Friday 15th August
Distance-62km on Congo Nile Trail
Road food- bananas
A massive buffet breakfast (I can feel my body getting used to this) with a beautiful view of Lake Kivu. The first 15km is on the road and a 45 minute climb. Turning onto CNT it keeps going up but now it’s loose stone so pretty tricky. Today Obed the guide is a lot more on it and directs us onto a single track which goes up and down really steep tracks, alongside the lake which is stunning and the road keeps on going and going (without a guide it would have been very difficult to navigate all these dirt roads and single tracks) Eventually arriving at Kinunu it has a great vibe, we stop for warm cola and the locals come and hang out. You can see there’s a little more wealth here because of the coffee plantation. A woman approaches me and goes for a really big hug I think she appreciates the girl power on a bike thing. I’ve cycled all over this country and have not seen one woman on a bike. Which is why I believe the women’s team is important.
I thought we’d arrived and the lodge would be in the village but damn it’s another 40 minutes apparently. It’s been a warm day and I am drained I’ve ridden down a track for nearly 9 hours again. After a long sketchy descent we arrive at the lake side coffee plantation lodge. It’s beautiful. They make us dinner and it’s a massive buffet for two. Perfect.
Saturday 16th August
Road food- bread, pastries, warm coca cola.
Distance-105km- 45km single track 60km over mountain and down the other side.
Final day of riding. I know it’s going to be a tough one. The breakfast at the coffee plantation by the lake is incredible. Fresh pineapple juice Papuya, great coffee, omelette, fresh bread, fresh jam and a stunning view of the lake. I ate as much as I could fit in.
We step outside and there’s 15 turkeys looking at us, they’re weird birds, the males come toward us side by side spreading there tail feathers looking big as possible. Gobble gobble gobble gobble in perfect unison. It’s funny but intimidating and they keep coming. Eek. A local lad chases them off and the birds are totally submissive. It’s funny I think myself as a robust farmers daughter but they scared me. Bad news the road goes straight up the way we came, steep steep gravel track. We follow the lake Kivu coast line for an hour then turning in land, it’s a two hour climb up a consistent 15% track. As I reach the top we’ve come up into the clouds and the heavens open in monsoon style. I keep going until I reach a food hut. There’s another cyclist in there. Now, I’m going to back track four weeks here, before leaving I popped into the new local Bikeshop to ask for a cardboard bike box to travel with. When explaining what I was up to he said he had a friend who lived in Rwanda and did bike tours. Dan is a dude and gave me an email intro with his mate Tom in Rwanda and invited Dan and his business partner to my leaving party. Any how it hadn’t worked out with seeing Tom in Rwanda until now. As I approached the hut with the rain coming down in the middle of no where this cyclist said you must be Nancy. It was Tom! We sat sheltering from the rain eating pastries and warm cola surrounded by locals for what felt like an hour and had a really good chat. He’s lived in Rwanda many years and gave real insight. After the rain eventually stopped I found Obed across the road hanging out in the local salon. Pictures below. I’m pleased to say it was a long descent down the muddy track. Before a two hour climb on the road and down the other side to Musanze. As we’re arriving back in town I see a stone flying straight at us, this is no accident, followed by a man looking possessed running at me. Shit. We collided but Obed jostled him away. I’d been warned of this happening from Kimberly and it happened right at the end of a 1400km tour. Bit shaken up we carry on and now both exhausted the 4% 6km climb up to team Rwanda drains the last bit of life out of us. I’m done and I’m home. It’s wicked to be back and it’s only an hour until dinner. Hurray. We all eat together with the lads who’ve had the BMX training camp. Great food and an early night. I feel my work is done.