Archive for the 'Regional' Category

TABA-SHARM REVIEW (March, 2010) Over Due!

Ride Participants: Pat, Luis, Pascal, Jose, Erika, Marc, Michael, Mohamed, Daniel and Myself (am I missing anyone?)

The evening prior to the ride upon arrival into Taba began Egyptian style as per usual with the last arrival, Pascal, being stopped by the police and his license held because he mentioned that we would be commencing a bike ride the next morning down the coast. Well they said this would not be possible and told him to return later that evening to pick up his license and they would decide what could be done. Our ride almost ended before it started but El-humdulillah they gave us the go ahead with a support vehicle of officers to follow along (more to come on this).

Due to some road work on the way to Taba most of us arrived with black tar covering our vehicles and for those of us with bikes on a rack (myself) had a thick layer of tar covering my rear wheel, brake caliper and derailleur, which I had to spend the evening cleaning with gasoline.

The morning of started without a hitch and looked to be a beautiful day with a slightly ominous breeze and a tinge of warmth for that time of day and time of year. We arrived at the first police check point in Taba where we were all stopped initially but amazingly enough they were prepared for us and let us proceed without too many hassles. Now about that support vehicle, they started with us and as usual they left us within the first 20 minutes of the ride due to boredom, so much for that.

The ride from Taba to Nuweiba was fantastic and beautiful with a slight headwind but very manageable rolling hills and amazing scenery. Then we hit the Wall (18km up to just over 800m) which we typically will stop prior to commencing at the base of the climb in Nuweiba. This year there was no stop as few in the lead decided to continue and not get off their bikes which started a chain reaction and therefore very few if any actually took a break at that point. Well, as it turns out during that portion of the ride it was a boiling 38 degrees with no breeze and I personally started the climb a little dehydrated with no breaks and at one point even went blind momentarily due to excessive sweating and burning eyeballs. Riding with my eyes closed proved challenging but I pressed on and said to myself, this year I will complete this damn climb!!!!!! 5 minutes later I got my second wind and started catching on riders ahead of me, I was really moving and moving fast. Cant remember my speed but I will have to ask my driver how fast he was driving up the hill with me attached to the car. On the way to the top I saw looks of anguish and desperation, some riders pulled over and were folded over their bikes in exhaustion and others took A/C breaks in their support vehicles before continuing on until of course I reached Jose and Erika near the top who were all smiles and thumbs up the whole way!!

All in all I believe about half of us used a support vehicle at some point in the climb to complete it, I wont mention any names here. The descent from the top into Dahab was quite windy making it a challenge to descend after a grueling climb. Upon arrival into Dahab we were greeted with fresh juices at the entrance of the hotel and later that evening complimentary Heineken thanks to Marc. The next day from Dahab to Sharm began with a long 20 km climb as well which I personally bowed out of after spending the evening up all night vomiting from heat stroke and dehydration I presume. Everyone else continued as planned. At the top I couldn’t resist and got into my riding gear and hoped on the bike for the long fast descent which was fantastic! Everyone made it to Sharm one way or another for a relaxing afternoon on the beach!

A big thank you to Pat and his wonderful administrative assistant for organizing the logistics of this ride and all our hotel arrangements.

Once again a terrific weekend for all on a truly amazing ride which I am sure we all look forward to next year in which I will tell myself once again, I will complete this damn climb!!!! See you on the road

Roberto

Qatar Chain Reaction and my first Road Race

I’m here in Doha, Qatar for a 3-week trip. The weather is great at this time of the year and I like it here so far; a lot of activities and events going on. So I’ve done some research and discovered this group of avid cyclists who actually have some fantastic roads to go cycling in.

Qatar Chain Reaction is a multinational group of avid cyclists living in Qatar. Apart from their weekly rides, they also organize: Time Trials, Century Rides, Off Road (Mountain Bike) Races, Special Seasonal Rides, Biathlons (Bike and Run) and Group Socials.

Line up for the start of the Race

So on Saturday 20th of March, at around 3:30pm the planned “Qatar Cycling Federation 50Km Road Race” kicked off. The weather is great this time of the year and today it is fairly windy, with wind blowing from north. The race started very tough (it was actually a 66km race not 50) it consisted of 6 laps 11km each. As we started, everybody seemed to know what they’re doing except for me. They attacked and the peloton was formed so quickly, I seemed to have missed it but for the first lap I managed to stick with a group of a tri-athlete, two other guys and me, then I managed to break away with my tri-athlete friend for two laps before he slowly attacks and leave me face the wind on my own with no aero-bars for the rest of the race.

