Katameya Observatory Ride

We departed shortly after 6 am from CAC with Tobin, Timo, Thomas, Nick, Mike and myself. Jun and Travis rode from Zalamek with the intention of doing a short ride, and returned at the Cement Factory. Dan rolled down from Katameya and joined the team at the beginning of the Ain Sokhna road, and Pascal hopped into the ride at the toll booth. He met Mohamed, at the toll booth, a cyclist who intended to ride alone for 80 km, but joined us to the Observatory and back. He belongs to the Egyptian triathlon team, and we hope to see him again in our weekly rides.

That made actually 9 riders who made it to the Observatory (see foto) The way there was not entirely unproblematic, though.

Already at the entry to the Ring Road the first tire bursted. It was one of Tobin’s new tires he mounted for the ride. It became clear this was going to be one of these days…After the Cement Factory when we were working on our rotations, the second puncture: this time it hit Pascal, who was still warming up. We regrouped at km 45 and shortly thereafter Timo had to stop and change the tube, which was the beginning of a tough luck chain for him. After replacing the tube, a few hundred meters further it proved leaky, so he stepped into the car and patched them on the way.

The way to the Observatory starts at the exit at km 61, a rough tarmac road devoid of any soul in a radius of kms. It leads for 14 km to the top of the mountain where this construction that once worked is abandoned. The last 3 km are up-hill, where the top guys hardened the pace and quickly disintegrated the “peloton”. Nick equipped with a 23 teeth sprocket took the climb, followed by Dan and Tobin.

We spent half an hour up there enjoying the landscape, taking pictures, and refuelling. In the meantime Timo had rejoined the ride, and rode the last kms up the hill. On the way down at the bottom of the descent, however, his rear tube exploded again (surprise). Thinking about throwing in the towel in despair, it suddenly came up to him he had a new tire and tube in the car, and the occasion to use it could not be better. Brilliant.

The leg from there to the Cairo toll booth was carried out at a tremendous rhythm, travelling at high speed for 40 km, and devoid of punctures. Rotation was clockwise to hide from cross wind from the right. Pascal was finishing his ride there and burned his last matches (how nice of him) while the rest was feeling the efforts in their legs and starting to long for the finish.

And after a hydration break at the toll booth, the sprint at the Real Madrid sign with the usual suspects disputing the points, and crossing the imaginary line at the same order as in the Observatory. Finally, the last leg was led by Mike who had the great idea of taking us via a quick sand short cut (to avoid the Ring Road) which ended in his so-called Dead Donkey road. After 147 km and almost 5 effective hours on the move, we finally made it safely back to Maadi at noon time. Here are the awards, granted herewith or previously by others:

-Sponsor price to Thomas Hammermeister GmbH for the sag wagon and refreshments, with many thanks.

-Persistence award to Timo for the repeated repairing attempts.

-Tobin got one for the legendary pull/lead out for the sprint.

-Dan (the Kiwi) for the fighting spirit (“combativité”)

-Nick took the polka and green jerseys.

-Pascal takes credit for being the father of the Observatory ride, and riding this time 2/3 of it.

-Mohamed for being the only national representative, great entrance.

-Mike and Luis for keeping up belonging to at least one age category above the rest.

And thanks to all the participants for a memorable ride.



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