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Monday 8 October
Tuesday 9 October
Wednesday 10 October
Thursday 11 October
Friday 12 October
Saturday 13 October
Sunday 14 October
Monday 15 October
Tuesday 16 October
Wednesday 17 October
Thursday 18 October
Friday 19 October
Saturday 20 October
Sunday 21 October
Monday 22 October
Tuesday 23 October
Wednesday 24 October
Thursday 25 October
Friday 26 October


Date: 8-oct-2007
Stage: Algeciras to Martil
Distance: 40 km
Ascent: 215 m
Temp (L/M/H): 23/27/33
KCal: 600
Time: whole day, cycling & waiting
Country: Spain/Morocco

Awaking in a 4 start hotel and having a buffet breakfast is a very good start of the day. We will never forget this threat from Wilbert and Rob, well done!

The hotel is just opposite the terminal building of the ferry to Ceuta, so a 5 minutes drive in convoy to the boat was enough to get us there, but then the African experience is starting. First we went with our bikes to the pedestrians entry of the boat, “no, no” this is not the way you enter the ferry with a bike, we needed to go back down the escalator and use the same entry as the cars and trucks are using. Our bikes were put into a corner of the ferry boat and we secured them with out cables and locks; also removing the “ interesting stuff “ like pumps etc.

It takes only 45 minutes with the fast boat (catamaran) to get to Ceuta, a Spanish enclave on the African continent.

On the boat the waitresses were selling milk from the Project Management Institute (PMI) never thought we were in that business also.

The first 2 hours of an almost 4 hour effort to go from the boat to Morocco, the first 2 hours was shopping in the local cash and carry. The organization needed to get food for us for the weeks to come. We bought some other essentials, like chips and wine and were layi9ng on the grass waiting for the truck to depart, fully loaded with all the food.

Time enough to look around and investigate the huge fence around the harbour to make sure that no illegal immigrants go on board to ferry and from their into Europe. Will it help?

At the frontier we got our entry stamps and to our great relief also the truck with all the alcohol made it without problems. The only problem was that it took about 2 hours! Jenny passed the time by chatting with some of the officials there about Ramadan, that is about to finish soon. May be the reason why everything went so slow was the fact that most Muslims are exhausted, not able to eat and drink during the day.

We encountered for the first time enthusiastic people that were waiving at us and making some remarks, mostly in Arabic.

The next African experience was that we had only cold showers and a lot of mess in the washrooms, sometimes its better to have no washroom and use mother nature!

The clock went 2 hours backwards, so tomorrow we will start at 6:30, which was not something that most of us were looking forward to, but driving in the cool morning and getting to camp earlier in the day is worth getting out of bed at the indecent time of 4:45.

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Date: 9-oct-2007
Stage: Martil to Ouezzane
Distance: 147 km
Ascent: 1540 m
Temp (L/M/H): 17/28/39
KCal: 2760
Time:9 h12 m
Country: Morocco

During the night the guard had his radio on, not too loud, but still loud enough for some of us to be woken up several times during the night. That is also the African experience, we still remember that guards were chatting the whole night next to the tents and not realizing that this might hinder people in their sleep. My earplugs are a gift from heaven in that case.

At 4:50 the mujadin started his morning prayer with the usual noise, announcing that all Muslims should no longer drink and eat. We started our breakfast at 5:30 and left 3 quarters of an hour later, with a sea breeze in our back. Andrea and Beat joined us, apparently happy that they could have the comfort of an “ experienced “ couple of African cycling, but when we went uphill, Beat, who is much stronger, put on his backburners and passed us, leaving Andrea with us till lunch.

What has changed since we were riding in Europe? First of all, cyclists, like pedestrians are on the lowest step of the ladder of the hierarchy in the traffic. So we needed to take care when trucks or busses were passing us. Especially when trucks are passing and coming from the other direction at the same time.

