Saturday, January 27, 2007

Aburi 50K

Saturday morning Chris, SJD, Aussie Sarah and Dave met Kofi for another romp around Aburi. We made it pretty clear that we wanted to ride a bit further than our previous outing that ended with a disappointing taxi ride back home. Kofi came through this time.

Rides fall into two categories: Non-epics and epics.

A non-epic ride is pulled off without much misery. You don't need to rely on maps. Nobody gets hurt mentally of physically. Bikes function properly. Weather remains constant. It is somewhat like you wish your daily commute would be.

An epic ride should have equal but opposite elements. You'll regret starting the stupid ride until you return to the car at which time all is forgiven and only heroic memories are left. You'll get lost along the way. Suffer some sort of injury or discomfort, much to the amusement of your friends. A strange (not necessarily bad) encounter with the locals, animal, authority or similar. Some bike part needs to break, repeatedly. It is even more enjoyable if the weather turns unexpectably. Time and distance are, at best, just guesses. An epic ride is similar to what I imagine it would be like to voluntarily commute between Lorton, VA to Baltimore, MD year round.

I guess our Aburi ride, just barely, qualifies for Epic status.

All good epic rides should start with a mechanical before even leaving the trailhead. As we pulled up to the meeting point, I noticed that the left rear on the Subaru was going flat. Nothing was obviously wrong with the tire. Once I had it removed, one of Kofi's assistants rolled it down the hill to the vulcanizer for a look-see. Twenty minutes later it was back on the car, and holding air. Check 1!

All set to ride.

Kofi, SJD and Chris grinding up the main road between someplace and back yonder.

We passed through this village a month ago, and were met with the same enthusiasm. The kids yell and laugh as they run behind us. Who knows why but I guess it makes as much sense as those spectators who run alongside the riders in the Tour de France. Check 2!

Dave knew of a nice little place to grab a warm Fanta. I was not feeling very good, but not bad enough to visit the Stomach Clinic. Not sure if it was the heat, bad water, bad food. Warm Fanta didn't help matters. Check 3!

Come on Chris, we can't stay here forever.

The village drunk shows up to lecture SJD, about what we have no clue. Check 4!

Kofi, the tour guide and sole proprietor of Ghana Bike and Hike Tours. Everybody knows Kofi. Not too many men can wear a Barbie helmet and spandex with such confidence.

A cattle encounter along the road. Check 5!

Chris rolling through a twisty bit of singletrack on his brand new Orange hardtail.

About mid way through the ride, Kofi managed to snap his chain. Not a terribly uncommon mishap, or particularly difficult repair....unless the pin is shot and repair tool is broken... and the tropical sun is beating down...and you have a audience. We tried to reinsert the pin with his pliers (no luck); tried to replace the link with my SRAM link (wrong width chain). Eventually we moved into the shade where my brain could function a bit easier. We ended up removing one link and pressing in an existing link with my chain tool. It was quite the show for 20 minutes. Kids and parents came out to spectate. Every now and then there would be silence, I'd feel a poke on my shoulder, followed by laughter. Apparently they were daring each other to touch the withering white guy. Checks 5 and 6!

Nearing the end of the ride, we came across a boy having some difficulty with his bike. We stopped to see if we could help. The problem was not immeadiately obvious until we realized that the chain was not wrapping around the chain rings properly. Apparently the chain had broken, and while fixing the link he twisted the chain. We took a few minutes to sort matters out before he went of in the opposite direction.

To top things off, the 30K ride we had orginally planned for turned out to be more like 30 miles with 3,500' of climbing.

Ok, maybe it doesn't quite compare to the winter epics in the GWNF in the company of Jens, Buchness, Camp, Quigley, Mike-n-Susan, Dan, Brian, Nancy, Steve and Barry. We're building up to that level of silliness though.

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