Monday, 1 February 2010
Wednesday - Rest Day
Wednesday was to be named, Recovery Day, just 77kms after the 125 of the previous day. This sounded good, and after a small lay in, not as long as planned though as "we" forgot to tell the guides we were not getting up till 6.30am!, we where ready and willing to go. On route we had a quick Monastery stop, so for the first few kms, I had a steady pedal watching the world go by. This meant watching the occasional camel wondering around. Approaching 20km and we arrived at our first stop.
Water and Monastery Visit, so on with long trousers and the girls covering shoulders, a quiet oasis in the desert, and the most "green" we had since home made for a welcome rest, oh and the first toilets for 48 hours +! Back in the saddle and time for a blast at the front heading off in the lead group, the hills started shortly after leaving, nothing too hard but upwards. For a while we had what passed for scenery, villages and the odd oasis to take our minds off the road, and the wind. Pedalling hard we made good ground, "Mike the Machine" soon passed us taking his place, as usual, at the front.
A long flat pedal ahead, and shimmering head the Yellow shirted guides, just in time as my Camelback had run dry! A "Lean too" next to a small holding was the only shelter from the midday sun, today was the hottest so far, really hot. Even though we had not travelled that far we had quite wait for the last of the group to get to us, the heat and the gradient taking its toll.
With no toilet, but litres of water to get rid of, a wander away from the group and a case of doing what you have to do, three of us ended up in the same area, all looking around as you do, when we realised that mounds all around, where, well, we were in a grave yard of sorts, already red faced from the heat, we retreated quickly.
Off again, riding to lunch, some camel watching along the way, and then a small town, with lots of children, we waved as you do, and then lots of stones!, being thrown at us!, we pedalled harder to be greeted be a gang of older children forming a human chain across the road. We slowed, a little unsure what to d0, our Police "Levy" guards nowhere to be seen, guides likewise, we went for it pedalling hard and shouting, the "chain" broke and we pedalled harder, easing up we smiled and guessed we had maybe over reacted to kids being kids. Lunch around the corner and again another feast, most welcome in a day that was anything other than a recovery day!
A long hard 25km saw us at the "border" to the Mt Sinai region, from here only a couple of kms to the hotel and chance for a dip in its pool! Now a dip in a pool after 3 days riding the heat and dust of the desert after camping for two nights, is well, a deserved treat. A pool as cold I don't think you would find anywhere, it was freezing, really freezing and other guests (and staff) where amazed to see us in it, well done to those who just jumped in it took me about 10mins of standing knee deep to pluck up the courage to actually swim.
Early too bed for most of us, as the "big" day tomorrow.