Told you already about the enthusiastic people, waiving at us, some kids wanted to give the high 5, but unfortunately they also started to throw stones at us.

We had two nice encounters as well, first with children leaving the school and next a man with his mother on a donkey. He is teacher in English, but because of Ramadan, his school is closed.

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Date: 10-oct-2007
Stage: Ouezzane to Volubilis
Distance: 112 km
Ascent: 1085 m
Temp (L/M/H): 20/31/41
KCal: 1997
Time: 7 h 20 m
Country: Morocco

The camping last night was on a parking near the hotel, with a road running next to it, so Jenny and I asked if there was a small room in the Motel available and yes, it was available, and although it had not window (Jenny said “ it looks like a prison” ) we were happy that we could sleep quietly in that room, not woken up by cars and the morning prayer.

Till the lunch we had almost all head wind, so many of us, including Jenny and Kees, were pretty tired when we arrived there after 80 kilometers.

On the road we had several busses who decided to pass us at less than 10 centimeters, not nice, but fortunately we survived.

The haystacks here look like little houses; the roof seems to be made of hay as well, but most likely with droppings of cows or so added to it to make it more waterproof.

The water here is transported on donkey backs, still a means of transport that is very popular here.

Children do ask for money, or a pen. One little boy, when I told him that I have no pens with me on the bike, changed his demand and said “OK, than give me your bike!” A bit of creative thinking, no? A bit later, when we were in a clim, a small girl who asked for money, tried to grab my handlebar, so I got a little mad at here and needed a Coke to calm down.

Near Volubilis, where the remains of a Roman town can be seen (we opted out on it, it was too hot to enjoy a visit there) we saw this beautiful town near a river.

We arrived early in camp, to find out that there was no electricity and no running water available there. The African experience will continue!

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Date: 11-oct-2007
Stage: Volubilis to Fes
Distance: 82 km
Ascent: 600 m
Temp (L/M/H): 16/24/31
KCal: 1191
Time: 4 h 16 m
Country: Marocco

A quick day, less than 100km and almost no climbing (only Menkes), and tail wind this time with slight downhills. So we were flying to camp. Hannie and Marius even had a first on this trip, they were at the lunch ahead of anybody else that stopped there.

Fes was a predicted, busy, we drove together with Andrea, Janette and Jordan and were in camp before 11 o’clock.

The stage was not so interesting today, but the town of Fes is going to compensate for it. We will let you know in our next newsletter, but that will only be in a week, as we have 7 days of cycling till we reach our next stop, Marrakech.

John from New Zealand has just reached his 51st birthday this week, has a very nice bike from carbon fiber, but unfortunately his frame broke in France. Got a new frame, but still has been suffering from all kind of mechanical problems. More new “stuff” is on it’s way to Marrakech, so he still has to wait a week before he will be able to be 100% satisfied with him transport vehicle.

Kevin is one of the 4 Americans, left his job in the army and is a very strong cyclist, who is often cycling with Arnoud and Matthew. He and Matthew are know for being first in queue when our cook Rudy calls for seconds, and we are always amazed how quick these guys can empty their plates.

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Date: 12-oct-2007
Stage: Fes, restday
Country: Morocco

We took it easy on our rest day. As we had already visited the Medina yesterday we only went to town at 3 o’clock to try to get food. At the campsite and in the neighbourhood, there was nothing available. So we took one of the red mini taxi’s of which there are about 2000 running around in the streets of Fez. That taxi ride became a very special one, first of all the driver could not find the place we wanted to go, a hotel where some of the riders were staying and that apparently was very nice to have a look at and eat and drink something.

Secondly, when we were trying to see if another taxi driver knew the place, a blind girl was pushed into the taxi on the empty seat and almost immediately started to vomit on the floor of the taxi next to Jenny’s feet. The taxi driver had a dilemma, leaving her in the taxi would cause some unpleasant cleaning job, but where do you leave a blind passenger without family in the middle of Fez? Allah seemed to help him, his taxi got a flat, he had to stop in the middle of a traffic jam and both our handicapped passenger and we two left the driver sorting out his two problems. Jenny, who was starving when we left camp, had no more appetite, surprise, surprise!

