Mediterranean Cycopaths

Team Cycopath: a National Security Threat?

Target: Khemis Meliana – Algiers (121kms)

Status: Achieved (Actual 121kms) – 916kms remaining.

Report: Let me begin where Jon left off: “my bum is screaming at me to go back to the Team hotel and lie face down in a prone postion on the bed for the next 12 hours.”

What he failed to mention was his intention to do this on top of the sheets, starkers.

Several hours later, having managed to get to sleep – despite the perturbing surrounds – I was shocked to be awoken by a loud banging. Stumbling for the door with a bedsheet wrapped around me I am met by a large Algerian man who states he is with the Secret Police. When I ask to see some ID he flashes his walkie-talkie and says “this is my badge” to which I naturally respond “that’s not a badge”. He then waves a uniformed officer (until then obscured from view) over and demands to see our passports. Trying to ignore thoughts of reports I’d read about militants dressed as police officers slaying people on roadsides at night, I retrieve the passports and wedge even more of my body behind the door.

The officer looks taken aback when I refuse his request to enter the room  – with homosexuality severly punished in Algeria I didn’t fancy trying to explain the reason behind either Jon’s resting pose or the dodgy moustaches we are both sporting! Thankfully it all ended quite tamely with 3 men pouring over our passports – for such issues of national security as our dates of birth – whilst I attempted in vain to maintain a disapproving glare as Jon flashed various parts of his anatomy in my direction from behind the door.

Our subsequent early departure had an inauspicious start – I snapped the valve on my tyre tube and then when I went to replace it realised the spares I had picked up in Almeria did not fit my newish, deep-rimmed wheels. Using my only compatible tube, the early climbs were then marred by me staring at the rear gears and trying to work out why I felt so sluggish: is a brake rubbing? do I have a leak? is it the poor sleep? sub-optimal carbohydrate intake at breakfast? No dimwit – you’re climbing on your highest chainring. Phew, back to worrying about what happens when I wreck another tube…

Of note, Jon reckons he would have had the land speed record today if it weren’t for the trucks descending in first gear. He is charitable enough to concede that I may have “pushed him for it”.

End result is arrival in Algiers a day early and the luxury of 2 rest days before saddling up again.

Scrotometer: After a pretty amateur start things picked up with wide motorway shoulders and tailwinds ensuring high speeds and us reaching Algiers before the early afternoon inferno. 7.7/10

Sean

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July 4, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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