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Week 23, Conquering the rolling hills of Guinea, looking down the barrel of a shotgun & inspired by the purity of youth. TOTAL 9718 KM (COUNTRY #12)

By March 16, 2011 Uncategorized 6 Comments

Week 23, Conquering the rolling hills of Guinea, looking down the barrel of a shotgun & inspired by the purity of youth. TOTAL 9718 KM (COUNTRY #12)

Rolling out of Labe’ on a tarred surface felt like velvet under my bicycles tyres after the arduous stretch of gravel that was traversed during the crossing of the first half of the Fouta mountains in North West Guinea. The down side unfortunately meant that vehicles that had been crawling through the mountains for days on this treacherous surface were now trying to make up for lost time through the tricky twists and turns that make up the myriad of mountain passes in the Fouta region. This makes for stressful cycling as trucks and buses come hurtling around corners on the wrong side of the road forcing you to veer off into the gravel to squeeze past, sometimes it all goes wrong.

A week that would test the energy reserves with rolling hills that just never seemed to end , hundreds upon hundreds of kilometers of undulating mounds of earth that got the better of me just after Mamou, completely drained I had to resort to drastic measures to help get me up and over the next few hills. After purchasing a Guinean energy drink (1 liter of condensed milk) and a 30 minute power nap on the bonnet of a burnt out car on the side of the road I was back in the game fighting for the green corner.

 The road to Farana is a lot more beautiful than the town itself and hugs the northern border of Sierra Leone, thick with vegetation it’s a perfect spot to camp out in the African bush in complete anonymity or so I thought, waking up to be met with a single barrel shotgun pointed in my direction. After executing my most impressive deer in the headlights impersonation I muttered the first thing that came to mind “Bonjour”. Luckily for me, Bouba was a rather friendly fellow and after exchanging a few hand signals and some dodgy French we both came to an agreement that I was merely passing through by bicycle & he was hunting bush meat (monkey) for the local market, we parted ways amicably.

The mind has time to wonder when travelling on a bicycle, waking up at sunrise, packing up your tent, loading your gear and getting on the road shortly after sees you in the saddle till just before sunrise which is a long shift day in and day out of introspection and thought. Undulating hills, flies, flat tyres  headwinds, truck drivers that have no respect for your wellbeing, incessant calls for money coupled with a broken tent in a storm and food poisining has me completely finished this week.Week 23 goes out to the youngsters that help to make it all worthwhile when the days are long, the legs are tired and the sun is hot. Bringing so much joy and purity to the experience they help to divert the attention from mounting frustrations on those “days”.

Currently two days away from crossing into Ivory coast where tensions are high in Abidjan, receiving news that a peaceful march turned violent last week with four woman shot dead, wish me luck as I embark on country number 13  and one of the speed bumps of the West African leg of the journey.

6 Comments

  • warren says:

    Hey brother thoughts are with you, looking forward to seeing you at the end of the year, hope all is well and you are taking it in one day at a time.

    Safe journey brother keep those blogs coming, you know you gotta write a book when you get back 😉 i will make you famous

  • vaughn says:

    Kayden,
    All the strength to you my friend.There are many who would have thrown the towel in by now.
    May your journey in the future be overloaded with good fortune.Especially in the people you meet
    and the various experiences that you encounter on this rather scary ,but exciting adventure.
    Vaughn

  • Bob says:

    Heh Kayden, love reading your blogs mate, always look forward to the next installment, makes my life in TV seem a bit boring to say the least, my trip to Sedgefield for Easter just doesn’t seem to hold the same excitement, keep safe my man we are all routing for you, look forward to having a few cold ones and hearing some stories 1st hand.

  • MIchaela says:

    Hey Kayden
    After all this time I was reminded that you are doing what you are doing at the moment! Man, am i impressed. I do not like cycling, specially uphill. But to tell you a story. I bought a brand new bike when I was 16, only 16 km away from my home town and thought it was a good idea to cycle home! It took me about 3 hrs as I had literally to push my bike. A wind came up and it was soooo strong that I had problems going forward. Often the wind stopped me and I fell almost over. And no cell phones in those days. That was it! It ruined my biker career. But lots of love to you and strenght, I am busy reading your blogs. Hope to see you back in Cape Town. Will not tell you who is playing the next two weekends at the parties thats were I am leaving my energy. Big mama bear hug, Micha

  • joachim says:

    has anyone had news of Kayden? i cycled with him from nzerekore to beyla in guinea and he forked off to northern ivory coast(odienne, korhogo towards ghana). is he safe? its getting pretty hairy in CI.

    joachim

  • Many thanks, this site is extremely valuable

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