We were now at a gate of the Medina which we did not recognize and still had plans to go to the hotel, so we asked one of the “guides” that are asking every tourist if they can help you, to bring us there. Half way through, we saw a nice restaurant, so change of plans, and finally at around 4 o’clock we had our lunch, which we baptized linner, a lunch and dinner at the same time.

Today the Ramadan finished, which is a very special occasion for the Muslims. We did not celebrate it with them as we wanted to be fit for tomorrow and went to bed at 7 o’clock. Unfortunately my stomach decided to tell me that we were almost a week in Africa, so my night was interrupted several times by a fast run to the tolet. Not a nice, but I seem to be cursed with this and will get to Dakar anyway!

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Date: 13-oct-2007
Stage: Fes to Midelt
Distance: 180 km
Ascent: 2430 m
Temp (L/M/H): 12/19/27
KCal: 4457
Time:12 h 04 m
Country: Morocco

The big day, one of the most difficult stages of the whole tour. We needed to cycle 180 kilometers, of which about 140 were uphill to the Col de Zad. As I had doubts about me being able finish this stage giving the conditions of my stomach, we teamed up with Marius and Hannie. So if I had to give up, Jenny would not be penalized as well and able to finish the stage with them.

The first 20 km of the trip where not too difficult, it was still kind of flat, but the wind started to show his angry face to us buy blowing straight in our faces. Far away in the distance we saw snow on the tops of the Atlas and very dark clouds. This was not going to be an easy day, that was something all of us were sure about.

The road came on a kind of plateau, with no trees at all, so no shelter from the wind. Apparently in the winter these roads are often closed due to snow, we saw some signs warning for that as well as some stone walls next to the road that are there to avoid drifting snow to get on the road.

About half way to the col we passed a very special town, Infrane, it almost looked like we were in a German town, the style of the houses as well as the nice wide roads gave us that impression.

After that town we saw the famous monkeys, the Barbary Macaque, they have been told be be aggressive, but we were lucky, they were rather shy and ran away when we came to close.

It is difficult to describe how challenging the rest of the uphill was, but at the lunch stop at +90km, with “only” 50km to the top and an almost downhill into camp according to the profile of the stage, I gave it a try. Honestly, twice during the uphill I was close to giving up. With an empty stomach and legs that were getting weaker and weaker you are asking yourself, “Is this FUN?” No, definetly not, so what makes us continue in such a situation? Pride perhaps of getting there by bike, also very practical things, what to do when I stop on the side of the road here and will the others have to wait as well?

All in all, very mixed thoughts go through your mind, but finally, finally at half pas five, after 10½ hours of cycling (almost, we only took at 20 minutes lunch break, and stopped briefly for a toilet stop) we read the col and were very glad we made it, we thought. Because the last 40 km had surprises for us!

I told you already that there were dark clouds over the mountains in the morning. They decided to start emptying about half way in the descent and btw the descent was not a 100% descent, so we still had to pedal hard against the wind, that did not diminish the whole day. With the dark clouds and the night starting to fall, it became doubtful that we would reach camp in time, but fortunately our perfect organization send us the lunch van, who stayed behind us in the streaming rain for the last 10 km, not giving us shelter from the rain, but protecting us from the other traffic and giving us light with their headlights.

Just before that, when we passed a town, Hannie got hit by a stone from a girl that decided this was fun. Being so tired and exhausted, I could not control myself and gave here a slap in passing. Excuses to the children from Morocco, but why do you guys throw stones at us, we did not do you any harm!

Good news, the camping had still a room available for us, so we took it and another surprise, the excellent meal prepared by Rudy and Marianne (spaghetti with chicken) was served in the restaurant. So all in all the day ended well and needless to say that we were all proud that we made it. Except for one cyclist who decided not to do the whole stage, all of us finished this most memoralbe stage, at least most memorable for Jenny and I.

