Monday, January 24, 2011

Kilimanjaro Mountain Bike Marathon

10th January 2011

Just heard about this today and it's happening in February.  Sounds fantastic but at the moment it could go two ways:
  1. I find more details, start training and give regular progress updates here
  2. I realise it's a silly idea and delete this blog post 
The nitty (and very) gritty:  Two day bike race around the world's largest free standing mountain.  246 km of dirt track with a total ascent of 2,844 metres -  that's about 9,300 feet.

11th January 2011

Spanner in the works, or handy excuse depending on which way you look at it:  the dates are 25th - 26th February, ie: it starts at 7:30 AM on a Friday and I will have to work that day.

Still, I could just follow the route a day behind the pack... but half the fun is participating in a big event, so forget that.  Long holidays are a real perk of the job but being told when to take them definitely isn't.

Image reproduced from Kiliman Adventure Challenge with their kind permission 
Alternatively, I could put it off for a year.  I know, it sounds like I'm quitting already but actually I have a plan.  I'll start a cycling club at school and recruit able cyclists.  Then next year I'll enter a school team in the event.  That way, I get to participate but technically I'm still at work!  Another perk of the job?  Perhaps.

23rd January 2011

Okay, entering the KiliMAN bike marathon this year just became a little more tricky.  The weekend before, I have to go to Jordan for a workshop.  Ditching the family two weekends in a row?  I suppose I could but do I really want to?

So, I've put out feelers about starting a cycling club at school.  It was something I was thinking of anyway.  The KiliMAN just nudged me forward.  The plan is to train them to maintain their bikes too - they could even notch up diploma points doing it.  You never got credit for going out cycling when I was at school!

Weekend biking: a steep climb up the dirt road towards Machame (Photo: Tim Hope)
29th January 2011

I just returned from a week at the coast.  I was in Pangani with all our 1st year Diploma students who were doing some field work for their Science courses.  When I checked my email, I found two surprises:

1st surprise: there are at least two Kilimanjaro bike marathons.  As well as the February event, there's a much less strenuous 80 km ride in June.  Plenty of time to train and it's a much easier ride.  Sounds like a cop-out though.

2nd surprise: A colleague and I may be able to take a day off work to do the two day ride next month.  To justify our day off, we would either raise money for the school's scholarship programme or take some students with us.  That all sounds fine BUT the ride is less than four weeks away and I've barely ridden for three months!

So, will the June event be the first challenge for my fledgling cycling club?  We'll see, but right now, I have some serious training to do.  Tomorrow, I'll be having my earliest Sunday morning for a long time and will be hitting the dirt tracks at dawn!

Image reproduced from Marie Frances Mt Kilimanjaro Marathon with her kind permission 

3rd February 2011

After a great training ride last weekend, I had to come crashing back down to reality on Monday morning: organising a student event at such short notice is just not possible.  There are too many people and procedures to mobilise and simply too much else going on that we would clash with.
Target: to do it properly next year - no excuses...

The road from home: it just keeps on climbing all the way to the top!
Follow this story as I start the cycling club and put the students through their paces in a later post: Riding round the mountain


Lonely Planet Tanzania (Country Travel Guide)   Lonely Planet Trekking in East Africa   Lonely Planet East Africa (Multi Country Travel Guide)

Did you enjoy reading this post?
Why not leave a comment and give me some inspiration or advice?
Who knows, I might actually do this thing!
I am grateful to Kiliman Adventure Challenge and Marie Frances Mt Kilimanjaro Marathon
for allowing me to use images from their websites


  1. I sincerely hope you do it! Sounds like quite a challenge, though, what with the ascent and the dirt tracks. Shall enjoy reading about your preparations as the year progresses. Good luck!

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