Archive for November, 2013

Porto Soukhna Ride 2013 Second Chapter

Nov. 15, 2013

This was the second leg of the same ride done on May 10 this year. This time we had 8 finishers at the summit of the Sky Mall climb, pictured in the photo from left: Pascal, Moustafa, Samy, Jun, Nick, Omar II, Thomas and Luis. There were 2 additional riders, Ibrahim and Ahmed S., who had numerous punctures and completed the ride hours later, as we were told.

Porto Soukhna Ride 2013 official photo comp

We were lucky with the weather conditions: cross and some tail wind of 3-5 km/h and temperature around 26° C at noon, ideal for beating records. The leg from Cairo Toll Booth to the former Heineken sign was paced by Thomas riding up front in Tunnel vision, a bunch of 6 a bit behind but keeping him on sight, and an intermediate sprint taken by Samy. At the traditional Restaurant stop of km 74 Pascal joined the ride as usual, something against all rules, but as long as he makes good jokes and fixes our bikes…

We reached the Ain Soukhna toll booth at 10:25 with Nick and Jun doing the intermediate sprint. There were 2 punctures on the way there, but both happened to hit Thomas, the time-trialist with complete aerodynamic equipment, and a second bike in his car, so no worries.

The pace on the Corniche road along the coast became more moderate with Pascal doing his part and the rest thinking on the climb ahead. When we reached the bottom of the slope, the gate to the Sky Mall was being closed from left to right when 4 of us managed to sneak through, but 3 others were cut, and they had to talk the security man into letting them pass for a race taking place.

The duel at the front between Nick and Thomas was won this time by Nick, who took revenge of last time, becoming the new King of the Mountain with a record time of 10:26” for the 2.85 km climb of 6.8% average grade. Jun, Omar II and Luis also significantly improved their best personal times up there, and obviously the newcomers to the ride. We got there by noon, the earliest ever. The highest average speed was put by Thomas at 34.9 km/h. Hats off, however still far from the 42-46 km/h Pascal predicted to scare people off in advance.

Thanks to all for the good spirits and great team work, and logistics resulting in a car for nearly every other rider. Cold beverages at the finish and an excess of bananas (a couple of them graciously returned by one of us at the finish line) courtesy of the new K.O.M.

Luis

Dominic Paisley from the UK

I left Egypt after 5½ very happy years living in Maadi.  Some of my best memories from Egypt involve cycling, including the super-competitive-but-super-friendly Friday morning road rides … mountain biking in the Wadi before work (and getting chased a few times by the Egyptian army when we ventured too close to their camp) … cycling to Ain Soukhna for a long weekend … cycling to the Saqqara pyramid and racing back along the Corniche … the mega 4-day trip to Sharm via Ain Soukhna, the Suez Canal, Moon Beach and St Catherine’s … the CCC-Chili-Cook-off … all the great characters and great conversations in the CCC … and many, many more great memories.  Breaking my collarbone at the far end of the corporate loop wasn’t one of the great memories though…

I am now living in Crowthorne, a small town about 30 miles west of London.  Unfortunately my cycling has dropped off since I returned to the UK due to the amount of travel my current job requires (I am currently in Iraq).  I have therefore taken up running again after a break of nearly 10 years and done a few half marathons.  I do cycle when I can, occasionally commuting the 46 mile round trip to work on a fixed gear bike or mountain biking in the local forest; my beloved Cervelo isn’t getting as much use as it did in Cairo!  I do go cycling with a couple of ex-CCC riders, Neil Davis and Tim Evans.  One of the pictures is me (left) with Neil (far right) at the top of Col de la Bonette in France in 2011 – check out the altitude, 2,802 metres.  If you look closely, you will see my CCC shirt under my jacket.  We are planning a trip along the length of the Pyrenees next Summer, from Biarritz to Barcelona.  The other picture is me and Tim after a local mountain bike race last weekend.  We had just cycled 6 miles from the race so most of the mud had fallen off the bikes but there was still plenty attached to us. We were both entered under the team name of Cairo Cyclists, displaying our CCC shirts with pride.

My tool collection has continued to grow and I have got into wheel building.  Those mountain bike wheels in the picture were the second set I built and they seem to have survived the race. They may not cope with the Egyptian roads though!

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Dani-el Weiss from Brussels in Belgium

Strangely my CCC “career” has started in Eilat, Israel in 2010 where I’ve met two CCC triathletes Jose and Erica – we were doing a half Ironman there. Until that day I though that I was the only idiot riding on the Egyptian roads, but as it turned out that there were quite a few other idiots I joined them 😉 I’ve left Egypt during the summer of 2012 and still miss the group rides on the Ain Sukhna road and the coffees afterwards, not to mention the rides on the Sinai like this: http://www.strava.com/activities/712737. I hope one day these rides will be possible again without police escort and risks of being blown up or kidnapped.
Now I am riding solo in Belgium around Brussels. It’s mainly flat and half of the time I am forced to ride on the bumpy cycle paths as the drivers here can be much nastier than in Egypt, but the scenery is nice: we have all 4 seasons – during the wet and cold days Rule #9 gives me some comfort. And at the same time from here we have the possibility to jump on Ryanair with the bike and ride in Morocco or Mallorca for example. Or put my bike on my car and ride in the Alps, like with did with other CCC riders this summer, when we finished the Etape, see the photo. My plan for 2014 is to discover a bit more the cobbles, either as a spectator (Tour of Flanders, etc) or as a rider. Who wants to join?
Keep riding,
Dani-el
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