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Date: 14-oct-2007
Stage: Midelt to Gorge di Ziz
Distance: 123 km
Ascent: 810 m
Temp (L/M/H): 9/21/37
KCal: 1694
Time: 7 h 12 m
Country: Morocco

After a good nice sleep in the hotel (very nice people there), a nice breakfast and a late departure, only at 7:30 instead of 6:00 yesterday.

The road became very scenery, much more than yesterday and with the mountains with show and the sun chasing the last rain clouds to the east, it created an atmosphere which was totally different from yesterday!

There was only one climb today, and although the wind decided to let us know that we should not forget yesterday, we came to the lunch early, after a very nice descent with beautiful panoramas over the planes and mountains.

At lunch, for the first time on this tour, children tried to make our live a bit difficult, but Didier chased them away and it is understandable that all these European madman on bicycles are something to watch. We know that from our last years trip in Ethiopia as some of you might remember.

After a small tunnel, constructed by the Legionnaires we arrived in the camp, or actually in the Kasbah.

We are getting, weak and decided to sleep in a real bed again, still a bit tired from the day before. We had to make a bit of an effort to get a bed with clean sheets (it seemed to be used before by two people that did not only use the bed for sleeping….), and the water in the shower decided to stop when Jenny just had shampooed here hair, but we are in Africa, n’ est pas?

The dinner was today not prepared by the crew, but by the hotel kitchen, couscous and soup. Diner, soup en couscous.

Big surprise, after dinner a Moroccan group played local music and those that still had enough energy decided to dance to that. Jenny and I as well, but not till the end as our legs needed still a bit of rest under the nice clean sheets on our bed in the room. Oh great luxury!

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Date: 15-oct-2007
Stage: Gorge du Ziz to Goulmima
Distance: 98 km
Ascent: 550m
Temp (L/M/H): 14/25/36
KCal: 1332
Time: 5h 05m
Country: Morocco

Again a late start, it feels like holiday, something must be wrong!

A very nice first 20km through the Gorge and along a artificial lake, so we stopped many times to take photo’s drink Coke’s and talk with local people. Not in a hurry and almost relaxing on the bicycle as the stage was very flat. We also got a real “African” feeling, the roads through the start of the desert helped and also the kind of towns we went through. In short a very nice and short day.

We needed to get to camp before 2 o’clock as Jenny is going to cook Indonesian food tonight. Just before arriving in camp, Jenny was greeted by an old woman, who started to kiss her hand and touch her hair. Unfortunately, we could not understand what she was saying, but it sounded all very friendly and we got a warm feeling from it. A nice moment in the day indeed.

A longtime ago Jenny promised to cook Indonesian food for the group, together with Wilbert. This evening, with the assistance of Lisette and John en Paul, they prepared an excellent meal for the group that got greatly appreciated by everybody. Especially the peanut butter sauce is something that Jenny is well know for, many wanted to have the receipt.

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Date: 16-oct-2007
Stage: Goulmima to Gorge de Todra
Distance: 84 km
Ascent: 535 m
Temp (L/M/H):19/27/36
KCal: 509
Time: 4 h 05 m
Country: Morocco

Today the long awaited Team Time Trial, or T3 took place. Jenny and I felt, like many others that we did not want to “kill” ourselves and we did not participate and saw the others flying by. Paul and Matthew won the trial and Arnoud and Marius became 3rd, apparently to their big surprise.

The whole stage was rather quick, and as the time trail finished at the lunch van, we experienced for the second time (first time was in France after leaving Paris) a lunch with all cyclist together. We kind of cycled together to the entrance of the Gorge de Tondra, where we took a group picture.

Somewhere along the road women were coloring carpets and washing their clothes. I could not get a close up as their religion prohibits them from people taking pictures from them.

