I really have no idea what day it is anymore. After the race gets going everything simply becomes stage numbers and the rest of the world sort of ceases to exist. This is further impacted by the fact that we are off the grid here and can’t get any internet so we really are in our own little world. Our hotel near the Congo was very interesting. From the outside it looked like some nice little place you might see at the Outer Banks, and even the inside looked nice. Someone had spent a lot of money to get nice materials however the assembly was horrible. Most fixtures did not work, electrical outltets did not work, TV’s did not work, toilets flooded and there was no hot water. This made for an interesting evening. This was also the first room without a mosquito net. There was this cozzing arounstant high pitched buzzing around my head all night long followed by the occasional “I took my malaria med tonight, right?!” In the morning though, it was business as usual.
Stage 5 was going to be a hard one. A 25 K climb right from the gun and lots of hard climbs and technical descents. Racing here has also been a bit unorthodox as the African teams are not highly schooled in cycling strategy and therefore they try some crazy things that make us scratch our head and then figure out if we need to respond or not. Today’s race was more chess with Kiel getting up the road with 2 South Africans an Ethiopian and a Rwandan. They made their break on a downhill and got up to 3 minutes and then the negotiating started. We were going back and forth with the South African squad trying to explain that we would work with them and they could move their riders up to second and third on GC however their team director wasn’t interested so Keil rode tempo to the end and buried them for the stage win. Joey rolled through a couple of minutes later and stayed in yellow with Keil now moving to second. 5 wins in 5 stages. Not bad considering we only had 2 wins all year long as a team before this.
The hotel was a real adventure. Very nice people but a light bulb from the ceiling, one bed, no running water on the top floor- pressure couldn’t get it up there. Door handles had been removed and the doors themselves were paper thin however the walls were 12” thick concrete. 2 amusing items – Jack and I would get to share a bed and the toilet faced a floor to ceiling window 3 feet away that would open from the 6th floor overlooking the entire city. It was quite a view and others from the team would visit us just to use the toilet. While in there at one point I hear Jack exclaim “My People!” I’m not sure who looked up but it was pretty funny. Dinner was ok 2 Guinness and an orange but fortunately had scored Nutella and crackers earlier in the day so it certainly wasn’t the most nutritious meal but I won’t get scurvy.
My med count is dwindling – people are loving the pepto and I have been giving it out like candy. I have gone through 60 in 5 days. Basically almost everyone has had some stomach issues to this point. I had to go to a Rwandan pharmacy to try to find more. It’s very much like a European one here you have ask the pharmacist what you want and they help you out. I asked for “pink tablets to aid digestion” and bam, they had some. Looks like it might just be and antacid but I will go with what I can get. I have given out a bunch of ibuprofen, some cipro, phenergan, Benadryl… I don’t leave the room anymore without carrying my bag of meds as invariably I will see someone who will ask me for something and I have to return to the room.