Race Course

That was my first race and I am very happy to have finished it. I’ve done much longer distances before but those 66km were really intense.

Good day everyone and I hope things are going great back in Cairo,

Yasser

Tour d’Afrique Review

Hello everyone,

Myself, Jose, Erika, and Sherif (Helwan) decided to join the Tour D’Afrique group for their inaugural ride which started on saturday at the pyramids and ended in Ein-Sukhna about 120km. This group of 70 riders will be traveling from Cairo to Cape Town, a total of 12,000km over a period of 4 months with a total of 96 riding days. They have support vehicles follow them that provide them with breakfast, a lunch stop and dinner upon arrival each night. Other than that, the riders provide their own tents, visas for each country and have to setup and breakdown their own tents everyday as well with no showers or bathrooms for 4 months. All this for the give away price of just 8000 EURO!

So, in true Egyptian fashion we were supposed to meet at the pyramids at 7am which of course we did and we were ready to go, only to find that no one else was there. we thought they would arrive any minute and we would get to cycling, but they did not. Any minute turned into 8:30am. We then rode up to the pyramids plateau for a ceremony, pictures and television interviews all the while wondering when the hell this ride was going to start. Finally a 9:30am they corralled everyone and we were off, finally we were riding, well not quite. We had police escorts from the pyramids all the way to the entrance of ein sukhna toll road which blocked cars and kept us all together. The problem was we were riding 10km/hr, plus a few flats, plus erika and I get scolded by the tour leader for rolling slightly ahead of him at the front of the pack (I was scolded 3 times to be precise), we then arrived to the toll road at 11:30am, I repeat 11:30am, two hours to travel 20km.

We were finally let loose and we took off, well I should say Sherif(Helwan) took off with Jose and Erica following, leaving me behind! I had the last laugh though as Sherif(Helwan) in his infinite cycling wisdom never thought of bringing water with him, so half way there he started dying off and getting muscle cramps in his quads and Jose ended up getting a flat which allowed me to catch them all.

We met quite a few people from, Canada, USA, Europe, Australia and South Africa on the ride and all varieties of bikes with probably 50% mountain bikes, 40% hybrids and 10% road bikes. I would not have wanted to have a mountain bike for this stage of the tour. After lunch we were leaving Ein-Sukhna at around 5:30pm and saw people still arriving on their bikes from 9:30am. Some of these people have never really trained for anything like this and most were not avid cyclists. I foresee some difficult days ahead!

Last I heard Sherif (Helwan) has recovered and has arrived first on each of the rest of the stages on his way to Sudan. his tour of Egypt was almost non existent if it were not for a last minute save by Dave Marlowe providing Sherif with a chainring replacement, so thank you dave for the rescue! I also gave sherif my water bottle to continue his tour without further dehydration.

Fun times on the bikes once again, but if you consider doing the ride one day i suggest a hybrid bike with two sets of wheels (road and mountain) if you want to enjoy every one of those 96 days. Being independently wealthy and being able to not work for 4 months may also come in handy.

See you on the road
Roberto

Beni Suef Ride Review!!!! TERRIFIC‏

Today the 6 pack of Sherif, Sherif, Hisham, Yasser, David and I ventured off into unknown territory on the toll road to Beni Suef!

Ala-tool to Beni Seuf

Ala-tool to Beni Seuf

Well it turned out to be a fantastic 100+km ride through the desert beginning at the toll road entrance in Helwan. We had a wide open road with smooth surface and little to no traffic. our ride was hindered slightly with two quick flats by Yasser then one by Sherif (not the same Sherif as last week). Other than that it was smooth sailing through the desert sand dunes with nothing for miles around. It was beautiful and you wanted to just keep going with long flats, rolling hills, and long gradual descents, this ride had everything you want in a ride.

We discovered a gas station carrying great canned coffee drinks which we stocked up on and are trying to find someone to carry here in Maadi.
Sherif and Sherif were flying away from the pack and we decided to work as a team and incorporate some technical riding with rotational streamlining to try and catch up to them. Well i guess we got too technical and that is when we had our HICK-UP, at around 75km Hisham and Yasser touched wheels and Hisham got the bad end of that deal and went down quite hard at high speed. Thankfully he slid well and survived with a bad left hip contusion, severe road burn on his left elbow and a deep gash on his right hand. We tended to him quite rapidly with Sherif (Maadi) taking the reins with his recent first aid training. Hisham unfortunately had to get back in the car and head home following this and went right to the hospital for some x-rays and bandaging. thankfully he had no fractures and will recover fully and quickly and be back on his bike this coming weekend! what a trooper!