From the campsite we took a taxi into the Gorge. It took some time to get that organized and the price we finally paid was a bit too much, but the scenery was magnificent. The Gorge winds trough a very narrow stretch of mountains. Last winter a bit part of the road through it was demolished by a flood. Further down the Gorge also 120 houses were destroyed. At the spot where the Gorge is only 10 meters wide, it was good to see how strong water can be. Half the road was gone.

Tomorrow we have the start of 3 days of longer stages before we will reach Marrakech on Friday afternoon.

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Date: 17-oct-2007
Stage: Gorge de Todra to Skoura
Distance: 138 km
Ascent: 745 m
Temp (L/M/H): 16/22/32
KCal: 1318
Time: 6h 18 m
Country: Morocco

A longer stage, but as we only had a little bit of climbing and many slow downhill stretches as well as a nice breeze in the back, we all were at the campsite of the family Ben Moro before 2 o’clock in the afternoon. To her great surprise Jenny was the first lady finishing this stage. She almost fell of her chair when Rob and Wilbert announced it during the dinner.

We slept in the Kasbah of the family Ben Moro, a very nice and authentic Kasbah where the owner is 81 years and still in charge, although all the work is done by his two sons and their wives.

One of the sons guided us to an old Kasbah of the family, no long used, but a kind of museum that was interesting to visit, although it would have been even nicer if their would have been people living their still.

Lot of equipment used in these days were displayed, among others a olive press, kind of still in good working order, although visibly not used for a while.

After the tour, the traditional mint thee was served, and I got the honor to sit next to the tour guide and the master of ceremony.

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Date: 18-oct-2007
Stage: Skoura to Tizi-n-Tichka
Distance: 120 km
Ascent: 1305 m
Temp: (L/M/H): 13/20/33
Kcal: 2121
Time 7 h 58 m
Country: Morocco

We were supposed to climb to over 2000m today, so we decided to start early. As we had a room in the Kasbah, this was not too difficult for us. But for those that stayed in their tents during the night it was a challenge, during the night a heavy thunderstorm came into the area with a lot of rain. Rik, who had put his tent on the flat roof of the Kasbah, found himself and his tent in a pool of water. “Evrything is wet” he said “my tent, my clothes and myself”.

Fortunately, the morning was dry, with mud all over the place, so our shoes with their toe clips, where full of mud as well. It makes a challenge to try to get your shoes clipped on the pedals that way. During the rain last night, snow fell down on the high mountains again, creating a beautiful scenery in the morning when we cycled kind of around this mountain that is about 4000m high.

Many people are ill the last couple of days and it culminated today in a record of 7 people that could not cycle. We hope that the rest day in Marrakech will cure some, if not all of those that are ill and that we no longer have a lunch van full of bicycles.

The organization did a wonderful thing for the camping today. We were planned to do a bush camp, but to our great surprise and relief we could sleep with our tents in a empty building on the top of the first pass where there are also plenty of souvenir shops around. Rudy created a wonderful meal and we celebrated the 4000km that we passed today.

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Date: 19-oct-2007
Stage: Tizi-n-Tichka to Marrakech
Distance: 131 km
Ascent: 720 m
Temp: (L/M/H): 10/23/39
Kcal: 1004
Time 7 h 27 m
Country: Morocco

The final stage of the 7 day stretch, we could use a rest! Especially with the many people that are ill. Yesterday our trip was a bit shorter, so today it was needed to go to the top of Tizi-n-Tichka, another 260m to climb 2260m, but that was good, as it was kind of chilly in the early morning when we left. Once we were on the top, we had a more than beautiful descent down to Marrakech, with very windy roads and breathtaking views of the mountains.

The last part of the trip was less interesting, also because of the traffic that increased, so we had many trucks and buses passing us a little bit too close for comfort.

