FIRST OF 2020 01.01.2020

The Tourist blazing lights ready for Grill 2 Gilgil 29.12.2018

You’ll only see 01.01.year only on a new phone as you set it up to your cellular preferences. It so happens that this is how I feel after 202 hours of forced probation thanks to the bipolar weather, a short illness courtesy of been rained on 10 days earlier and many other unforeseen issues that cocooned me from exploring Kenya as I should. No matter, 2019 is dead and buried. It’s a new wave, a new decade, the number 20 followed by 20 like two legs for two wheels. This year is the emblem of cyclists worldwide and I shall enjoy every single day of it on the saddle, starting with a patrol of the not so ghostly roads of the capital county. My cycling cap on, a black 2015 branded t-shirt and grey camp shorts plus Tourist signature sneakers. Each bike has a specific attire to match with.

Not many people traveled upcountry for the festive season, no wonder I still bumped into absent-minded pedestrians on my way to Kawangware for some groceries. Now I’m regretting having left my whistle. No matter, I know my way past such distractions. Time to meet a welding friend up in Thiongo, I branch off onto the 180 meter 100 high elevated Sudan Hill. This badass hill is Nairobi’s steepest climb at a gradient of nearly 17%. Memories start flooding in, of a time when the tarmac was but a dream and the sand was as soft and light as cotton. Tourist and I climbed this mammoth in 4:02 minutes, the second attempt broke His block wheel’s spring, the third attempt a runner halted me just to chat. My last attempt was with Tsibektican and She mopped it in 3:48 minutes, such a badass girl. Back to the present, no shame in pushing my 23 kilo steed up the monster back of Thiongo. Feet on tip toes and calves arced out like a footballer’s, I pushed up to the to. I took a moment to survey the Western horizon: Ngong Hills to the South West, Thogoto Climb towards the North West. Wish I had more time just to sip in the beautiful view, but errands still call me for their accomplishment. Off we go to my buddy’s shop. Sadly, his holiday is still of as the shop still was closed. “Damn it, now what?” I asked myself. I must see my family members before opening of business tomorrow, having planned to camp there for the night. With this setback comes change of plans. “Okay Big Boy, we are going to see your birth home.”

A104 here I come, but what a strong blow of headwinds and slight crosswinds swaying me and Beijing, disrupting my cadence. Not even the aero position could save me from humiliation of rookie speeds. My top speeds were slashed by half, I hope this shall not be the case come January 12th during the Southern Bypass Time Trial 5th edition. Reaching Westlands, I branched off to Kileleshwa and past by Arboretum. Still the wind found its way through the trees along the banks of Masonga Wai River. I’m near home when Evans alias the Military Merc zooms down the opposite lane. Now when two cyclists meet, the stories never end, and my aren’t the stories of like behind bars juicier than the nonsensical gossips of chamas. You get to feel yourself in the tell-tale. The Big Guy was retaining his KOMs and reliving the groove of hard tailing across State House area. We agreed to visit my family, the tales can go on there as well.

Beautiful sunset in Gathondeki, my home of humility

The hours passed and the sky inked into deep sea blue. The moon overhead and the sunlight a mere fraction of its blazing radiance slowly sliding off the horizon. It’s time to light Him up: double headlights, one on each side bar. The Tourist looks like a buff Land Cruiser ready to zoom across the darkened night. Onto Uhuru Highway and the winds are still at it, further ruining my 40kph plus speed as my sluggish legs are still adapting back to normalcy. How I love cycling at night with lights in front and behind, watching the dark tarmac blur with every strong pedal stroke up Waiyaki Way as I past two black mamba riders, imagining my rookie self, seeing bright lights behind me only to be shocked that it’s a cyclist with horse power in his quads. Definitely he would have been excited and won’t sleep that night. “Take me home, 104, so much love feeling free on tarmac roads.” Its fun having fun on the saddle, the endorphins kick every negative energy out, every time. Alas, the drop on ILRI Climb, I switch on the Comet Bulb (essentially my 2000 lumens headlight with a 150-meter light beam), took command of the dropping lane, bent forward onto the Demabior Handle TT Bars and geared up 48*12 to descend at 51kph. Its dark and Naivasha Road is not a safe haven for descends enthusiasts, so I do not push further than that. Luck for me, the drivers are at the best behavior tonight. I enjoyed the drop before riding off road towards my humble abode. Some two kids were debating whether Tourist is a motorbike or a bike, that’s how special my Beijing is: Always raising questions.

36kms done on day one. Not that bad for a busy January 1st but it’s a good recovery ride. Tomorrow I get back to peddling heavy weights and putting massive strength on Tourist’s drivetrain. Welcome all y’all to a great cycling year.

By Chania Falls at Blue Post Resort, Gatanga in Thika

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