My favourite day of riding at Tour de Tuli, and a good thing too as my legs could still feel the pack-toting through thick sand towards the end of Day 1. Once on the Slider 275, it all synched perfectly and any minor aches went out the window as we bombed the ess-bend singletrack through endless stands of Mopane.
A longish route of 72km gave me ample time to hang around the middle section of the field: set up a shot, pedal like mad, scout another location, catch a few teams … Mission, mission, mission, but with so much natural beauty and exhilarating riding, the burn and sweat becomes just another part of the equation making up this amazing event.
Wiam Haddad (this year I had a young guide with a bear-banger tagging along to make sure I did not end up as part of the circle of life up here in the bush) and I bumped into some giraffes early on along the route, but unfortunately could not edge them towards the trail to get a shot of them with the riders. About half an hour later, an impala performed a parabolic leap across the front of my bike, again way too quick for me to even think about switching on the SONY Action Cam.
After around 60km-plus, you reach the wide and sandy sweep of the Sashe River, where riders have to trudge 500m through the thick sand to get to the Zimbabwean side. A rather chaotic temporary passport office eventually saw us onto our bikes for the final 6km to Maramani Camp, where we could laze on the sandy banks of the Limpopo, just far enough away from the tempting pools to make sure we did not contribute to some croc’s pre-dinner snack.
Click here to view the pics