Jenny and I decided that we like to celebrate our wedding anniversary coming up in Mauritania during a desert camp and without any possibility to drink any wine in that country. So we are going to enjoy the MERIDIEN for tonight and tomorrow night and will let you know how that went in our next report that will be send to you from Sidi Ifni, close to the Western Sahara border. Another 5 days of climbing and than we will head for the sand!

Paul had a crash on the 6th of October, but fortunately not too bad. He will be able to continue the tour.

Our nurse Didier is going to be replaced in Marrakech, we really have appreciated having him with us for the last couple of weeks. He has a lot of experience and has done plenty of good work. He was always willing to help out, like here when Jenny has injured here leg a bit.

Lisette is a very strong cyclist, most of the time first in camp and always willing to help with all kind of jobs, like helping to prepared the ingredients for the kitchen.

Seppo came in Granada and is leaving again in Marrakech. He did part of the Paris-Dakar last year as well, so perhaps is going to finish it to Dakar next year?

Andy you have seen already, but not in this position, tired from the day on his motor bike and trying to finish his story on his computer.

Wim is the eldest cyclist in the group, 67 but a very fast cyclist, for which we have a lot of respect. When he injured his back in France, he continued to cycle in pain. As you can see on this picture he is big smiles now!

Next to him is Elleke, with whom he is cycling most of the time, sometimes bringing Elleke as the first female in camp.

Matthew is one of the younger participants, very strong, he won together with Paul the time trail for couples. His girlfriend Sophie has been visiting him during weekends in Europe several times and is going to join us in Marrakech and stay with the tour for a week.

Andrea and Beat, the Swiss cyclists that joined us in Granada, are going back home in Marrakech. Beat was a bit unlucky during the tour, had problems with his ankle and got a bad stomach just before Marrakech unfortunately. Andrea has several times when Beat could not cycle, cycled with us. They live near Bern, a beautiful spot of Switzerland.

Anne is Danish, truck driver and the wife of Adam. She is very skilled in fixing engines if needed, and can prepare a very good soup for us in the afternoon when we finished our stages.

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Date: 20-oct-2007
Restday: Marrakech

A wonderful and long breakfast was on the program for today. Eat as much a you can from the buffet was what we did for more then an hour. Cyclists are not very appreciated by organizers of buffets!

After the breakfast we went to see the Medina and did shopping. On the big square we looked at all kind of acts with animals, snakes, monkeys, etc. We wonder if it would not be a better idea to leave these poor beasts where they belong and not try to make money out of them.

The market also sells plenty of fruits in all kind of colors and everything is very delicious.

We could not resist visiting a cycling shop and had a nice chat with the owner about bikes and our trip.

On our way to a local supermarket to buy chips, wine, etc. I forgot a plastic bag with sandals for Jenny that we bought that morning. So, we needed to go to the market a second time, and fortunately the owner of the shop was able to find similar sandals for Jenny. Pfff!

To finish of the day, we took a callech back to the hotel, had an early diner as we needed to get out of bed in the morning early to go back to the camp, 10km north of Marrakech. We did however saw parts of the final for the world cup Rugby and saw the Springboks winning over England relative easily. Well down South Africa!

The reason we were two nights in the Meridien was that we already wanted to celebrate our 38 wedding anniversary. As on the real date (7th of November) we are on the second day in Mauritania, in a desert camp, we thought that celebrating it in this luxurious hotel. As you can see, the hotel is worth the visit.

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Date: 21-oct-2007
Stage: Marrakech to Titi-n-Test
Distance: 150 km
Ascent: 2450 m
Temp (L/M/H): 14/26/36
KCal: 3843
Time: 10 h 06 m
Country: Morocco

Our taxi was right on time, but to our big surprise the organization had advanced the starting time with half an hour, so we needed to get out of camp a bit in a rush rush.

We had seen some camels earlier, not too many, but 20km out of Marrakech we found these nice ones.

