring, although I did get a, "Give me my cell phone" which was soon followed by a, "Give me my bike".  Hell, what was I expected to do, donate my bike to some kid and then walk to Cape Town!??

After lunch, I cycled the 42km to the Border, but had a Coke Stop on the way with Liz, Marie and Helen the Sweep Rider. Once at the Border, crossing out of Malawi and into Zambia was absolutely painless. 

On the Zambian side, the Immigration Official noticed from my passport that I was Zambian born, and said, "Welcome back to Zambia!" How cool was that!

Amazingly once across the Border, the call of "Give me money" by the kids immediately stopped! It was replaced by a chirpy, "Mzungu, how are you?"  What an absolute pleasure....

The road surface on the Zambian side was just perfect, rode the final 30km to the Camp with Marie, who kindly allowed me to draught behind her for the complete 30km, and she didn't cycle slowly either, we averaged a decent 30 km/hr!

Arrived at the Mama Rulas Camp, had a few beers while I waited for Judith to arrive (she was with some of the TDA Staff doing some shopping in Chipata) before doing my tent erection duties. We decided to camp as it didn't look like it was going to rain.

Mama Rulas Camp had a great Bar, named "The Pit Stop", the beers were relatively cheap, cold, and plentiful, and a good time was had by all.


A local Indian fellow came to the Camp to assist us in changing our money from Malawian Kwacha to Zambian Kwacha, or to exchange US Dollars for Zambian Kwacha. Some of the Riders said he looked like my Brother, but just from another Mother!


Of all the Camps we had camped in so far on the Tour, Mama Rulas was one of the best we have encountered, and hopefully a taste of things to come in Zambia.

Tomorrow is a long day, 176km from Chipata to Petauke, don't know what Judith is going to do, will she ride the whole distance or only part of it? Tomorrow will tell.

Cheers,
Mike T


Could this be my long lost Brother ?
I don't know how the car got into the mielies
 (corn) but it got their proper!

Crossing a Bridge on our way towards Zambia

Liz and Marie at the Coke Stop waiting for Sweep Rider Helen to catch up with us

Chipata in Zambia has dedicated cycle lanes which were such a pleasure.


We are starting to see more and more home comforts & brands we recognize as we progress further South...



Ah Spar, "one wherever you are!"


The "Pit Stop" was well received at Mama Rula's

Riders enjoying quality time at the Pit Stop

Finally, the chance to drink my first "Mosi" in Zambia!


Come on the "Lions" my favorite Rugby Franchise.




Andrew and Linda taking some time out.


Judith taking advantage of a clear sky and hanging out some washing


Tomorrow's ride - Chipata to Petauke

Yup, a good time had by all who frequented the Pit Stop.


Alex finally conceding defeat and realizing she had eaten enough

Tallis making new friends at Mama Rula's

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Rest Day in Lilongwe, Malawi

MALAWI

Day 79 - Apr 1 - Rest Day


Saturday: Rest Day in Lilongwe, and it's already the 1st of April!! 
Time is definitely starting to fly (especially when you are having fun).


We are currently here!

Judith's Permanent Bag is soaking wet, there is a leak in the roof of the Main Truck and a few of the riders also get their bags back...saturated! She spends most of her rest day time getting everything dry!

I change my slick tyres (both my old slicks have cuts in the tyres) for new ones, brought along a set of foldable slicks for both Judith and I and it seems as if it was the right decision to take them along. 

I spend the day watching Super Rugby on the TV in the Bar having decided to have a very low-key rest day, which suits both Judith and I. Between the New Zealanders, Australians and us South Africans, we have a festive time watching Super Rugby. Thankfully the Lions manage to beat the Sharks right at the end.

Three new sectional riders join us, Thomas & Roman from Germany and Chris from Canada. The two Germans will leave us again when we reach Livingstone (Victoria Falls) in Zambia.

In my endevour to change my tyres, I manage to pop my previously dormant umbilical hernia, causing a large protrusion of my navel. At first I thought the pain was just another bout of diarrhea, but soon realise it's a little bit more serious than that. 

Get hold of Dr Helen, who tries to arrange for me to see a Medical Specialist at a Private Hospital. Unfortunately it's a Saturday afternoon, and not a Specialist is to be found anywhere in Lilongwe (TIA). She decides to manipulate it back into place and voila, she is sucessful! After much telephonic consultation, she decides that she is better than any doctor in a Public Hospital, and takes the decision not to get futher medical help, a decision which proves to be the correct one.

I am then placed under Doctor's Orders - I am to monitor the hernia and to stop cycling immediately if it happens again, if it does, I have to seek medical help in Lusaka (Zambia). 

Early evening, Judith and I take a Tuk-Tuk with Andje to an Auto Bank to draw money and to collect some Korean Takeaways for supper. It pours with rain, and we have an interesting time navigating the dark streets of Lilongwe by Tuk-Tuk.