We continued on our ride to the end, but on the way found a side road at around 75km that headed east through the mountains and ended up in Zafarana (Red Sea south of Ein Sukhna)! it was an extra 165km to do so. are you reading my mind……..(TWO DAY CAMP OUT RIDE HEADED RIGHT FOR THE BEACH!!!!!!!!!) any takers?????

Another wonderful ride completed with great friends and some action and drama to boot.  Looking forward to riding with all of you this coming Friday the 23rd for our inaugural CCC1, CCC2, and CCC3 group classification rides. Please invite anyone you know to come and join our group and get a feel for cycling with us!!

Ciao
Roberto

Fayoum Ride Review

all that ends well does not necessarily start well. ROBERTO, HISHAM, MICHAEL, DAVID, SHERIF(helwan) AND SHERIF(maadi-the one referred to in this review)

we began our morning with a flat before the ride (sherif), then one of our drivers never showed up so we had to scramble to find someone on the street to drive one of our cars. we finally left at 7am and then within 30 seconds while still on road 213 we had another flat (sherif). on our way once again we had another delay on korniche when someone lost their water bottle (dave). all was looking well as we hit ring road crossed the bridge and then yet again another flat (sherif). we came to the conclusion as a group that this would be the end of our misfortune, so we continued on and made it to the new section of ring road and sure enough another flat (sherif). if you have not been counting that is number 4. so, as we took the ramp or cairo-alex road exit guess who got another flat (sherif). at this point he wanted to hop in a taxi and go home but in an amazing display of group camaraderie we urged him on and assured him it could not possibly happen again. well, we were wrong because 1 minute later another flat (sherif). we checked tires, rims and cleaned everything and continued on once again. everything was going smoothly with no flats but we had still not reached the actually cairo-fayoum road when we had a small accident and someone fell hard on the climb to cairo-alex road (you guessed it SHERIF).  he was scrapped up but wanted to continue, nothing was going to stop him today. until at the entrance of the cairo-fayoum road there was of course another flat (sherif). at this point we cursed him, removed his bike from him and left him at the side of the road!! we felt bad so we allowed him to ride in the car for the rest of the trip.
so now our trip begins, once entering the cairo-fayoum road it was clear sailing in the desert with the wind at our backs and a car blocking for us. we worked as a group and made great time getting to our destination. a couple of us wanted to drop but we stuck together and encouraged one another. HISHAM gets recognition for holding the group together. upon arrival to the hotel Auberge we were parking our cars and bikes but had to actually mount our bikes onto the bike racks before enjoying our lunch because the hotel wanted to charge us 5 LE per bike if the wheels were touching the ground (CAN YOU ^%$#$$## BELIEVE IT!!!!!).  but when we the left the cost for the car to park was only 4 LE (don’t ask).
lunch on the lake was great and relaxing as we discussed our excellent adventure.
definitely a ride to do again, but possibly without SHERIF.

Sherif doing what he does best while other riders being very patient about it

Sherif doing what he does best while other riders being very patient about it

next friday, we may try to go further on the beni suef toll road if anyone is interested in joining us.

Roberto

New Ride (we’ll call it Korymat Road)

Chilling

just chilling

Today Sherif, Sherif, Yasser and I completed a new 100km ride from Maadi to Helwan along the Autostrad then from there we took the Beni Suef toll road to god knows where. Could have been cut down to an 80km for anyone in a rush to get back. The first part of the ride on the Autostrad was decent with decent roads and moderate traffic which is even lighter on a Friday. there was nice climb once you pass Helwan. from there we headed to the toll road which was great, clean, smooth roads and little to no traffic. Good rest stop for water and snacks at the 38km mark. The road takes you really out into the middle of the desert with nothing around. You wanted to just keep riding and riding, but realize you must get back somehow. The way back was nice as well with a moderate headwind but definitely workable. Cverall a good option for an alternative Friday ride. Fantastic descent back into Helwan with a view of Sakara, Dashur and Bent pyramids.

Reminder: this Friday we will be doing the Fayoum ride for anyone interested, we have 6 riders so far and two cars. We will meet at 6:15 and leave at 6:30 at CAC. Let us know if you will be joining us.

Roberto

Gran Fondo

Here is a photo of Cairo Cyclists at the Granfondo in Feltre Italy on June 16
GF09_CCC_team

From right to left: Monica Smith, Dave Phelps, JP Sgriccia, Hesham Tayeby and Michael Rasmussen.