Exactly one week ago we were cycling with Hannie and Marius on the difficult day our of Fes. The story started to repeat itself, but now Hannie was the victim, fortunately she made it to the hotel on the pass, where we had a room, and although not too clean, with using our own sleeping bags it was much more comfortable than in a tent. And btw, our tents were not with us this time. The green truck could not take the Titi-n-Test as in the descent tomorrow there is a rock that hangs over the road that is too low for the truck to pass. So we only took some essential clothing, toiletry and sleeping bags with us, and we either were given a room, or were asked to put our mattress somewhere on the floor in the hotel.

During the long climb to Titi-n-Test (2100m) Jenny had a ladybug on her shoe. She left it there as we went up, as she felt it was bringing her luck. When we arrived we saw that it was not longer alive. May be the altitude? May be the smell of Jenny’s socks?

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Date: 22-oct-2007
Stage: Titi-n-Test to Bushcamp
Distance: 139 km
Ascent: 1185 m
Temp (L/M/H): 13/30/38
KCal: 1569
Time: 8 h 44 m
Country: Morocco

We experienced a magnificent 30km descent and a continuing gradual descent with a tail wind till lunch. Needless to say that we were flying down with an average speed of over 30 km/h. The first part, coming down from 2100m to roughly 500m was breathtaking. Jenny and I did not find words, so kind of quietly went downhill, somewhere on the way joined by Marius and Hannie.

At lunch it was very hot and we had to climb back to 1250m. As we had a tail wind we kind of were overheated (you do not feel the wind in this case). So we needed to take a coke, this time a full 1 liter bottle! The Coke we bought at the local butcher, who just had finished slaughtering a sheep.

An almost disaster happened for Bob, he lost his hearing aid somewhere in the bushcamp. Many of us started searching for it and after some very tense 20 minutes it was found. We could not have imagined how he would have been able to continue his trip without it.

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Date: 23-oct-2007
Stage: Bushcamp to Tafraoute
Distance: 118 km
Ascent: 1775 m
Temp (L/M/H): 14/23/34
KCal: 2402
Time: 8 h 50 m
Country: Morocco

Just after 20 kilometers we had to go right. But Hannie, who was on her own as Marius was taking pictures, just continued straight and was waiting for Marius to pay her Coke. Marius however took the right turn and could not believe that he was not able to catch up with her. After 20 minutes of fast cycling he realized something was wrong and he stopped. Hannie however was still waiting for him, and she had no money with her and also no portable telephone. When she thought that she needed to wash the dishes there to pay for the Coke, Piet and Hetty showed up, who also missed the right turn. So she teamed up with them to try to catch Marius. She made it, Marius was still waiting, getting more and more anxious about where she could be.

A bit later a police car pulled up next to us and told us to wait. The policeman found that Mieke, who was struggling on her own behind us, should be kept company, as he found that a woman alone was not secure. We stopped and waited for her, continued to the next village, where we took a Coke and got Mint thee with almonds. We very much appreciated this gesture. In the meantime the organization had taken steps to look for Mieke, so we left her and Liset behind and continued our struggle uphill to the lunch van. There they were anxious as well, not understanding why it took us so long to get to lunch.

Most of the landscape was dry, almost no vegetation and houses. About 60 km without anything, except for the wind and a encounter with a Belgian cyclist, who was on his own and had a lot of luggage with him.

As a last point of this very interesting day: Marius and Hannie in a downhill found two boys who had put a wire across the roads; fortunately the dropped the wire when Marius started shooting at them, it could have been the end of the tour for our friends;

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Date: 24-oct-2007
Stage: Tafraoute to Tiznit
Distance: 106 km
Ascent: 1030m
Temp (L/M/H): 14/27/37
KCal: 1831
Time: 7 h 43 m
Country: Morocco

Today was a relative easy day, with a climb in the morning to the lunch van. It started to get warm, so we decided to look for a Coke in the morning and found them in a very nice shop, where all products were well ordered and the owner was very proud on that. A bit “ un African” so to say.

