The Big Bike Ride – Day Eight – Same to Mombo

Dan Mew
Sunday 13th August – Day Eight – Same to Mombo

If yesterday’s ride was green and hilly, today posed a different challenge. We left Same and headed further south with little around us but vast, open savannahs and just a couple of villages along the way.

The views during the first 30 miles were new and picturesque, which made the ride initially so enjoyable but, with wearying legs, seeing the same sights for hours on end – and the unwelcome return of high winds that I just didn’t anticipate prior to the ride – drew a mental challenge we hadn’t endured yet.

Spirits in the team are strong though and everybody chipping in with jokes and stories make such a difference on a long, enduring challenge like this.

We have virtually perfected our drafting now which, for the benefit of any non-cyclists, means all cyclists riding in a straight line with the first rider needing to work harder than those behind him/her by taking the peak of the wind or ‘draft’. The other cyclists then must nudge in as close behind as possible – and by close, I mean centimetres – in order to benefit from the draft and make their ride easier.

Matt, Jake and I usually share these duties and rotate every 15 minutes to give one another a rest and keep the team ticking along nicely. We then break altogether every 45 minutes, once we have all had a go, to refuel. Whilst not regimented, it’s really important to establish a routine and make sure everybody takes on plenty of fluids and high-energy food.

Spin-cycling at a reasonable speed in a gym burns around 600 calories an hour and this of course does not take into account winds that one is likely to encounter on the road. Bearing in mind we are cycling on average 4-5 hours a day and the recommended daily intake of food for the average male is 2500 calories, you can imagine how much extra food we are having to take on.

Today’s cycle clocked up another 70-odd miles and meant we arrived at 5pm. Ken delivered a welcome boost by telling us of a nearby pub that was showing the live Premier League game between Manchester United and West Ham, so we headed out for dinner for the first time…but we were still in bed by 9.30pm again.