The A104 Spider Bike
24 hours are remaining to clipping in into the 82 kilometer race wainting for me at Theta Hotel and believe me you, I’m behind schedule just like the days rolling up to SBITT 5. I have so much to do, this to dismantle and pack, foods to buy, cycling suits to match for aero advantage, what clothes to wear and above all, I have not tested the road bike I will be hurting competition with. No, I am not going into this crank war with THITIMA; I, like Thor without Mhlonir is in need of a Stormbreaker. A bike that will get me closer to the top this time round. My elder brother, James Ouma, offered me his trusted Louis Garneau: a size 16’ cyclocross with very light groupsets. About 7.5 kilos, this aluminium frame road bike will be ideal in warring out against the Thanos in my competitive cycling life: Leakey Hero Anyika. Arrogant, brash, speaks words that’ll make you unfriend him quick on social media, this man has the audacity to say what he says and he can back it up. Rarely has he failed to certify his claims and if you’d ask Doctor Strange, his reply would be, ”Oh yeah, you definitely sound like a Thanos.” Even with his big long beard with a brown dye strip on his chin makes him resemble Marvel’s Cinematic Universe’s Mad Titan. On top of all of this, it has been raising flood waters since last night into the morning. Mud and brown pools everywhere, seasonal rivers sweeping through the farmlands, these are the signs of a corrupted weather pattern thanks to global warming. So where do I start? I packed the bib short and Willier jersey, set out today’s riding gear, took out my tools and went to take out Thunderstruck’s Wellgo SPD pedals as I will need them on the track. I went into the kitchen to fill in my main bidon with fresh rain water and the other bidon; I made my special electrolyte fluid (I will not tell you of the contents).
Now I needed to head into Kawangware to buy some ngwashe (sweet potatoes) to boost my cranking system. It’s 3:20pm as Tsibektican and I zoom to ‘Ngwaro’. The rock wall of Gathondeki spilled its underground water across the road. It was quite a heavy downpour; I do not even want to imagine what might be ahead of us. Riding up to Ndwaru, the mess was already swallowing the opposite lane. Burst sewer line from up ahead, I pedaled fast to avoid the dropping matatus from coming close to soiling my attire and Baby Bee in human excrement. The feeder road was dry, which is weird but that’s a small victory, for now. Rising up to Naivas, I was halted by a frustrating sight. There was now a huge polluted river crossing the road. The wetlands up West had over flooded and carried effluents down to the road.”Just my luck,” I conformed as I shook my head. I branched left onto the still unfinished 56 link road. The sharp rocks did no justice as time went fast while I did my best to speed up but to no avail. Onto bitumen carpets, I paced on into the market, bought my potatoes and road back home. On the descending left bend, I calmly rode on the shoulder overlooking the roaring Nairobi River as it cut through the untouched 6 feet tall grass and towering Cypress trees. It would be a worthless risk zooming at 48kph on the wrong lane while avoiding the filthy waters only to hit head on onto an oncoming vehicle. Back home and speeding things up as tomorrow’s breakfast boils to edibility, I packed my bidons, tools, suit, cleat boots and lastly the ngwashe into my Maui Bag. Full to the zip line, it weighed nearly 10 kilos. Just as I wore my New Balance sneakers, I heard the rumble of thunder up North. That’s not good, for I will be heading North West, the rain may catch me on the rise to Gitaru.
Praying to the Goddess Cycling to clear the skies, we wanna ride
All packed and rolling out at 5:28pm, I bought 3 bananas before climbing up ILRI. There I could see the dark forces riding thick cumulus clouds. Big, dark grey blanket of hydrogen and oxygen read to marinate the lands with the purest of fluids. I stopped to cover my bag with my black rain cover. The rough patch and jam near Uthiru Co-operative did much worrying damage as I could not penetrate through the jam. A tractor was busy blocking motorists ahead, worse still; the section had pools of mud. I fought my way out of this quagmire only to be smacked by strong headwinds coming from my direction of movement. “Unbelievable, more reason to be rained on proper,” I mutted. I could barely go beyond 20kph, I struggled up and on. A cat and mouse game ensured with this Latema Bus as it passed me only to slow down ahead and Baby Bee took the lead. It passed us again only for a road construction worker to flag the driver to stop. Miss Madilu just zoomed past it and capitalized on the wind free section to the railway bridge to Gitaru. Still been blown back, I looked to the Western sky, bright white and the sun engulfed in a ring of clouds. It looked like something out of a biblical context. That’s when I realized that I and Munchkin were the showdown been fought for. The headwinds were pushing the coming storm towards Wangige and Gachie. The sky looked like Angels and Demons fighting over little Sam of Gathondeki.
I jetted into the Southern Bypass, not even been aerodynamic to savor the situation but I pushed on. Bits of raindrops were making contact with my clothing. Towards Thogoto, I entered a windless pocket that enabled Tsibektican to zoom fast. The passing trailers offered much needed assistance as their splitstreams left a perfect vacuum for high pace. Hands firm on the Spider Side TT Bars, Thogoto drop was excellently executed at 68kph. I let out a thriller shout as Tsibektican zoomed back into Nairobi County. Maintaining 50kph, Baby Bee and I managed to pierce through the winds. By now the raindrops became drizzles. My jacket started to soak as the seconds went by. I’m 2 kilometers from Ngong Road, still maintaining speeds above 48kph. I jetted onto the slip road where 5 kids were playfully crossing the road. Onto Ngong Road, the drizzle felt a bit heavy, about to pour. I’m hard on the crank, my Light Beam flickering bright into the early darkness. A branch to my left and I arrived at my destination at 6:18pm. Just as I entered the flat, the rain poured.”So we been fought for Munchkin, you special Girl,” I chuckled as I carried Baby Bee up the flight of stairs to James’ apartment.
Rains in January, not the usual pattern
My tops and Kaki short are wet though not dripping, I’m now forced to wear my race jersey as the rest of my clothes dried on the cloth line. I greeted the Big Man James and left him to watch the soccer match of the evening as I turned my attention to his bike, the Stormbreaker of tomorrow. For tomorrow, I ride into war.