Hannie, for the second time in a row, decided to take a wrong route, up a pass we did not needed to take. We saw Marius getting after her, he was behind her as he was helping Mieke, who was again very tired and almost not able to manage the uphill on her own. So they both did a bit more altitude meters today.

After lunch we had a nice descent towards Tiznit. It seems that I have a reputation to go fast in the downhill, so Marius, as a joke put a big stone on my bike and he took a photo from it. No, I did not continue with that big rock all the way down, that would have been rather dangerous.

The last part of the trip was still challenging, the temperature rose to close to 40 degrees and a strong wind was blowing us almost straight in the face. We teamed up with Marius, Hannie, Mieke and Rob and together we managed to reach Tiznit around 14:00. We went immediately to the local supermarket and took a nice drink and a plate of pommes frites on a terrace before we decided to go to camp and put up our tent.

In the hotel next door we took a real glass of beer (difficult to get here, only in hotels where foreigners are staying) with some of the other cyclist. It was a nice closure of the day.

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Date: 25-oct-2007
Stage: Tiznit to Sidi Ifni
Distance: 76 km
Ascent: 745 m
Temp (L/M/H): 17/23/37
KCal: 1170
Time: 4 h 33 m
Country: Morocco

Today we finally came to the Atlantic Sea after a bit of climbing in the morning. Since Ceuta we had not seen the sea anymore. From now on till Dakar the sea to the right, will be the landscape we will mostly experience. Although we liked the mountains, and we very much were impressed by the Atlas Mountains here, we kind of feel happy that we finished the long up hills. I have not yet added all the ascents up, but seldom were they less than 1000m and often much closer to 2000m. As today we finished stage 40, I kind of guess that our ascent meters are close to 60.000m. (When home, I’ll put it all in the PC and let you know that it was exactly).

Lunch was at the beach and after another 30 km we reached the former Spanish enclave of Sidi Ifni, which only since 1969 has become part of the Moroccan territory. The campsite is at the beach and we were lucky to find a room there, so no tenting for 2 nights, as we will have a rest day tomorrow. The town does not look too interesting; we at least hope that tomorrow we can find an Internet café to send this report.

Only 2 more stages before we reach the border with Western Sahara. Or actually, no-border, because Morocco claims that the Western Sahara is their territory. A reflecting on what we experienced the last +2 weeks. First the northern part, which we did not like too much, the landscape is a little bit uninteresting, we used roads that were rather heavy in traffic and the people, especially the children were not to friendly. As you know we had some stone throwing there.

After Fes, the landscape became much more interesting, the roads we took over the Atlas were magnificent (and difficult from time to time!). The people became much friendlier, although you might remember that we still had the occasional stone throwing there. Marrakech we liked very much, but this could have been colored by the fact that we stayed at a very nice hotel. Getting over the Tizi-n-Test was a “life time experience”, seldom have we seen a more impressive landscape during the descent of that pass.

Further down south, the influence of the Islam is more noticeable, more women with their faces completely covered, and more “looks” from men when women cyclist are coming by in their spandex. This is probably what we are going to see from now on, at least till the border of Senegal.

Geerten, is a friend and colleague of Marius and has joined us in Marrakech. His humor is very much appreciated in our group.

Wout replaced Didier as our medical aid, not an easy job with still a large number of people having all kind of difficulties.

Jimmy & Nick, are family of John. They were in France and England to watch New Zealand getting the world cup in Rugby, but after the defeat of New Zealand to France in the quarter finals, they decided to join our team as assistance to both Adam the truck driver and Rudy our cook.

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Date: 26-oct-2007
Restday: Sidi Ifni

Today we really took some rest as to prepare for the 7 days of cycling ahead of us.

So we spend the day eating, cleaning the bikes and walking over the beach, where boys were playing football, making the lines with their feet in the sand and goals made of debris found on the beach.

A beautiful sunset and some good food and wine finished the day.

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