Tomorrow we cross out of Malawi and into Zambia, the land of my birth!  We have quite a tough five day section ahead of us, before we reach Lusaka for our next rest day.

Cheers, 
Mike T



Our A-Frame accommodation at Mabuya


The sign about sums up the conditions we experienced at the Backpackers

Mabuya Backpackers


One of the cut in one of my slick tyres
The next Stage 55 - Lilongwe to Chipata (in Zambia)


The upcoming Section from Lilongwe to Lusaka





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Kasungu to Lilongwe (130km)

MALAWI


Day 78 - Mar 31 - Stage 54


Friday: We depart Kasungu with the greatest of intentions to cycle the full distance to Lilongwe, but a mean headwind disrupts Judith's plans, while both a mechanical (a slit tyre) and a physical (gout in my right knee again) intervenes for me - forcing us both to only cycle the 76km to lunch and then to take the truck to Mabuya Backpackers Camp in Lilongwe.


Carlsberg Beer on the move

As we approach Lilongwe in the morning, the traffic increases and becomes more aggressive, Judith is forced off the road at one stage by a big truck, while on another occasion I nearly get knocked over by another one!


The number of Police/Traffic Police roadblocks increases  (at one stage I count three roadblocks within a 5km stretch of road). Stopping traffic in order to collect "payments" in lieu of being paid a monthly salary, seems to be prevalent in this part of Malawi.


We have a Coke Stop, Liz takes the opportunity to buy some french fries for us all, this just contributes to my ever developing Fish Bowl Syndrome - described yesterday - which seems to be getting worse!

Judith rides the last 20km to lunch with Leon the Sweep rider, the day's headwind forcing her to ride at a very slow pace. But we are not alone, a further 6 riders climb into the Lunch Truck with us.

After packing up at lunch, it's a free for all by the locals when we leave them the uneaten left over food, but it's a behavior I have come to expect from the Malawians. To be quite honest, I think it's just a true reflection of the attitude of their current politicians. 

Arrive at Camp to find Mark Heim has rejoined the Tour, he left us after breaking his wrist on the last day of riding in the Sudan, it's good to see him back.

We say goodbye to Anthony Butler, Charles's Dad who leaves us to go back to work, it was great meeting up with him and we hope to see him either in Prince Albert or at his house in Cape St Francis in South Africa in the foreseeable future.


Cheers,
Mike T




Leaving Kasungu on the way to Lilongwe

Feeling major Fish Bowl Syndrome vibes at the Coke Stop


Fetching our Daily & Permanent Bags at Mabuya Backpackers' Lodge

Riders enjoying a cold beer after a tricky ride into Lilongwe

Nelson (on the left) talking to his friend Mark who rejoined us in Lilongwe after his fall in Sudan


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Luviri School to Kasungu (107km - only 500m of climbing, but 990m of descent)

MALAWI


Day 77 - Mar 30 - Stage 53

Thursday: After two days of either climbing on the Lunch Truck after lunch or on it before lunch, we get our mojo back and cycle the whole distance without any major issues. So we don't get picked up and have to ride with the Sweep Rider either. A good days riding. 




Michael assisting Judith with her puncture and supplying some spectator value 

We get to lunch at the 61km mark relatively early, I sit on the opposite side of the truck, and eat my lunch, where it's quiet and there are no spectators. The other riders think I am being anti-social, but I am starting to suffer from FBS (Fish Bowl Syndrome). Just can't handle eating my lunch with so many local adults and children staring at me!

No Coke Stop in the morning, but we have two stops in the afternoon. Judith gets a puncture, so I replace her tube and fix her flat tyre (not without offering some spectator value).

Arrive in Kasungu Camp only to find all the rooms are taken, so we pitch the tent. Fortunately we have pre-booked via Andje for tomorrow's rest day in Lilongwe, where we will be spending two nights.

The unofficial Awards for the past section are presented. Marie gets the Toss the Dummy Award, Rob gets the Yellow Jersey (but he  doesn't accept it?) and Bernd gets the Over Achievers Award, for running 15km up the Mountain on the Rest Day at Chitimba Beach to Livingstonia, getting caught in the rain and having to overnight there, then running back to Camp the next day!!

Tomorrow is the last day of our four day section, then we will have our next rest day in Lilongwe, where some of the Sectional riders will leave us, and others will join us.

Cheers, 
Mike T





Coke Stop No. 1

There are many different varieties of beans for sale along the roadside



Coke Stop No. 2

One proud tent erector exordinair !

Paul assisted by Judith, fund-raising at the Unofficial Awards Ceremony 

Marie received her Dummy (Pacifier) Award from the previous winner Catherine 

Bernd received the Over Achievers Award 

Andje was the surprise Lady Stage Winner 

All the TDA Staff pose for a group photo



Tomorrow, Stage 54 - Kasungu to Lilongwe


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