2009 Taba-Sharm chronicle‏

What a ride last weekend! Here is a small chronicle from my side, for the records. Others will be posting the pictures.

Day2: the line up for Dahab to Sharm El-Sheikh

Day2: the line up for Dahab to Sharm El-Sheikh

Only 8 took the official ride: Jose, Roberto, Michael, Yasser, Sonny, Alfredo, Walid and Luis. There was another rider called Ed (nobody is sure to have met him before) who did it by his own, only seen shortly by Michael at the top of the mountain on Friday.

We departed late the first day for the 140 km stage. We got company from the local police, honking their siren on the way to Pharao´s island, where we stopped for the official photo. We got trouble at the police station ahead, their call: “no passports no go”. Finally we managed to convince the boss to let us through if only one of us (Roberto) showed his passport. The ride to Nuweiba, always beautiful, felt much longer than last year due to a light front breeze. At the restaurant at km 65 two stepped into the car and skipped the 11.8 km climb ahead. In the middle of it further 2 stepped down. Good for them because it was hotter (30C) and steeper than last year. By that time, the breeze had turned into wind, unfortunately not tailwind this year. King of the mountain was Jose. He got in fact a certificate prepared by Walid during the evening. Sonny won the Best Team Player (or Good Samaritan) prize for assisting Alfredo at the back. Impressive was also Walid´s communication system with his coach (his sister Sarah) via radio, several spare tires and nothing left to chance.

Once at the top of the hill, Yasser and I couldn’t refill the bottles because the restaurant was closed. This was not in our plans. Fortunately, we found a beduine house on the way down, where they gave us tea and water, and later Sonny and Sherry came along with help. Rob and Jose found another house where a Sudanese gave them tea. The way down to Dahab was a big struggle against the stronger and stronger headwind, and the last 40 km were unbearably long. I heard all ended stepping into the cars at different locations this day.

Second day (101 km) started fine, but the supposedly 6 km climb from the deviation to Dahab (wrong google earth estimate) was in fact 24 km long. It has three culminations with some flats in between, but was tough enough to break legs and the peloton into 8 pieces. The wind remained frontal, but not as strong as the first day. The final 15 km straight and slightly downhill leg was a lot of fun. The pack arrived to Sharm in 4 groups of 2, within 2 hours. Compliments to Michael and Yasser who resisted until the end without giving up.

In Sharm, Alfredo bid farewell to his 25 year old bicycle and stuff, and Sonny will make somebody in need of equipment very happy with this old, but fine piece.

Hilton Dreams was OK, but lunch took as much time as last year in the Marriot.

Anyway, the ride couldn’t have taken place without the engagement of Pat, Mariam and Dave in the organization, and Sherry, Sarah, Ana Maria and Martina in the logistic, technical direction (i.e. moral support) and water. Many thanks to all of them again.

No wonder it is called Extravaganza in CCC´s calendar, definitely the highlight of the year. Count on me for the next one.

Luis

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