Cycling…

So I’m still in Zambia. What started out as 8 weeks just turned over 16 months. I’m not complaining. Life is great. Work is busy and I am still getting opportunities to travel the world. I did go home in August because it had been 7 months and I had things to do. But on my return I brought a new toy…

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I purchased a Norco Optic C9.3 when I was home in August from my favourite shop. I had a bike in Zambia, but it wasn’t exactly the right type of bike I needed for the safari trails. It was a hard tail, entry level bike, and I replaced it with an expensive, carbon fiber full suspension bike. You might be asking if price makes a difference (I asked that too) but I can tell you the more you pay the better components you are getting. I’m by no means a professional or hardcore rider, but my old bike couldn’t handle gear changes on fast, bumpy trails and was rough to ride over a long period of time. A higher end drive train reduces the chance of chain skip on climbs or chain slap on a rough downhill. The carbon frame absorbs the vibration in the trails, the upgraded bearings allow of easy of pedaling and coasting, as well as more efficient climbs. Overall I can put a value on the improvement of my riding through strava segments, with increase of 5-9% faster speed and efficiency on regular use trails.

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The South Africans are pretty competitive so there are lots of cycling competitions around. Since I have really only been riding since January, these would be the first races I have ever entered. I signed up for the 30km mountain bike race that runs through the safari behind camp. I opted to not enter the 50km as I wasn’t sure I would even make it.

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I started training as soon as I got back to Zambia riding both days on weekends and a few times during the week. As race day approached I caught a bug and was sick which hampered my training. The race is broken into different categories and age groups, I ended up placing first in my division, Sr Mens 30km, finishing 2 and 4 minutes before 2nd and 3rd with a time of 1:45. I received a nice trophy with a mining truck and some money as my prize winning.

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I am glad I took up cycling because it replaces my lost sport of kiteboarding while I’m landlocked. Getting up early Sunday morning and riding out into the wilderness encountering animals such as zebra, wildebeest, antelope and giraffe is an experience like no other. I will miss Africa when its time to begin another journey…

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